How to Be a Good Podcast Guest: 13 Great Ways to Wow the Listeners

Written by Laura Roeder

On February 11, 2021

You might not be surprised by the fact that 6 out of every 10 US consumers regularly listen to podcasts.

Podcasting is a popular marketing tool and one of the best ways to get your brand in front of new audiences.

If you don’t have the time or resources to create and produce your own podcast, appearing as a guest on someone else’s podcast is a great way to get your name out there.

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, we’ve put together some tips on how to be a good podcast guest. Podcast guesting isn’t as easy as you think; you need to do your prep as much as the host does.

How to be a good podcast guest: 13 ways to kill it

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.

Here are some ideas to help you choose the best podcast for your business and how to wow the audience with your expertise.

1. Choose your host carefully

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!

2. Follow their process

You found the podcast of your dreams and they agreed to book you. 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.

3. 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!

To be a podcast guest, you need 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.)

4. Remember it’s a conversation, not a monologue

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!)

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.

Remember that you’re having a conversation, ask questions back and don’t go off into a ten-minute monologue. People want to listen to you chatting with your host, not just shamelessly promoting yourself.

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.

5. Tell your host what to ask you

This one may sound a little controversial, but if you know where you want the conversation to go, prepare some questions to give your host. It takes some of the workload off their hands and will help your conversation flow in the way you want.

Don’t force your interviewer to ask you specific questions but give them some ideas about things they could ask you about particular topics. You can pitch it to them in a way that shows how valuable the information you want to share is for their audience.

6. 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 your host has 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.

We 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.

7. Learn about the audience

If you want to be a top podcast guest, you need to know who you’re talking to. Do some research on the listeners of the podcast. What value can you provide them?

Read the reviews, listen to a couple of past episodes, check out the social media pages of the podcast. Pay attention to how listeners interact with the podcast’s online presence.

The more you know about the listeners, the better you can answer questions and help to give them what they need.

8. Show up

Don’t forget your podcast date! It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of hosts who get stood up.

Once you’ve arranged a record date, make sure you’re there. Whether you’re attending in person or having a chat via video call, your attendance is crucial!

9. Learn how to introduce yourself on a podcast

A strong introduction to who you are, what you do and how you can help the podcast audience is crucial if you want listeners to keep tuned in.

Don’t ramble; keep it brief and provide a little teaser about why people should keep listening. What experience do you have that can help them? What might they learn from you by listening to the full podcast?

Your intro is the chance to wow the listeners and gives them a reason to stay.

10. Have the right kit

There’s nothing worse than listening to a podcast with terrible audio quality.

Using a good microphone is essential for crisp sound and professional-sounding podcasts. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a mic, but if you want to be a regular guest on podcasts, it’s a good idea to purchase one.

Many podcasts take place via video call these days, so having your own mic in your office should be at the top of your podcast guest checklist.

When it’s time to record, make sure there isn’t any background noise. Close your windows and banish colleagues or family members from the room. Turn off your phone and email, so there are no distractions or notification pings when you’re recording.

Make yourself a makeshift podcast recording studio in your office! You want to make sure there isn’t an eco on the recording, which the hard surface of your desk and walls can cause. Place cushions or towels on the hard surfaces to absorb the echo and make a crisper, richer sound.

Stay hydrated and keep a glass of water with you while recording; you don’t want all that talking to give you a dry mouth! Try to be conscious of the sounds you make with your mouth when recording. No loud swallows and avoid smacking your lips together and the dreaded ‘ummmmmm, ahhhhh’ sounds.

Your host and listeners will appreciate it!

 


 

11. Give the listeners something to take away

Did you know that 3 out of 4 US podcast listeners tune in because they want to learn something new? Give the listeners what they want!

Share some useful tips about your industry, teach something the listeners may not know, make your guest podcasting worth the listeners’ time!

Maybe there’s a tool or framework you use to improve your workflow, or you have a helpful life hack that helps you get more done in a day. Whatever secrets you have to your success, share them! Recommendations and tips will make you and your brand more memorable to listeners.

12. Prepare your call to action

Know your why. Think about the top reasons you want to appear on the podcast. It shouldn’t just be self-promotion. Do you want listeners to sign up to your email list, follow you on social media, buy your course?

If you have a specific call to action listeners can take after the show, it will be easy for them to engage with you. Be clear and concise about what you want listeners to do to become part of your community.

13. Follow up

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

Have your bio prepared and send it over to your host so they can include it in the episode notes.

Keep it short, to the point and include some of your significant achievements. Here’s a great podcast guest bio example:

Podcast bio example

You should also be prepared to share your podcast appearance when it goes live. Some hosts may make 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. You and your colleagues know everything there is to know on being podcast guests.

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.

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

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