This is the follow up post to How To Be a Great Podcast Host. While there are many of you who are looking to start a podcast, I think there are a larger number of you who would prefer to be only be a guest. And that’s perfectly fine. In all honesty, starting a podcast is relatively easy – I think it’s putting in the time and dedication to be consistent, can be tough. Especially if you are doing it solo.
I’m sharing what I think can be helpful on how to not just be a good podcast guest, but how to be a GREAT (think Tony the Tiger) one. Implementing these tips can go a long way. It can make the podcast’s host job a bit easier and make the podcast interview experience more enjoyable overall.
1. Do A Bit of Research Prior To The Interview
Try listening to the first few episodes to get a sense of what the interview would be like. Or check out their podcast page and social media profiles. This can help with the initial conversation prior to the actual recording and is a great way to score brownie points with the host.
2. Asking For Stats Prior To Recording Is a Bit of a Turn-Off
It is for me and for many podcasters. I know, because I asked in a couple of Podcast FB Groups and the majority of responses were asking for stats is somewhat of a faux-pas -Especially if you’re the one asking to be on the podcast. A few hosts thought it was acceptable if you were the host and were asking the guest to be on the show.
As a guest, I have NEVER asked about stats. That was never a factor that determined if I would move forward. I was always honoured if someone asked me to be on their show. Reasons why I wouldn’t proceed with the interview were more so having to do with scheduling and/or the podcast ‘s audience/niche not being a good fit.
It’s important to note that the stats can also vary between episodes. The guest shouldn’t expect that the host is the only one promoting the episode. Ideally, it should be a two-way street.
A couple of exceptions where I can see the stats request being appropriate would include if this person is a very famous/high-profile guest (I feel they’ve earned their right to do that) or if the potential guest is looking to pay for advertising within the episode.
3. Fill Out The Requested Info Form If There Is One Provided
This can vary between podcasts. Some podcast hosts provide questions beforehand whereas others prefer to have more of an unstructured conversation. I usually have my guests fill out a form where they can suggest potential talking points, things they would like to promote and also topics they would like to stay away from.
Filling out this form can help guide the conversation and help the host come up with questions to ask.
There have been a few requests to provide questions beforehand and I am more than happy to do so. I can understand that the guest would like to review the questions and have some time to think about their responses beforehand.
4. Try Your Best To Create A Quiet Recording Environment
I know that with working from home and everyone else being at home, it can be a bit of a challenge, but here are few tips:
- Inform the people you live with ahead of time that you have a podcast recording coming up so you can plan accordingly/make any arrangements.
- Wear headphones (or ear buds) -For several reasons – this can improve your mic technique and help to isolate noise.
- Find a quiet space, turn off fans if possible .
- Put your phone on silent, turn off notifications. Or better yet, keep the phone out of sight so you can focus on the interview.
5. Respect Their Time
My advice is to treat the recording like a job interview. Try your best to be on time and give them a heads up if you need to reschedule. Even letting them know you are running late makes a big difference. Remember, you are both setting aside time outside of your busy schedule.
6. Be Flexible If The Interview Needs To Be Re- Recorded
The podcast host does their best to make sure everything is ready and good to beforehand, but let’s be honest, sometimes Murphy’s Law rears its ugly head. Whether it’s the internet, your equipment, the recording platform you’re using or other factors that are beyond either of your control, try to be flexible. The host wants to ensure the episode is of decent listening quality, so if they need to make that executive call to start over or re-schedule, please respect that.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Pause and Take Your Time With Your Responses
I like to ask questions that make my guests think. Therefore, it’s ok to pause and think about how you’re going to answer the question. The episode isn’t live. It’s not a game show. The silence, um’s and stumbles can all be edited out.
8. Inform Them Of Edits ASAP
If you’ve ever produced a podcast episode, you’ll know that it takes a significant amount of time, much more compared to editing and publishing a blog post. Other podcast hosts might have a different approach, but I listen to the episode several times.
I listen to the episode a couple of times to make sure everything sounds ok and for potential sound bites. The next time I listen is for editing purposes. Finally, I have another full listen before I publish, in case there is anything I didn’t catch the first time around.
With that being said, I mention to guests prior AND after recording to let me know if there’s anything that should be edited out. If not right after recording, then a few days afterwards is fine.
While there can be exceptions (this is a case-by-case scenario), for the sake of time and effort , I do not provide an edited version for them to review. This is pretty common with podcast hosts. The reason being you’re putting your trust in the host to maintain the integrity of the conversation. This ties back into the first piece of advice: do your research. While it can be exciting when someone asks you to be a guest on their podcast (especially if it is your very first one), listen to a few episodes to make sure it is a good fit.
9. Have a Media Page On Your Site
Having a media page on your site enables the podcast host to check out how you’ve interviewed on other podcasts or talk shows. Some prospective guests have even sent me a one page document that stated things such as which podcasts they have been on and potential talking points.
10. Promote The Episode!!!
This may seem like a no-brainer but there have been a few instances where guests have not promoted the episode without giving a reason why. To me, this defeats the purpose of the interview. I see it as a cross-collaboration. I’m sharing the episode with my network and vice-versa, hence we each get exposure to a new and different audience.
I’ve appreciated it when the podcast host provides links to where the podcast can be heard and images that can be used. Preparing the marketing assets is additional work on top of producing the episode. So, if you are happy and satisfied with the finish product, please promote the episode (not too long after the episode is published) and tag the podcast on social media so they can like and/or re-share.
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