Congratulations! You’ve been invited to be a guest on a podcast – now what?
Podcasting is really just a digital form of storytelling and, as I’ve discussed in previous articles, storytelling is one of the most effective ways to engage with an audience. It’s never been more important than in today’s world, with short attention spans and the huge audience potential.
In fact, almost 60% of all U.S. consumers listen to podcasts.
Just consider the ROI!
My previous article shared tips from podcast experts Marla Isackson, Beth Silver Pilchik and Susan Salenger on how to land a spot on a podcast. Once you secure an invitation, you have to prepare to be the most effective storyteller you can be; remember, one good conversation can lead to many more invitations in the future.
Podcast appearances should never be improvised, advises Silver Pilchik. Preparation is key.
Part of that preparation includes adhering to the host’s process, says Ed Kless. The Soul of Enterprise podcast host said
I can’t tell you the number of times I have had guests show up without having sent me their bio for the introduction.
It’s also very important to listen to past episodes so you can learn about the typical format and scope of the interview, the host’s interview style and the pace of a typical conversation. It’s helpful to research the podcast’s audience so you can tailor your responses to their needs and interests, recommends Isackson. This can be done by following the podcast on social media and reading through the comments.
Next, practice what you will talk about. Ask the host or producer in advance for a list of potential interview questions and practice your responses out loud. It’s also helpful to nail down three key messages you want to convey and have three good stories or anecdotes pertaining to the topic ready to go to add color and dimension to the discussion.
Salenger says over-preparing helps her with nerves.
Over-preparing helps my confidence and helps me prevent what I call ‘blank spots,’ when I’m so nervous I forget what I want to say.
Testing 1 … 2 … 3.
If you’re recording your podcast in the host’s studio, you won’t have to prepare the equipment or space. But many podcasts are now recorded remotely. In that case, it’s incumbent upon you to make sure you are set up properly – well in advance of the recording. Do a “tech check” to make sure that your microphone and earphones are in good working order, and find a quiet place in which you can record the conversation and that will be free from distractions. Silence your phone and set your computer to Do Not Disturb.
Let Them Know You Are an Authority.
You were invited on the show because you are perceived as an expert, so it’s important that you portray yourself as one. Be certain that your responses convey that you have a considerable amount of knowledge about the podcast topic and speak confidently and with authority, providing thoughtful and compelling answers during the interview. However, never come off as having an ego or with a supercilious attitude.
Be a Great Conversationalist.
A good podcast guest is one who connects authentically with the host and is a pleasure to listen to. Stay fully engaged in the conversation at all times and listen carefully to the questions so you can respond appropriately, advises Isackson. Speak clearly so your answers can be heard and recorded properly. And don’t ramble as the host will want to ensure that the interview is within the allotted time, so pay attention to any cues from the host about wrapping up any of your answers. And, very important, don’t get thrown off your game if the host asks you a question that wasn’t on the “approved list.”
Another helpful tip is to frequently use the host’s name in your responses. This helps keep the conversation warm and authentic.
Look the Part.
Many podcasts are video recorded so that the conversation can be watched on platforms like YouTube or Patreon. Find out ahead of time if your conversation will be video recorded so you can plan your outfit, hair and makeup accordingly, as I’ve discussed in previous articles. Even if it is not being recorded, be prepared with a good headshot that the podcast host can use for marketing purposes.
Prepare a Good Intro and Outro.
“I find the first question the most difficult,” says Salenger. “It takes me a few seconds to find my stride.” To get over that initial fear, and to hook listeners from the get-go, practice your opening remarks so they roll off your tongue and set the tone for the rest of the podcast. Perhaps you want to thank the host for having you, and then dive confidently into a response that you’ve practiced before the recording. The same holds true at the end. Know ahead of time how you will close the conversation.
Finish the Job.
Just because you wrapped your podcast, doesn’t mean your job is done. Two important things remain. Be sure to thank the host. How you do it — a written note, an email, a text, a call or a bottle of wine — depends on your familiarity with the host and the formality of the podcast. Also, promote, promote, promote. “My clients know that they must promote the podcast on their channels. This is a must, it’s a two-way relationship,” says Silver Pilchik. Be sure to share the link to the podcast on your social channels and tease your followers with short but captivating clips from the conversation — and always tag the host and podcast name.
Podcast guesting has been called “the #1 killer content marketing tactic of all time.” Snagging a guest spot on a podcast is a real coup, so leverage that win by properly preparing before you record so you can maximize your results.
🎧 Related Reading: 3 Reasons Podcast Ads Can Connect Brand and Performance Marketing