How Successful Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies Gain More Show Guests With Jason Cercone Of Evolution Of Brand

TBF Jason Cercone | Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies


We are the company we keep. This could not be more true when it comes to podcast guests. However, admittedly, not many of us have the right podcasting relationship building strategies that would allow us to attract more guests, let alone build that mutually beneficial relationship. Good thing Jason Cercone of Solo Podcasting Simplified joins Tracy Hazzard in this episode. Jason is a podcast guesting strategist, author, voiceover talent, and experienced podcaster. With his expertise, he shares with us what podcasters can do better to create that powerful connection with their guests. He then flips it and gives tips on how guesting clients can choose good shows. Full of great insights and advice on podcast guesting, Jason helps us with a strategy that creates a beautiful win-win situation for hosts and guests. Follow along to this conversation to find out more!

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How Successful Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies Gain More Show Guests With Jason Cercone Of Evolution Of Brand

I have Evolution of Brand. I have Jason Cercone. I’m so excited to have him on because his perspective on podcast guest mastery is essential. He has such a great view of the guesting model that goes on both from a host’s perspective and from coaching a lot of guests’ perspectives. He understands how to create a compelling model between the both where both of you win. Hosts win and guests win. It’s all a beautiful relationship-building model.

I’m so glad to have him. I’m glad he reached out to me. We connected via PodMatch. I’ve been talking about it. I have gotten almost all my guests in months through the PodMatch model. I have met some incredible people that I should have known all along in the podcast industry. Since there haven’t been enough events and I don’t always go to all the podcasting events, and I tend to go to a lot of the other entrepreneur events, I haven’t gotten a chance to network at that level. My ability to build relationships has been enabled by this PodMatch model, so I’m so grateful for that.

Here we go. Jason Cercone, I got to tell you a bit about him because he is a podcast veteran. He’s been doing this as long as I have. I am so excited to have him on the show. I’m glad that I could bring him to you. Jason Cercone is a podcast guesting strategist, author, voiceover talent, and experienced podcaster. He helps value-driven coaches and consultants establish authority and become thought leaders in their niche via strategic, impactful podcast guest appearances.

He’s also The Voice of Solo Podcasting Simplified, a podcast featuring authentic entrepreneurs and professionals, sharing brand-building strategies to help you succeed in your professional pursuits as well as a contributing author to the bestselling PodMatch Guest Mastery book, which we’ll talk about in the interview. Let’s hear it from Jason. Let’s talk about the Evolution of Brand.

More importantly, I am giving you Jason’s and the Evolution of Brand’s binge factor before we ever start our episode, which I never do. I make you all wait until the end usually, but I’m giving you his binge factor. You are going to get a masterclass in relationship building through podcast guesting by reading about Jason Cercone.

About Evolution Of Brand Podcast Host Jason Cercone

TBF Jason Cercone | Podcasting Relationship Building StrategiesJason Cercone is a podcast guesting strategist, author, voice over talent, and experienced podcaster. He helps value-driven coaches and consultants establish authority and become thought leaders in their niche via strategic, impactful podcast guest appearances. He is also The Voice of Evolution of Brand, a podcast featuring authentic entrepreneurs and professionals sharing brand-building strategies to help you succeed in your professional pursuits, as well as a contributing author to the best-selling PodMatch Guest Mastery book.


Follow Jason Cercone on Social: InstagramLinkedIn | YouTube

Jason, I’m so glad to talk about the guesting side of things. I’m glad you have both views. There are a lot of hosts out there who are not professionals on the guesting side, too. They don’t always have the same view you have about how difficult it is and how hard it is to find good shows, and then maximize the opportunity. I’m glad for us to dive into that.

I love talking about both sides of it. The biggest reason is that both sides need to have respect for one another and what each wants to accomplish. That’s when the real magic happens. That’s when good content comes to life.

I agree. That mutual respect is so necessary for understanding what the drivers are. The thing that always fascinates me is how it shifts over time. I want to talk with you about that as they’re starting. When you were starting your show and starting out guesting, they are two different stages than where you are as this mature podcaster who’s been doing this for a while. You got over 100 episodes, and you probably guessed it on at least 50, I’m sure.

The show that I do, Evolution of Brand, is maybe my fifth podcast in the lifespan of my podcasting career. When I first started back in 2015, guesting wasn’t even something I thought about because no one was talking about that. There may have been a few agencies here and there, but my end of things was, “Podcasting. We need to start a show. This sounds great.”

I used to host a radio show in college, so it seemed like this natural transition of podcasting is the next step if I want to get back behind the microphone. Once I got into the podcast space more full-time and started working with people and helping them launch shows, it was connecting me with entities that were referring guests. That’s when I started to talk to the guests and those agencies and develop a love affair with that side of it.


TBF Jason Cercone | Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies


I realized that the host is a big cog in the whole production. They’re doing all of that heavy lifting with producing the show, building assets, putting it out into the world, and then promoting that show, but they don’t have that show without the guest’s expertise. If they’re building a podcast that’s built around the host-guest dynamic, they need that other side. There has to be that back-and-forth that creates compelling content that people want to sink their teeth into.

That was why I dove in. I knew that Evolution of Brand needed to be this podcast that had information that helped leaders and professionals grow their brands. I had full respect for what the guest wanted to accomplish as well. I knew I had to get the best possible conversation out of them. My audience had great content to tune into, but also, that guest had content that they could share with their audience and position themselves as a thought leader.

If they don’t share it, no one wins. It doesn’t work for anyone, right?

Yeah. I’ve heard so many arguments like, “They’re on so many different shows.” To me, the biggest reason why a podcast guest doesn’t share the content is that the communication falls off after the interview. A lot of podcasters get upset when their guest doesn’t share, and I get it. As a podcaster, I can understand that. I usually ask, “What was your communication with that person after the interview ended?” More than likely, there was a 1 to 3 months gap from when that content got recorded to when it got released.

TBF Jason Cercone | Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies
Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies: The biggest reason why a podcast guest doesn’t share the content is that the communication falls off after the interview.


If you don’t talk to that person at all, they have a life outside of your podcast. They’re doing other interviews. They’re running their business. They’re building their brand in a number of different ways. If you let it slide and then they don’t share, some of that is on you. You have to have these conversations. I’m not saying you drop everything, but podcasting is all about building relationships.

What do you think podcasters should do better? What do you see works and what doesn’t work?

Ghosting a person after the interview is over. For both sides, that doesn’t work. Coming at this from both sides, you have to treat it as a high-level networking experience. You’re getting an opportunity to build a relationship with somebody that is like-minded and may have connections to a lot of other people that can help you in your plight. If you’re not thinking on that level and you’re treating it more like a transaction where you show up and you’re like, “I’m going to talk for a little bit and have some fancy rhetoric that maybe the audience will buy into,” you miss that opportunity to build a powerful connection with someone that could help you make the next big breakthrough in your brand. You have to come into it with that mindset.

If you’re a podcaster and you’re bringing a guest on your show, you have a limited time with them. Maximize it. Ask them compelling questions. Get the most out of them. Give them the best possible interview you can, maybe the best interview they’ve ever had. That should be what you’re striving for because that is going to create content. When your audience hears it, they’ll say, “That is interesting. I wonder what else they’re doing. Who else are they talking to on their episodes?” They go right into the binging.

You want to encourage the binging. That’s the idea. I find that with podcasters, too often, it’s not the ghosting that happens. It’s that they assume that they did the recording and that’s it. That’s the limit of their job. Everything on the sharing side is the guest’s job. A lot of the guests, I find, are not social media savvy. They’re not sophisticated at creating clips. It’s on us as podcast hosts to create those things to give them the “assets” of the show. Give them what you want them to share. If you’re not giving that to them, then you’re also not doing your job as a podcast host.

I agree. That’s a big part of it, too. There is an opportunity to go deeper. Something that I ask everybody that I’m a part of, if they’re willing, “Share the raw file with me or share the recording with me. I’ll clip up some additional content and put it on my network.” For me, I’m doing that to promote myself as a thought leader because I’ll pull the best clips. I’m also going to point people back to that show. Every time I post that, I’m going to say, “This clip was part of my conversation with Tracy. Go check it out here.” The goal is not to have a little one-minute clip that helps, but I want people to go check out the full conversation.

On your end, as the host, you should be creating something that your guests can share. It helps to ask upfront, “Where do you do the most promotion for your brand?” This is a mistake that I’ve made. I realized that I’m creating content that they were not using. It was because I was making the assumption that they’ll post this on Instagram. What if they don’t use Instagram? What if they need a horizontal video instead of a reel? I ask the question, “Where would you like to promote this? I’ll then create a piece of content that you can use.” Does that guarantee they’re going to post it? No, but I have a better opportunity of getting it posted as opposed to assuming they’ll put it where I think they’ll put it, and then it collects dust on a shelf somewhere.

As the host, you should be creating something that your guests can share. Share on X

That’s something that I feel we do so I do this. It’s that when I’m hosting, we have all the assets we give out. Honestly, I show them. I’ve shared this on the show before. I know you went through my booking process where you go to my booking page. You get the confirmation page, which shows you examples of the posts that we’re going to provide you content for. We provide those to you. We do that. When I guest on a show, I also clip something different and do something because I have to do it in my brand. That’s what you’re headed towards.

Sometimes, what drives the guest is a little bit different than what drives the host. You might need to do both. You might need to have something that’s a little more guest-focused and a little more host-focused. This is why we do an asset. We call it Ego Bait™. People have heard me say this before, but you may not have, but we do Ego Bait™.

You’re going to get a quote graphic that is going to be something I said about you and your show where I’m saying it’s amazing. That’s the net result of it. You’re more likely to share that on social media than if I shared a quote of something you said on my show because that’s probably redundant to the message you’re already saying. When I say something about you is amazing, you want to share that because that’s a testimonial. That’s the flip on it. We have to look at this from both perspectives as the guest and as the host.

That is incredibly smart. That is an awesome approach. To speak to what the guest needs to be doing, I feel like a lot of the mentality is that you’re bringing your expertise to the show. Your job is to talk about what your specialty is. Hopefully, you’re doing it from a value standpoint and not trying to go into sales mode the whole time because that’s a major turnoff.

If the show even were to go live, some of them may listen to that saying, “This is an infomercial. I don’t want any part of this,” and then they turn it off. They may never come back. Doing it from that standpoint of value and bringing it to the microphone in that capacity will serve you and the podcaster better. From the guest’s standpoint, if you are doing that and then ending it, you’re costing yourself opportunities. This is content that’s designed to showcase what you are specializing in and what you’re passionate about. It can be used to show your audience that they’ve put trust in the right resource.

The only way that they may find some of these podcasts is if you share it and say, “I had the opportunity to have a phenomenal conversation with Tracy. We talked about X, Y, and Z. I feel like this speaks so much to what I’m always telling you guys. Go check out the show.” That’s a little on the noes. The point is when you put that in front of your audience, it gives them more reassurance that they’ve put their investment in the right person. They know they’re going to continue to get value from you.

Here’s the thing. All of you reading out there, I invited Jason on the show because I wanted his brain. I wanted to hear what he had to say. If I want to hear it, I know you are going to want to hear it. That’s my job as a host. He’s talking about this high-level networking. It means that I want to hear this. If I’m bored to tears and it’s the same message again and again, then the readers are. That’s not serving anyone well. This is why we have so many people quit their podcasts because they’re bored to tears. What a shame. It drives me crazy. You go on a show as a guest and then all of a sudden, they’re gone again. I’m like, “It was a good show. You guys should have stuck it out. What’s wrong with you?”

This is my personal view on this. I’m looking at the pure creation and production standpoint. As we are into 2023, there are so many people that are jumping on the bandwagon. As more podcasts come out, that degree of error keeps getting less. It means that you can’t skip a few weeks and expect to maintain your audience. You have to remain consistent.

If your show is worked into somebody’s life where every Thursday when they go to the gym, they listen to your podcast. Now, they arrive at the gym and go to download it and it’s not there, or they go to pull up their podcast and they’re subscribed and it didn’t pop in, they’ll be like, “The Binge Factor is not there. I’m going to go listen to Evolution of Brand today.”

As more shows come in that appeal to that person’s consumption habits, if you are not there and you’re not keeping them invested in your content, you lose them. If you want growth and to maintain your visibility as a podcaster, you can’t do that anymore. It’s so hard. That margin of error has shrunk to such a small degree. You have to be wary of that.



Let’s talk about this idea of how you counsel your guesting clients to choose good shows. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. You might hear a dynamic host and they sound great on the show, but then, it’s a horrible experience on the backend. You won’t know until you do it. Is there anything that you do and teach them in reviewing shows and trying to decide where they should put their energy in guesting time?

I have a process that I look at when I’m reviewing shows. I like to have a conversation to make sure that they’re serious. I make sure that this isn’t some fly-by-night, “We’re going to see if a podcast floats. Maybe we will keep doing it if it does, but if it doesn’t get X amounts, we won’t.” You can tell when you talk to somebody how bought in they are to create a piece of content and then build on that content over time.

That especially happens with a new show. I like to give new shows the benefit of the doubt. You want to find out how invested in it are they and how bought into it they are. Are they going to be committed to doing enough shows to make it worth a while? I don’t know about your statistics on this, but our statistics say that the first ten episodes of any given show will be the most listened to of all time. If you said, “I’m not going to go on a show until they hit a certain number of episodes,” then you discount the opportunity to be one of the most listened-to episodes. It is riskier, so you got to have a little more time on your hands.

Agreed. When it comes down to it, what are you giving up? Maybe half an hour to an hour of your time? I’m not saying that you don’t do a vetting process or you don’t make sure that it aligns with you. That, to me, is the biggest part. If you can find podcast content that is so in tune with your message, audience size doesn’t matter. In episode count and download numbers, download numbers are always irrelevant. The episode count doesn’t matter.

TBF Jason Cercone | Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies
Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies: If you can find podcast content that is so in tune with your message, audience size, episode count, and download numbers do not matter.


It’s vanity metrics.

I was going to say we could go on a rant about that for hours.

My audience has heard that from me, so I’d be happy for them to hear that from somebody else.

Almost one of the pillars of my business is bitching about download metrics, but we’ll leave that for another day.

I’m glad you said that. I’m going to say right here before you go on, any guest that asked me for my download numbers is immediately ruled out as a guest.

I don’t blame you. I don’t even look at that information. That’s how irrelevant it is to me. I always challenge new podcasters to not look at their metrics for the first six months and they all look at me like I sprouted a second head.

25 episodes in 6 months is exactly my advice.

It’s the minimum. They have to get better at this. The download metrics will do nothing to make you better at this. If anything, they’re going to make you upset. They’re going to make you think you’re not good at it. You have to build your audience. You build your audience through compelling content, and you have to get better at your craft to make that happen. It’s a progression.

Spoken like a true industry expert. Thank you for saying that.

You’re very welcome. I’m happy to throw that knowledge out there to anybody. When you’re evaluating whether you want to make a guest appearance on a brand new show, if the content aligns and the person that’s hosting the show has some credibility, you can look at their website and their social media. If they’re speaking the same language as you, it makes sense to connect with them and put your name out there. That’s because that show could blow up at any point.

If you’re in the beginning part of that catalog, you’re going to be one of the elements that help it explode. Maybe it’s your episode that makes them explode. You don’t want to base it off of the fact, “They don’t have 50 episodes yet. It’s not worth my time.” It could be because even the smallest audiences could be comprised of the people that you want to hear your message. You won’t know if you don’t take that shot. What are you giving up? It’s half an hour to an hour of your time getting the geek out about things that you love. It’s a pretty good trade-off.

Even the smallest audiences could be comprised of the people you want to hear your message. You won't know if you don't take that shot. Share on X

I agree with you. Alignment is the one thing that matters most. Sometimes, the hosts do a bad job of describing their show. If you’re going on search, the charts, or any of those other tools, that’s where it starts to fall apart. I hope by the time our episode airs, our new tool will be out so that I can share that as a preview to everyone. We call it PodLister. The metrics that we want on there are aligned with what you’re saying here. That’s what I want to dial into.

What we based our PodLister algorithm on is based on this idea of alignment and how you can find that better where you see the indicators don’t have to listen, but you should listen. It is so it’ll appeal to a better list for you, and then you can listen to those. Instead of having 100 to listen to and 90% of them are already podfaded, you go for the ones that are active. You dial in that list better so that you can be a little more accurate with where you’re going with that.

One of the ways we did that was because podcasters are so bad at describing their own show because they wrote it before the show started. We were talking about that. You write your description before you start your show, so you don’t even know what it is. A lot of them don’t go back and ever fix it, so it didn’t accurately describe what the show has become. That’s where you can miss a great alignment of a show if you don’t take the time as a guest to listen. I love that you’re advising them to check the alignment.

That’s the biggest part to me. If it’s not aligned, it’s a waste of time for everybody. I’m old-school. I know that there are a lot of AI tools. It sounds like you guys are putting one together as well. I think it helps. I don’t discard this as technology that can better our experience, but there’s still that element of human nature, especially when it comes to listening to a podcast that can help you decide if it makes sense for you. In the training courses that I have built within my program, I have the process built out of how I would vet a podcast to make sure that it makes sense. Listening is step seven in the process.

If it's not aligned, it's a waste of time for everybody. Share on X

You don’t listen until you’ve already done the review and made sure all the other things are right.

There are all these other criteria that I want to look at. Maybe those first six items, I could check every box and say, “They did all this,” but then I listened to it and they’re mic’d terribly or what they’re talking about has nothing to do with the show description that doesn’t align. It has to check off all of those boxes. If you don’t listen, you’ll never know.

I start off my podcast with a question. It’s the same question. It has been since episode one. I had episode 136th launch as we sit and record. Every episode has started the exact same way. I know if someone has taken time to listen to my show before they came on because they’re either thrown off by that question and need me to repeat it or they already have their answer teed up and blow me out of the water with it. There are people that can think on their feet. I understand that. You can tell when someone’s a little thrown off and you know they haven’t done their due diligence. I don’t do that to throw them off. I do it because I want to get the conversation started.

I got caught once. I am a listener because I always listen to everybody’s show. I usually listen to three shows. I listen to your intro episode, teaser, and what you did at the beginning because I like to see the progression from where you went to your latest one. I like to see if there’s a difference in there. You did some cool things in your teaser. I want everybody to go check that out because there are actual clips from your first few episodes in your introduction episode, and it works well. It’s a well-produced one.

I heard that, but I got caught once because the person’s show was a 90-minute show. That’s a lot to listen to. I listen on double speed. As it got to be 40 minutes in, I was starting to lose my mind as it was. I had to go on the show because they were a client. If a client invited me on their show, I’m not going to say no.

I skipped ahead a little bit and then caught the last 10 minutes, the last 5 minutes, or something like that. I missed a thing that he did, and it was this crazy thing. It was weird and I missed that part of it. He asked me this and I give the most off-the-wall stupid answer. He looked at me like, “What?” I had to make up a reason for why I had that animal. I was like, “It’s outside my window.” It was the most uncomfortable experience ever. From that point forward, I was like, “If I can’t listen to the whole thing, then I can’t be on their show. That’s a problem.”

That’s another thing, too. It’s completely up to you and completely up to the producer. I always think back to this conversation that I and a friend had with another person. We were at Podcast Movement a couple of years ago. This guy knew my buddy who has a very good Instagram presence. His name is Travis Brown. I’m sure a lot of people reading may have heard of him. He does amazing reels. That’s a big part of how he’s built his brand.

He and I were talking, and then someone approached him. We were talking with this guy. He was talking about how he wasn’t getting the most from his show and needed to figure some things out. The time wasn’t working out and the first question we asked was, “How long are your episodes?” He was like, “Two hours a week.” I was like, “There. We solved this problem with one question. Start shortening your episodes.” He was like, “I can’t.” We were like, “What do you mean you can’t?” He was like, “I can’t shorten my episode. They got to be two hours long.” I was like, “They don’t, especially if it’s causing you stress.”

It’s completely at your discretion, but that’s advice I give anybody that’s producing a podcast. Don’t do it to a point that it’s going to cause you to burn out and quit doing your show. Two hours is four episodes if you cut it up. I don’t think anybody would lose the experience if you were to do that. You save yourself a lot of time and a lot of stress. It works on the guesting side, too. You have to be aware of the time you have to dedicate to it. It can potentially allow you to hear things like that.

It’s very true. I don’t guest on shows that are under 30 minutes. My reason for it is my message, personality, and the way that I do things don’t come across as well in soundbites. People want the answers. They don’t want me to whip out a soundbite in seven minutes and have that be done. They want to hear why. They respond better if I have the time to dive into that. That’s what I’ve found. It’s that I’ll drop a nugget, but then, they didn’t get the answer. It frustrates them on the other side. I get outreach in a weird way from the shorter shows, so I rarely do it.

I’ll do it if I’m promoting something or if we’ve got a promo for an event that’s coming and they’re going to get more of me somewhere else. I’ll do that, but I won’t do it as that’s the end content, and also because I find most of those hosts are selling stuff. They’re phoning in a model of podcasting and they’re not devoted to it. They’ll take anyone on.

I’ve heard that done. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t stumbled into that myself. I’ve been coached and told that you should only bring people on that you want to be a client. To some degree, there is some value in that, but at the same time, I value the relationship. If this person could become a client for me, that’s great, but they may know five people that would be perfect and they could make an introduction for me. I don’t want to discount that because a person doesn’t line up with the type of ideal client that I’d be looking for. I’ve heard of people doing this straight, “This is my sales pitch. This is what I’m going to do to get somebody in front of me.” It’s a terrible approach.

That’s what I find. I find the ones that do the short ones are funneling. It’s a waste of my time. It’s like, “I’m giving you ten minutes, so I can talk to you and sell you.” It got to be too many of those being in that icky model that I was like, “Enough. I’m done.” The more you guest, the more you know, the more you find out what’s working.

Even with a strong vetting process, it doesn’t mean that everything is going to go great. You can tee up what you want to talk about and know how it’s going to relate to that podcast or to that audience, but maybe the chemistry isn’t there. For me, I feel like those green room conversations that take place before the interview is a great indicator of how things are going to go.

TBF Jason Cercone | Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies
Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies: Those green room conversations that take place before the interview is a great indicator of how things are going to go.


If you instantly turn on the mics or turn on the screen, start talking, and everything is good, that’s going to pour into the actual conversation that we’re recording. Some podcast hosts get so hung up on this bullet-point list of questions that they have to ask that they forget the fact that they could have a conversation. No one else knows that these questions exist except them. If they don’t get asked, who cares? Have a good conversation and make it compelling.

That’s another no for me. If someone asks me for my list of questions as the host, I say no. If some host asks me to give them a list of questions to ask me, then it’s a no. There’s a lack of professionalism on both sides if that happens.

I’ve only had one time that someone said, “I want you to ask these questions.” It was after I had already built the format, so I said, “No. This is already in the books. If I think of it, I might work this in, but I’m not going to go and reformat this.” I’ve only had one person ask whether they could see the questions I was planning on asking. I know that’s a pretty common thing. I don’t mind sharing those questions, but I also put my tag like, “I’ll be glad to share, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to get to all of this.”

I don’t ever write them down, so I don’t have them. I have bullet points. I’ve got my little list over here of things that I’m checking out about your show as I’m researching things that I want to ask you about. I wanted to ask you about what your thoughts on new shows were, and we talked about that. It’s a bullet point so that I don’t forget to ask you a question about it.

It’s not this list of questions that I prepared way ahead of time. None of my questions are pre-programmed, so it would never work for me. That’s a sign of not an alignment. It’s that that guest’s not going to be frank, authentic, and think on their feet. That’s what I want. I want them to answer those questions, not answer the same thing that they answered everywhere else because they rehearsed it.

What you’re doing is a model that I feel more podcasters need to follow. When it comes to growing an audience, I always think on the level of a television show or a movie. What gets you invested in that type of content? Typically, it’s the characters and the story. It’s what sucks you in. You get emotionally invested in that, and then you start telling others, “Go watch this movie. Go watch this show.”

Podcasts are the same way. When people start listening to a podcast, they listen to that first episode. If the conversation was good, they’ll say, “What else are they doing? This one looks interesting. That one was good, too.” All of a sudden, they’re in binge mode. They start going through the catalog. As they’re getting more invested in your content, that’s when they start telling their colleagues and their friends, “Listen to this show. I’m learning a ton. It’s entertaining as hell.”

If you don’t have that type of content in place because you’re not focused on having this compelling conversation that gets good stories out of people or that gets them talking in a way that they’ve never talked before, no one has a reason to get invested. Therefore, they don’t tell others. It’s hard to grow in that respect.

Tracy, you’ve probably heard this. This is my favorite thing to hear as a podcaster. It’s, “I’ve never heard that before. No one’s ever asked me that before.” That, to me, I know I’ve done my job and I know I’m about to get a piece of content on my show that’s going to be fresh. They’re going to be excited to talk about it because they’ve never gotten an opportunity to do so before. That’s what you should be striving for in each and every interview you conduct.

I love that. Let’s talk a little bit about the Evolution of Brand. This is the second conversation I’ve had in a couple of weeks as I’ve been doing some interviews in the new year of 2023. I do a bunch of them at once. I’ve been doing a little grouping of interviews here. When you’re saying that, you’re talking about the personal brand because you’re talking about guests. I’m assuming that your version of the word brand is a personal brand, like how that evolves.

The show itself has evolved over time. From the beginning, the idea was to bring entrepreneurs and professionals together to tell their stories, talk about the obstacles they’ve had to overcome, and provide some tactical strategy that listeners can then put into action in their own brands. Everybody can use each episode as a blueprint to grow their own personal brand, grow their business brand, or grow both. We’ve covered the gamut from both sides.

What was happening as the show continued to evolve, and I did get more into this guesting element, all of these people that are on my show are guests. It naturally would lead to this conversation about how you can use podcast guesting to build your brand and use it to establish thought leadership and authority and put your brand on the map.

I’ve made this comment on the show many times. It was never designed to be a show about podcast guesting. It’s naturally taken on this second element to where we’re still having inspirational stories. We’re still covering a lot of the brand-building strategies, but many of those strategies have podcast guesting interwoven. It allows me to still speak more to what I’m doing and also gives everybody when they sink their teeth into the show, something good they can learn from on multiple levels. In a way, it’s niched down, but it still has broad appeal, if that makes any sense at all.

It does. Only if you’re a real podcast listener do you understand that those shows that do that are honestly amazing. They have so much to teach you and so much entertainment that they bring as well. It’s things that are compelling that make it memorable. That’s the part that is so important about what you said before.

It’s about if you’re going to maximize your appearance, that guest needs to tell a story. They need to be compelling. That’s where I feel like so many of the agencies that are out there are doing the pre-program model where they take a guest and get their one sheet filled out. The programmatic things are starting to hurt you. That’s because, at the end of the day, you look the same as everybody else. That compelling thing that you can do doesn’t come across in that programmatic way.

I agree. I will say this, and this is not a knock because I’ve worked with many agencies and they’ve referred some great guests. What I’ve noticed is not one of them has ever reached out to say, “I’d love to have a conversation with you and learn more about your show.” It’s an assumption that the person they have aligns with what I want for content. If you say yes once, they’re thinking you’re going to say yes every single time. Everybody has their process, so this isn’t a knock.

I know that in my approach, I want to get to know what the creators of these podcasts are looking for. I don’t have to waste their time saying, “I’ve got this person. They’re perfect.” They don’t know. I’m assuming such. I would rather know, “Give me a profile of your show. What are you typically looking for from a guest? What are your expectations? What sort of expertise do you want to feature on your show and have front and center?” When I bring somebody into my fold, I can say, “I know I’m going to talk to this podcast, this podcast, and this podcast. I’m not going to talk to this podcast because there’s no alignment.”

I’m not behind the scenes at these agencies. Maybe that’s being done to a degree. I know that having the conversation on the front end, if anybody were to ever reach out to me and ask to have that conversation, I would in a heartbeat say, “Absolutely. Let’s make that happen.” That’s because then, I don’t have to filter through all kinds of different guest requests and guest recommendations that don’t align. There’s a big element in that communication piece. As podcasting continues to grow and evolve, that’s going to be needed. It’s going to be so vital because we don’t want everybody to sound the same. We want to put people center stage so they can shine.

That’s the number one driver here as a host. I don’t want the same content. I get dinged for it. It doesn’t help me. Something that’s interesting happened. You’ll be fascinated by it. I was reached out to by a former guest. She’d been a guest on my show before. She was giving me an update on how she was doing and what was going on. She said that she had an opportunity to pitch Grant Cardone to have him on her show. He was a perfect fit and be a great guest on her show. It’s a big ask for her, but it’s perfect.

His team turned her down, not because her show wasn’t great, but because she didn’t have a blog. I thought, “That’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard.” It is one of my criteria, honestly. If you don’t have a blog or you don’t create posts for your podcast episodes so that there’s an actual post with a link back to me, even if it’s not a full blog, then I won’t go on your show. I never even listened to the show. You’re already been screened out by the time I look at it and make a decision about it.

That list of criteria I was talking about before, that’s one of them.

If you had a social media channel and it’s like, “I have social media. Here they are,” but you’ve never posted in them, that would be a no as well. It’s no different for me. When you have a website but you don’t have a blog, it means you’re not posting. That’s a no for me. It was finally at this level where someone like Grant Cardone’s team said, “We’ve done this enough. It’s not worth Grant’s time to guest on this show that doesn’t have a blog.” What does that say? He’s been doing this long enough to know what works and what doesn’t.

That’s very smart. In that process of looking, you can look at social media and websites. I have it defined as the presence outside of the podcast. That’s website and blog. Do they have an email list? You can gather that information from the website. When you look at these items, it gives you a snapshot of how they’re going to promote you as well. If that promotion is in a good light that you feel works for you, then you can check that box. The website and the blog have more potential for SEO. Having it on your website gets them to where you want them to be. Maybe they start looking around at other elements of your website. Not having that is a big miss.

You wrote a guest chapter in the PodMatch Guest Mastery book. What’s your chapter about? Give us a teaser.

TBF Jason Cercone | Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies
PodMatch Guest Mastery: A Guide to Getting Booked on Successful Podcasts & Sharing Your Message by Learning From Top PodMatch Guest Members (PodMatch Mastery)

When you read the book, we all got asked the same questions. I like the approach. We were given this outline of, “Here are the questions that you answer.” We’re given X amount of words and X amount of space and column interest or whatever you want to call it. What was great about it, for me, is everybody got the same question, but everybody’s perspective is so different. That’s what makes this book cool.

We’re all utilizing PodMatch to grow our brands, make these connections, get interviews for our show, and be on shows. On the Guest Mastery side, mainly what I covered was how to maximize your time on PodMatch, but also understanding from a broader scope what happens with these interviews after they go live. That’s one of the soap boxes that I’ve been standing on for several months. You have to think about the big picture. It’s not this one-time transaction between host and guests. There is so much more to it.

If you’re not thinking on this level of, “What happens after the interview? How will I continue to be valuable to this person? What kind of relationship are we going to build?” you miss so many opportunities. It’s probably not going to be a strategy that works for you if you’re not willing to commit to that time. You could bring in somebody like myself that focuses on those items so you can continue to build on that initial interview and get the most from it. I did talk about that in my chapter as well. I highly recommend PodMatch Guest Mastery and the Host Mastery book, too.

Both of them are very good.

For any new or aspiring podcaster or anybody that’s looking to bring podcasting into their world as a content strategy, those books are tremendous resources.

I agree. I love Alex over there. We do a lot with them. I’m glad that’s how we met.


It was an easy say yes for Jason because I looked at his profile there and knew instantly. He’s got a good blog. He’s got a social channel. Our messages and visions are aligned. I only had to check out one episode to know that part and I knew I would do my research later. It was an easy selection. His AI is working well.

We chose in our PodLister app not to use an AI. At this stage, we decided not to because our algorithm is based on a lot more. It’s like thinking about the credit scores of a podcast that are based on more than downloads. It’s giving you a bigger picture of the value of a show. It’s the value creation side and the repurposing, extending the value from the interview, networking, relationship building, filling my social media afterward as the guest, and filling my press page on my website. In doing those things, we so often don’t realize that one hour could be worth so much more in terms of what it can do for us afterward. We aren’t looking at it from that perspective as guests.

I agree. We come into this with this mentality. It’s the expectation of connecting with someone to create a piece of content. Think about the world we live in. We’re connecting through Zoom. There are a number of different apps out there and platforms where you can connect virtually. Before the pandemic, I was doing virtual recordings. It wasn’t something that I didn’t even think twice about. I’m like, “This is what I’ll continue to do.” This whole level of connection is so much more normalized. Job interviews are conducted this way as well as so many different partnerships and JV opportunities. You name it. Everything comes together. I’ve worked with clients I’ve never met in person.

Ninety-nine percent of mine are like that.

You have this ability to where this networking opportunity is what the world does. Podcasts are the greatest introduction to that that you could possibly ask for because 99 times out of 100 doesn’t cost you any money. It’s only going to cost you your time. You get to join somebody who feels as passionate about what you’re passionate about or as passionate as you are about. Whatever your area of expertise is, you get to geek out about it for a while.

TBF Jason Cercone | Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies
Podcasting Relationship Building Strategies: Podcasts are the greatest introduction you could possibly ask for because 99 times out of 100, it doesn’t cost you any money. It’s only going to cost you your time.


At the end of the day, you not only have this great piece of content that the audience is going to get to listen to, hopefully, learn something from, and maybe gain some new perspectives, but you also have this beginning of a great relationship. Who knows where that can go as long as you continue to cultivate it? If you don’t have that mentality coming into the initial conversation, you cost yourself that opportunity. I know we’ve all experienced it. It sucks. It’s very shortsighted.

Before we go, the last question that I wanted to ask you is I wanted to get your take on the idea that there are some people out there who have been pushing this from the beginning. I’ve never been a fan of it, but there are some indicators. When do you tip over being a guest deciding that it’s time to be a host? Are there any indicators that someone is going to move from guesting to hosting and it’s the right choice for them? Are there any indicators that you found? You used to coach them the other way where they were hosts and you were trying to get them to guest some more.

It’s such a hard question to answer. I’ll pull the line out. No one’s ever asked me that before. It’s at your discretion. It’s the general mindset of podcasting. When I first started in 2015, the guest side wasn’t even a blip on the radar. In the initial podcast that I did, I and my buddy that did it didn’t even think about guests. It was him and I riffing. We did work a guest in here and there.

Coming at it from the other side, someone is fresh to this. They’re like, “Podcasting is a new thing. I need to get in on this.” The first thought is, “I need to start a show.” Running a podcast is a lot of work. Spoiler alert. It’s not something where you pick up a microphone and turn it on and now you got a podcast. There is preparation. You got to get the right equipment. You got to have the right recording environment. Once you find a person to talk to, you’ve got to vet them, research, and make sure you’re lined up and you know what you’re talking about. You’ve got to do all this backend work. It’s a lot.

That is why I usually tell people, “If you’re wanting to find out if podcasting is the right platform for you to be on, start with guesting. Find shows that align with your mission and your objectives. Start building a network. Make guest appearances. Tell your story. Get more confident in telling that story. Find your voice. You may discover 1 of 2 things.” 1 of 2 things is 1) You are loving being a guest and that’s all you need because you have enhanced your network and made all these great connections. 2) You want to continue to do that and also add your own show to the mix.

If you want to find out if podcasting is the right platform for you to be on, start with guesting. Share on X

If you feel that this was enough to get your feet wet and get you excited, you have this network of all of these people that you’ve connected with, and you were a guest on their show where you can say, “I’m starting a show now. Why don’t you join me?” You can take that step. Many people discover this is enough. Being a guest is enough. I don’t need all that heavy lifting.

Lo and behold, when you’ve got your own show and you go, “This is great for me and it is working,” you’ve got this amazing network of people you have to invite back on as guests. You find out that podcast swapping is easier and you don’t have to work that hard. You can keep guesting.

You’re right. I don’t think the level of work that goes into the creation of a good podcast, one that’s consistent and one that is there each and every week with fresh content for their audience, is fully appreciated. I will use this platform to say anybody who’s listening to a podcast or is a guest on a podcast needs to understand how much work goes into creating that episode. When you have a bigger understanding of this whole process, it’ll help you appreciate a lot more of what’s going on. We’ll also tell the story of whether it makes sense for you to do it yourself. It is a big undertaking.

We talked about pod fade before. Many people walk away, and one of the bigger reasons is that it looks sexy. Having a podcast is fantastic until you have to do the work. When you get 7 or 8 episodes in, it’s like, “No one is listening to this and I’m putting so much effort into it. The hell of this. I’m done.” If you’re staring at your metrics at that point, it’s too early. You haven’t gotten good at it yet either. You haven’t even discovered if you could be good. You have to have the right mindset, and that mindset can be crafted and cultivated as a guest first.

I am so glad you are part of our podcast ecosystem in this community and that you are prepping some great guest thought leaders out there. We need more great guests on podcasts to keep that compelling content flowing. Thank you for coaching them and bringing your perspective to the podcasting world.

I appreciate that, Tracy. It’s a pleasure. I live and breathe podcasting. I’m not only helping people become thought leaders because I know it helps them, but I want the podcast ecosystem to be a better place and continue to evolve itself so more people fall into this and fall in love with it as I did.

I told you it was going to be a podcast masterclass in guesting. Jason has such a good perspective on this. I love that he started out with that model of podcasting, getting his feet wet, and getting to know what this podcasting was about. That’s because when he got the a-ha of how great guesting is and how great it could work, he knew how to take advantage of it. He already knew what he needed to do on his end as a host. He already knew what he needed to do on his end as a guest to make that work better. That’s why his dual perspective is advising his clients and serving them so well. I’m glad he could come on and give that perspective.

There’s so much in that relationship-building model that I hear again and again from podcast hosts that do wrong. You do wrong by your guests very often, hosts out there. I hope you’re reading this if you’re new or thinking about how you’re going to shift your show. Being aware of how great the guesting model can work for you instead of soaking it for everything it’s worth, think about how you can make it a win-win. That’s what Jason is teaching the guest side of it. We as hosts need to embrace as well if we can make the guesting win-win.

I could look at Jason and a lot of people I’ve had on my show and say, “He is selling a competitive tool. This is not a win-win for me. I’ll ban everyone who might be selling something similar.” I don’t do that because if we all collaborate together and our brains and minds share on this, we’re going to all tap into building a better ecosystem in the podcasting market. That is going to serve my business, his business, and all of yours really well. It’s in my best interest, but it’s in his, too. That’s what we talk about a win-win.

This is what I love. Alex Sanfilippo, I’ve had him on the show a couple of times. We have Jason. We have so many people who come on this show. What have they done? They have shared generously. They share their knowledge. They share their viewpoint on the marketplace. They share their nuggets of wisdom. The key things that they give to their clients, they’re giving to you free here with the knowledge that you’re going to know that when you struggle, when you didn’t get all of it, when you’re missing a piece, or when you have a question, you’re going to find them and come back.

It’s one of the reasons I do what I do for my guests so well, which is to make sure that every one of you can find them so easily. You go to If you go to the blog post for this episode, you get everything you need to go directly to Jason. You don’t go through one of my landing pages. You don’t go through one of my fancy affiliate links. There’s none of that there. There is Get Direct to Jason. Find out all about what he’s teaching you. Go to his podcast, Evolution of Brand. I’m giving you those two direct paths to him because if he’s right for you and he’s what you need, then please go get that.

I want you to succeed in this marketplace whether you’re on the guesting side of things, you’re on the podcast side of things, you’re thinking about podcasting and you want to get off and get moving on it, or you’re unsure. I want you to find a way to find surety. I want you to find confidence in podcasting. If that means you got to get a guest first, then you got to go to somebody like Jason and find that out.

Jason has tons of tools on his site. He’s also got the books. As always, thank you for tuning in to the show. I appreciate those of you who reach out to me and ask me for things, ask me for people, and ask me for tools. It makes it so easy for me to evaluate which podcaster should I bring onto my show next for you. Thanks, everyone, for tuning in. I’ll be back soon with another binge factor.


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Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is a former Authority Magazine and Inc. Magazine Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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