Hosting a podcast is great. You get to spend time with amazing people every single week. It builds audience, authority and trust like little else. But for a lot of people hosting their own podcast might be biting off a little much.
If that sounds like you then maybe showing up as a guest on some of your favourite podcasts would be a better route to building your profile online. If this sounds like you then stick around and I’ll tell you how to get on podcasts and how to be a great guest.
Podcasts are everywhere. If you don’t listen to podcasts then think of them as very niche radio shows. You’ll find them in specific podcast player apps for mobile, in Spotify or in the Apple podcasts app on your phone, tablet or mobile.
They’re listened to by people who really love the topics they listen to. I listen to lots of podcasts on all kinds of I love them because they go deep into the topics which I want to know more about.
The vast majority of podcasts are conversation based. Normally with a host and a range of guest experts. Hosts are always looking for new guests and for some you might be just the expert they’re looking for.
Being a podcast guest is a great way to build your personal brand online. Each episode you appear on will be around for a very long time with new listeners downloading and listening every single day. They are evergreen and often the number of listeners will climb over time.
The podcast host will have a lot of credibility with thier audience so by showing up as a guest you get to borrow some of that credibility. This is a real help if you’re feeling insecure.
Another really powerful benefit of being a podcast gusts is the long term SEO benefit. Each time you appear as a guest, the host will create a web page for your episode which will normally link back to your website. Ask anyone how to improve your SEO and they’ll tell you high quality back links are golden.
Lastly, the hosts do the work. You don’t have to write, film, edit or even get dressed if you don’t want to. It’s normally audio only which takes a lot of pressure off for most people.
So – Now you want to be a podcast guest – what’s it going to take to make it happen?
There are a lot of agencies out there who will set you up with podcasters but if you want my opinion – you should avoid them. I get approached by these companies every single day and in the last year have only accepted two guests from them. You might wonder why. It’s because if you can’t be bothered contacting me yourself then you’re not into my show.
I’m going to focus on two key areas next. Firstly how to become a podcast guest and secondly what to do when the hosts says yes. If you pick the right shows this will happen sooner than you think.
Securing a spot.
1 – Create a media CV or ‘One Sheet’.
This is a simple one page document outlining who you are, what you do, where your expertise are, the topics you like to speak about and some key areas which make you stand out. It can also include links to previous interviews or other media. I’ve included my own and bunch that I’ve been sent over the last year which you can download as an example.
The one sheet or media cv makes it very easy for the guest to see where you migt fit in and how they might shape an interview. Think of it as a really simple map to who you are and what you’re about.
2 – Make a list. Like any sales job you need a big list of prospects and a plan for you you’re going to approach them. But before all this – pick a few and listen to a few episodes of each. You’ll need at least a fleeting familiarity with the show before you try and connect.
3 – The approach. Most of my guests are drawn from my own network. Other hosts are just the same. If that sounds intimidating then it shouldn’t be. Becoming part of my network is easy. Connect with me on social media, hang out and chat a bit. Now you’re part of my network. Other hosts are no different.
If you want to be on someones show then first off, look on the hosts website and see if they have a preferred way of being approached. They might have a form or survey to complete. If they don’t then send them a short message asking if they think you might be a good fit.
Remember what I said about getting emails every day from agencies. You need to cut through this which is why it’s important you listen to a little of their shows. If your message looks to me like you cut and paste it then I’ll delete it without even thinking about it. Guard against this with some detail – but not too much. Keep it short and don’t be pushy. If you don’t hear back then feel free to drop a couple of reminders. If nothing happens then move on.
So you got your first yes. For many this is some scary stuff. I’m a confident host but even I get nervous before interviews. Here are my tips for making sure things go as well as possible.
1 – Remember it’s the hosts job to be in the driving seat. You take your lead from them. They’ll take care of you, that’s why they’re called the host.
2 – Make sure you have headphones. Some hosts are particular about this. Podcasts are recorded on multiple tracks, one for each person. If you don’t use headphones your audio can bleed over onto another track. Better safe than sorry, so make sure you have some. Even ear buds are fine.
3 – Have a decent microphone. If being podcast guest is something you’ve decided matters for you then spending a small amount of money on a micorphone is a good idea. The mic I use for my podcast only cost £50. ( Marantz Pro MPM1000U ).
Different mics work in different ways to read the manual and get used to getting the best sound from it.
4 – Prepare your environment. Turn off mobile notifications and your ring tone and put your phone somewhere you can’t see it. Switching to vibrate is not enough. Turn that off too. If you’re new at podcasts then a client call flashing up when you’re talking could really throw you off your stride.
Let anyone else in your environment know that your being interviewed and to keep the noise down where possible. Work with your host to find a time when you know you’re unlikely to be disturbed.
Don’t go nuts about soundproofing, trying things like climbiing into cupboards. Just avoid loud fans, traffic noise, rattling cables, construction noise and so on.
5 – Take some time to plan out talking points. Don’t come with a script or an agenda but do have a list of places you could go with a conversation. Over time you might have a list of stories or anecdotes which you can turn to but start simple. Once you’ve got it you can relax and let the host sit in the driving seat, knowing that if they ask you to take the wheel you have a couple of destinations you can turn to.
6 – Don’t try and pitch or worry that you need listeners to understand ‘everything’. Just let them meet you and focus on a couple of key points. Have one clear focus or goal for the interview.
7 – Don’t try to be bulletproof. Yes – being interviewed as an ‘expert’ but nobody expects you to know ‘everything’. A little vulnerability will go a long way towards building rapport with your audience.
8 – Have one clear goal and call to action for the interview. Most hosts will ask you something like ‘what are you promoting right now’ or ‘what action would you like this listnener to take next’. Be ready for this witha single call to action. Send them to one lead magent and one social media account. That’s it. The more you ask the less people will do.
9 – After the interview ask for feedback and for bonus points, ask for a referral. Most podcast hosts are connected to lots of other podcast hosts and we share great guests a lot.
Being a great podcast guest is easy. The tech boils down to a decent mic and some headphones. The rest is this simple. Make sure that you focus on the value for the audience – not on the value for you.
I’d love to know what action you’re planning to take or which part of being a podcast guest makes you most nervous. Let me know in the comments.