I receive a lot of requests to participate in interviews, tele-summits, etc.

I am beyond honored that that is a fact of my life and business. I never take that for granted. I also know how hard it is to build a business, and I understand the workings of the tele-summit model that is being promoted.

I understand it, but I don’t agree with it.

In case you’re unfamiliar, the model works like this: You come up with a tele-summit or interview series topic. You line up speakers on that topic. You choose speakers who have large newsletter lists. You make it a requirement for the speakers to send a solo email — and entire newsletter — devoted to promoting the tele-summit and sending their subscribers to the tele-summit. The person running the tele-summit gets all of those subscribers.

Imagine, if you have twenty speakers for a tele-summit and all twenty of those people have lists of 5,000 people or more, and all twenty of those speakers send their newsletter subscribers an email about your tele-summit.

That’s a lot of people. So, again, I get why it’s so attractive.

The problem is that while the numbers work, whomever is teaching this system on the internet is getting it all wrong. They are teaching the fine art of alienation, not the fine art of marketing.

First, there’s the alienation in asking about someone’s list size. In other words, I get requests from people to take part in a tele-summit — but, they warn, the minimum list size that I need in order to participate must be X.

So really, it’s not about whether or not I’m good at what I do, or what great content I might add to the tele-summit. It’s about whether or not I have a large enough platform size to boost their profile.

Almost always, the people running these tele-summits have much smaller lists than everyone else. This is why they’re doing what they’re doing. They’re requiring others to have something that they, themselves, do not have.
Second, there’s the alienation of requiring anything obligatory around marketing. The way the tele-summit people sell it is they’re promoting you by placing you as one of their speakers, so why shouldn’t you promote them?

Here are just a few reasons:

    • It’s not anyone else’s job to promote your business, except your own;
    • Telling someone how they should market something and requiring solo emails of someone is essentially asking to have a free microphone into someone’s business, and I don’t know many legit entrepreneurs who would put up with that;
    • The person running the tele-summit is promoting you, sure, but you’re taking time out of your day to be interviewed and to offer content for their tele-summit — without the content, the tele-summit does not exist;
    • At the end of the day, the person running the tele-summit is going to get new subscribers, but if I bombard my lists with solo emails from a bunch of tele-summits every time I participate in one, then my subscribers are going to get annoyed with me, and leave — so it’s actually not a win-win scenario;
    • Even when the tele-summit person is saying they’ll share the entire list of subscribers with me at the end, it’s still no good, because I don’t know anyone with an email account who appreciates being dumped on someone’s list without their permission. Any email addresses someone gives me are going to be unqualified leads who didn’t opt-in and who probably don’t want to be on my list without giving their permission.


The Right Reasons

The right reasons to book someone for an interview or tele-summit are that the person can add something meaningful and helpful to the discussion.

I’ve agreed to interviews with people who had virtually no following — however — I knew they were earnest, and they really loved what they were doing, and they genuinely wanted to have a great conversation, together. I’ve asked to interview people for the same reasons.

The “win” when someone agrees to an interview is they will create a tele-summit experience where everyone’s talking about how awesome it is. Take for instance, Liz Gilbert’s new podcast, Big Magic. Of course, Gilbert has the marketing machine of Oprah behind her, not to mention the incredible success that she’s achieved just through her excellent writing.

But more than anything, Big Magic has become an overnight podcast hit because Gilbert so clearly loves doing it and because the people listening in think that it’s phenomenal content.

Can you imagine if, before Liz Gilbert interviewed Cheryl Strayed, she said, “Now, I’ll interview you, but since I’m going to kind of be promoting you by interviewing you, first you’ve got to agree to promote everything. I need to know what your list size is.”

Nope — anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that that would be kinda slimy and wrong and the reason to interview Cheryl Strayed is because she’s Cheryl Strayed.

If you don’t believe in who you’re interviewing, don’t interview them. Interviews are a phenomenal way to boost your business (something I share in the Coaching Blueprint digital marketing program), but only when done right.


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