Podcast

Podcast Guesting: Everything You Need To Get Booked On Shows

Podcast guesting is booming. Why? Because it’s one of the most authentic and effective ways to connect with your audience, share your message, and add value to their lives. If you’re wondering how to become a guest on a podcast, or if podcast guesting is even right for you, then you’re in the right place.

Featuring

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  1. What podcast guesting is
  2. Why you should (or shouldn’t) be a podcast guest
  3. The benefits of podcast guesting
  4. How to find the right podcasts to appear on
  5. How to pitch a podcast
  6. How to be a great podcast guest
  7. What to do when the episode goes live

What is podcast guesting?

It’s as simple as it sounds. Podcast guesting means being a guest on multiple interview-style podcasts.

It's also referred to as going on “podcast tours”, landing “podcast bookings”, or having a “podcast guest strategy.”

In the end, the goal is the same:

To increase brand awareness, bring as much value as possible to the listeners, and create emotional connections through storytelling.

These will help you reach your overall business goals, like growing your audience and revenue.

The process can be broken down into 8 steps:

Step 1: Determine if podcast guesting is right for you

Step 2: Find podcasts that align with your brand and target audience

Step 3: Create talking points and outreach material

Step 4: Pitch yourself (or your client) as a guest

Step 5: Land an interview

Step 6: Prep for the interview

Step 7: Record the interview

Step 8: Promote your episode

Sounds simple when you boil it down to a step-by-step process, but there’s a ton that goes into executing each of these successfully.

Before we get into it, let’s figure out if podcast guesting is even right for you.

Because it’s not for everyone.

Is podcast guesting right for you?

Podcast guesting requires a long-term mindset – it’s a strategy that compounds over time.

Basically, it’s not something you should do a few times and stop.

You should be a guest on a podcast if:

  • You are willing to dedicate the time and effort to see long-term results.
  • Your website is set up to convert listeners to customers.
  • You offer a compelling product or service that is unique in the market.
  • You have domain expertise and will resonate well with your target audience.
  • You want to tell a story, not pitch a product.

You shouldn’t be a guest on a podcast if:

You want quick results.

A typical podcast guesting timeline looks like this:

  • Month 1: Outreach begins
  • Month 1: Podcasters say yes and interviews are scheduled
  • Month 2: Interview is recorded (typically 2-8 weeks from when podcaster agrees)
  • Month 3: Interview goes live (typically 2-8 weeks from when interview is recorded)

In other words, it can take several months from the moment you begin outreach to the moment your interview goes live.

The goal is to eventually create a snowball effect where you have interviews going live every week or every month, but this requires consistent outreach and follow-up over time.

If you want short-term results, we recommend looking into podcast advertising.

While running ads on a podcast may not yield deep emotional connections with the audience (and thus, will convert at a smaller rate than podcast guesting), it’s a faster way to get your name out there.

Your website doesn’t convert.

An important aspect of podcast guesting is having a defined call to action.

  • What do you want the audience to do after they listen to your episode?
  • Does your website lend itself to converting those listeners into customers?

The second question is key.

You want to make sure your site guides listeners through the exact journey you want them to take, from the moment they land on your site to the moment they provide you with their email or purchase a product.

Otherwise, you run the risk of losing potential new customers who already created an emotional connection with you on a show.

Your product isn’t compelling.

This might be a harder pill to swallow.

We all want to think our product or service is the best in the market, but it takes a great deal of differentiation and value-add to stand out.

Example:

Say your brand is Joe’s Best Coffee Beans.

You know, in your heart of hearts, your beans truly are the best. They’re organic, sustainably sourced, and make a great cup of coffee.

Your competitor, Tom’s Best Coffee Beans, also offers organic, sustainably sourced beans.

Why would a podcaster choose to interview you over Tom?

Do your beans provide a unique health benefit? Are you the leading expert in sustainable sourcing practices? What differentiates you in the market?

As with any form of PR or marketing, but particularly in podcast guesting, it’s important to grab the audience’s attention in a memorable and emotional way.

And that starts with identifying your “why”.

Why should people care about you and your product?

If you don’t offer something compelling enough, listeners simply won’t invest the time to convert.

You have no domain expertise.

Domain expertise goes beyond knowing the facts.

It means you live and breathe the same problems your target audience experiences.

You are one of them, and therefore, you can be trusted.

Before you embark on a podcast tour, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I the best in the world at?
  • Who does this benefit?
  • Am I the best person to share this message with the audience?

Sometimes, even if you’re the CEO and founder of your company, it might not make sense for you to be the podcast guest.

It all depends on who will resonate with the audience.

Podcast Guesting IRL:

The founder of an organic, fair-trade clothing company wanted to explore podcast guesting as a way to reach the mommy market.

However, the founder was a man, and while his domain expertise in the entrepreneurial sector was nothing short of extraordinary, he was not his target audience.

Because of this, he found it difficult to land interviews on podcasts geared towards moms because the hosts were generally in favor of female guests.

In this case, it would benefit the brand to send a fellow mom on their leadership team who can better resonate with the target audience. Meanwhile, the founder can focus his podcast guesting strategy on entrepreneurship-type shows.

You’re looking for a platform to pitch your product.

Podcasts are not webinars.

If you want to use a podcast as a way to pitch your product or service, you’re in the wrong spot.

Podcast guesting gives you a space to tell a story and be vulnerable with the audience. They want to get to know you, your journey, your failures, and your successes.

It’s also a chance to educate your audience and bring value to them. While “value” is ultimately defined by your unique audience, it’s probably tips, advice, education, etc. that help them grow their careers, themselves, or their companies.

Hosts bring on guests who can provide valuable takeaways for their audience.

The last thing they want is a sales pitch.

Now that you know whether you should or shouldn’t be a podcast guest (and we hope the answer is you should), let’s get into strategy.

5 benefits of podcast guesting

1. Rapidly growing market

We’re not kidding when we say the podcast industry is booming.

The stats say it all:

  • Podcasting is expected to be a $1 billion industry this year (as measured by advertising dollars invested into the channel)
  • Monthly podcast listeners grew 61.5% in the past three years to 116 million monthly listeners in the US (for comparison, as of October 2021, there are about 74 million Netflix subscribers in the US and Canada)
  • 28% (80 million people) listen to podcasts on a weekly basis in the US
  • Most weekly listeners tune in to an average of 8 episodes per week, which equates to about 6 hours and 39 minutes per week (for context, this is more than the average time YouTube users spend watching videos per week, which averages 4.9 hours per week).

More and more people choose to listen to podcasts on a regular basis, which means there is an increasing number of opportunities for you to reach a loyal audience.

If you feel it’s too late to jump into podcast guesting, don’t. It’s 1/10th the size of YouTube, and we believe it’s just getting started.

With the number of podcasts growing by the day, it’s the perfect time to add this marketing tactic to your toolkit.

2. Reach an engaged audience

One of the greatest things about the podcast listening experience is it comes with little to no distractions.

As a podcast guest, you don’t have to worry about competing with 20 open browser tabs or clickbait-oozing YouTube videos compelling your audience to click away from your content because the majority of podcast listeners listen on their phones while on the go, whether that’s driving or doing household chores.

Add to this the fact that 80% of podcast listeners listen to all or most of every podcast episode they start (and the average podcast episode length is 43 minutes), and you’ve got yourself a truly captive audience.

For comparison, YouTube videos over 30 minutes retain only 10% of their viewers.

Pro Tip: Check out Pat Flynn’s insights on YouTube vs. Podcast to learn more about the difference between the two platforms.

The second greatest thing about podcast guesting is it allows you to speak to a pre-built, loyal audience.

Rather than dedicating the time and effort to launch your own branded podcast from scratch, which can take months or years to build up, you can leverage already existing shows that align with your personal and brand ethos.

Even if you start small, your impact will be more profound.

Think about it.

Even speaking to as few as 100 engaged and very specific listeners who are in your industry for 30 to 60 minutes can be much more powerful than sending a newsletter to 100,000 unengaged, email-overloaded readers who might only have 30 seconds to skim your email.

For a visual, here’s what being a guest on a podcast with 100 listeners would be equivalent to:

podcast guesting audience size
Image Source: Limelink

There’s no denying in the world of audience engagement, podcasting wins.

3. Humanize your brand

We, as humans, are naturally drawn to storytelling.

In fact, brands with higher emotional intensity receive three times more word-of-mouth referrals than bands with low emotional intensity.

And being a guest on a podcast gives you the opportunity to do just that – to tell your story to an audience who is ready and willing to listen.

The more open, authentic, and vulnerable you are about your journey, the more connected the listeners will feel to you and, in turn, your brand.

We’ve even seen our client’s sales cycles drastically decrease (we’re talking from months down to a single 30-minute phone call) because their leads hear about them on a podcast and feel they already know and trust the brand.

Podcast guesting also gives you the opportunity to build great relationships with hosts, who can then continue to help you spread the word about your brand on their own channels.

Podcast Guesting IRL:

After landing an interview on the wildly popular “The Skinny Confidential” podcast, Four Sigmatic founder, Tero Isokauppila, developed a close relationship with hosts Lauryn and Michael. So much so, they regularly promote Four Sigmatic on their large social channels and have even traveled together on vacations.

The authenticity of their relationship naturally gave way to a huge increase in word-of-mouth referrals.

Podcast guesting can be a great catalyst for relationship-building. In the end, it all comes down to who you know.

4. Position yourself as an expert

One-on-one podcast interviews allow you to present yourself as an expert in your field.

Your expertise, and that of your company’s, can be a positioning differentiator for why someone would choose your product or service over your competitors.

If you want to be perceived as a thought leader in a specific category, you need to provide valuable takeaways for the listener.

The more you show up for the audience, the more secrets you spill, and the more authentic you are to your expertise, the more they will trust you.

Particularly, if you’re on a podcast tour and appear in several of your target market’s favorite shows.

(a.k.a. the snowball effect)

5. High-quality marketing content

Podcast guesting extends beyond the interview.

It’s the social posts, newsletter announcements, potential blog posts, and all the marketing assets you can leverage to promote your episode.

Not to mention, most podcasts publish show notes for each episode where they typically link back to your website or any materials you provide.

If you’re familiar with SEO, you know backlinks are gold.

The more people link to your site, the greater the chance Google will prioritize you in search results.

Especially if the websites linking back to you have high Domain Authority (DA), meaning search engines perceive them as credible sources of information.

We’ll show you how to determine a site’s DA later on in this guide.

Podcast Guesting IRL:

Huckabuy’s primary goal with their podcast guesting strategy was to increase the number of backlinks they got pointing back to either a piece of their content or their website. Not only did this strategy increase their domain authority over the course of one year from around 10 to 45 (which meant their organic search traffic went from less than 500 to 30,000+ visitors per month), but they also ended up being able to attribute around 50% of their revenue to their podcast appearances.

Prefer to listen? Here you go.

How to find podcasts to be a guest on

Now that you know why podcast guesting is important, let’s talk about the how.

First things first, how do you find podcasts to speak on?

The common misconception is hosts will reach out to people they are interested in having on as guests. And sometimes that’s true. Shows with big audiences usually have the luxury of hand-picking their guests, and there’s a long waiting line.

But the reality is, for most shows, podcast guesting is a very proactive strategy. It is up to you, as the guest, to find the best shows for your brand.

Your goal should be to blanket the podcast ecosystem in your category/industry.

Find all the podcasts you have the credibility to speak on who reach everyone you want to reach and land interviews on as many of those as possible.

Pro Tip: While there’s no minimum, a healthy podcast guesting prospect list has at least 100 shows on it.

The more overlap you have, the more memorable and credible your name will be.

Listeners of shows in a certain category/industry typically listen to multiple shows in that category/industry.

The goal is for your name to appear on as many of those feeds as possible so your name is seen (and episodes are listened to) multiple times by the audience you want to get in front of.

Define your expertise and target audience

Before you search for podcasts to be a guest on, make sure you know what types of shows and audiences you want to target.

There are 2 ways you can go about this: direct or adjacent approach.

Let’s say you launched a social media management app and want your podcast guesting tour to target social media and content marketing professionals.

  • With the direct approach, you look for marketing and social media podcasts because they directly target your buying persona.
  • With the adjacent approach, you find other topics you can passionately speak about that are indirectly related to social media and marketing.

For example, if your writing skills are top-notch, you can target shows focused on the art of copywriting. Or, if you started your career as a freelancer, you can target shows focused on the gig economy.

Of course, the goal is to get on as many “direct” podcasts as possible. But it’s also great to add a few “adjacent” ones into the mix so you can expand your reach.

How to search for podcasts to guest on

There are several ways to find direct and adjacent shows to add to your guesting list.

Here’s our breakdown of free and paid platforms you can use.

Free podcast search engines

1. Apple and Spotify:

Simply type in the keyword you want to target.

podcast guesting how to find podcasts to guest on

Browse through the results and pick a podcast you’re interested in.

podcast guesting how to find podcasts to guest on

Analyze the show’s total impact (we’ll get into this in the next section) and add to your list if it meets the criteria.

podcast guesting how to find podcasts to guest on

Find related shows in the “You May Also Like” section.

podcast guesting how to find podcasts to be a guest on

Repeat this process until you’ve saturated your keyword before you move on to another.

You can also research your competitors to find podcasts they’ve been interviewed on and repeat the process with those.

2. Listen Notes:

Listen Notes is a free podcast search engine with over 2 million podcasts and 117 million episodes in its repository.

Just like you would on Apple, Spotify, or Google, simply type in a keyword to find related shows and episodes.

podcast guesting listen notes

Listen Notes will then provide you with a Listen Score (LS) which indicates the estimated popularity of the show. The closer to 100, the more popular the show is.

podcast guesting listen notes

You can also find a list of episodes for each show, its global rank, and when the show launched.

If you head over to the Community tab, you’ll find a list of related podcasts in their “People Also Like These Podcasts” section. You can also check the “Recommendations” section on the right.

podcast guesting listen notes

Paid podcast search engines:

If you want to step up your game and gather even more in-depth information on a show, we recommend Rephonic or Podchaser Pro.

Rephonic Features:

  • Listener numbers, gender skew, engagement, and audience location
  • Access to podcast contact information
  • Related shows
  • Ability to create target outreach lists
podcast guesting rephonic

Pricing plans range from $99/month to $299/month.

Podchaser Pro Features:

  • Audience reach and listener demographics
  • Proprietary podcast influence score
  • Podcast contact information
  • Social media analytics
  • Ability to track your campaigns with sharable lists and notes
podcast guesting podchaser pro

Request a demo for pricing.

Podchaser also has a free platform where you can find and listen to millions of podcasts. Here, you can rate, follow, and create podcast lists.

Now that you know where to find podcasts, let’s talk about how to measure their size and impact.

The bigger the better, right?

Follow the Stairstep Approach

Bigger is actually not always better in this case.

If you’re a small business with no presence in the podcast guesting world, you need to start on smaller shows in order to build your credibility and social proof.

We like to call this the “Stairstep Approach” because it allows you to build up your credibility one step at a time.

In other words, don’t go for the big guns (i.e. “How I Built This” or “The Tim Ferriss Show”) right away, but rather focus on smaller shows with niche audiences and build your way up as you gain more experience.

Trust us, it’ll take you several interviews to really get the hang of the process. The last thing you want is to land an interview on a hugely popular show when you have little to no podcast guesting experience.

Here’s our breakdown of show sizes:

  • Small = anything below 2,000 estimated downloads per episode
  • Medium to Large = 2,000 to 25,000 estimated downloads per episode
  • Extra Large = 25,000+ estimated downloads per episode

For reference, the top 25% of podcasts on Apple and Spotify typically get 84 downloads per episode in the first 7 days. Basically, most podcasts start small and compound over time.

So how exactly do you measure downloads?

Estimate the size + impact of a podcast

If only we had a virtual Cloak of Invisibility to secretly peek into the analytics of every show.

Alas, because we’re not in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, hosts (and their teams) are the only ones who can see exact download numbers. For the rest of us muggles, we have to rely on a little bit of art and science in order to estimate the size and impact of a podcast.

Use the following to make your assumptions:

  1. Number of reviews
  2. Number of episodes
  3. Cadence of publishing schedule
  4. Industry influence
  5. Caliber of past guests
  6. Professionalism + production quality
  7. Social media following + engagement
  8. Website traffic/domain authority
  9. Episode length
  10. Audience fit relative to your company

The more reviews, the more episodes, the higher caliber guests, the better rankings, and the more followers they have can indicate a larger audience base and a stronger impact.

Pro Tip: Take this methodology with a grain of salt. Sometimes a show might appear to be on the smaller side when in reality it is quite large, and vice versa. It takes a little bit of digging and a whole lot of gut checking.

Be slow to write off shows that are too “small” for you. Some people would jump at the opportunity to speak to a live crowd of 2,000 attendees of their target audience at an event but then look down on a show with the same listenership.

For example, let’s say you’re a SaaS founder, whose product solves a massive pain for API architects and developers. If you’d relish the opportunity to speak to 1,000 API professionals at a developer conference, don’t be turned off by podcasts with the same listenership.

Again, for reference, this is what a crowd of 1,000 people looks like:

Image source: Limelink

How to pitch a podcast

Pitching yourself, your founder, or your team members as a guest on a podcast takes finesse, creativity, and empathy.

And a heck of a lot of practice and patience.

Not to toot our own horn or anything, but we’re known for some of the best pitching in the industry.

best podcast guesting pitch
best podcast guesting pitch
best podcast guesting pitch

Outreach is a huge part of what we do, and in the past 5 years, we’ve landed placements for some really amazing brands. As one of the first Podcast PR companies around, we’ve learned some important lessons about what makes a good “pitch”.

Here are the pillars:

Timing + fit + approach formula

In order to land a podcast guest interview, you need the perfect mix of 3 things: (1) the right timing, (2) the right person, and (3) the right approach to your outreach.

  1. Timing = the show is in need of a guest soon and is open for scheduling.
  2. Fit = you fit the show’s ideal guest persona and are an expert in your field.
  3. Approach = the way you pitch yourself and your hooks (i.e. the things you can teach their listeners.)

Here’s what happens if you only hit 2 of the 3:

  • Timing + Fit = they are in need of a guest soon, you fit their ideal guest persona, but they don’t like your outreach message or hooks.
  • Timing + Approach = they need a guest soon, they like your outreach message and hooks, but you don’t fit the ideal guest profile for their audience.
  • Fit + Approach = you fit their ideal guest persona, they like your outreach message and hooks, but they don’t need new guests anytime soon.

You can win guest interviews by hitting only a combination of 2 of the 3 above, but out of these three, the one you can truly control is your approach.

With that, let’s dive into podcast pitching best practices.

Personalize your pitch from start to finish

Our motto is: if you can add a merge tag to it, it’s not personalized.

In other words, personalizing your pitch goes beyond using an FNAME tag, or saying something along the lines of “I loved your last episode.”

Personalization requires you to do a deep dive on both the host and the show so you can include golden nuggets of information throughout your pitch.

Some examples of this can be:

  • Complimenting them on a particular episode you liked and very specific reasons as to why it resonated with you
  • Scrolling through months of social posts to find a takeaway you can connect on
  • Noting when one of your hooks is similar to a previous episode and why it’s different

We also include what we like to call a “5-Minute Favor” (i.e. anything kind or helpful you can do for the host within 5 minutes).

Here are some examples of “5-Minute Favors” you could do:

  • Leave a thoughtful and personalized review for their show on Apple or Spotify and send it to them
  • If the host has a book, buy it and leave a review on Amazon
  • Promote the show on your social channels and tag them
  • Offer an ad spend budget to help promote the episode after it goes live

Ask yourself, “Is this something the host will genuinely know I put time and effort into?”

If yes, you’re on the right track.

Explain how the listeners’ lives will be impacted

It’s very important to showcase your expertise in your pitch.

But rather than focus on why you’re the expert or what your product does, explain how and why the listeners’ lives will be impacted after they hear you speak.

  1. Define the problem the listener is facing
  2. How you relate to this problem
  3. What solutions you can teach the audience to help solve this problem

Make sure you also link to other podcasts, YouTube videos, blog posts, or articles you’ve been featured in. Anything to show you are a respected peer in the industry.

(Don’t just talk about how cool you are, prove it.)

Present interesting hooks

Present 2 to 5 possible topics you can speak to and personalize them to fit the model of the show (we call these “Hooks”).

Pro Tip: Using phrases like, “This topic is similar to what you talked about in episode [number] with [guest name],” will earn you major bonus points because it proves you did your homework.

Just like you did with your expertise, make sure your hooks are geared towards what you can teach the listeners either through professional or personal stories.

And don’t forget to be vulnerable with your topics.

In other words, give away as much “secret sauce” as you possibly can, to the point where you feel uncomfortable because you’re essentially giving away your blueprint.

Vulnerability can also come in the form of sharing failures or lessons you’ve learned the hard way – anything that can save listeners from making the same mistakes you made.

That’s when the host knows you’re there to help the listeners will walk away with tangible value (not just a sales pitch).

Avoid ending with a yes or no question

You’ve got your highly personalized intro, a value-driven breakdown of your expertise, and a list of really cool topics you think would be great for the show.

Now, how do you end the pitch?

Avoid asking things like, “Are you interested in interviewing me?”

This will compel the host to respond with a yes or no, even if they are intrigued but undecided (and would be willing to explore further with you had your CTA question been different).

Instead, finish your email with an open-ended question like, “How do these topics sound to you? I think they could make for a killer episode but absolutely happy to brainstorm some other topics if that would be ideal!”

This encourages the host to see that you have many other topics you could teach if none of the initial topics you presented sound perfect, and they should still consider you as a guest.

Be creative with your follow-ups

Remember the podcast guesting timeline we shared in the intro?

It can sometimes take months of follow-ups before you hear back from a host, but it’s worth it to continue to put in that level of effort.

Sometimes the best shows you want to land take 4-6 follow-ups before you get a “yes”.

As much as it would be ideal to get an answer after the first pitch, the reality is most hosts’ inboxes are inundated with pitch emails on a daily basis.

So it’s up to you to come up with creative ways to stand out with each and every one of your follow-up emails.

Here are a few guidelines:

1. Respect the Inbox

As we said, you’re entering the world of email overload. The last thing you want is to irritate the host with a crazy number of follow-ups.

Our recommended sweet spot is 4 to 6 follow-ups with 7 days in between each pitch.

If you still haven’t heard back after the 6th follow-up, you can continue to email the host once a month thereafter.

Keep in mind, you might win a show after 6 to 12 months of outreach.

Patience and persistence are key.

2. Personalize all follow-ups

Just like you did with your original pitch, make sure you include personalized magic in each of your follow-ups as well.

Note relevant things that have changed in the show or the host’s life as a way to show you are still paying attention to recent things that have happened to them.

The goal is to be so creative and attentive the host has no choice but to pay attention to you.

Like this.

3. Keep ‘em short

Your follow-ups do not need to be as long as your original pitch.

Think more like 2 to 6 sentences versus multiple paragraphs.

If you keep them short and sweet, you increase your chance of the host actually reading the entire email.

4. Add newness

Make sure every follow-up is unique.

Avoid generic phrases like:

  • “Just bubbling this to the top of your inbox!”
  • “Did you get my last email?”
  • “Making sure you saw this.”

You’re not the only one “bubbling”, so how can you actually stand out?

Share a new hook idea, a new piece of content you were featured in, a new idea for their show, a new introduction you could make for them, or a new 5-minute favor.

You get the point: new, new, new.

5. Turn “no’s” into alliance-builders

It’s important to respect when a host says no. If they are not interested, don’t pester.

However, if it’s a show you still think would be a great fit, add them to a new “alliance-building” campaign.

Your mission is to give, give, give for at least 6 months.

Every month or two, think of something nice you could do for them. How can you become friends with them without expecting anything in return?

Pro Tip: Phrases like, “No response needed,” are great here. It takes the pressure off the host and positions you as an ally and resource.

If you do this for long enough, without asking for anything in return, you might earn an opportunity for the host to change their mind and have you on the show.

Do you need a media kit or one sheet?

The answer is yes.

But when you send it really depends on the host.

A media kit is a neat little package that gives the host/producer the assets and information they need to promote you as a guest on their show.

They typically contain:

  1. Headshot
  2. Bio
  3. Brand photos and logos
  4. Web and social links
  5. Topics/expertise you can talk about

Some hosts like media kits in the initial pitch and others don’t, so you’ll have to make a judgment call on this one.

Pros and cons of sending it in your first pitch?

Pro: It’s quick and easy to read.

Con: It detracts from the personalized details you worked so hard to include in your pitch.

Our recommendation is to send it in a follow-up email. Add this to your list of “new”!

Pro Tip: If you don’t send it during your pitch or follow-up, then definitely send it once you land the interview. It’s a less intrusive way of showing the host how to get the best interview out of you without being too pushy.

How to be a good podcast guest

Landing an interview is certainly a cause for celebration.

However, the work doesn’t stop there.

Learning how to be a great podcast guest is incredibly important.

Your goal should be to be one of the best interviews that show has ever had, bringing the most helpful, valuable insights for that audience.

You want to be authentic, focused, memorable, conversational, and empathic.

All you need is a bit of preparation.

Do your research

1. Listen to past episodes

Listen to 3 episodes of the podcast to gain a better understanding of the show’s structure and the host’s personality.

Keep in mind, some hosts have no structure other than following a timeline-based interview (i.e. how you got to where you are now.)

Others are very tactical, meaning they are less interested in your life story and more focused on actional takeaways you can share with the audience.

Pro Tip: Pick 3 guests who are as close to you or your topic as possible (even if the episodes are older), and listen to those episodes at 1.5x or 2x speed. You can also skip through the sections of the interview where the guest is giving answers, and instead find the parts where the host asks their questions. This will not only save you time but will help you focus directly on the types of questions being asked.

2. Research the host

You likely already did this in your pitch and follow-up process, but be sure to have a list of topics you can use to connect with the host on a more personal level.

Did you graduate from the same school?

Do you both like to collect vintage T-shirts?

Do you have kids the same age?

Whatever it is, write it down and have it ready to use.

This will help you become a better conversationalist and will show the host you came prepared.

Most guests don’t do this, so you will stand out if you do. And this will help you possibly continue the relationship into other collaborations in the future.

3. Research yourself

The host will likely do their own research on you, so you need to be prepared to speak on anything they might find on the first page of Google when they search your name.

This will help you be aware of things they might incorporate into the interview and can prepare you to sway the conversation out of any topics you don’t want to touch on.

Prep your message

1. Customize your message for each audience

Get to know the audience of each show and customize your message in a way that will resonate with them.

Think of the problems the show’s audience faces, and then craft your talking points to be incredibly specific and contextualized for them.

Example:

If a show talks about marketing, it would be ideal to know what type of marketing the host (and as a byproduct, the audience) believes in.

That way, when you’re a guest on that show, you can tailor your talking points about marketing to fit what you already know about that host's (and audience’s) beliefs.

Treat each podcast guesting interview as a unique opportunity to cover different takeaways for the audience, and to continue to further refine your answers to common questions you get to be even more compelling or interesting each time.

2. Have your elevator pitch ready

Regardless of how the interview is structured, you should be prepared to give a brief synopsis of your background and who you are.

To avoid spending 40 minutes of the interview on this, craft your intro in a way that provides compelling information, answers the question, but leaves more to be desired.

3. Build a menu of stories you can have on hand

Think of 3-5 memorable stories you can always count on to either proactively weave into your interview or use in a pinch.

The best guests know how to give an answer that will help the audience the most, even if the question wasn’t a perfect place to give that answer.

This will help you drive the interview where you want it to go, and to where it will provide the most value for listeners.

The great thing is each story likely has several unique takeaways from it, so you can use the same story on various podcast guesting interviews while providing a different perspective each time.

4. Identify your “head-nod” moments

We like to think of these as moments in the interview where you articulate a story or message in a way that seamlessly leads into a teachable lesson for the audience.

These are typically simple frameworks where you help the listener identify the steps they need to take to get from point A to point B.

It can be your own unique methodology or a step-by-step process the listener can use to reach a particular goal.

You know it’s a head-nod moment when listeners feel compelled to write down what you’re saying in their notes app. That’s your goal.

5. Plan your CTAs ahead of time

It is customary for the host to end the interview by asking you where you want listeners to find you.

Rather than fumble through each of your social media handles and list out multiple URLs, focus on sharing 2 simple and memorable CTAs.

The first can be a free piece of education, like your own podcast, newsletter, or YouTube channel – any piece of content to help the listener continue their relationship with you for free.

The second should be your website or a landing page where listeners can take the next step to work with you or buy from you.

Pro Tip: If you want to create an exclusive landing page on your site for podcast listeners, we recommend something like: yourdomain.com/podcast. It is easy to remember and helps you avoid having to create and manage multiple landing pages for each show you guest on.

We recommend you include these 2 things on your landing page:

  1. An offer to incentivize listeners to take the next step/purchase
  2. An open text field asking what podcast they listened to as part of your form for taking the next step (if applicable)

This will not only encourage listeners to become customers but will help track which podcasts perform best for you.

It’s also important to note many listeners won’t remember your landing page URL or special offer code.

In this case, they will either go directly to your homepage or will type your brand name in Google, which means your website should be able to convert visitors to customers regardless of how they get there.

Remember, podcast guesting is not for you if your website can’t convert visitors into customers at the rate you’d like.

Be vulnerable, authentic, and imperfect

Podcasts are one of the highest trust-building marketing mediums out there, which means you need to avoid being “sales-y” and instead focus on your level of vulnerability.

Increased vulnerability = increased trust.

The more you open up about your failures, bumps in the road, secret weapons, mistakes you’ve made, and lessons learned, the more the audience will connect with you on a human level.

It’s okay to feel slightly uncomfortable with the amount of information you share (without giving away any state secrets, of course). That’s a sign of true authenticity.

It’s also okay to stumble through your words sometimes or even misspeak because you’ll feel more relatable to the audience.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry, there’s a whole lot of editing magic that happens post-interview. So there’s no need to be perfect 100% of the time.

Don’t be afraid to pause

Rather than rush through your answers, tell the host when you need a minute to think about what you want to say.

It’s more important you take your time and think about how you want to answer something than blurt out a confusing string of thoughts with no clear start or end.

Again, lots of editing involved post-interview, so you’re in good hands.

Speak slowly, clearly, and decisively

If you think you’re speaking too slow, you’re likely speaking at a good pace.

Slow and steady wins the race here.

Taking your time when you speak will also allow you to take pauses to breathe (don’t forget to breathe!) and avoid too many filler words, like “umm”, “so”, and “kind of”.

Be conversational

While podcast guesting obviously puts the focus on you, make sure you don’t turn the interview into a monologue.

Once you finish a thought or answer, turn it over to the host so they can give their perspective on the topic and lead you to the next question.

Not only will this help the audience stay engaged but will allow you to take breaks and prepare your thoughts.

Always answer the question

Podcasts are not the time to be a politician.

Trust us when we say, listeners will know when you are holding back.

Instead, give direct answers in a thoughtful and pointed manner, and avoid long, off-the-cuff stories.

Pro Tip: The goal is to give so much value that the audience wants to listen to your episode 3 times to digest all the information.

The more prepared and confident you sound, the more the listeners will trust you and your insights.

Know and use the host’s name and show name

Seems like a complete no-brainer, right?

Well, you’d be surprised to know the number of times guests mispronounce host and show names or avoid them altogether.

Referring to the host by his or her name will help make the conversation more personal.

Say thank you

Hate to sound like your parents here but, “Don’t forget to say thank you to the nice host for having you on their show!”

It takes a lot of work to produce an episode, so gratitude goes a long way here.

It’s okay to geek out. They want to feel you’re just as excited to be there as they are to have you on.

Podcast guest checklist

Before every interview, make sure you go through check off everything in this list in order to sound and look your best.

  1. Plugin your USB microphone (we like this or this)
  2. Wear hardwired headphones (it’s okay to use AirPods as headphones but not as microphones)
  3. Connect to ethernet if possible
  4. Dress the way you would for a video presentation to thousands of potential customers in case the host records the interview
  5. Choose a quiet space with no distractions
  6. Make sure you have good front-facing light and a clean background
  7. Turn off all phone and computer notifications
  8. Speak into the microphone
  9. Limit movement throughout the interview

How to promote your episode

Social media

Your interview is live, and it’s time to tell the world!

First things first, go social.

Share your episode on any of your personal and brand social channels. This could be an audio or video clip or one of your favorite takeaways from the interview.

You could also do a longer-form LinkedIn post or Twitter thread where you break down all your top valuable moments in detail.

Pro Tip: Remember how we said you should always dress well regardless of whether the host records video or not? This is where this comes in handy. Make sure you record the video of yourself every time so you can use clips from your video to share on social media (even if the host does not record the video).

And as always, be sure you tag the host and/or the show (if it has its own social profile) in order to encourage more engagement.

Website

It’s also great to embed the episode into a blog post or landing page on your website.

Not only can you drive traffic to this page through social, but you can also increase the dwell time on your site.

Dwell time = the amount of time a Google searcher spends on a specific page they found through search results.

Writing an SEO-friendly blog post around the topic of your podcast guesting interview and including the actual audio or video in the post will encourage visitors to stay on the page for longer periods of time.

This will indicate to Google that your page is worth reading and can help boost your search positioning.

If you have an “As Featured In” section of your site, be sure to include an image of each podcast you guest on and a link to their site.

This will help showcase your credibility as you continue your podcast guesting outreach.

Email

Don’t forget to use each of your podcast guesting appearances as a way to connect with your email subscribers.

Give a snippet of the key takeaways from each episode and use these emails in your customer email funnel.

Pro Tip: These are great replacements for templated 90-day-stale-lead emails. Rather than sending a generic, “Did you forget about us?” message, you can send the most relevant interview to each of your customer persona types to spruce up the conversation.

You can also share these with a target client or referral partner and offer to introduce them to shows you’ve been on that they might be a good fit for as well.

When should you consider hiring a podcast booking or podcast PR agency?

Here are a few questions to help you determine whether you can/should handle the process of podcast guesting yourself or if you should hire a team to help you.

  1. If you’re new to the industry, do you have time to learn the podcasting landscape?
  2. Do you want guidance, strategy, and help answering your team’s questions about the process?
  3. Do you have time to put in the work and research to meaningfully connect with hosts?
  4. Do you know how to be smart and savvy in your outreach?
  5. Can you dedicate months of your time to a follow-up strategy?
  6. Do you have the bandwidth to prep your guest(s) for each interview, so they make as much of an impact as possible?

Everything from research, to outreach and follow-up strategies, is an art. And each stage requires quite a bit of dedication.

If you have a dedicated team focused exclusively on your podcast guesting strategy, you could 5x or 10x your success rate by landing 25 to 100 interviews versus 5 to 10 over the course of one year (for example).

If you need more help thinking through this, here’s a guide we put together that walks you through all your options for landing guest interviews, the pros and cons of each, and helps you decide which is right for you.

Search, pitch, interview, repeat

Now that you have the definitive guide to podcast guesting, feel free to refer back to it through each phase of the process.

Search, pitch, interview, repeat.

It’s time to reap the benefits of your very own podcast guesting strategy.

Learn more

Podcast Tour Strategies: A 40-minute rundown of what it takes to create a successful podcast guesting tour.

Hiring the Right Podcast Booking Agency: Everything you need to know about working with a podcast PR company.

Turn 1 Piece of Content into 20: Learn how you can turn 1 podcast episode into 15 social posts, 2 articles, and 3 videos.

SEO vs. Podcasting: Listen to Jeremiah talk through the pros and cons of SEO and podcasting, what each channel is best at, and how they are mutually beneficial.

Talk to future customers, on podcasts they love.