The Essential (And Really Effective) Podcast Guest Skills No One Taught You With Best-Selling Author Of The Career Toolkit, Mark Herschberg

TBF 85 | Podcast Guest Skills


Aside from podcasters having to maintain their own engaging show, another important task they must also dive into is getting guesting opportunities to other podcasts. Since this calls for proper planning and research, Mark Herschberg shares his secrets in honing his podcast guest skills. Joining Tracy Hazzard, the best-selling author of The Career Toolkit talks about how he successfully secured guesting stints in 99 different interviews, all without landing into a show that doesn’t align with him. He discusses how building a vast network plays a huge role in this endeavor, which is now a lot easier with today’s virtual setting. Mark also explores the essential podcasting strategies every host must know, from executing the best marketing approach, choosing the right target audience, and determining the most effective technical setup.

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The Essential (And Really Effective) Podcast Guest Skills No One Taught You With Best-Selling Author Of The Career Toolkit, Mark Herschberg

I am going to talk to someone who’s not a podcaster, but he’s an honorary podcaster. I have the privilege of being his 99th guest interview. He’s guesting on our show. He’s done 98 shows before us. I thought I would have him come and share with us all the different lessons he’s learned. This would be great. I met him on Clubhouse. He goes under the name Hershey on Clubhouse, but his name is Mark Herschberg. He’s the author of The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You. We’re going to talk about the essential and effective podcast guest skills no one taught you. I’m excited to have him on because I know he’s going to reinforce some of the things we keep talking about here, which is how to be a better podcast host. The things that we can do to be more successful. 

Remembering that our guesting strategies are what can be our biggest strength in building our readers base. I’m hearing again and again from all of our guests on the show that they’re struggling with encouraging engagement, increasing listenership and monetizing their show. Those are the three ones. We asked those questions and those are the ones that I hear, “I wish I was doing better. I don’t feel as successful in this particular place. Let me think of what I do that works, but I should do more of it.” I hear it again and again and you do too every time you listen to a successful podcast interview. We know that’s not working for the hosts, all of you out there. Let’s take it from Mark’s perspective and take a look at what might work best if he’s going to be a more effective guest for you, and more effective at sharing and getting the audience that he’s working so hard to build, to share and come and listen to your show.

I’m going to introduce Mark. From tracking criminals and terrorists on the dark web to creating marketplaces and new authentication systems, Mark has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and Fortune 500s and in academia. He helped to start the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, dubbed MIT’s “career success accelerator,” where he teaches annually. At MIT, he received a BS in Physics, a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, focusing on cryptography. At Harvard Business School, Mark helped create a platform used to teach finance at prominent business schools. He also works with many nonprofits, including Techie Youth and Plant A Million Corals. He was one of the top rank ballroom dancers in the country and now lives in New York City, where he’s known for his social gatherings, including his annual Halloween party, as well as diverse cufflink collection.

Don’t you love that introduction? It’s great. It’s nice and short, but it’s got some great little features that make you wonder about it. I don’t like to completely read through and do these ahead of time. I record them after my interview with them. I’m sorry, we never got a chance to work in the whole cufflink thing or the ballroom dancing, which is why you’re going to have to go to Mark’s website to go check out his other interviews where he does talk about those things. That’s also a key thing, to tie some things to get some diversity that you may or may not cover, but it makes people want to come back and check you out. We have our first lesson from Mark right there and we’ll get into it. Let’s hear from Mark Herschberg and let’s get some 99 lessons going, and 99 interviews later, here’s what we’ve learned.

About The Best-Selling Author Of The Career Toolkit, Mark Herschberg

TBF 85 | Podcast Guest Skills

Mark Herschberg is the author of The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You. From tracking criminals and terrorists on the dark web to creating marketplaces and new authentication systems, Mark has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and Fortune 500s and in academia. He helped to start the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, dubbed MIT’s “career success accelerator,” where he teaches annually.

At MIT, he received a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in electrical engineering & computer science, and a M.Eng. in electrical engineering & computer science, focusing on cryptography. At Harvard Business School, Mark helped create a platform used to teach finance at prominent business schools. He also works with many non-profits, including Techie Youth and Plant A Million Corals.

He was one of the top-ranked ballroom dancers in the country and now lives in New York City, where he is known for his social gatherings, including his annual Halloween party, as well as his diverse cufflink collection.

Follow Mark Herschberg on Social:

LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Mark, thanks so much for joining me. I’m proud and excited to be your 99th podcast guest interview. 

I am super excited that number 99 is with you.

We’re going to talk all about podcast guesting. Ninety-nine interviews, you’ve been on the path. What made you decide this was going to be such a critical part of launching The Career Toolkit book?

My friend and successful business author, Dorie Clark. She was the first person I went to when I realized I was writing a book and she said, “Podcasting is the way to go.” Just like the celebrities when they have a new project, they go on late-night talk shows. Sadly, Trevor Noah’s not returning my calls, but podcasts are where I can go. That’s how a lot of authors and people with new content can reach a wide audience. It creates a great partnership where we get our message out to an audience and bring new ideas to the audience that you have.

Is this your first book?

Yes, this is my first book.

When did you launch it?

It came out in January of 2021.

This is important because people don’t realize how long sometimes shows are out in terms of their publication schedule. How long before the launch did you start the podcast interviews? 

Dorie warned me some podcasts book out six months or even more in advance so I knew I had to start early. I originally thought I was going to launch in the summer of 2020. I started doing some outreach in the spring. I didn’t even have my website up, which was a mistake. You need the website to look legitimate. There was one delay after another, and then as we got into the fall I said, “I don’t want to launch in the fall.” It kept getting pushed back. I started doing my outreach in earnest probably in the fall of 2020. In September or October, I started getting outreach. I started getting the first couple of podcasts recorded around November.

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It only a few months in advance of your real launch. That’s not too bad. 

For the bulk of it, as you go for the bigger shows as a guest, they’re going to book out earlier. One thing that’s always helpful to see as a guest is to get a sense of that timeline, to know on your podcasts how far in advance are you booking. That will help me reach out at an appropriate time for you.

This is something I was making a note on. Readers, this is a great addition to your page. If you’ve got one of those guest booking pages or guest application pages like we do on ours, or if you’re working with a handful of publicists and other things, setting those expectations about where you are in your show is a good thing to put right up front there. Thanks, Mark, for that great tip already and we just got started. Ninety-nine, that’s a lot. Did it feel like you’re constantly on your computer and the microphone? How did it feel as you were doing them? Did it feel like it was that many? 

It didn’t feel like it was that many. There were a couple of weeks where I was doing about 10, 12 a week, which was a little grinding. We’re all on our computers all day now anyway. Even though I was doing 10 or 12 a week, it was a good break from all my other meetings because I’m talking about something that gets me excited.

Let’s start at the beginning of how your process works. Did you use another company to help you build a list and figure out who you wanted to guest on?

I did it all myself.

This is why I invited Mark on because I had a feeling that was going to be the case. You did it all yourself. How did you pick the shows? 

I have been building startup companies for the past twenty-some years. I’ve done marketing company, so I do have some background in this.

You’re not a newbie to the whole thing. 

I pick my shows using a couple of different techniques. First, I looked for podcasts that met the criteria. For me, it’s careers, business, entrepreneurship, people looking to improve in some area. I could search on that. I first started with top career or business podcasts. I’d look at lists like Apple under business. I could also see suggested podcasts where you look at some others. I signed up for sites like PodMatch,, and some Facebook groups. There are lots of groups. I also look for people who I liked, other authors who are respected and said, “What podcasts had they been on?”

TBF 85 | Podcast Guest Skills
The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You

That’s my favorite one that you mentioned in there, Mark. I call it trolling your competitors or trolling who you want to be like. 

This is what generated the starting set. Just because I found the podcast doesn’t mean I’m going to reach out to them. Each time, I’d have to look and first figure out, do they take guests? Are they still active? I can’t tell you the number of podcasts, especially in 2020, that began in April as the pandemic started and by June, no more episodes. They’ve discovered that it’s not simply, “I turn on record for an hour and I’m done,” it takes work. I want to make sure the podcasts had been around a bit, that they took guests, and then seeing, can I add actual value. That’s something a lot of guests don’t do well because they think, “I’ve got my message. I’ll cram it down their throats.” To be a good guest, we need to think about what value can I add to your audience.

Did you listen to a lot of the shows?

I would look at what the episodes are and read the summaries, what is it. I’d read where they say their mission is and look at the website. I listened to a few minutes on some episodes to get a feel for what their style is. There have been a couple of podcasters who’d say, “What was your favorite episode?” I’d write and say, “I’ll be honest, I don’t sit there and listen to all your episodes. I don’t expect you to read my book. If you do, great. You probably don’t read the books of all your authors. I know many don’t and let’s be honest about what we’re here for. I paid some attention to you. I didn’t just randomly pick you, but I didn’t spend a lot of time just like you probably didn’t spend a lot of time on me.” That’s been one of my pet peeves.

I do because of the way that we vet here. You were different than the way that I normally vet people. Normally, when I vet a guest here because they’re already podcasters, I’d go to their show. I listen to their show. I check out their website. I have a whole thing that’s just like what you did, you outlined. I do that to decide if they’re the right fit for the show, to begin with. When I’m prepping for the interview, I listen to three episodes minimum. That’s the way that I do it. What I did for you was I jumped around and checked out some of the places where you guested already to listen to how you spoke, how articulate were you because that’s what I want. I want to make sure that we’re going to have a good rapport here and that we’re going to have this good back and forth going on. If we don’t do that, if someone is stuck in their sound bites, then it’s not the right fit for me.

That’s how I knew you were going to be great for the show. I was able to have our team here extend the invitation to you to do that because I thought, “This will work.” It is important that you check that out and make sure that it’s a match for you. You did all this work yourself, which is a lot of work and you still had to launch your book. That seems daunting to a lot of people. I have to say that I haven’t seen many successful publicists or placement agencies do better than that. You spend a lot of money. The way you’ve done it, at least you made it a better fit for you as you were about going out and doing it. Did you find out any of the 99 that you had a misfit that you were like, “I was wrong about the show. I should have listened more?” You don’t have to out them to me.

I don’t think anyone was a misfit. I even recorded one where it started to feel, “How’s this going to work?” I have the advantage. I’ve been teaching this for about twenty-some years. I know my content well, which makes it easy for me to figure out whether it’s directly for my book or other related content. I can find something that fits. The other thing that I’m able to do, this a second tip I want to give to your readers. Be clear about who your audience is. You might think it’s obvious, “It’s women in the workforce. It’s new moms. It’s people into rock and roll.” I could guess that from the title or some other background, but when you say women in the workforce, is it young women? Is it women of all ranges? Is it primarily in the US? Are you also overseas? Do you focus on certain types of women in the workforce, blue-collar, white-collar, pink-collar?

What can you tell me about the audience? The more you can tell me, the more I can make sure, as a guest, I can tailor my message to give them value. This is the question I ask before every interview, “Tell me about your audience,” so I make sure I can deliver value. That gives me confidence as a guest that this is going to be useful to the audience. Please make sure that is somewhere in what you send out to your guests or somewhere on your website. You might not want to be public because you might not want to scare people off like, “Our group is 30 to 50.” You might think it’s going to scare away the younger readers. Don’t make it public but share that with your upcoming guests so they know. I don’t want to use references to SpongeBob if my target audience is 40-plus.

You might still. SpongeBob is ancient now. That’s a great tip there. I’m so glad you say that because sometimes we don’t want to make those things public. We certainly don’t necessarily want to put them in our description unless that’s what we’re going for or trying to, but putting that in our guests back and forth. The response emails, the things that prep you, that’s a great place to put that. It gets that in your head ahead of time so you’re able to focus and think about, “Which story do I want to tell and which chapter I want to highlight?” Let’s talk about the results that you’ve received. I want to jump there before we start talking about what good things and bad things you experienced over to cross the 99. What results have you started to see? Since the book has launched, have you seen lifts in book sales? 

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I have. The only marketing I’ve done was a single press release the day it came out and I happened to get an article in Forbes before it came out. Other than that, it has been nothing but podcasts. I sold out my entire first print run in two weeks. We’ve had great sales ever since with the second print run all due to podcasting. I haven’t even run a single ad yet. I sell primarily through Amazon. It’s everywhere, but Amazon’s the big one. I don’t see the immediate sales on Amazon because I don’t directly sell there. I do see my author rank and I would notice because it updates hourly. Sometimes I check and I’d see that I jumped up 200,000 places. Some podcasts must’ve come out and they didn’t even alert me yet.

It’s like, “I haven’t gotten the email that says I was live and I’ve already seen the jump.” That’s great that you can see that. You’re watching the author ranking and that’s an interesting way to look at that. It’s more timely than the other results. 

It’s not great. I look at it every once in a while because hourly by hourly, sales rankings are changing overnight. All of a sudden, people are buying books overseas that aren’t mine and my ranking drops way down. You can’t put too much stock in that. It’s a useful sign to know when a new podcast is coming out.

Did you find any problems with where to send people? It gets confusing when you make a call to action or the host says, “Where can they find you, Mark?”

It’s particularly difficult for me because I have multiple calls to action. I can send them to the website, “Here’s the website,” and I’ve got my pitch for that. “Buy the book,” that’s an obvious call to action. It’s almost implied. I also have a free app. I got to tell them, “Download the free app.” I have other resources. I have certain resources for HR people to use so they can employ some of these techniques to trump the organization. That’s a different call to action. I have to try and fit them all in but not overwhelm people. At least I house them all under one single website.

I’m a big fan of the single website that sends them to all the different things, “You can find my app there. You can find resources for HR professionals.” I love that because it’s one thing to get them to remember. It’s so much easier. Let’s talk about some of the good things that happened that you were like, “They did something fantastic on this show.” You’re welcome to out anyone you would like who did something successful out at any of those great podcasters.

I had a great podcast one time. This guy listened to about a dozen of my podcasts ahead of time. He read the book cover to cover and listened to a dozen podcasts. He was pulling out little snippets. There are the standard things that get repeated fairly often in podcasts. He was picking up on little things. He did some other research. He knew about my parents because he said, “I saw you dedicated the book to your parents. I wanted to drill into that.” I mentioned one of my parents in the book and talked about my father’s career. He asked, “What does your mother do?” I was impressed with his level of research. I wouldn’t expect that from everyone, but it was impressive.

It’s flattering, isn’t it? 

It got us some interesting topics beyond the standard, “Tell us what you can say in Chapter 2.” It created a unique experience.

Deep research, that impressed you. What other things?

TBF 85 | Podcast Guest Skills
Podcast Guest Skills: Always be clear about who your audience is.


There were a handful of ones I’ve done that were playful. I do a lot of business podcasts, and I’ll even change my tone from podcast to podcasts, “Let’s talk about the business podcast and how this can impact your customers.” There are playful ones where we talked about the pirate degree at MIT. You can get a pirate’s certificate. It’s fun to bring those in because even in the business podcasts, “Let’s talk about adding value to your customers or whatever your bottom line is,” but bringing in those personal anecdotes livens it up. It makes it a little more fun, interesting and engaging. I always like to have a little bit of that. For the non-business ones I do, things like The 500 Lounge Podcast and The Deciding Factor Podcast that I was on. Those were a little more playful and made it interesting.

Was there anything that went not great like in the process of trying to book them or to follow up and get on? Did any of those happen? 

Some of the processes can be a little frustrating. Many people are like, “Here’s the automated form and the Calendly.” That’s great. The ones who don’t, where you’re manually emailing back and forth the time that you’re available, it’s a little bit of pain. I have to put all this stuff in. Having a form makes it so much easier for the guest, and I suspect for you because everything’s in one place now. Sometimes it doesn’t always align. One of the things I get is, “Name three points that our audience can walk away with.” That’s a very good question to ask. It gets, “What’s the bottom line of the value going to be delivered in this episode.” I have a book. The nature of my book is I have ten chapters each on a different topic. I can speak about lots of different things and say, “I’m going to send you a packet with all this information because I can’t give you these three.”

Recognize that there might always be some outside guests. Having a box with any other notes, kind of a catch-all, is going to be useful in cases and outside the normal guests. They might have something interesting to say. When I reach out, I do have a packet. I’ve got my interview kit, “Here are the different angles.” I have angles by topic, angles by audience type, “Here are questions for each of the angles.” I always say, “This is optional. I’m just giving you background. You can use it or not.” I’ve had a few people who would read off one question after another and it wasn’t that conversation. It was, “Let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about that.” They didn’t say, “Question three.” They said, “What I was thinking about,” and turns out to be question three. It still didn’t have a great flow. It felt very point. Having that conversational flow makes the podcast so much more engaging.

I recommend to my podcasters that they don’t formulate in terms of a question, that they use a bullet point system. It’s like I’ve got notes over here that I’m going to ask you about MIT in a minute. I’ve got a little note over here, but I don’t have it formulated in a question. It forces me to listen better to our conversation so that I can formulate that next question into a question format. I think that it at least preserves the conversation. 

I’ve noticed there’s a range of prep as well. Some people have said, “Send me the questions ahead of time,” which is not fun. Some have said, “We’re going to jump into it.” With experienced people, for that to work, many do a pre-interview. It’s helpful to know will there be a pre-interview or not. There’s a range of I just want to talk and figure out that chemistry between us versus explore the topic. The right balance that I’ve found is, “We’re going to talk, feel the chemistry, and settle on what the topic is, but let’s not get to those questions. I don’t want to dig into it because I want that spontaneity.”

You don’t want to ruin the fun part or that uniqueness because if I already know the answer, that’s not fun. 

You want, “We’ll cover MIT and how you started getting on podcasts, but we weren’t going to do what those answers are.” That makes it more spontaneous and real.

You mention MIT so I’m going to ask that question now. I was thinking about the fact that there are MIT podcasts out there. There’s MIT Press and MIT Student Life. Did you tap into your MIT community to help you get on shows? 

Not as much as I probably should have. I did reach out to a couple of MIT groups. I reached out to a new one that I found out about. I said, “Can you put me on this?” In some of the outreach, they said, “Reach out to Technology Review, our Alumni magazine.” They said, “It’s not really a fit.” They put a little blurb in of, “Mark just released a book.” That was it. I couldn’t get an article there. When I get on podcasts, sometimes the way I get on is through my personal network, which some comes through MIT and some elsewhere. Another great tip. At the end of every podcast after you’ve turned off the recording, two good questions the guests should ask, “What other guests would be helpful for you on your show? Are there other people I know who would be helpful?” Likewise, the podcaster should offer, “Are there any other podcasts that you’re looking at? Here are some podcasts that might be a fit for you.” Assuming you like each other and had a good session, help each other get more.

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Sometimes I’ll do it in the follow-up and not necessarily right there on the call because sometimes it feels weird at the moment. We’ll do it in a follow-up and say, “I had a great time on your show. Is there anyone I can suggest for you?” I’ll do it that way like a LinkedIn follow-up or in an email, depending on how I contacted them originally. That’s a great suggestion. You’re full of Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You, that’s the subtitle and I love that. There’s all this stuff about podcasting that no one has taught us. We’ve learned on the fly. I spend a lot of time teaching people, but beyond that, there isn’t a real school here going on. Are there some essential skills that you think make certain podcasters better than others?

Networking. What people forget in podcasts and people early to it, they think it is turn on record, maybe do some editing. Everyone talks about your microphone and your editing. Those are important because if you don’t do a good job, no one’s going to want to listen. Even if you do a good job, it doesn’t mean people will listen. In my world of technology, we know great marketing beats a great product every time. You have to know how to market. Having a good network helps get the word out. It helps get resources, good guests, partnerships and promotions. Use an extensive network and also work with other people.

I mentioned sending other guests or podcasters. One thing I happen to have is I’ve been doing all this work and finding shows. I know some other good authors. I said, “If we’re doing this work, let’s do it together.” I’ve given them my list. I’ve said, “You guys take this list. It doesn’t cost me anything to share it with you.” They were similar books. My friend, Jeff Wald has another business book that came out before mine. I’m happy to put him on any show. Likewise, he’s going to say, “Mark, here’s some shows I’ve been on. Do you want me to get you on these shows?”

We talk about these Instagram pods, LinkedIn pods, where you’re co-promoting each other. You’re doing little author pods.

You can do that as podcasters as well. When someone finds a guest, make sure you share in that little group and help each other. If someone finds a good challenge to promote, share and help each other. You’re going to get a better lift per effort spent.

You’re about to hit 100 interviews done. What’s next? Are you going to keep going? Are you changing your strategy up? Are you going to do less or adopt a different vetting model maybe?

I’m going to keep going because I love it. I enjoy podcasting. Especially at this time, I have not been able to go out and do live events. This is a good way to feel connected to the audience in general and talk to other people as we’ve been stuck at home. I’ll start doing some real in-person events now that I’ve been vaccinated and we’re going to start getting out and about. I had a mix of marketing spin, but I see podcasting as essential to keep going as long as people will keep having me on.

You’ve been to Clubhouse too. Before I get into that, do you think there might be some diminishing returns if you’re on too many? 

I don’t think that’s the case. If you think about the actors going on late-night talk shows, “You’ve already been on Kimmel and you’ve been in Colbert? does it make sense to go on Trevor Noah?” Let’s face it, like Colbert and Trevor Noah have a very similar audience. It doesn’t get redundant. The worst case is someone says, “I’ve heard them already. I’m not going to listen to this.” What percentage of your audience is that? Probably small.

When there’s nothing on, you’re going to listen to it anyway. 

Podcast Guest Skills: When a podcaster finds a good guest, they must share how they did it with other podcasters as well.


You’re already on the treadmill and you’ve got the play going on, you’ll listen to it. Maybe it’s a different angle. That’s one good thing about my book because I have ten separate chapters. It’s not, “Here are my three points over and over.”

I appreciated that as I was skimming through some of the shows you were on and listening there. You’re not repetitive. There are a lot of authors I’ve had. They will come on and be like, “It’s in my book.” I was like, “That is not the way to get the people to buy your book and go to your website.” Generously sharing and telling deeper stories that maybe didn’t quite make the book are great ways and touching on all different points. You never know what’s going to resonate. 

That was something I thought about for all of five seconds before going on, “Am I going to give away too much? Are they not going to buy the book?” There’s value here. I’d rather offer it up. If you want to listen to all 100 episodes, you’ll probably get 60%, 70% of the book. If you’re going to put in that time to save the money to buy the book, enjoy. You’re not the extra dollar I’m chasing there. I created an app to do the same thing. Let’s talk about the app for the moment. One thing I know as an instructor is you learn something and you forget it a few weeks later. You read in the book, you learn in class. Here’s a good tip, it’s all in the app. What happens? It’s in your pocket. This does two things. Each day it pops up like a daily affirmation. It helps reinforce what you’ve read. Some might say, “I’m going to download the app” and not buy the book. If that’s what you want to do, that’s fine. Open it up and say, “I’ve got a negotiation coming up. Let me get the negotiation tips and do that crash course.”

What I’m doing is I’m taking the content out of the pages that are printed on and making it available when and where people want it. Podcasters aren’t that different from authors. We are creating content. You have show notes like, “Here are the key points and takeaways,” but there’s still only a getting that perhaps in the podcast app or on the website and they have to go searching for it. Making that available in other formats is the feature of content. It’s taking your content non-linear and making it available when and where people will want it.

Mark, you’ve done such a great job of going out there blanketing and thinking through the process of how you wanted to do it. By doing it personally from that marketer’s perspective that you have, you’ve dialed it in to make it so much more effective for you than other people have found. Let’s talk Clubhouse because that’s a new thing. You were out there exploring. That’s how we bumped into each other. Your name is Hershey on there, which caught my eye and we brought you up in a group. The next thing you know, I’m inviting you to be on my show and you’re not even actually the normal guests that I have on here. You’re not a podcaster, yet you might be in the future. That might be in your future there. How have you been finding Clubhouse? What do you think of it? 

It’s the current shiny object. I’ve been through seven different social networks going way back to SixDegrees in the mid-’90s. I’ve seen these come and go. This is a current one. A few thoughts, I think they’re about to hit some headwinds because as we all go outside, we’re not going to want to be online at all. They’ve had some tailwinds from the pandemic and they’re going to hit some headwinds now. They certainly need to change the discovery method because as more people get on, the search isn’t great. They know they need some functionality changes like the side channel chat. There’s still opportunity. You get that serendipity. You get that, “We’re in a room together,” especially if I’m in a room with a celebrity that people seem to like. It gives that personal connection.

The downside, everyone on Clubhouse has something to sell and it’s true for you and me. Everyone’s an expert in, “I’ll help you reorganize your closets and change your life. I’ll help you revitalize your personal energy.” Everyone has something. Everyone’s there selling and that’s a little tiring at times. I’m normally an egalitarian person. I don’t like elitist groups, but there are a few I’ve joined where having that level of gatekeeping means the signal to noise ratio is high. I know other people are very qualified. On Clubhouse, you meet someone claiming to be an expert.

I’m always a fan of trying something, so I’m always out there trying to research it. That’s what we’re doing. We’re experimenting on Clubhouse, see what works, then we’ll shift it and try it again. That’s what you’re popping in and checking out what’s working and not. I’m always looking at a place where we can do something that we’re great service because I cannot reach as many people. I cannot interview them on my show. If I can reach ten of them at once, then I want to do that and help them move forward. That’s always what we’re looking for. That’s the same thing whether you’re an author and you have all this data and knowledge. You’ve got stuff no one’s taught you. You want to get that out there. What is it that you hope is going on? By doing all of these podcasts, by selling the book, what is your ultimate goal where you want to move the reader?

I want to help them with their professional efficacy. As I say at the start of the book, I have seen people struggle to get that promotion, get stuck in a job they don’t like, have some long-term goal that they don’t know how to achieve. They’ve got some raw sets of skills. They might be good in their discipline, but they don’t understand the corporate politics in which they work. They don’t know how to network. They don’t know how to negotiate for that raise and they get stuck. It’s wasted potential for themselves, the company and society in general. This is going to sound like one of those people in Clubhouse selling. I want to help people reach their maximum potential. I want people to feel, “I got the most out of my career.”

You couldn’t do it better with The Career Toolkit. I love that idea of the title there because the toolkit is giving you the tools that we’re missing, the things that we weren’t taught. Some of us are better at it than others. As you’ve gone about this and I’ve been listening to how you went about you’re methodical about and focused on your goal for guesting, and how you went about finding all the podcasts and doing all that. That’s a sign of who you are. I don’t think you just learned that from someone who said, “Here’s how you do it.” I’m sure Dorie gave you some indicators and you added all of the details of what you bring to the table and learn and work in marketing again and again over the years. There are so many people who don’t have that access to the information. 

With every qualified person in Clubhouse is another individual who poses wrong claims about their expertise. Click To Tweet

I’ll share when it came to writing a book, I had not done that either. I read about 1,500 articles on every aspect of publishing to learn, “What do I want to self-publish? Do I go through a publishing company? If I do each, what do I have to know? What are the questions?” I put some of those up on the Cognosco Media website, which is the publisher, to share with other people because like you, I’m reaching as many people as possible to help them. You’re right, I’m methodical in what I do. I want to understand it and learn it and then share it with others.

I feel like we have a great mind share here because I feel the same way. I’m a big researcher and I research all these things. I’m like, “This sounds like it fits with what I’ve learned over the years that is effective. Let’s bring this piece in and leave this piece over to the side.” You’ve done some things right. If I can add anything to your process of guesting. By sharing this show with others and make it so that the next podcast you reach out to has a better process and anxious to have you on the show, then we did our job here, both of us.

I’ll add one last important tip. Audio or video. Many podcasts now are doing video. I hear them say, “We get the most views on YouTube.” When I started out, I bought my mic. I’m ready for podcasts. I have my mic and headset. I started seeing, “We’re going to record this on Zoom and do video recording.” I said, “I want to have lighting. I didn’t even have a backdrop.” If you look at some early ones, it’s just a picture behind me because this is the dining area. I go to get the credibility bookcase here. Knowing ahead of time, is it going to be video or audio? If it’s a video and you got to get lighting, women want to do their makeup. If not, I can wear a T-shirt with my headset and we’re good to go.

I need to be prepped for the video. From our show, we put that into the prep emails so that you’re aware that this is video too. We have had people who show up in their T-shirts. At the end of the day, it still works, but I appreciate your wonderful background. The two of us have the bookcase thing going on here. One of the things over your shoulder that you have a kaleidoscope. I received it as a wedding present and I have that same one on my shelf too. The positioning of his book over his shoulder is important for you to see. If you’re thinking about what your setup should look like, the simplicity of what Mark has going on here, the lines that are moving through are perfectly placed, and the book is placed nicely over his shoulder so that it’s a focal point. I’m looking at his eyes and then I see the book in the background. I’m looking at his mouth move and I can see the book in the background. It’s perfectly placed. You guys might want to check that out and model that as well. Mark, thank you so much for coming on the show.

The secret is the entire bookcase is just for that. It’s to position the book right there.

You’re not touching and using the bookcase. That’s such a great trick. Mark, I’m so glad I had you on the show. I’m so glad we could get this perspective from a guest viewpoint and bring that to our show. I appreciate you coming on. I have thought of a couple of people who I am going to have to buy the book for who are in career positions looking to move forward. That’s another thing right there. Even if your audience isn’t the right fit, sometimes they know people who are and they want to pay it forward

That’s the secret of networking.

Thanks again, Mark.

Thanks for having me on.

Mark had many great insights and essential skills that we need to work on as podcast hosts. There are so much prep and other things that we get lost in our own thing that sometimes we forget that we also have to prep other people. I did a coaching call where we talked about the prep forms that I have and what it looks like. I set the tone right after, and we go ahead and do the booking so that they’re getting primed for the fact that I want them to share us and connect with us on social. I’m started getting them excited about it. It’s my confirmation page. That’s what we call it. I’ll put a link here to that so you can take a look at what that looks like.

TBF 85 | Podcast Guest Skills
Podcast Guest Skills: Sometimes, sending questions ahead of the interview results in a dull conversation.


He’s got even deeper preps. You’re going to want to check out those downloads. It’s like 3, 4 pages long of interview questions topics, and it’s set up in a nice way that you could pick and choose anything. He’s gotten to add to it over time because he’s done 99 of these so far. We didn’t even prep with that at all. I went into my own questions because I wanted it from a different perspective than what he normally talks about. He worked on his book. He worked in points about him. I helped him do that, but he did it as well. 

That is the mark of a great interview guest, where they’re able to work their things in it and it doesn’t sound like a plug. It doesn’t sound like a sound bite that he said again and again. He certainly is not bored saying it. He comes back and brings that back into some of the lessons in his book and some of those things. By the end of it, I realized, “I’ve got to buy this book for someone. My niece is graduating. This is a great book to buy her.” Thinking about those things plants that idea in your head because he did such a good job of making us like him, of sharing with us and giving us great lessons and letting us know there’s a lot more where that comes from. 

That makes you want to check it out and you can see why his book is getting downloaded. You can see why that bestselling status keeps moving up every time a podcast episode airs, especially if it’s a right fit. Mark’s done many things that are right about this. Kudos to him. He’s done it well. I get it. We’re all busy and we want to be able to hire someone to do this for us. Sometimes the most effective thing is to pick and vet a list ourselves to be able to come up with the right fit shows for us, the things that we think we would be great on. Consult an expert and see what they say, what suggestions, “What holes am I not thinking of? Where might I benefit?”

You might not have thought that being on an early show where it doesn’t even have a lot of episodes, they’re just launching, can do you a lot of good. Most people are like, “I’ll wait until it launches and then I’ll see how good it is.” The reality is if you want to take the risk, it’s an hour of your time. Take the risk on a show that’s launching, you might get into their promotional push and be more downloaded and listened to episode even if it never goes further than those first few episodes. There can be a great benefit to you to have that as well.

Thinking about those things, there are many great essential skills that he’s given us here. I appreciate that I bumped into Mark on Clubhouse. You can connect up to find the book, The Career Toolkit, to be able to get the downloads of what his prep is so you can model that for yourself as well. Mark Herschberg is such a fabulous podcast guest. If you want him on your show, don’t forget to connect up with them and reach out to him. I’ll have his LinkedIn link so that you can go straight and DM him over there and be able to connect up and invite them on your show.

Thanks again for reading this episode that’s a little different than our normal one. We got a lot out of it. If you’d like to know more episodes like this or other topic areas that you’d like me to cover, or like me to find a great guest for that’s maybe not just a podcast host, I’m always happy to do that. You message me anywhere on social media, but especially LinkedIn because that’s where I spend most of my time. If you’d like to private message me there, you can connect straight up with me and you will get my team. I’m looking forward to hearing from you and what you’re looking for and what you enjoy about the show. Thanks, everyone, for reading. I’ll be back with another episode.

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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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