How To Be A Good Podcast Guest
Landing an interview is certainly a cause for celebration.
However, the work doesnât stop there.
Learning how to be a great podcast guest is incredibly important.
Your goal should be to be one of the best interviews that show has ever had, bringing the most helpful, valuable insights for that audience.
You want to be authentic, focused, memorable, conversational, and empathic.
All you need is a bit of preparation.
Write A Killer Bio For Your Guest
Asking your guests to introduce themselves to your listeners sounds ideal right? After all, who knows more about themselves than, well, themselves?
But guests can oftentimes share a long list of achievements that arent necessarily relevant to the interview. Or they could provide a very light introduction which takes away from their credibility.
We suggest taking the reins here, and making the introductions yourself to prevent either scenario from happening.
Since you know what your listeners care about, you can get them excited about your guests by tailoring your introductions. At the same time, you take some pressure off the guests shoulders so they can focus on giving a great interview.
Get Some Decent Gear: Podcast Guest Tip #2
Content is king, sure, but no one wants to listen to half an hour of crappy quality audio. Bad vocals make you sound amateur. They dont make the best use of the time youre investing in this interview. If youre hunched over your laptop, barking into a crappy internal mic, it shows, and your amazing insights are lost in a sea of strained, distorted voice.
Even the interview standard iPhone headset is pretty poor in most situations. They pick up background noise and rub against your jumper when you move. You can do better, and make sure you come across in the best light to this new audience.
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Audio & Video Guest Pitches
If you really want to boost your chances of getting that all-important yes, then consider taking a highly personalised and unique approach.
Rather than sending an email, you can send your guest pitch as an audio or video file for the host to review. This significantly boosts your chances for several reasons.
First, it stands out in their inbox. The host gets lots of email pitches. But theyll get far fewer audio or video pitches. And because of that, youll have their attention by default.
Second, it shows youre invested in their podcast. If youve gone to the trouble of creating a personalised recording or video just for them, it shows a level of genuine interest in their show. Basically its the polar opposite of a lifeless generic template.
And third, it shows you are technically competent. The host will be able to rest easy in the knowledge that they wont have to coach you through the recording process. Youll have shown that you know how to use your mic. Theyll also be able to hear your tone and enthusiasm and make a better judgement about whether you are right for their show.
Whats The Biggest Surprise Youve Had In The Last Few Months And Why
Keep riding the inspiration out. Despite any challenges your guest may face during their 9-to-5, theres always going to be an upside.
If your guest is working on a specific project, perhaps a video game or a tech gadget, this gives them a chance to plug some unique features thatll hype up your audience even more for your interviewees project.
Additionally, your guests response will give you and your audience an idea of what keeps the type of surprises that keep them motivated and passionate about their work.
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Personalize Your Pitch From Start To Finish
Our motto is: if you can add a merge tag to it, itâs not personalized.
In other words, personalizing your pitch goes beyond using an FNAME tag, or saying something along the lines of âI loved your last episode.â
Personalization requires you to do a deep dive on both the host and the show so you can include golden nuggets of information throughout your pitch.
Some examples of this can be:
- Complimenting them on a particular episode you liked and very specific reasons as to why it resonated with you
- Scrolling through months of social posts to find a takeaway you can connect on
- Noting when one of your hooks is similar to a previous episode and why itâs different
We also include what we like to call a â5-Minute Favorâ .
Here are some examples of â5-Minute Favorsâ you could do:
- Leave a thoughtful and personalized review for their show on Apple or Spotify and send it to them
- If the host has a book, buy it and leave a review on Amazon
- Promote the show on your social channels and tag them
- Offer an ad spend budget to help promote the episode after it goes live
Ask yourself, âIs this something the host will genuinely know I put time and effort into?â
If yes, youâre on the right track.
Ways To Be Exceptionally Prepared For A Podcast Interview
According to recent research from The Infinite Dial report, conducted by Edison Research, 67 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly and 42 million listen weekly .
I dont think anyone truly predicted the insane rise in popularity of podcasts, but I love podcasts, so Im certainly not complaining!
The beauty of podcasts is that you can listen to them while youre doing other things, like running, cleaning the house, doing laundry, and driving to work. Theyre a passive form of media, and they allow you to get lost in a story.
I host my own podcast, and my team produces many, many popular podcasts, so weve seen our fair share of successes and failures in podcast preparation, both from the hosts and the guests. I wanted to share a few best practices to make your podcasting life easier, whether youre an ongoing host or a frequent guest.
Find A Media Doppelganger
Writing in Harvard Business Review, Dorie Clark, marketing strategist and lecturer at Duke Universitys Business School, outlined a very efficient way of finding relevant podcasts to appear on. Heres how it works:
Find a media doppelganger whose appearances you can replicate. For instance, if youve written a book about negotiation, find other well-known authors or thinkers on that topic and go to the media page of their website and see which podcasts theyve already appeared on. Theyve essentially done the sourcing for you. You know those podcasts hosts are interested in negotiation as a topic, so you can add them to the outreach list.
If your chosen doppelganger doesnt list their appearance on their website, simply type their name plus podcast into Google to find any of their past appearances.
Understand Your Podcasts Niche
When you want to find podcast guests, start by researching other podcasts in your niche. This will give you an idea of what your listeners enjoy as well as the type of guests to consider for your show. Even if you canât catch the same big fish for your show at first, listening to the things that other podcast hosts and their guests speak about will give you information and resources you can use for your program like: â
- New or hot topics to help write podcast interview questions
- Familiarity with influential people in your podcast niche who accept interviews
- Upcoming industry events where you can scout for podcast guests
- Online communities specific to your podcast’s niche where you can find experts and additional resources
- Podcast interview tips that can help your conversations run smoothly
Recommended Reading: What Is The Star Method For Interviews
The Benefits Of Being Interviewed On Podcasts
While bloggers scramble to get the internets attention for just a few minutes, podcast listeners consume roughly seven hours of content a week and listen to entire episodes 80% of the time.
What does that mean for you? Getting a podcast interview is an effective strategy of growing your show, brand, or business.
Podcasters always want to know the best way to market their show and expand its reach, and theres no better way to do this than by targeting engaged listeners who are interested in your topic.
“Guesting” within your field of expertise is a powerful, free marketing strategy that can reap big dividends for your show.
Getting booked on the right podcast can have dramatic effects on your website traffic, show downloads, business or brand, and the benefits reaps rewards that can last long past the time the episode airs.
Like any , seeing significant, consistent results will take time, but if you pick the right shows, you could begin to see results as soon as your very first interview.
Unlock The Possibilities Of Podcast Guesting
It bears repeating, but the more you focus on making connections and building relationshipsâwhether IRL or onlineâthe better your chances of getting on someoneâs show.
If youâre excited about the possibilities of podcasting guesting, be sure to watch Shaneâs full talk from Audience Driven over on the Team SPI YouTube channel.
Shane has also graciously offered a full nuts-and-bolts breakdown of his entire strategy for finding shows and booking yourself as a podcast guest. Just visit Flipped Lifestyle and grab those resources for free.
I also mentioned SPI 547 with Ray Blakney, founder of Podcast Hawk, a great paid solution that takes a lot of the work out of getting booked as a guest on podcasts.
Patâs interview with Ray has a ton of great advice for succeeding with guest podcasting, including customizing and optimizing your email campaign, more prep tips for your guest appearance, pitfalls to be aware of as a podcast guest, tech tips for getting great audio quality, and more.
You can put Podcast Hawk through its paces using our affiliate link at PodcastHawk.com/spi.
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Determine Where Your Subject Meets Your Audience
Your podcast interview is for your audience, so its important to determine what your interviewee knows that appeals to your listeners. Theres no sense going over things your audience already knows, or things they dont care about. You need to extract information from your guest that matters the most to your fans.
Take note of anything that would be especially interesting to your audience as you conduct your background research. Dont be afraid to ignore something unique about your guest if you dont think it will matter to your listeners.
How To Get Podcast Interviews
Adwords used to cost five cents a click.
Ranking #1 for a competitive term used to consist of stuffing the bottom of your page with the keywords you wanted to rank.
Crazy, right? Now, I want to kick myself for not taking advantage of these things. But in marketing, theres always a period when a new channel emerges and provides a tremendous ROI for its early adopters.
And right now? That channel is podcasts.
But you might be thinking…
I have no experience pitching podcasts, writing them, recording them
Dont worry. Ive got you covered. And in terms of using them as a tool to grow your traffic? Appear on a Podcast was strategy #8 on Sumos list of 130 Ways to Get More Traffic.
Many people called 2015 the year of the podcast.
The first time I thought podcasting might be the channel to double down on was hearing Pat Flynn say that podcasting was his #1 marketing channel, bar none. Pat puts out a huge amount of amazing content from videos to books to blog posts, but has said, unequivocally, that podcasting has driven more audience growth than anything else hes done.
The moment I truly believed it was listening to this Art of Charm interview between host Jordan Harbinger and author Hal Elrod. Hal did 150 podcasts in the two years since his book came out and he credits it as the number one reason that he now sells twice as many books each month two years after his book came out than he did the year it came out.
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Reach An Engaged Audience
One of the greatest things about the podcast listening experience is it comes with little to no distractions.
As a podcast guest, you donât have to worry about competing with 20 open browser tabs or clickbait-oozing YouTube videos compelling your audience to click away from your content because the majority of podcast listeners listen on their phones while on the go, whether thatâs driving or doing household chores.
Add to this the fact that 80% of podcast listeners listen to all or most of every podcast episode they start , and youâve got yourself a truly captive audience.
For comparison, YouTube videos over 30 minutes retain only 10% of their viewers.
Pro Tip:Check out Pat Flynnâs insights on YouTube vs. Podcast to learn more about the difference between the two platforms.
The second greatest thing about podcast guesting is it allows you to speak to a pre-built, loyal audience.
Rather than dedicating the time and effort to launch your own branded podcast from scratch, which can take months or years to build up, you can leverage already existing shows that align with your personal and brand ethos.
Even if you start small, your impact will be more profound.
Think about it.
Even speaking to as few as 100 engaged and very specific listeners who are in your industry for 30 to 60 minutes can be much more powerful than sending a newsletter to 100,000 unengaged, email-overloaded readers who might only have 30 seconds to skim your email.
Why Appear On Podcasts As A Guest
As of April 2020, there were over a million podcasts and more than 30 million episodes available to listeners. Almost a quarter of the U.S. population listens to podcasts weekly.
This means that appearing on podcasts presents a huge opportunity to get your message heard by millions of people.
You could also create your own podcast, of course. If you want to explore this option, you can either do it yourself or work with a company like Sweet Fish Media or Content Allies, which manage the whole process for you.
However, creating a podcast requires a lot more time and investment than simply appearing on podcasts that already exist.
Another benefit of podcasts, which isnt mentioned much online, is that they capitalize on the fact that humans are biologically wired to listen to stories.
We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories. Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
Scientifically speaking, when we hear a story that resonates with us, our levels of a hormone called oxytocin increaseand this is a feel good hormone.
Oxytocin boosts feelings like trust, compassion and empathy it motivates us to work with others and it positively influences our social behavior.
Because of this, stories have a unique ability to build connections. For years, successful brands have been tapping into this power to build a base of engaged fans.
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Give The Host What They’re Asking For
Remember, it’s not about youâyouâre going on this show to make the host look great. You want the host to love that episode and share it wide and far.
So go in with some humility. Remember that someone is allowing you to go in front of their audience. That’s incredible.
Answer their questions. Tell them what they want to know. If the host asks you a question about your biggest failure, don’t turn it around into your biggest success. Tell them how you fell on your face. Itâs their show, so honor and respect the opportunity theyâve created for you.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that podcast guesting is the best way we have ever found to grow our audience, expand our reach, and to make connections that make our business grow.
Shane Sams, Audience Driven 2021
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Build A List Of Podcast Targets
The first thing you need to do is to figure out which podcasts would be a good fit. Use the following method to build a spreadsheet of targets:
Step 1: Do you know anyone that has a podcast? A friend of a friend? Introductions will convert much better than cold pitches.
Once youve been on a few podcasts, it only gets easier to be on other because youre already vetted and tested as a podcast guest.
Step 2: Look for podcasts similar people have been on – Who is an authority in your space that is a few years ahead of where you are?
Make a list of five to ten people who you overlap with and search their names on the iTunes store. All the podcasts theyve appeared on have a track record of having guests very similar to you! Thats a good sign that they would be willing to have you on.
Step 3: Look for Relevant New and Noteworthy Podcasts in iTunes – podcasts that are in new and noteworthy have two very promising attributes:
- Theyre new and so they NEED more guests to put out more episodes
- Theyre good marketers – if they got into new and noteworthy then they are probably good marketers which bodes well for the future success of their show and your interview.
If you appear on one of the early episodes, when people go download their whole back catalog three years into the future, theyll listen to your episode. Ive talked to people that were early guests on Jon Lee Dumass Entrepreneur on Fire Show and three years later they still get a steady flow of traffic from it.