If you’re reading this, chances are you’re preparing for a podcast interview and you’re looking to ace your guest appearance so you’re invited back or better yet, get booked on bigger and better shows in the future.
Here’s a secret:
Podcast Hosts are Always on the Lookout for Great Guests!
The U.S. podcast audience is 57 million and according to Apple, as of June 2018, there were over 550,000 active shows with more than 18.5 million episodes and 50 billion all-time downloads and streams. That’s a lot of content!
So while weekly or daily podcast shows appear to always have a full line up of amazing guests, it’s a huge amount of work – and believe it or not, good guests are hard to come by.
Now, I’m no Brian Krebs but having been featured in several media outlets and podcast shows, here are some of the things I do before “guesting” on a podcast interview:
Whether I’ve been invited by the show’s host or I’m pitching to be a guest on one, I do my homework and so should you. Listen to a few episodes to get a feel for the flow of conversation, the show’s format and what the audience cares about so you can organize your thoughts and make your points more effectively. A lot of hosts have sites or pages dedicated to their podcast, so even if you’re a regular listener of the show, check the site for any requirements for potential guests or contact the host with your own questions. Remember, it’s not a one-way street – you’re also deciding if the show is a fit for your own brand/content.
Also, get to know the host’s personality and likes/dislikes. You don’t have to be a fan but if he/she hates talking about politics, then know not to bring it up. Oh, and for the love of Pod, learn how to pronounce the show host’s name.
2) SHOW PREP
First, it should go without saying that if your host sends you prep questions, you should take a few minutes to review and prepare your answers. Good hosts work hard to create valuable content for their audience – they want to make you look good so don’t sabotage yourself!
Since podcast interviews are usually short, you really only have time to make 1-2 points well. I usually review previous communications with the host (if any) to get a lock on the topic or message then identify 1-2 important talking points ahead of time including any current or upcoming projects I’m working on. Finally, and THIS IS A BIGGIE, I send the host my bio to help him/her with introductions as well as links to content I created that could possibly make for a really interesting on-air discussion.
3) CONNECT and SHARE
Podcast guesting is a huge opportunity to build relationships with influencers in your field. Send your host an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and other social media accounts (both host and show accounts). Follow and share content your host publishes before and even after the show to drive traffic his/her way. Remember to promote your guest appearance to your own audience and contacts as well. The more engagement you have, the more likely you’ll receive an invitation back. Oh, and don’t forget to confirm the recording date a week out from schedule as a courtesy.
4) SOUND CHECK
Podcasting is an auditory medium so sound quality is key. Even the best editing cannot fix terrible audio quality and can cause your podcast host to re-record or not air your interview. Do what you can to ensure your voice comes through clearly. If you are being interviewed over Skype, Zoom or Facebook Live, make sure you have a rock-solid internet connection.
Your equipment can make a big difference in how you sound. I have a studio setup at home with a professional microphone but there are a lot of reasonably priced, high-quality microphones in the market. Choose a small, closed and quiet room to record, preferably carpeted or with lots of blankets or furniture – some people even record inside closets (true story!). Make sure to wear headphones as well so your interviewer’s voice doesn’t echo through your speakers.
5) BE RECORD-READY
Guesting in a podcast is like going on a date. You have to be well-groomed (with good lighting and background if video recording) and show up early – let your host know well ahead of time that you’re ready to record and allow for unexpected technical problems. Drink a glass of water 20-30 minutes before your interview and maybe apply lip balm before recording as dry mouth and lips tend to make “mouth sounds” that are irritating and unpleasant for listeners. And speaking of drinking, make sure you use the bathroom even if you don’t think you have to go.
Remove all distractions – turn off/disable all electronics including alarms, doorbells, microwave, app notifications; and banish the pets, kids, friends and yes, even your significant other while recording. Refrain from eating food, chewing gum or drinking from an ice-filled glass and beware of, um, body sounds. Excuse yourself or mute your mic if possible.
A final word…
Have a great time! If you’re naturally funny, don’t be afraid to show some humor (try to keep the jokes clean though) but don’t force it if it’s not your thing. Stumbling over your words is okay too – it’s not a beauty pageant where you need to speak perfectly so feel free to make fun of yourself. Personality wins every single time because people do business with people they like.
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