Podcasts as Practice

They can be the minor leagues of major interviews.

learn more about Howard S. Dvorkin

By Howard S. Dvorkin

Maskot | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Over the past month, I've been a guest on two podcasts you've never heard of — and that's one big reason I agreed to be a guest.

I've been fortunate over my 27-year career to have been interviewed on both network news (CBS Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight) and cable news (Fox News, CNN). However, those appearances are infrequent — I'm a CPA and financial counselor, not a campaign analyst, so I'm not in demand all the time.

Yet I need to be ready for such interviews whenever I'm called upon. So, in fact, do you. Nothing establishes an entrepreneur's credibility more than other people calling you an expert.

But like a major league ballplayer who takes batting practice in the offseason, we all need to stay sharp between those sporadic interviews. Just as there's a skill to your core business, there's an equal skill in promoting it through media interviews.

Related: 13 Fun Facts That Will Make Your 'About Me' A Lot Less Boring

Why small podcasts are a big help

Recently, I was on a podcast called Cool Your Heels with Lillian Cauldwell. Cauldwell interviews fiction and nonfiction authors, so I was invited as the author of two personal finance books.

Most of her questions were about the stock market — which I try to avoid, simply because I don't want to give investment advice. I'm chairman of Debt.com, which has helped millions of average Americans get out from under their credit card bills, tax burdens and student loans. I want to give get-out-of-debt advice, not investment advice.

"I focus mostly on debt," I told her. But I did say...

"We're in the longest bull market this country has ever seen. It has to come to an end. I was having lunch with the chairman/CEO of Goldman Sachs last week, and his expectation is within three years we're going to hit a recession."

Then I turned the conversation toward preparing for emergencies like a recession.

All interviewers have their own agendas — and as an entrepreneur, you have your own. No matter the size of the podcast, it builds your mental muscles to joust with interviewers who keep asking you questions you don't want to answer. So it was good practice for me to nudge Cauldwell back the topic I'm most expert about.

It also helps to craft your message for different audiences. Cauldwell's audience is mostly senior citizens. That was perfect for me, because senior citizens are struggling with debt in different ways than younger people.

"At the end of the day, seniors should not be responsible for their children's debts," I told Cauldwell. "Don't allow your children or grandchildren to invade your credit. For example, a senior citizen is a cosigner for a car and ends up getting stuck with it. You can be generous to a point. Don't be a fool."

Cauldwell was grateful to have this conversation, even though she didn't anticipate it. Jousting with an interviewer can be good for both parties.

Related: 4 Personal Branding Strategies You Can Implement Today

How to hone your message

Only a week later, I was on another podcast. This one is called ValueWalk, which describes itself as providing "unique coverage on hedge funds, large asset managers and value investing." So once again, I needed to steer the conversation back to debt. However, I found common threads, which is something a savvy entrepreneur needs to do deftly if they want to land interviews that also further their business.

When the host asked me about children inheriting wealth, I answered with a common tactic: Don't avoid the question but respond with an analogy that centers on your business.

So I used credit cards as a relevant example since credit card debt is the main focus of Debt.com: "They have to be taught, since parents are going to give their children a tremendous amount of assets. And if they are not taught to properly utilize those assets, they're going to lose them. It's similar to giving your kid a credit card without ever teaching the child about the use of credit cards. They're gonna charge them up without thinking. Then they'll say, "What do you mean I have to pay for them? And what do you mean I have to pay them on time?'"

Related: Your Personal Brand Is Just as Important as Your Business Brand

Well worth the time

Even if you think, "This is a lot of work for major media attention I might never get," I find podcast interviews also help me speak better and tighter in business meetings. Unlike network and cable interviews I've done, podcasts let you explain complex topics at length. CBS and CNN just wanted soundbites from me.

After a long conversation on a podcast, I find I perform better in discussions with my employees and my partners. Since there are so many podcasts out there, and they have so many hours to fill, you can find one close to your niche. It won't be a hard sell. They'll welcome your expertise — and you'll welcome the opportunity to improve your branding.

Howard S. Dvorkin

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Entrepreneur, investor, personal finance advisor and author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA is the chairman of Debt.com, an entrepreneur, personal finance adviser, and author. He focuses his endeavors in consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Business News

The 'Airbnbust' Proves the Wild West Days of Online Vacation Rentals Are Over

Airbnb recently reported that 2022 was its first profitable year ever. But the deluge of new listings foreshadowed an inevitable correction.

Business Solutions

Master Coding for Less Than $2 a Course with This Jam-Packed Bundle

Make coding understandable with this beginner-friendly coding bundle, now just $19.99.

Business News

'I Don't Feel Like It's Unreasonable': A-List Actor Refused Service At Hotspot For Not Following Dress Code

Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe had quite the afternoon after trying to stop at a Japanese steakhouse in Melbourne, Australia following a game of tennis.