How to Be an Exceptional Podcast Guest
Being a guest on someone else's podcast is a powerful way to grow your credibility, establish your authority, and build your audience.
So how do you become an exceptional podcast guest?
Now I've seen this from both sides of the table. Having been invited as a podcast guest on more than 300 shows – I've seen it all. It takes more than just simply showing up and doing the interview. The better prepared you are, the less stressful it'll be. You want to exude confidence, authority, and knowledge.
To avoid that awkward ‘first date’ feeling, I've created a checklist for you to go over, so you can be ready for your next podcast interview.
Choose The Right Host
In podcasting, relevancy is key. You must assess whether the podcast is relevant to your niche or the audience you wish to target.
If you do health coaching as a side hustle, you probably won't benefit from appearing as a podcast guest on a B2B (business-to-business) show.
If you're only choosing a show based solely on listener numbers or downloads, you'll waste a lot of time appealing to hosts because they won't see you as a good fit. Worse, if you apply and know you don't meet all the show's criteria, you'll leave a bad taste in the host's mouth and likely waste their time.
So what's the solution?
Here's a tip: Start with your favorite podcasts.
That being said, choosing a podcast that aligns with your values is also crucial. Not all podcasts in your niche are the right fit. Some podcasts are too political and may promote values you disagree on.
As the podcast guest, the listeners will naturally believe you agree with its values.
So put on your research cap and look for podcasts in line with your niche where you can give value to everyone!
Have you ever gone to an after-party where you didn't know anyone?
You strain to join in on the conversation, which is at most superficial, and you end the night exhausted and regretting your decision to go in the first place.
It's the same feeling as coming onto a show and knowing nothing about the host.
Before you jump in as a podcast guest, get to know the host and the audience first. They will spot it right away if you're not ‘one of them’. When that happens, you lose the credibility you aim to establish in the first place. You're not just looking for the podcast description – listen for the undertone. Provide the golden nugget of information they might want from you when you come on their show.
Doing your research will get you to understand the exact style of the show you will be appearing on. Understanding this helps you to adjust your tone and deliver what is most likely to resonate with that specific audience. The more you connect with the listeners, the more value you'll give.
So don't take that research cap off just yet!
Follow Their Process
Emailing back and forth to get things arranged is something that nobody enjoys doing.
Remember that your podcast host is a busy business owner just like you. They have outlined the steps for podcast guests to follow because they want to make things simple for you.
They'll probably send you a scheduling tool that automatically adds your interview to their calendar. Whether it's Calendly, You Can Book Me, or Acuity (I use this!), don't hesitate to use it, even if it isn't what you usually use. This is very important as some podcast interviews might be scheduled weeks or months in advance. Following their process will avoid missing the appointment or overlapping schedules on your end. The last thing you want to do is double book yourself or miss the appointment entirely.
The more convenient they make it for you to be on their podcast, the more favorable your relationship will be from the start.
Be Early And Well-Prepared
Arriving early is a great way to communicate to your podcast host that you're an enthusiastic podcast guest. You'll also have more time at your disposal to work through any technological challenges. Additionally, many hosts conduct podcast interviews one after the other, so the window of time you have before your host has to go may be pretty short.
You don't want to be scrambling around hunting for all your things four minutes before the interview and risk missing something. Here are some ways you can be an early and well-prepared podcast guest:
- Double-check the time and date of your podcast interview and mark it on your calendar.
- Set up all of your podcasting equipment hours before the interview. Expect that the podcast host will do an equipment test, too.
- Have an alarm or reminder to go off 20–30 minutes before the scheduled time of the interview. As soon as it goes off, set up your recording gears, check that your audio levels are good, and make sure your audio input and output are correct. If you can't come to the recording for some reason, inform them in advance.
Sound Great To Look Great
Audio is the most crucial element for any podcast.
If your audio quality irritates the eardrums of your listeners, they'll immediately turn the show off. It doesn't matter how interesting or knowledgeable you are. A quality microphone will help you get the most out of being a podcast guest. No need to spend thousands on a microphone, but if you want to be a regular podcast guest, invest in one.
Tip: Practice good mic technique during the podcast interview.
Now most podcasts are mainly in audio format — it doesn't matter if you haven't shaved or done your hair and makeup. For shows like mine, I like getting video snippets to use as shareable social items — so I record my podcasts in videos. If you come to my show without a webcam or a sufficiently good one, I won't be able to use that shareable snippet. Again, research the show first to find out if the host does video or audio (or both).
Even the best technology will pick up ambient sounds, such as a busy open-plan office or a barking dog. You need to find the perfect environment for your recording. Find a quiet area where you can be alone and without distractions. Podcast hosts understand the occasional interruption, but it's pretty disruptive, especially if you're shooting video. Don’t do your shopping or driving around during your interview, either. Always show up looking and sounding professional and focused.
Don't let your interview opportunity go to waste by failing to set yourself up for success.
It's A Conversation, Not A Sales Pitch
As a podcast guest, you might have your own motive for coming on the show. You might want to promote your own business or generally talk about yourself. It's good to mention your product or service a few times during the interview — but not every chance you get. Don't cram your product into the conversation excessively.
Remember, they're trying to achieve a goal by being interviewed on a podcast. It'll make for a bad episode if you go in all ‘guns blazing’. Listen to the questions and respect that they're hosting the show, and you're the podcast guest. You're there to facilitate some thought-provoking answers.
Fully engage and invest in the conversation. To get this, treat your recording session like a coffee date rather than an interview – it will not only relax your nerves but also boost the quality of the conversation and intimacy with your host and their listeners.
Prepare Your Story Library
The power of storytelling is unquestionable. This is why big brands are constantly utilizing them in their creative process. Remember, listeners remember stories! You probably have at least a dozen stories you enjoy telling others. They'll remember what you want them to learn and create a better opinion of you based on how well you connect with them.
Engage the listeners with witty, memorable stories that will stick in their minds. Use these lessons and weave them into your call to action, so the audience walks away with your intended message to them. That's the most effective strategy for giving unforgettable and valuable lessons to your audience.
If you're like me, who has been invited on to many podcasts, you'll fall into the habit of telling the same stories. This can be compelling for new listeners who just tuned in. But coming up with new things to share will make you stand out. Strive to be interesting — it'll make the listeners stay until the end of the episode.
Stick To Your Expertise
Don't pretend to be an expert on a topic and say something dishonest. You know a lot about your field of expertise, but you must be self-aware enough to realize when you don't. Don't be scared to say “I don't know” — provide a source or another expert in the field where the audience can get the answer.
As a podcast guest, your role is to be a guide. You're there to give answers and help the audience achieve something. You can share relevant industry tips, teach something the listeners don't already know, and make your guest podcasting worthwhile for the listeners' time!
Perhaps you use a tool to improve your workflow or have a valuable life hack that lets you get more things done in a day. Whatever success secrets you have, share them! Recommendations and tips will help listeners remember you and build your influence as an authority in your industry.
Now, if you're stumped on how to answer a question, simply redirect. Buy some time to collect your thoughts. You can use responses like, “That's a good question…” You don't need to prove your credibility to be on the podcast. The host already thinks you're meant to be there, so take your time in answering.
Always Thank The Host
You just finished a great podcast interview. You connected with the host and the audience — and it was awesome! Now what?
Thank your host for inviting you to be a podcast guest. They'll tend to ask you back when you give more value. Don't treat it as a transaction; use it as a way to build a connection. Always strive to be an exceptional podcast guest.
Aside from saying thank you to the host right after the show, here are other ways for you to express your gratitude:
- Leave a review on the podcast. Podcast hosts listen for their names. They look for ratings and reviews. If you leave one, they'll remember you.
- Give them a social media shout-out. This will come easy for you if you have already connected with them before the interview. It can be a video or a mention of your great experience on the show. Don’t forget to tag them!
- Send them a text. If you have their phone number – shoot them a message. It leaves the door open for the connection to grow into a fabulous relationship.
Promote The Show
If you've taken the time to be a podcast guest, it only makes sense to promote it as much as possible.
Most hosts will appreciate it if you help them spread their content by sharing the interview on your own channels. Some hosts may even provide you with video snippets (like I do) to promote the episode on social media; if they do, use them! Podcast hosts put in a lot of effort to put together their shows, from selecting guests and conversation topics to writing show notes and preparing promotional material. They'll be immensely grateful if you help them out in this way.
It's a lot of fun to be a podcast guest, isn’t it? You'll love the fantastic conversations you'll have with the hosts you meet and talk to. Go through this blog post again and again as you hone your skills and build the confidence you need to be an exceptional podcast guest. Always take every opportunity to appear on podcasts that are a good fit for your niche and target audience.
More Resources from UpMyInfluence: