My love of podcasts started when I began a new job that came with a 3 hour daily commute on public transport. They were a way to switch off from the world, block out all the noise and be informed or entertained, depending on my mood.
This love has grown exponentially during lockdown. I would head out of the house for my permitted hour of exercise with my headphones in and someone talking away in my ears. Bliss.
Since starting my own business, I have found that being a guest on podcasts is a great way to share my expertise and spread the message about what I do and how I help people.
Have you ever been a guest on a podcast? Is this something you are thinking about in the future? Maybe you already have a podcast and your invited guests are not quite stepping up to the mark in terms of their responsibilities.
If someone is sharing their platform and audience with you and inviting you into their world (remember, as a guest, you are stepping into THEIR world — not the other way around!) the least that you can do is be the best possible guest.
So here are you my 5 golden rules for being a great podcast guest, let me know in the comments if you have any other rules that work for you.
Rule #1 — Find Your Tribe
If you are a fan of a podcast or you know a host, then by all means reach out and offer to be a guest (just make sure that you are a good match before you do!).
There are a host of podcast matching services available for free, all of which have the option for you to upgrade to a premium version to access even more services. I stick with the free option, which does limit the number of requests that I can send each week, this is more than sufficient for my needs.
Make sure that you have a complete profile, including all of your social links and start sending your requests to be a guest.
Rule #2 — Understand the Audience
This is an easy one, if you have done your research and reached out to those podcasts that would be a match to your expertise.
The audience should be front of mind when you are a guest on a podcast. Are they graduates leaving university to enter the world of work? Or are they women in financial services who are looking to step up to the next level in their career?
I could be talking to both these audiences about CVs or how to leverage their LinkedIn profile but my message will have a slightly different emphasis. Tailor your answers accordingly.
Rule #3 — A Pre-meet is Essential
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Maybe it’s the actress in me that likes to work with a script, I find that it is essential for host and guest to meet beforehand to discuss the episode and to ‘contract’ on a variety of items such as what questions will be asked, the duration of the recording, subjects to avoid, points of emphasis etc.
I also like to confirm who the audience is and where in the world they are based (see rule #2) so that I can tailor my answers accordingly.
I also like to check on the host’s view of swearing. Not that I am planning to drop an “F-Bomb”, but you never know. If I am getting on my soapbox about something, the passion can take over. If swearing is an absolute “NO”, I will be on my best behaviour.
As a guest, this is not your show, you should adapt to the host’s way of doing something. If your host just wants to meet and hit record because this is the vibe of the show, you can decide if this is the type of show you would like to be on. If you are unsure, have a listen to a few episodes before you agree to be a guest.
Rule #4 — Get Ready to Record
Show up ready to go.
Here is my checklist for the day:
- Show up on time. Check that you have the correct link to whatever recording software the host is using. I’ve recorded podcasts and guest slots using Zoom, eCamm, Anchor FM, Zencastr and I always log in at least 5 minutes early.
- Phone off, not on vibrate — OFF!
- Print out the questions (great hosts will always send you these before the recording). Even better, put the questions and any notes onto cards, cards don’t make a rustling noise like paper does!
- Make notes for your answers. Let’s make the host’s job as easy as possible and avoid lots of uummms and aaahhhs while we try and remember what our answer was going to be. Think of these as an aide memoire or a prompt rather than an essay.
- Headphones in. I always wear my in-ear headphones (Sennheiser, if you are interested) which help me to block out external noise help me to be 100% focussed on the conversation.
- Microphone on. If you want to get serious as a podcast guest, I strongly advise you to invest in a professional grade microphone (this is the one I use), some hosts insist on it. This will add clarity to your voice and therefore your message. Again, consider your audience, if they are listening to your podcast whilst they are out and about, they want to enjoy the best possible listening experience.
- Camera on or off. This will be discussed as part of your pre-meet. I have been on video as well because the host was going to convert the podcast into video snippets. On other occasions, hosts have requested cameras off due to bandwidth limitations. If you are cameras on, make sure you have a good one, I have just invested in a new webcam which has enhanced my video, check it out.
Rule #5 — Promote, Promote, Promote
Once the recording is complete, it is the host that goes away and does all the hard work in the editing studio. You are not off the hook, there is still work for you to do.
If someone has invited you onto their podcast and you get to publicise your business and what you do, it is your responsibility to step up and play your part in sharing the episode across all of your social media, your email list and your website.
I have a checklist of places where I share each and every podcast I have ever been a guest on. This includes my LinkedIn profile and business page, Facebook profile and business page, Pinterest Page, Google My Business and many more. I also have a page on my website that links to all my previous media appearances, including podcasts.
You owe it to the host to share that podcast far and wide.
Whenever your host tags you in, like comment and share THEIR post across your social media as well. Remember, not everyone in your network will see every single post you put out, so get out of your own way and start to share it.
Over to you
Have you ever been a guest on a podcast? How did you find the experience? What golden rules do you follow to make the experience a great one for both you and your host? Please do share in the comments below.
Jane began training as a coach with Ashridge Business School in 2011, while working as an HR Business Partner at British Airways. After experiencing redundancy twice in one year, she set up a Career Coaching business and now helps high potential leaders who are frustrated with their lack of career progression to secure their next role by navigating the hidden job market. She has held a variety of Senior HR positions, most recently as Head of Training roles in an SME and Head of Talent at British Airways.
If you would like to work with Jane on a 1:1 basis then her 10 Week VIP Career Coaching Programme could be just the thing for you. Click here for the full details, please get in touch via LinkedIN if you are up for the challenge.