From A Top 1% Podcaster

Danny Miranda is in the top 1% of podcasters, and has interviewed some of the best entrepreneurs of our time, like Gary Vaynerchuck, Alex Hormozi, Leila Hormozi, Anthony Pompliano, Colin and Samir, and many others.

Yet three years ago, Danny didn’t have a massive following. You just need to get started and keep at it.

In this post, you’ll learn how Danny gets amazing guests, prepares for and conducts interviews, and his unique approach to growing the podcast.

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Who Should Start A Podcast?

It’s important to pick a content medium you enjoy because consistency is essential to succeeding as a content creator.

So Danny recommends podcasting for anyone who already enjoys phone conversations.

His podcast actually started because he posted a Tweet inviting his followers to do one-on-one phone calls with him. He enjoyed these conversations, so it made sense to just record them and turn the content into a podcast.

If you’re not sure if podcasting is right for you, record a few episodes and ask yourself if you could do it for the next decade. If you don’t think you’ll want to continue creating podcast content for another ten years, consider a different medium you would enjoy more.

How To Create A Successful Podcast

First, just get started. Here’s how:

The initial podcast guests can be your friends, and you don’t need any fancy recording software for your first episodes. Danny recommends you use this Audio Technica mic to get started.

You can invest in better audio quality and podcast recording equipment after you’ve put in some reps and decided that podcasting is a content medium you enjoy. 

However, Danny’s success isn’t because of his podcasting equipment or even his workflow process. Below, we’ll discuss the 80/20 you need to get right to create a successful podcast, which is:

  1. Landing great guests.
  2. Researching and preparing for the interview.
  3. Conducting the interview.
  4. Developing a genuine relationship with the host after the interview.
  5. Growing the podcast and improving your conversation skills. 

Step 1: Reaching Out To Podcast Guests

The first step is deciding who you want to interview.

Many beginner podcasters aim to land guests with large followings, but Danny focuses primarily on people who inspire him. By only talking to people he feels inspired by, you can feel the natural chemistry in his interviews, and that chemistry significantly elevates the quality of his podcast episodes. 

It’s also easier to land guests if you only reach out to people who truly inspire you, as you won’t have to use perfectly optimized outreach templates.

In fact, Danny doesn’t use any outreach templates. He doesn’t even have a specific outreach strategy.

Instead, he messages people he feels inspired by and authentically tells them how their content resonates with him. 

That genuine message stands out from the rest of the pitches these creators receive, which will increase your acceptance rate and help you reduce the time you spend doing outreach.  

Danny also prioritizes doing random acts of kindness, which usually pays dividends. 

For example, he noticed someone who follows him Tweeted that they’re starting a podcast. So he reached out and offered to help if that person needed anything. This led to a 45 minute phone conversation where Danny provided some initial guidance.

A day later, that person asked if Danny would like Andy Frisella on his podcast. For reference, Andy Frisella currently has the top podcast in Entrepreneurship and significantly impacted Danny’s personal life. 

There was no strategy for landing the interview with Andy Frisella other than just helping people out.  

So think about how much time you devote to helping people out.

There’s also the ROI on luck. Essentially, if you play the game long enough, some things will work out. For example, he got Gary Vaynerchuck on because he wrote a blog post about him in 2009 and then Tweeted about it again in 2020:

Several people in the comments encouraged Gary to come on Danny’s podcast, and it worked. Two weeks later, they recorded the episode:

Danny also mentioned that even at the beginning of the podcast, he still invited people he felt might be out of reach. Even if they said no, that just means no right now. 

Inviting them on the podcast at least opens the conversation, and if you plan to continue podcasting for the next decade, you’ll have more opportunities in the future. 

In fact, Danny reached out to Andy Firsella ten times before he finally got the intro that eventually helped him get on the podcast. So don’t worry about rejection.

One final tip to build real relationships is to message creators when you enjoy a piece of content they published. Despite receiving many messages per day, Danny still enjoys receiving these messages as it’s positive feedback that his effort is impactful. 

Takeaways

  1. Only interview people you genuinely feel inspired by at this moment in your life (that could change as you grow).
  2. Don’t use outreach templates – just tell people why you feel inspired by them.
  3. Do random acts of kindness. Eventually, it will come back to you.
  4. Don’t worry about rejection. Even if someone says no, that just means no for now. If you’re building a podcast that will exist for a decade, there will be plenty of other opportunities to interview that person, and your initial message opens the conversation.

Action Items

  1. Make a list of the people who inspire you. 
  2. Make a list of your recent accomplishments and whose content has helped you achieve those accomplishments.
  3. Invite people from both of those lists on your podcast with an outreach message explaining why they inspire you and what they’ve helped you achieve. 
  4. Whenever you enjoy a piece of content, send that person a message or comment that you liked it.

Step 2: Research And Interview Preparation

Danny’s goal during the research process is to identify who someone is rather than just what they do.

When you aim to learn who someone is, they feel heard and appreciated. This helps:

  • Improve the chemistry of the conversation. 
  • Discover new insights about that person.
  • Build a genuine relationship with that person, which can pay dividends down the road.

For example, when he interviewed Steph Smith, he found a quote where she said she felt her sister was smarter than her, which drove her to be more competitive. So he asked her about that in the interview.

If you’re still feeling stuck and don’t know specifically what information to look for, he recommends using Google to find:

  • Where that person grew up
  • Where that person went to school

You can even look for old articles written about that person from publications in their hometown, which will likely bring up some interesting insights that recent publications haven’t mentioned.

Another strategy is to go to that person’s YouTube channel to sort by “oldest” and watch the first few videos they posted before they made it. 

This will give you a good understanding of who they were and how they’ve evolved, which can inspire better questions. You can also do this with social media, you’ll just have to scroll a lot more.

Finally, use Twitter’s advanced search to see that person’s most popular posts. 

You can do this by typing in the person’s handle:

Then, you can set a specific number of replies or likes:

For example, here’s one of Danny’s most popular Tweets:

This will show you what their target audience resonates with and what’s most impactful to them.

Danny also repeatedly mentions the importance of reading a person’s energy. So, instead of just looking for specific things they’ve said or done, use research as an opportunity to get to know that person on a deeper level, and that will inspire more great questions.

To make your research actionable for the interview, Danny creates a doc that consists of three parts: 

  1. Topics from research that were insightful or he was interested in.
  2. Specific questions that arose when he was doing research.
  3. Tweets he found particularly interesting.

In fact, here’s the exact doc that he used when preparing for his interview with Alex Hormozi:

One important note is that he likes to keep everything on one page so that during the interview, he isn’t scrolling through a long document and can just be present with the guest. 

Takeaways

  • Focus on learning about who the person is rather than just what they do so that they feel seen when you talk to them.
  • Compile your research into a single page so that you can be fully present with the person during the interview. 

Action Items

  • Use Google and LinkedIn to find where that person grew up and the university they went to. Try to find articles from hometown publications about that person earlier in their career. 
  • Use YouTube to view the oldest videos that person uploaded to understand how they’ve evolved. You can also look at their oldest social media posts.
  • Look at their most popular social media posts to see what their audience resonates with and what that person is known for.

Step 3: Conducting The Interview

The interview starts before you even hit record. One thing that has significantly improved Danny’s interviews is asking the person, “What would make this the best interview you’ve ever done?”

Their response to this question can guide the interview and ensure the person gets to say what they feel is most important. 

Another important thing to do within the first few minutes of meeting the person is to make them feel comfortable and establish a real connection.

This will help build chemistry, which will come across to your listeners.

During live interviews, Danny gives the person a hug when he first meets them. If you’re recording remotely, think about how you can give that person a hug virtually. 

For example, it might be asking about a moment from their childhood or an impactful experience.

In his interview with Alex Hormozi, the first question Danny asked was about a psychology assignment Alex had at 19, where he was supposed to pick someone with a psychological disorder and break down a situation from their perspective. In this case, Alex picked his mother, who has suffered from depression and ADD.

This question showed that Danny genuinely cares about Alex as a person which helps build that relationship and chemistry.

Next, be truly present with the person you’re interviewing. For example, place your doc of questions on one side of the screen and have the camera with the person’s face on the other side so that you aren’t flipping back and forth between the two.

If he’s doing a live interview, you can glance at your phone or have a notepad if you want, but as you become more comfortable, you’ll probably have a better connection holding a free flowing conversation.

The quality of the questions you ask also significantly impacts the interview quality. A bad question is something that the person has already been asked a million times before. 

A good question makes the person realize something they never knew about themselves.

This not only helps you get better insights out of that person, but it also helps the person you’re interviewing receive more value from the interview, which is beneficial to building a real relationship with that person.  

Danny also keeps a document of questions he’s been asked that he finds interesting or that made him see himself differently:

Finally, being vulnerable makes the other person feel more comfortable and can help them open up, as people tend to match vulnerability.

For example, you could mention a time you were bullied, a dark time in your career, or even a personal struggle with a friend. 

FAQ: Should You Record Remotely Or In Person?

Danny now records about 50 to 60% of his podcast episodes in person. Recording live tends to create better chemistry and you have a chance to build a deeper connection with that person. 

Yet it’s also much more difficult to book guests for live podcasts. 

Danny recommends that you record live if possible, but don’t let that hold you back from getting started.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand what the other person wants to communicate in the interview.
  • Establish trust either with a hug or a virtual hug (a politely personal question) to show that you care about that person.
  • Ask questions that help the person see themself in a different way or learn something about themselves.
  • Be truly present with that person.

Action Items

  • Ask the person before you hit record, “What would make this the best interview you’ve ever done?”
  • Prepare your first question or action (hug) to build a genuine connection with that person.
  • Have your questions on one sheet on the side of the screen so that you can be present and aren’t scrolling during the interview.
  • Start a bank of amazing questions that have made you see yourself differently.

Step 4: Post Production And Guest Follow Up

After Danny records a new episode, he usually publishes it to YouTube and all of the traditional podcasting directories, like Spotify and Apple podcasts.

Riverside and Podbean are great podcast hosting platforms, and if you want a tactical step by step overview to get your new podcast on Spotify, Apple, and Google podcasts, here’s a tutorial on publishing your podcast

You can also use Fiverr to have someone create your cover art and even your intro and outro. Upwork is another great resource that you can use to find podcast editors.

Garageband is still the editing software he uses, but you could also use Audacity. You can get a full overview of Danny’s current podcast workflow in his Substack

The main takeaway is that he really prioritizes creating high-quality content over marketing and optimization. If you get the content quality right, the rest falls into place.

After recording a podcast, build a genuine relationship with your guests.

One simple way to do this is to send a gift or even a handwritten note to that guest following the podcast. You can mention something you particularly enjoyed discussing or an action item you learned from them that you executed. You could also send that person a book they might like based on the conversation.

Danny also doesn’t have time to meet with each person individually, so he hosts events. For example, he recently started a men’s running club where he lives in Austin, Texas.

Events are even more valuable to his guests as they can meet new people and form connections. This also makes Danny more memorable because they’ll remember that he’s the person who facilitated these connections.

Key Takeaways

  • If you can bring people together, you can maintain relationships with about 20 people in an hour instead of one. Those 20 people will also get more value because they’ll meet new people.
  • Events where you bring people together and facilitate new connections is one of the highest forms of value you can deliver.

Action Items

  • When you come across a piece of content, tell that person you enjoyed it.
  • Send that person something after the interview, like a handwritten note or a book.
  • Host events that bring people together.

Step 5: Growth Strategies

Danny has generated over a million downloads, and he does a few things to help the channel grow. The podcast episodes are published to YouTube in addition to the traditional podcast streaming platforms, and he also repurposes some segments from the podcasts into individual clips.

His guests also have large followings, which has likely aided to his audiences’ growth. 

However, his growth strategy isn’t that sophisticated. For the first several years, he didn’t even publish on YouTube. 

Instead, he focuses exclusively on creating better content.

“I’m not optimizing for more people to see it. I’m optimizing for me to enjoy the conversation and to learn and grow… and if that means not getting a million views per video, I’m content with that. I want to continue getting better.”

Danny’s main strategy to become a better host and ask better questions is to have better conversations with himself and use his friends for feedback.

For example, a friend might say, “Well, you said X the other day. What did you mean by that?”

This makes Danny think more about why he says what he says and learn more about himself. 

Another part of becoming a better conversationalist is simply practicing. He publishes about three new episodes per week, so simply recording more episodes has made him a better conversationalist. 

Key Takeaways

  • Focus on improving your skill as a host (asking better questions and improving conversation depth) rather than vanity metrics.
  • Use your friend group as a mirror to become a better conversationalist. 
  • Create a consistent publishing schedule and publish more frequently as you start improving your conversation skills.

Action Items

  • Use a content distribution strategy and repurpose your content to YouTube and in shorter clips.
  • Encourage your friends to give you feedback on conversations.
  • Publish three times per week your first year of podcasting.

Take The Next Step To Become a Top 1% Podcaster

You don’t have to be great to start a podcast, but you do have to start to create a great podcast.

So, don’t worry about buying fancy podcasting equipment for your first few episodes. Put in those first few reps and upgrade your sound quality and growth strategy later.

If you want to learn more from Danny, follow him on social media and check out The Art of Interviewing.

If you want to connect with other creators, head to the Copyblogger Academy. Inside, we regularly give you actionable content like this from some of the best creators in the world, and you can ask our team for one-on-one feedback.

You’ll also have access to various courses ranging from personal branding to content marketing so that you have the tools you need to become a successful creator. 


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