How to Be a Great Podcast Guest
Getting a spot as a guest on a podcast outside of your own show is a great opportunity to get exposure to new listeners.
If you have a guest interview coming up, don't overlook preparing for your appearance. Even if you’re simply going to be asked about things you already know or are an expert in, every guest appearance requires prep. There are more than 700,000 podcasts out there in English, and every one of them might require different prep work.
Many podcasts rely on an interview format and the first thing you can do to prepare is to listen.
It’s a good idea to listen to a minimum of two episodes of the podcast you’ll be appearing on. You’ll get an idea of the rhythm, the style, and the cadence of the podcast and its host. This alone can tell you a wealth of information about what to expect. This also provides you a heads up of what kind of tone to take yourself, whether it’s uber-professional or a little more laid-back.
Get Ready to Guest Star
Listening to a podcast will let you know if there are any recurring “bits” that the show uses. For example, some podcasters might ask the same set of questions to every single guest. Others might have advertising segments that the guest might participate in.
Even if you aren’t expected to participate in set segments, it helps to prepare for your own episode. The fewer surprises for the guest, the better.
Another way to get a feel for the podcast is to check out the reviews. Some of the best places to find these are on iTunes or Chartable.
Rather than seeing exactly how many stars the podcast got, use this as a way to gauge the audience. What are some recurring themes that they like or don’t like about the show? What do they want to see more of? What do they wish was there that you can provide?
Maximize Your Time as a Guest
As you listen to a few episodes and take a look at the reviews, write down a profile of who the typical listener is. Why do they listen to this particular podcast instead of the hundreds of thousands of others out there? This will help in the preparation of at least three stories that you can have at the ready.
This is what hosts are really looking for—stories that engage. Storytelling is a natural part of the human spirit, but that doesn’t mean it naturally comes easy to everyone. Choose and craft stories that are true, relevant, and have the basic arc of a beginning, middle (climax), and end.
Of course, if the host provides podcasting prep, do it! This might be a pre-show questionnaire or a pre-interview with producers. Make sure to do everything that’s asked in a timely manner and put just as much effort into the requisite prep work as the episode itself.
It will help the producers and host optimize the interview and sets you up for a good relationship beforehand. There’s nothing worse than a podcast that’s ill-prepared and in an already hostile environment thanks to someone not doing their tasks.
During the Podcast
Now that you’ve done your prep work, are there any last-minute tips to make the show go as smooth as possible? Yes!
Focus on keeping your answers concise. Most shows are under one hour and there needs to be time for those stories you prepped.
Also, use your host’s name. This helps to warm up the relationship and make the podcast sound more conversational. If you can, refer to previous episodes (the host will love you!) and have a final, short call to action for the listeners including where they can find you and contact you.