Nine Tips for Being A Good Podcast Guest

Woman with headphones on computer

The growing popularity of podcasting is good news for changemakers. Interview shows rank among the most popular podcast formats. And that means hosts, especially those who produce weekly or even daily programs, need guests with interesting stories to share.

Once you get invited to be a guest on a podcast, how do you make the most of this opportunity? Here are nine tips we share with our clients at Prichard before they get behind a podcast mic.

Do Your Homework

As with any media opportunity, you need to prepare in advance. Listen to one or more episodes or read notes from past shows before your interview. You’ll be a much better guest — and make your points most effectively — if you know the show’s format, who listens, and what the audience cares about.

Leave a Review on iTunes

Many podcasts have dozens, even hundreds of guests in a year. If you want to catch the attention of a host before your interview, post a short review about the show on iTunes. But don’t stop there. Email a screenshot of your review to the host.

Reviews help programs move up the Apple rankings. And that means more listeners and downloads. Hosts know this and will be grateful that you took the time to rate and review the show. It also signals that you are preparing for your interview.

Know What You Want to Say

Some hosts provide questions that they ask all guests. These questions might be general or about specific things like your favorite book, quotations or people who inspire you. Study and prepare your answers before the show. This will help you better understand the needs of the audience. And it will help you focus during the interview.

Think ahead of time about what you want to say. As you would before a call with a reporter, write down and practice your talking points. Don’t wing it. If you do, you will come across as unprepared and you won’t get your message across.

Use the Right Gear

Your equipment can make a big difference in how you sound. Most hosts will ask you to use Skype, Zoom or another Internet-based network to record the show.

If you want to sound your best, plug your smartphone earbuds into your computer — or even better — a headset with a microphone. Talking via a cell phone, laptop microphone or a conference room speakerphone adds lots of static and other unnecessary noise to the call. And that will distract listeners from your message and disappoint your host.

Sit in A Quiet Place

No host wants to hear sirens and other traffic sounds, your office mate’s phone call or the crank of an espresso machine. Do your interview in a quiet room with a closed door and windows. Don’t call from your car, cubicle or local coffee shop.

Once you pick your location, place a sign on the door telling people not to enter. Unplug your phone and close out all your computer tabs so you don’t get calls or email alerts while you record. And make sure you turn off the room’s air conditioner or heating vent.

Show Up Early and Stay Late

You don’t want to rush through your conversation. That makes it harder for you to get your message across. And it will lead to a less engaged host. You also need to allow for unexpected technical problems.

Give yourself plenty of time. Tell your host via email or text five minutes before your appointment begins that you’re ready to start. And don’t schedule another meeting right afterwards. Sometimes interviews run long, especially if you and the host click and have a great conversation.

Pay Attention to How You Say It

During your interview, don’t do things that distract listeners. Common mistakes include tapping on the table when making your point, shuffling your notes and shifting in your chair. Other common errors are moving in and out of the range of your microphone, andallowing the mic with your earbuds to brush against your clothing.

Limit your answers to one or two minutes and avoid monologues. It’s okay to have notes, but don’t read scripted answers. Keep the interview conversational. Yes, cite a statistic or two. But don’t rely on numbers alone. Nothing sticks in a listener’s mind like a story. So have an anecdote or two ready to make your point.

Say Thank You

Take a moment after the interview ends to send a thank you note to the host. An email is good, a handwritten note even better. The host will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and it will help you build and grow your professional relationship.

Connect and Stay in Touch

Being a guest on a podcast gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with an influencer in your field. Look for ways to keep your ties going long after your interview ends.

Send your host an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, and follow and share the content the host publishes on Twitter and other social channels both before and after you appear on the show. And don’t forget to promote your interview on your own social channels. Doing these things will create good will and lead to lasting ties that can benefit all parties.

 

Have you been a guest on podcast? Share your best tips in the comments below.

Is your social change organization thinking about starting a podcast? Check out this three-part series from the Prichard blog about how to do it right from the start.

Mac Prichard

Mac started Prichard Communications in 2007 to serve nonprofits, foundations and public agencies after a long career working in the public and nonprofit sectors and with elected officials. Mac lives in Portland’s Ladd’s Addition where he is often spotted taking Instagram photos while walking his dog Kai, a Weimaraner.

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