What to Say When You are a Podcast Guest

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1106 Design

August 25, 2021
Now you’re ready to be a podcast guest.

You’ve gone through the process of pitching a podcast, which means you’ve;

  • Researched the podcasts your target audience will be listening to.
  • Listened to those podcasts to determine which ones accept guests and the podcast format.
  • Crafted your pitch to show how your book connects with their listeners and the value they’ll gain from having you on as a guest.

And they’ve called and asked you to become a guest on their podcast!

The recording date is set. What are you going to do?

Here’s what you’re not going to do; wing it.

Every podcast has its unique style. Each podcast will have a format, the host will usually ask similar questions of each guest, and the amount of time will be roughly the same for each. The reason this is true is that the host prepares for each show.

Therefore, you must prepare.

If not, it’ll be obvious.

Podcast Guest Not Prepared for 200

Getting ready for a podcast can feel intimidating. Someone will be recording you where everything you say will be permanent. While you’ve taken the time to pitch the podcast, getting ready to actually speak on a podcast is a different thing. It can feel as though you’re walking out on stage into a game show where the rules aren’t clearly defined.

Take Jeopardy! for example.

Although we lost Alex Trebek recently, Jeopardy! continues to live on with other hosts running the show and doing it in the same pattern popularized by Trebek. There’s a board of six categories. Each category has five clues. Contestants must give the question that fits the clue to win money.

The back and forth dialogue on Jeopardy! will sound something like this:

Contestant: “I’ll take ‘3 F’s for 200.’”

Host: “German Air Force created in 1935.”

Contestant: “What is the Luftwaffe?”

Host: “Correct, pick again.”

Since Jeopardy! has been around for quite some time, very few people will be unfamiliar with its format and how the game is played. Despite that, every once in a while, one of the contestants will forget the main rule. They’ll say the right word, but not phrase it as a question. Someone could say “Luftwaffe” to the clue above and still be right, but not get the cash. In fact, the money would be deducted.

Change of Metaphor for 400

Podcasts aren’t as strict, thankfully, but you still need to know how they’re set up and run.

Every podcast host will have a story or two of someone who showed up that wasn’t prepared. Even if the host has vetted the guest thoroughly, some slip through and end up at the recording session without a clue as to how the podcast is run. If the host has time to find another guest or at least schedule another recording time to give the guest a chance to prepare, then listeners of the podcast will be none the wiser.

Still, you may come across an episode or two where you’ll catch a guest or a host trying to pull something together. The guest will have bland answers or will say something completely off the mark. While those listening may find it funny, it is guaranteed that the host is not enjoying the experience at all.

How can you prepare so that you can prevent a similar disaster?

Checking Your Notes for 600

Remember that pitch you crafted and sent off?

If you’d followed the steps mentioned earlier, you’ll have created a few bullet points as to why you and your book are a good fit for the podcast’s audience.

Take those bullet points and create talking points out of them. Then add more to those based on your research into the podcast.

For example; you’ve written a book about lessons learned as a project manager. This is from your time working for a national construction company. You’d likely look for podcasts in infrastructure or leadership. They’re going to want to talk about specific pain points when running large projects or being in a leadership position.

Write down the main lesson or the one you think would resonate the most with the podcast. Make sure to have a story or two that highlights this point. You could even share the story of how you learned that lesson.

If you’ve listened to the podcast —since you’re pitching them to be a guest, you already have— you’ll have an idea of the types of questions the host will usually ask. You’ll also know the information that’s usually shared. Even if your talking points have already been mentioned in a previous episode, put your own spin on it. You have a unique perspective, don’t be afraid to share it.

Helping Out The Host for 800

Write up a few questions and send them to the host ahead of time. That way the host can prepare for you. The questions should be tailored to the style and format of the show, and point back to your expertise.

With these talking points and questions prepared ahead of time, you’ll have notes on hand for the recording. Keep them in front of you. Even the most prepared host or guest can have a moment where they draw a blank. When that happens, refer to your notes to get your brain running again.

Better yet, read over your notes before the recording. Read them out loud. Record yourself and listen to it to get used to hearing your own voice. This can also help with phrasing and tempo. You can also ask a friend to read through the questions with you. Getting that practice in with someone can help take the edge off when you record your podcast.

Practice, practice, practice.

No matter how well you feel you know your book and the podcast, there will always be moments you’re not prepared for.

Self-Involved Podcast Guest for 1000

Being a podcast guest is a privilege. The host has decided you’re a good fit for the show and wants listeners to hear what you have to say.

It would be easy to keep dropping the name of your book and/or your website.

That can get old real fast.

Try to mention your name and your book at least three times. If the conversation is flowing and you find it easy to add that in there a couple more times, then do it. But don’t shoehorn them in there for the sake of saying it multiple times. If the host is a good one, they’ll give you the chance to talk about your book, website, and work during the show. When that happens, make sure you have a quick blurb ready for your book or anything else important that you want to mention. Some authors set up discounts or special coupons for specific podcasts as a way to drive traffic. Other authors simply want the chance to mention their book during the podcast.

Either way, prepare for it and have it written down in front of you during the recording.

Podcast Technology for 1200

Now for the technical side of being a guest.

Even if you’ve prepared your notes, gone over your responses, and have a good grasp of what you’re going to say, a recording session can be sunk if you don’t have the right equipment for it.

Going out and buying expensive microphones, sound mixing equipment, and headphones would seem like a good idea, but hold off on that for a second. If you’re only doing a handful of podcast interviews, then your phone with the headphone and mic will work well enough. Ensure they work properly first though. Call a friend with them to make sure your voice is clear with no interference.

If you want to, you can buy an affordable microphone for your computer or laptop.

No matter what equipment you’re using, set it up somewhere you will not be disturbed. Block out that time on your calendar, silence your phone during the recording, and make sure you have privacy. Pick a room with little to no background noise and make sure you get good internet or phone reception there.

If this is your first time doing a podcast interview, it may feel like a lot.

The time you put into this will be worth it.

You’ve worked hard on your book and to get it published. By winging it with your podcast interviews, you’re not giving your book the chance it deserves to connect with your target audience.

Knowing What to Say for 2000

Being a guest on a podcast and being a contestant on Jeopardy! are similar in some ways. They are also very different.

You can win money and some amount of fame as a contestant on Jeopardy!. However, it’s difficult to become a contestant, and you have to fly to California to attend the taping session.

As a podcast guest, there is no compensation. You can do it from the comfort of your own home. The goal is to talk about your book and connect with your target audience. You’ll likely spend a few hours on preparation and recording your interview. Yet, when the episode premieres, you may not see a significant uptick in sales for your book, or traffic to your book’s website.

If you’ve read How Do You Pitch to Podcasts, the main piece of advice holds true here; be patient.

Marketing your book takes time. Don’t rush it.

Along the way you can have fun connecting with podcast hosts and being a guest, getting to talk about your book and what you’re passionate about. Enjoy those experiences.

Writing, publishing, and marketing a book require a lot of time. Be patient with the process.

While you’re waiting, you can catch up on episodes of Jeopardy!.

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