I have been on between 275 and 300 podcasts. That’s more episodes than most individual podcasts ever produce. Yet, for the first time the other day, when I was finishing recording a podcast that will come out in November, the host asked what advice I could give him. The host was good, but had some rough edges. Podcasting isn’t easy, and I am impressed he asked a guest for advice.
If you check out the Appearances page on my website, you’ll find a list of the last several years of interviews I’ve given. They’re all listed in 2018 and 2019, but I started giving so many interviews after the pandemic hit in 2020 that I’ve stopped listing the ones that don’t go so well. With so many people stuck at home in mid-2020, people needed hobbies and many turned to podcasting, even if they should have thought twice.
So, I’ll take a short break from the pornography, mental health, betrayal trauma, bipolar, recovery, addiction and other regular talk. Allow me to offer some perspective. If you’re not a podcast guest or host, this may not be as interesting to you, but if you’re a listener, let us know what you like or don’t like in the comments:
Podcasting Host Do’s:
Know my story in advance. Be prepared. Read one of my books, or at least some of one. Visit my website. It’s obvious immediately who has done any research and who hasn’t. Those who do the research get the better interviews.
Create a graphic for me to share. I promote everything I’m on in some way, but the pinnacle, an Instagram post, is reserved for those shows who gave me something I’m proud to display. Hundreds of people, and sometimes more, visit my Instagram posts every day. Give me something nice to show them.
Come up with a couple of unique questions. Granted, I’ve done a lot of interviews. They are more fun with a question I haven’t heard before. Having to think on my feet vs. repeating a well-memorized answer makes me a better guest.
Let me know when the show is airing. I don’t care if we recorded 5 months ago. The reality is I can’t promote the appearance if I don’t know it’s happening. I don’t have the time or energy to hunt you down.
Podcasting Host Don’ts:
Don’t ask me to fill out a 4-page questionnaire. I’ve written three books, hundreds of website articles, and hundreds of hours of interviews. If you have questions, ask them on your show. Don’t ask me to be the person who fills you in on every detail of your story.
Don’t lie about how many listeners you have. There are over 6 billion people in the world with Internet access. That is not your potential audience. I’d rather know you have 100 listeners who are young fathers, or that your show is geared toward a specific demographic. Getting 50 of the right listeners is better than 500 of those who don’t care.
Don’t ask me to pay a dime. Paying for podcast appearances is like paying for porn. It’s unnecessary. It also waters down your content. Having three bad guests pay $100 to be on your show may put $300 in your pocket, but it could also kill your listenership. People want quality.
Don’t start a podcast if you don’t have a good idea. It will show come your third episode and you’ll quit by episode six. That doesn’t help either of us.
The Bottom Line
Know why you’re doing a show and what you hope to get out of it and then explain that to your potential guest. If you’re just looking for a chill conversation, that’s cool. If you’re trying to make a career out of it, I should know that, too. Honestly, I forget probably half the shows I’m on the moment they wrap up. Make your show one that I don’t.
And if anybody is interested in having me as a guest, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
3 thoughts on “Podcasting 101: Advice From a Professional Guest”
The podcasting world is totally foreign to me, but the idea that some people would charge guests seems like a strange thing to do.
There are “newspapers” who charge for articles and “publishers” that charge for printing books. I like to know my information is coming from someone who didn’t pay to deliver it.