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Get Busy: Top Tips For Choosing The Right Format For Your Web TV Show, or Podcast!


This post by David Siteman Garland, is part of ‘VBL Guest Post Season 2’.

When it comes to building a virtual business of your dreams there are of course many routes you can go and as you probably know it is definitely not a “one size fits all” model like The Snuggie.

In my bias opinion, one of the coolest, most challenging, potentially profitable and rewarding is to create your own web show/podcast. Heck, maybe even a network of ’em.

Quick background: I’ve been creating and hosting shows since 2006 (with zero experience, training or background in broadcasting/hosting/creating shows) and have experimented with all kinds of formats, business models, topics and more.

For example, the first show I ever did was actually on traditional radio in my glorious hometown of St. Louis, Missouri called “Get Inline: Your Source For Professional Inline Hockey In St. Louis” (how about that for a freakin’ niche?) and now most people know me from my web show/podcast The Rise To The Top: The #1 Show For Mediapreneurs which has (coming up on) 250 episodes and over 300 interviews with mediapreneurs, entrepreneurs, show hosts, bloggers and other awesome people. And, because I’m possibly insane, I’ve got two more shows in the works with one focusing on health and fitness and the other on professional wrestling (seriously).

Now, there are a lot of components to creating and running a successful show including creative aspects, business model and monetizing, marketing and promoting, logistics, technology, etc. Similar to a puzzle, they all go together and missing a piece might lead to a bit of a disaster. Nobody wants a disaster, right? But perhaps one of the biggest and often overlooked questions that is SO important is choosing the correct show format that works for you, your goals and your personality.

Of course formats can change over time (nothing is set in stone in this world), but getting off the right formatting foot can be the difference of spring-boarding vs falling in the mud and swimming. Here are a few to consider, an example or two for each one and some pros and cons:

Interview Show:

What it is:

An interview show is just like it sounds. You bring on a guest or guests and you interview them.

Examples: My show The Rise To The Top , Mixergy 

This is awesome because…

-Having a conversation is often easier many people as opposed to writing out an entire scripted show.

-If the show is great, there is a BIG chance the guest(s) will help market and promote the show to their audience.

-A great way to meet to new people and expand your network of relationships (when you interview someone it is sort of like a first date and you might end up friends for life…or lovers if you are into that sort of thing.


-Interviewing *looks* easier than it is. Similar to all creative arts, it takes lot of practice to develop a unique style.

-Logistics can be tricky as you have to become a master scheduler (or highly recommended…hand it to virtual assistant).

-Guest selection and being able to interact with different types of personalities, egos, etc. can be challenging.

Pundit/News Show:

What it is:

Normally based on a specific topic such as politics, sports, technology etc., a pundit/news show reviews headlines and news in a specific industry or around a specific topic and also, often times, the hosts offer their opinions, commentary, agreements, disagreements, etc. Topics can be wide ranging to a show about a specific TV show to a show about the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

Examples: TWIT (This Week In Technology), all the shows on the This Week In Network.

This is awesome because…

-There is normally plenty of content to talk about if you pick something that has consistent news i.e. sports, politics, technology, etc.

-Nothing is cooler than talking about a subject you love and you don’t have to be a complete “expert” to do a show like this. You do need to be knowledgeable, willing to learn and passionate about the subject matter but expertise will happen over time (unlike the “expert” show listed below).

-Is a nice opportunity to bring in a co-host or do a show with a friend.


-Keeping things fresh and sticking out from the pack. That is up to you, your creativity and personality.

-Staying consistent. If it sounds super easy to put together a show each week (or more than once a week), it isn’t. But don’t let that deter you. Realize you will get the hang of it with practice.

-If you go the co-host route, finding someone that you have great chemistry with and is reliable as you.

Q&A/Tips & Tricks/”Expert Show”

What it is:

Think about all those advice shows out there. Essentially you are the expert and you are giving advice on something specific. Examples might include relationships, finance, taking care of dogs, who knows. There are zillions of possibilities. There are many formats that work here ranging from classic “call in” shows to answering questions submitted via social media, etc.

Examples: The Podcast Answer Man , The Tech Guy

This is awesome because…

-If you are an expert in a subject matter people really need advice on, there may not be a better option.

-Q&A format allows for ENDLESS content assuming you can keep getting/finding great questions to answer.

-If you know your stuff inside and out…answering the questions and putting the show together will be like child’s play.


-Receiving great questions to answer when you are just starting out. You might have to “ask yourself” a few questions just to get the ball rolling.

-If you DON’T know the topic inside and out…it will show.

-Live callers/chats can present their own unique challenges (i.e. difficult people, angry people, etc.) which of course you can learn to handle.

Review Show:

What it is:

Essentially a review show is just as it sounds. You pick something and review it, discuss it, etc. Classic examples are movie review shows, but of course this can be everything from video equipment to stamps.

Examples: Wine Library TV , Freezer Burns

This is awesome because…

-You can’t really be wrong. As long as you have a strong opinion, you are in good shape.

-As long as you pick something replicable, content is easy to come by.

-Companies mind end up sending you free stuff to review. Who doesn’t love free stuff?


-Careful not to run out of content. If there are only 50 things to review, then you are done after 50 shows. Make sure to pick something ongoing.

-Up to you, like all formats, to make sure it doesn’t get stale.

-Must be super consistent and have a real passion for offering opinions.

What’s next?

See anything that gets you fired up? Do you point at any of the above formats and say YES! THAT IS FOR ME! If so, you might have just taken the first step in your virtual media empire.

Get started.

Do something amazing.

Do it now.

David Siteman Garland is an avid WWE wrestling fan, husband to the best wife in the world, son of two cool parents and the creator/host of Internet-based TV show, blog and resource The Rise to the Top which features conversations with web show hosts / bloggers / podcasters / other mediapreneurs, tips, tricks, advice, inspiration, resources and much more!

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