If you have a podcast and you bring in guests from time to time (or every time), then you want to make things as easy as possible for your podcast guests. As a podcaster myself and a frequent guest on others’ podcasts, I wanted to jot down a few notes to help you, dear podcaster, make things easier for your guests so that the experience of being on your show is enjoyable and easy for them and so they want to come back.
Vet Your Guests
First, always thoroughly vet your guests. I have never done an interview with someone who I hadn’t thoroughly researched first. Before an interview, I read bios, listen to previous interviews, and look for any information I can find on my guest. Heck, before I even invite anyone to the show, I’ve listened to a few interviews so that I can ensure that they’re a pro and will be a good guest.
As podcasters, we know that some guests are better than others. Even some of the pros are better than others, but not in the ways you’d think. Many pros have “talking points,” and when you listen to their interviews, they all sound the same. That’s when it’s your job to pull something different out of your guest. Ask better, deeper, more thoughtful questions to accomplish this goal.
As a guest, I have a terrible memory and hate talking points, so every one of my interviews is different anyway, but as a host, I always look for what’s not in the book or material, so I can dive deep and get more from my guests.
Whether your guess is a pro or not, some guests will try to use your show as a platform to sell their products or services. In most cases, that’s a big no-no. However, rather than sending your guests a lot of “we like our guests to provide content and information, please don’t sell” rhetoric, vet your guests in advance and you’ll be able to weed out the pitchy guests from the good ones. The most savvy of guests know how to sell through providing rich content that makes your listeners think, “Wow, I want to know more about this person!”—the least savvy (and it’s not always who you’d expect) will litter the interviews with URLs and product placements. Overselling doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t get good content—some of my favorite guests have been unrelenting in their promotions, but have still provided great content.
Don’t Make Your Guests Do A Lot of Work
Your guests are busy people, and you should make everything as easy as possible for them. My assistant has a bio, headshot, and my calendar, so she’s well-equipped with the basics that most podcasters need. However, sometimes a podcast host will send me a long list of questions and requirements that I have to prepare and send back before the show, and that takes time that I often don’t have.
Whenever I’m interviewing a high profile guest, especially a celebrity, I know I can’t ask them to do anything more than showing up for the interview. These are busy people who have a lot going on, and asking them to do a pre-interview or a questionnaire could actually mean that they cancel the interview because it’s simply too much trouble. Always remember that you’re lucky that your guests are giving you their time, and don’t ask them to do a lot of work that you yourself could do with a little bit of research.
Don’t Expect Your Guests to Promote Your Podcast
Speaking of too much trouble…I admit, every time I’m a guest on a show or I get interviewed for an article, we post the links to the show across social media and on our Resources page. But when a host asks me to “promote” the show, I’m never sure exactly what else they think I should be doing.
If I were to “promote” every show I’m a guest on and every article I’m quoted in, that’s all I’d be doing. My audience would be super annoyed, and I wouldn’t have any space to share my own blog posts, podcasts, and the occasional pithy comment.
Build your audience, podcasters. But don’t expect to build them on the backs of your guests, who worked hard to build their audiences. Do great work and exceptional, extraordinary interviews. Have awesome shows that people want to listen to. And stop putting extra demands on your guests, who are already busy people.
Never, EVER Add Your Guests to Your Mailing List
I’ve appeared on a few shows that have added me to their mailing lists after my appearance. In fact, I even saw one podcaster saying that you should set your guests up on a drip campaign to send them “useful information” after they appear on your show.
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