Whether you’re a podcaster looking to grow your own podcast or you’re an online business owner who wants more visibility, being a podcast guest is one of the best ways to do that. But there’s effective podcast guesting and there’s going through the motions.
As someone who has hosted 179 podcast episodes, well over half of which have been guest interviews, and appeared on some 40+ podcasts as a guest, I have a thing or two to say about how to be a podcast guest. Sometimes our interviews are effective and we’ve done our “job” as a guest. Other times, less so. I’ve been guilty of not being the best guest and I’ve hosted guests who I felt were going through the motions.
This week on the podcast, I’m sharing some tips for being a better podcast guest. What to do before, during, and after to help your business and to support the podcast host and their listeners. You should want the best for everyone involved and there are a few things you can do to get there. Listen in and let me know what you think.
Mentioned In This Episode
Welcome to episode 179 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for podcasters that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever-moving targets and it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it ALL right, ALL of the time. You have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience and what grows your business. And most importantly, what feels good for you.
I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and consultant for podcasting business owners who want to make their podcast, their primary content marketing tool, feel easier and more streamlined so they can get back to serving their clients and making those sales. Because your podcast is your primary marketing tool and you want to leverage it to grow your audience, authority, and business. I’ll show you how, while you do business in a way that works for you–I can help by supporting you through building a content and marketing strategy, taking care of the podcast management for you, or giving you the tools and resources to take this on yourself.
I’ve talked a lot about leveraging other people’s content over the last few months, and the importance of being a guest on podcasts to grow your own podcast following.
If you’re a podcaster, you probably know a lot of what I’m going to talk about today. Though this episode may be a good reminder for you and you’ll probably find yourself nodding your head a lot.
If you’re not a podcaster, consider this your introduction to podcast guesting. And being a guest on other people’s podcasts is still the perfect way to gain more visibility for your business.
I wanted to do this episode for a few reasons:
First, I see guests on this show making some of the same mistakes. Mistakes that make it difficult for listeners to know what the main message is. Mistakes that might waste your time, the time of the podcast host, and the time of listeners. Sounds harsh, but it’s true.
Second, because it’s what happens AFTER the episode goes live that can really make or break your “awesome guest” status.
And if you’re a podcaster and want to get better at interviewing, don’t you worry! I have an episode coming up for you, too!
Pitch your expertise, and make sure it’s aligned with the podcast you’re pitching
This requires some research, and it takes time. Blindly sending out pitches without knowing what the podcast is about or without listening to any episodes is a waste of everyone’s time. And it’s painfully obvious to the podcaster receiving the pitch.
I also think it’s more beneficial to pitch yourself vs. having an agency pitch for you. I know that this isn’t always possible, but I feel like the pitches from individuals are more relevant than those that aren’t. And they feel better because you took the time to do it yourself. If you have someone help with pitches, here’s a tip: have them create the pitch and then you send it from your email address.
Please don’t pitch me. I’m booked into the fall and I rarely say yes to pitches
If there’s a guest intake form, fill it out as soon as possible
As a podcaster, I use this intake form to do some additional research and create interview questions. And I do really take the time to craft an interview that will be well-received by you, the listeners. I want to have a quality show and I can’t do that without that research. I’ve canceled interviews because that form hasn’t been filled out in enough time for me to prepare.
Filling out this form shows the host that you care about helping them get out the right message to their listeners. It’s common courtesy. And it’s probably best to do it right when you book your interview so you don’t forget!
Know what message you want to share and review it before your interview
This is huge. First, the host is having you on because you have expertise in a specific area. So what do you want to teach the audience? Have it written down! I like to have a list of the main points I want to be sure to mention either on a post-it or in a Google doc. Or if there’s a specific framework or examples I want to share, I’ll have them in front of me during the interview
No, I’m not reading my notes word for word, but it helps to have some thoughts written down ahead of time in case I get nervous
And yes, I do still get nervous before interviews, especially if it’s for a show that I feel like is a big deal. (Funny story…they’re ALL a big deal!) Any time you get in front of a new audience, you want to make a good impression
Show up on time. Do I need to say any more?
I could go down a big rabbit hole on this one because I’m so infuriated with so many people’s lack of respect for others’ time. I talked about this a little on a previous episode but holy crap. No shows, showing up late, canceling at the last minute. We’re ALL busy and we ALL have a lot going on. Respect others’ time as you’d want yours respected. YOU booked the appointment. Respect it. Uugh. Okay, I’ll shut up. But seriously.
Have headphones on and be in a quiet place. Turn off ALL your notifications and warn the guest if there’s a reason why you might get interrupted
Headphones prevent echos. Just because YOU can’t hear it doesn’t mean THEY can’t hear it.
It’s also helpful to be in a room that isn’t all tile or hardwood floors. You can’t hear the echo on your end but listeners can
Being somewhere quiet shows that you respect the professionalism of the show. So try to make sure dogs and kids aren’t nearby. That your partner isn’t emptying the dishwasher in the next room. Or that people won’t be walking by, having conversations. That others in your space know that you need quiet, and so on. You’d be surprised at what gets picked up on a standard microphone. I sometimes record in my office in a shared co-working space and I know that the struggle is real. But you want listeners to have a good experience so do the best you can.
Make sure your notifications are turned off around you. If you have headphones in, your computer notifications shouldn’t show up on the audio, but your phone notifications probably will. And it’s incredibly annoying as a listener. Or is it just me? Turn your phone on airplane mode or put it in another room if needed.
Sometimes there are things going on that are beyond your control as the guest. I’ve been expecting a package and I knew that my dogs would start barking as soon as they heard the UPS person. So I let the host know ahead of time so they would know why I muted myself, if I needed to. Stuff happens, and it’s okay.
Have a freebie that you can offer to listeners. And have a pretty link for it, aligned with the name of the podcast
Ultimately you want people who are discovering you through this podcast guest experience to convert them to your email list. Because that’s where you can connect with them directly
So have a freebie/opt-in/lead magnet, whatever you want to call it that relates to what you’re talking about on the podcast
And then talk about it! Don’t wait for the host to ask you about it. It’s SO awkward when hosts have to say, “And you have a free downloadable…” And you really don’t want to wait until the end of the interview to talk about it. It’s okay for you to talk about it first. I actually prefer that.
Just make sure that it naturally fits into the conversation. If your freebie relates directly to what you’re talking about, it’s easy to do this. For example, if I’m talking about surveying your audience, which I often do, I can easily say, “I give some specific examples of what questions to ask in my free Ask Your Audience challenge…” and the host will often ask how people can access it.
As long as you’re not pushing something paid or being really salesy about it, it’s okay to talk about your free thing
While we’re on the subject, also talk about how you work with people
Think about your goal for being on podcasts. It’s to grow your own podcast or email list and to ultimately grow your business, right?
So talk about how you work with people. What your offers are. Again, not in a salesy way but in a way that piques their interest and lets them know what you do and who you do it for.
If I’m a guest on a podcast talking about content strategy, I might say something like, “One of the things I do with my 1:1 clients is help them really figure out how the topic of this week’s podcast episode can turn into social media and email content for the whole week.” And then I might give specific examples of how to do that.
Someone listening might think, oh, she supports clients in developing a content strategy. And when they hear how I do that, this might interest them and they may want to know more. So they grab the freebie that I mentioned and get on my email list. Or maybe they book a call. Either way, they’re interested. And that’s great!
When the episode goes live, SHARE it; I cannot stress this enough
I know…we’re all really busy. But please, for the love of everything collaboration and supporting other business owners, SHARE the episodes you’re a guest on.
If you’re a podcaster, you know the time and financial investment involved in hosting. And if you’re not a podcaster, let me tell you this: it takes a LOT of time and effort to host a podcast. And there’s a cost involved too. Even for me, and I manage other people’s podcasts. I still have to pay someone to help me load all the stuff to a host, I pay an editor, for hosting, my email service, and more.
Sharing the episode when you’re a guest is a huge thank you to the host, shows respect for their time investment, helps the host and the podcast to get in front of YOUR audience (so you’re repaying the host for getting you in front of THEIR audience) and so much more.
So please…just share your episodes. It’s such a compliment to the host and they WILL remember it.
And when you share, be sure to tag the host in your posts so they can reshare with their audiences too!
And again, I get it. You’re busy. I sometimes forget to share also. But do your best. We appreciate it.
Then share it again and again, for as long as the message is appropriate for your audience
One of the great things about podcast guesting is that your episode will continue to live online. So keep sharing it.
When I build out content strategies for clients or manage their podcasts and social media, I like to find episodes that they’ve guested on that align with the messaging on their pillar content for that week or month and re-share it. So if I’m talking about surveying your audience on my podcast this week, I’ll find an episode or two that I guested on where I talk about the same topic and share that too. Same message, delivered in a different way.
I hope you were able to take away some helpful tips for the next time you’re a guest on a podcast. If this episode felt a little like a rant, you’re very right. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s frustrating to see so many lost opportunities for podcast guests. You aren’t going to be a perfect guest all the time; I certainly am not. But with some practice and grace for yourself, you’ll really start to nail it.
If you found value in what you learned here today or were nodding your head yes to all the things, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. Tag me at thecontentexperiment. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.