Ramon Vela has worked in the tech industry all his adult life. After running an agency for the past decade, he decided to try a new venture and jumped into podcasting in September 2018. Now, The Story of a Brand is a top-rated podcast on iTunes. Vela’s new focus is sharing the story behind the entrepreneurs, products, and customers that make up e-commerce brands.
We sat down with Ramon to learn how to make your next podcast interview unforgettable for all the right reasons. He also shared some insider advice for brands that want to launch their own podcast or channel.
You can check out The Story of a Brand on iTunes.
Ramon Vela Profile:
Years in the Industry: 25
Number of pitches you get in a day: I don’t accept unsolicited pitches
Number of podcasts per week: 2
TST: What makes a brand worth interviewing?
The brands we interview on our show seem to run the gamut, but really they all have a few key elements in common.
First, they have to have a story. Is there something disruptive about the brand, model or story? Is there something interesting or unique about the founder or the company’s background? My interview with Rosie O’Neill from Sugarfina really exemplified this.
Second, I look for brands that have built an experience. When brands care about the community and the customer, it shows. They are perfecting the customer experience with the brand, packing, notes, care and attention to detail – and that brings a smile to the customer’s face.
Third, I look for brands that are relatable and are willing to be vulnerable. When I interviewed Paige from Adam’s Gallery, she opened up about her experience as a victim of rape, which shares and exposes the brand’s story and makeup.
TST: What common mistakes do people make during interviews?
The biggest mistake is people being too rehearsed or too plastic. I want authenticity, to be open and to be human. Sometimes I interview people and it’s like talking to a Barbie ™ doll – they’re saying the right things but the delivery is completely plastic.
The other big mistake I see is people not understanding the show’s angle, or not knowing who my audience is. This causes them to do more of a pitch rather than focusing on the story. My show is a cross between Charlie Rose, Oprah, and The Actor’s Studio. If the interviewee is doing a rehearsed sales pitch or using marketing jargon then I don’t appreciate that.
The best interviews are with people that are relatable and willing to be vulnerable. Many interview issues can be overlooked as long as there is a passion, a good story and a product/brand that people love.
TST: Many companies are now working to start their own podcasts/channels. What advice do you have for them?
The best advice I can give is to treat a podcast like a new product or service you’re offering. Have a clear mission for your show and stick to it to help you differentiate your podcast from others.
Second, do a campaign ahead of time. Talk to people that you know and tell them about your show. Ask family, friends, and associates to listen to your show, review it and rate it. Aim for at least 100 reviews before you do a big launch.
Third, you should always start off with 5-10 episodes in the can. When you start a podcast with just 1 episode, listeners don’t have a lot to go through. With more episodes available, you can build loyalty quickly and have them coming back on a regular basis. The good part of the content is that it is evergreen. People listen to the show once and then go back.
Last (but not least), focus on creating good content. There are a lot of shows about entrepreneurship, but there is a reason mine is the highest-ranked show that focuses on direct to consumer brands, says Vela… It is a feature show. It’s different. It’s about showing the human side of people and brands.
Three Key Takeaways for Nailing Interviews:
Research the podcast you’ll be on. Listen to several episodes ahead of time to get a feel for the interviewer’s style as well as the style of the show. We always recommend having a solid call to action for the listeners when relevant. What do you want them to know or do after hearing your podcast?
Be authentic. Podcasts are usually less formal than journalist interviews. Avoid giving your standard pitch, and use the podcast as an opportunity to share your brand’s story. While you may be able to get questions in advance, make sure your interview doesn’t come off rehearsed, it makes for a much less interesting interview.
Plan ahead. Podcasts will take a few weeks to come out. If you’re planning a podcast around a new product launch, plan the timing accordingly.