Tips for Being a Great Podcast Guest

If you’re not ready to start a podcast for your company, a good way to test the podcasting waters is to have your leaders be guests on other podcasts.

In this article we’ll cover the following:

  • The value of guesting on other podcasts
  • Finding and pitching the right podcasts 
  • Preparing to be a podcast guest
  • Entertaining the audience
  • Promoting your episode
  • The downside to podcast guesting

The Value of Guesting on Other Podcasts

The value of being a podcast guest breaks down into a few basic elements:

  1. Guesting on established shows gets your leaders in front of a ready-made audience that’s keen to learn about the very things your leaders are passionate about and highly qualified to opine on. 
  1. According to a Buzzsprout study, 80% of podcast listeners listen to all or most of the podcast episodes they start. So, when your leaders are guests on podcasts, they’ll have the undivided attention of an audience eager to hear from them, and they’ll listen the whole way through.
  1. Guesting on other podcasts is arguably easier than starting and hosting a podcast. True, being a podcast guest doesn’t provide the same level of consistency in reaching your audience and offers less control over topics and the tone of conversation. But being a podcast guest does give your leaders a taste of what the process is like and might help give you a better understanding of whether a podcast may eventually be a good fit for your organization.

Finding and Pitching the Right Podcasts

Although guesting on other podcasts is simpler than starting a podcast, getting booked on the right shows still takes time, effort, and strategy. So, it’s important to make sure that your leaders are getting booked on shows that make sense and that will offer the most value. Here’s how to make that happen:

  1. Research shows in your industry and look for ones whose focus seems like a good match for what your leaders are best qualified to talk about. For example, if your company specializes in enabling other businesses to better analyze customer data in order to create better customer experiences, you’ll want to look for shows using keywords like “customer data”, “data analysis”, “customer experience,” and others in that vein. 

  2. Once you’ve turned up a bunch of shows, read the show descriptions and episode titles and descriptions and listen to a few episodes to get a better sense of what the shows are about and whether they’re a good fit for your leaders. Reading show titles alone usually isn’t enough, because, for example, a podcast titled “The Customer Data Show” may sound perfect, but you need to make sure that it doesn’t focus too narrowly on an aspect of customer data that your leaders aren’t really a good fit for. 

  3. Don’t worry too much about audience size. Ideally, you want to get bookings on shows with the largest audiences, but it can be hard to get that information. One method is to look at how many ratings and reviews a show has gotten. Generally speaking, the more reviews and ratings, the larger the audience. You can also simply ask the show’s host and/or producer about their audience, but there’s no way to verify their response. Bottom line, at least starting out, don’t fixate on audience size. Just concentrate on finding shows that fit your leaders’ expertise.

  1. Once you’ve found shows that fit the bill, the next stop is getting your leadership booked  on those shows. Here’s how to make that happen: Go to the website for a podcast you want to get your leaders booked on, learn about the host(s), and reach out to them directly through the website, on LinkedIn, or by email.

    Keep your note short and to the point. The hosts of the shows you’re trying to get booked on will want to know what qualifies your leaders to be guests, so provide that information up front. But don’t go on and on about what an amazing thought leader and innovator your CEO is, because the podcast host won’t bother reading through a long email. Instead, highlight their qualifications as subject matter experts using bullet points or a few short sentences. If your CEO has been on other podcasts, provide links to those episodes. And let the host know how you plan to promote the episode. Finally, provide some dates when your CEO is available to record.

Preparing to Be a Podcast Guest

The more prepared your leaders are to be guests, the better the interview will go. But that doesn’t mean having to spend lots of time preparing answers to probable questions or memorizing a bunch of facts and figures. It mostly means having a clear understanding of the topic of discussion and how the host plans to approach the subject.

The easiest way to do that is to have a short prep call with the host. Many hosts will suggest or even require a prep call, but if they don’t, suggest scheduling one. A good host will use the prep call to get your take on the topic and work with you to frame the discussion according to the guest’s interests and expertise. 

A good host will also offer to send questions a day or two before the recording. If the host doesn’t offer this, ask for it. Having questions ahead of time allows guests to have a clear sense of how the conversation will unfold and gives the guest time to think about how to frame their answers. 

A word of caution: don’t over-prepare by writing out answers or making copious notes. Podcast interviews tend to work best when both host and guest are prepared but also spontaneous and “in the moment.” Trying to read prepared answers will make you sound stiff and wooden. Instead, guests should rely on their experience and expertise and simply engage in the conversation.

Entertaining the Audience

A podcast guest’s job is to be informative, of course. But the best guests are also entertaining and bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the recording. 

The most effective way to be entertaining is to share personal anecdotes and examples. So, it’s a good idea to have a few anecdotes ready, based on what you know the host is going to ask about. 

It’s also important to approach the recording with a spirit of fun and adventure. If the host strays from the scripted questions, be willing to roll with it and see what happens. And don’t try to play it too safe. Share your opinions and beliefs with conviction, even if they may be controversial. Podcast hosts really value guests who are not afraid to say what they mean, especially when what they say contradicts conventional wisdom.

Promoting the Episode

It’s to your benefit, and to the show’s benefit, to have a plan in place to promote the episode your CEO or other leaders appear on. Once the episode has been published, make sure the host sends links to everywhere the episode appears and is being promoted, and then share those links with your audience through your own channels. If the show records video and promotes episodes using video clips, be sure to like and share the posts. You might also consider asking for the video file so you can’t post it yourself.

The Downside to Podcast Guesting

The only real downside to being a guest on a podcast before you start a podcast of your own is missing out on the opportunity to promote your show. You still get a lot of value from guesting, even if you don’t have your own show. But because getting in front of audiences that are a good fit for your show is one of the best ways to promote your podcast, guesting on other shows without having your own show is a bit of a wasted opportunity. 

Also, don’t underestimate the time and effort it takes to get your leaders booked on podcasts. The most popular shows are already inundated with booking requests, so getting on those podcasts takes extra time and persistence. Even shows that are relatively new require a not insignificant amount of emailing and scheduling.

Finally, where guesting on a show is a one-off experience, hosting your own show provides endless opportunities to talk to guests of your choosing about things that matter most to you and to your audience. And once you have your own show up and running, you can still pursue guesting opportunities on other shows.

If you’re interested in exploring podcasting, contact Connversa for a free consultation.

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