The other day, I wrote a blog post about how to be a good podcast host. But it goes both ways, so today I’m taking the other side and sharing my thoughts on how to be a good podcast guest.
Find the Right Venues
There are thousands of podcasts out there. If you’re pitching yourself to appear on podcasts, make sure you’re pitching the right shows. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. There are plenty of podcasts for you to appear on and you want to find the people who are interested in what you have to say.
As for how to pitch, well, that’s a topic for another day (it’s too big to fit into this post) but suffice to say, no matter how well-known you are or how amazing you are at what you do, always pitch with the mindset that you have to show them why you’d be an awesome guest that their audience would enjoy…not why you’re doing them a favor.
Want to be set apart from other guests immediately? Be a professional and handle each interview like it’s the most important interview you’ve ever done. Be prepared to give your best to every show—whether it’s one that has hundreds of thousands of listeners or just a few.
Podcasts (and terrestrial radio now falls into this category as well, as more and more shows are posted online) are online…forever. The last thing you want is to give a bad interview and then find it’s still haunting you, ten years later.
Reply to emails
Start off on the right foot by replying to emails quickly and politely. Make it easy for your podcast host by making scheduling easy, and have a standard bio and headshot that you can send over on request. If you’re not great at follow-through, hire an assistant who can help you (this is a perfect task for a virtual assistant who only works for you a few hours a week!)
Ensure your technology works properly
Before the interview, check all of your technology to make sure it’s working properly. Avoid bad internet connections and mobile phone connections. Landlines are still the most effective and reliable way to call in, but if you’re using Skype, just make sure you’re on a good connection.
Show up on time
Never be late for an interview, even if it’s being recorded. I try to be a couple of minutes early whenever possible. Never, ever, ever be late.
Be ready to talk
Show up for the interview ready to deliver. Be prepared and know enough about the show you’re appearing on to know what they expect. Whenever I can, I try to listen to at least one episode or parts of a few episodes of most of the shows I’m on so I know the rhythm and style of the interviewer.
Deliver Awesome Content
Let’s be honest- you’re not appearing on podcasts just for fun. You want to increase visibility! You want the listeners to want to know more about you and hear more from you! You want them to go to your web site!
Well, if you want that, then you’d better be awesome and deliver awesome content.
Know your content inside out
I’ve done over sixty interviews in the last year or two, and these days, interviews just don’t make me nervous, because I know what to expect and I know my content really well. But the first time I was interviewed, I was very nervous, so I had a lot of notes!
There’s nothing wrong with having a few things jotted down that you want to remember. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading, but having some notes to fall back on is a good way to feel a little safer when you’re doing your first few interviews.
Bursts, not lectures
The old style of podcast interviewing is that the host asks the guest a question and then gets out of the way. Lately, everyone seems to want to be “conversational” and keep the dialogue going, and I suspect the reason behind this notion is that most people intrinsically understand what the research shows: listeners really only stick with a topic for about five minutes, then they’re ready to move on.
When you’re talking, try to avoid getting bogged down in any one topic. Keep the content moving forward with examples, stories, and surprises that the listeners will enjoy.
Let the Host Lead You
Ultimately, the host should be in charge of his or her own show. Sometimes I come across a host who absolutely will not lead the conversation, and that’s frustrating, because as a guest, it’s not my audience or my responsibility to keep the conversation flowing. Generally, try to let the host lead you where he or she wants you to go, but be prepared just in case the host isn’t a “leader.”
Control Your Pace and Pitch
Whenever you’re speaking in public, whether it’s as a speaker or in an interview, you should always control your pace and pitch. Slow things down. A lot. And make sure you modulate the pitch of your voice, so that you don’t sound like you’re speaking in a monotone.
When I first started doing interviews, I thought, “I sound ridiculous.” But when I’d listen back to the interview later, it sounded just like a normal person. It’s like when you have that friend who “photographs well,” or when you’re on TV and it “adds ten pounds.” There’s something in the recording of our existence that transforms us – likewise, there’s something in recording your voice that makes it sound less interesting and more…well,…dead. So modulate your voice more when you’re being interviewed, and it will sound like a normal person.
Maintain High Energy Levels
Whenever you’re being interviewed, you want to give it all you’ve got. Remember, people can shut down their players at any moment. So make sure you’re energetic and interesting-sounding so they stick around to listen.
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