A guest appearance on a podcast is a highly effective way to grow your brand, assert your expertise and share your big ideas. Whether you’re launching a book, starting a business, producing a seminar, advocating for a cause, or simply marketing your products or services, a podcast interview can get the right people to pay attention.
There are more than four million podcasts currently on Spotify and Apple, the two most popular platforms in 2022. Close to 30 percent of Americans (80 million) are weekly podcast listeners. If you know how to match your message to the right podcast audience, you can reach a targeted community and establish authentic connections with the power of your voice.
You may be skilled at conventional media interviews, but do you know the right way to show up on a podcast? Do you know the nuances of this medium that you need to master to get the results you seek?
Here are 13 ways to be the perfect guest and rock the podcast every time.
1. Define your key takeaway and desired outcome. Are you promoting enlightened public speaking? Do you advocate for early childhood education? Are you promoting a book on gender-based ageism? What’s the big idea that you want your audience to remember? Write it down, refer to it as often as possible like the mantra of the interview. This message may well become the soundbite the producers use to promote the episode.
2. Listen to a few recent episodes. As you would prepare for any media interview, research the podcast, the host, listen to recent episodes, and read the show notes. Observe the host’s style of questioning. Does the host interrupt often, manage the flow effectively or let guests ramble on?
3. Be of service to the podcast audience. Why should they listen to your interview? How can you match your goals for being on the podcast with the audience’s interest in your topic? Research the unifying thread of the podcast and tailor your remarks accordingly.
4. Prepare your talking points in advance. You don’t want to sound scripted, but you need to know what you’re going to talk about. You may be representing your company or brand with a specific outcome in mind. You may be promoting a new book or an online course. Make sure you cover the points likely to generate the response you’d like to see while staying relevant to the podcast theme and topic.
5. Offer to supply questions to the host. Many hosts won’t know your subject matter as well as you and would appreciate some questions and background information to get them started. They or their producers may ask for some questions to help shape the interview. Even if they don’t ask, provide them anyway as these will become useful references and make their work easier.
6. Submit a brief bio and a professional headshot. In fact, you may want to provide two bios—one to promote the episode and another to help the host introduce you properly. Make the introduction bio brief and snappy with only the details that listeners need to know to bring context to the interview. A current professional headshot will go a long way to promote your participation.
7. Look your best. Increasingly, podcasts are recorded on both video and audio. Still photos or screenshots from the interview may also be used to promote the episode or illustrate the show notes. Dress for success and be thoughtful about your appearance.
8. Set yourself up for success. Ensure you have a quiet place from which to do the interview. If your workplace isn’t quiet, do it from home or another place where you won’t be interrupted by outside noises. Make sure your Internet is solid. The best connections are wired (ethernet) but if you’re on Wi-Fi be sure you have a great signal.
9. Invest in a high-quality microphone. Professional sound is extremely important to a successful podcast. Don’t skimp on your equipment. I recently upgraded to an Audio-Technica PRO 37 cardioid condenser mic (under $200). I find it makes even laptop-based video conferences sound great, so it’s not just an investment in podcasts. It’s critical to sound good on a podcast so don’t underestimate your audio gear.
10. Speak as if you were live. That is, don’t rely on the host/producer to edit out your crutch phrases (“you know”) and filler words (“um, ah”). Make your speech impeccable so that you sound coherent, smart, and organized. However, if you make an innocent mistake, like giving an incorrect statistic, don’t be afraid to stop and ask for a do-over.
11. Allow a few seconds of dead air after you speak. Leave a bit of dead air between the host’s question and your answer to allow for any editing that may be required. Don’t step over the host when you speak. Keep your statements compact and self-contained.
12. Hydrate before and during the interview. Your voice will sound a better if you avoid coffee and dairy for about an hour before the interview, like you would for a conventional speaking gig. Make sure you’re well hydrated to avoid the sound of cottonmouth.
13. Relax and treat it like a conversation. If you’re nervous or too concerned with delivering sound bites, you’ll sound robotic. The podcast format is less formal than a broadcast interview with journalists. Have fun with it. A relaxed tone in your voice will make listeners want to stay with you the whole distance. Being a podcast guest is a great way to get your thought leadership out in a powerful medium with limitless replays and a dedicated audience. Add these podcast-specific techniques to your speaker’s toolbox and you will become a sought-after guest.
P.S. Do you have a podcast interview coming up? I can help you prepare and practice to be the perfect guest and rock the mic every time. Contact me.