How to Wow Your Host: Podcast Guesting Done Right

Written by Laura Roeder

On June 16, 2017

If you’ve ever tried your hand at producing a podcast, you might not be surprised by the fact that most of them don’t survive past six months.

Podcasting has a lot of moving parts and pieces to pull together, often requiring podcasters to have multitasking skills that would rival an expert cat herder’s.

For podcasts with an interview format, the biggest moving piece is the guest.

Podcasts offer business owners a major opportunity to market their products and services, but often, guests don’t start off on the right foot with the host.

To avoid that awkward first date feeling, here are a few pointers to remember when you book your next (or first!) podcast appearance.

Happy host, happy interview

Putting thought into the podcasts you appear on means thinking about the host on the other end of your interview – after all, they all have different personalities, interview styles, and priorities. 

Just like you might not be the right guest for every single podcast, not every single podcast is the right fit for you, and that means you should choose the ones you pursue with care.

If you put time and effort into choosing the right podcast, your eventual interview will be more interesting and enjoyable for everyone involved – especially the listener! (And that can mean more eyes on you, your blog, and your business.) So put your research hat on and find the podcasts where you’ll really shine!

Hint: many of them are likely podcasts you already listen to – so start with your faves.

A happy host isn’t just about nailing the perfect match between guest and audience, though. A podcast host is human – well, hopefully, anyway – and having a great interview is all about being human with them.

Remember the old adage, treat others the way you want to be treated? Well, we’ve collected a few tips and tricks over the past few years of appearing on podcasts, and now we’re sharing them with you!

Follow their process

You found the podcast of your dreams and they agreed to book you (because you wrote a great pitch, of course). Before you dive into your celebration dance, though, it’s time to take care of a little business first. Your podcast host is a busy business owner like you, so follow the steps they outline – they’re there to make it easy on everyone!

No one, even the non-busy among us, likes back-and-forth emails trying to get something scheduled. Your podcast host will likely send you a scheduling tool that pops your interview onto their calendar – go ahead and use it, even if it wouldn’t typically be your first choice. The easier you make their life, the better your relationship will be, right off the bat.

Be prepared but flexible

Being an engaging interview guest is like being a Boy Scout that teaches yoga – you have to be both prepared and flexible.

Your podcast host might give you a list of questions they could ask, they might have you provide a few of your answers in advance, or they could completely wing it!

Your job as the guest is to know what you’re there to talk about, understand what the host wants to get out of the interview for their audience, and show up ready to rock it. This is another reason it pays to be familiar with the podcasts you pitch – you can know what type of conversation to expect!

(More on that in the next section, though, so keep reading.)

As for your talking points – use them as a guide, but not a script that you read off of. Very few show hosts will strictly stick to a set of the same questions every time and make it work – John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire is the rare exception – so don’t bank on knowing every single beat of the interview in advance.

Most shows will ebb and flow with each question the host asks, so no amount of preparation or practice can replace being able to improvise.

(That’s a good thing, though – you’re having a conversation, not taking the SATs!)

Because remember what we said about your host being human? While they’re likely prepared for you (just as you are for them), they aren’t robots who pump out stock questions and just smile and nod while you read off scripted answers.

Being prepared but staying flexible will allow both you and your host to enjoy the experience of recording the show – and if you don’t, listeners will definitely be able to tell!

Learn about your host

Have you ever been to a dinner party where you knew no one? Boring, right? You struggle to participate in the conversation, it’s always superficial at best, and you end the evening exhausted and regretting your decision to go in the first place.

Walking into a show and knowing nothing about your host feels the same way. This bit of advice might sound obvious, but sometimes the obvious-sounding things are the easiest to neglect – so we’re talking about it here!

How do you get to know someone before that “first date” on the Internet? When it comes to podcasts, check out at least 2-3 episodes of their show (hopefully you did this before asking to be on the show in the first place). You could also try heading on over to the show’s website, reading a few of their blog posts, or giving a listen to other podcasts they’ve appeared on. Search their name in iTunes, and give ‘em a listen.

If you show up for the interview and know nothing about your host other than the fact that they have a big name show that will look really good on your bio, you’re doing it wrong.

Us humans love to talk about ourselves, so it’s important that you’re ready to banter a bit with the host, even if you know they’re going to do most of the question asking. So do your research, know your host, and be the show’s MVP.

Follow up

And what about after you’ve recorded your podcast appearance – how can you keep on wowing your host once the conversation ends?

For one thing, be prepared to share your podcast appearance when it goes live. Some hosts may make some requests in this area, or even provide swipe copy you can use in promotional updates or emails, while others will leave it entirely to your discretion.

Appearing as a podcast guest is a mutually-beneficial arrangement, though – you get exposure with their audience, and the host gets exposure with yours. That means you should enter into this whole arrangement prepared to share the finished product!

You could send a dedicated email to your audience, promote it on your blog, or even pre-schedule some social media posts all about that podcast (don’t forget to @-mention your host!).

Podcasts are here to stay

You’re officially well-prepared to knock the socks off your host like the top notch guest you’ve dreamed of becoming. So what’s stopping you? It’s time to get some of these best practices into place and start marketing yourself to a whole new audience with podcasts.

Have you been a guest on a podcast?

Are you a host with advice of your own?

Share your tips for rockin’ the pod in the comments below!

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