How to be a good podcast guest (and get invited back)

Good podcast guest blog image

I recently asked members of my private coaching group, Confident Copywriting, about their business-building goals for the coming quarter, and more than a few members said they want to get onto podcasts. They want to be more visible and build their authority.

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Now, being invited onto podcasts is no small task. Figuring out which podcasts align with your message and audience, choosing ones that aren’t too popular so you actually have a shot, building a relationship with the host so you have an even better chance of hearing a yes, sending a pitch with ideas they will (hopefully) love.

But getting onto a podcast is only the first step.

Next, you need to think about how to prepare.

Prep is essential because being a great podcast guest is like being a great service provider. Word spreads, and you’ll receive more invites. Huzzah!

You’ll find the invites dry up quickly when you act like a sleazy date, showing up with expectations of what you’re going to get (not what you can give) and leaving the host wondering if they’ll ever see you again.

So, let’s talk about being a good podcast guest.

Have your bio and a headshot ready

Once you’re booked on a podcast, the first things the host will ask for are a headshot and your bio. It pays to have both ready so the request isn’t a cue for panicked selfies and bio scribbling.

When writing your bio, you’ll want to keep it quite short and easy for the podcast host to read aloud.

Here is mine:

Belinda Weaver is a copy coach who helps aspiring and working copywriters supercharge their income, create financial stability and avoid career burnout. She believes the whole point of being your own boss is to create a job that’s better than the one you left.

Creator of The Copywriting Incubator and Confident Copywriting, Belinda has helped 400+ copywriters set a rock-solid foundation for their writing and redesign their workflow so they can enjoy the journey of their work (while also turning a profit).

An Aussie living in California with her pug, two daughters and husband (listed in order of neediness), Belinda is obsessed with Doctor Who, English murder mysteries and making the perfect lemon curd.

Having read many bios aloud on the Hot Copy podcast, I recommend this length. I want to highlight some elements of this bio.

#1 I introduce myself within the context of what I do (copy coach), who I do it for (aspiring and working copywriters) and the outcome of our work together (supercharge their income, create financial stability and avoid career burnout, as well as having a job that’s better than the one you left).

#2 I drop my programmes/offers (The Copywriting Incubator and Confident Copywriting) along with some cred booster numbers (helped 400+), without it being overwhelming or too salesy. I also reinforce the main outcome (enjoy the journey of their work while also turning a profit).

#3 I include some personal details to help the audience get a feel for the kind of person I am (a mum, a dog lover, the TV shows I like and something quirkier – lemon curd).

Make sure you’ll have decent sound

This doesn’t mean you have to rush out and buy the latest and greatest in sound tech. Apple earphones (or similar) are decent enough in terms of sound quality, but I don’t recommend you use them as a podcast guest. Especially not the cabled ones.

Even though you can’t hear it (and neither can the podcast host at the time of recording), the microphone on cabled earphones will usually find something to rub against. Your shirt. Your earrings. Your hair. It’s like there’s an angry troll in the background, which is distracting for the listener and incredibly difficult for an editor to remove.

If you want to make podcast appearances a regular part of your marketing, invest in a half-decent microphone.

Here’s the microphone I have. You’ll also need a pop filter, but they are usually very cheap. You should be able to snag a great setup for under $150.

Think about what to say

There are two types of podcast hosts: those who share the questions they ask, and those who wing it and see where the conversation goes.

The wing-it hosts used to make me break out in a cold sweat. The thought of stumbling and stuttering through a podcast was terrifying. If you’re going to be on that kind of podcast, here are some ways you can prepare.

#1 Listen to other episodes to gain a feel for the flow of the podcast and the types of questions asked.

#2 Think about your own journey and prepare some notes around topics such as how and why you got started, any major challenges you experienced and what you love about your work.

#3 Consider any key points that you want to communicate. This can help you work your expertise into the interview.

#4 Trust yourself. This is where it can become sweaty, but you have to let go of nerves and trust that you know your stuff and that your brain will dish it up.

#5 Embrace imperfection. Being a polished podcast guest takes practice, and you will absolutely improve.

If you can get your hands on the questions ahead of time, so much the better. Write some bullet points, but don’t over-prepare your replies. You don’t want to sound as if you’re reading a script! Personally, I find that just the process of making notes is enough to forefront the idea in my mind.

For both types of hosts, ask about the audience so you can cite relevant examples and tie your expertise to their needs.

One question that’s always asked on a podcast: Tell us your story, how you got started and give a brief summary of the journey to now.

As this is usually the first question, you want to make the reply succinct and interesting. This doesn’t mean sharing every milestone or moment. Pick interesting moments – the ones that really impacted you – and keep the whole response under about two minutes so the conversation can keep flowing.

Think about what happens next

Almost every podcast interview ends with a question like, “So, where can people find you?”

Have an answer ready. Share your website as that’s your home base, but also share where you hang out most. Is it Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram?

Thanks for asking! My website is copywritematters.com, and I mostly hang out on Facebook and Instagram, so those are great places to find me.

Depending on the host, you might be able to share your lead magnet or a special offer! If you do have a lead magnet or offer, you can level up the experience by creating a custom opt-in page for this audience.

Simply copy your regular opt-in page, and add a headline like, “Hey, [podcast] listener!” to create an intimate and cohesive experience for the audience.

If that feels a bit much, share a succinct explanation of how the listeners will benefit from your lead magnet and link it back to topics within the interview.

I actually have a special quiz that your listeners might be interested in. We talked today about focusing on the activities that grow your business. If you’re a copywriter, my quiz tells you the one focus that will hit turbo on that growth. Head to bit.ly/copyshortcut, and answer a few quick questions to find your focus (along with some free tips and resources to support you).

Remember, get permission before you promote (during the interview).

After the interview: promote like hell!

You might think that the hard work is done once the recording is over. In fact, the work is just beginning. Being invited to share someone else’s stage – the podcast stage they’ve worked hard to create and grow – is a gift. The best way to say thanks is to share that platform with as many people as possible.

This is absolutely when you should promote like hell.

I like to challenge myself to make my episode the host’s most popular one. It’s good for them and great for me! But it’s also my way of saying thank you.

#1 Share your excitement after recording the episode. This seeds the episode with your audience and has them on the lookout. It also lets other podcast hosts know that you’re a potential guest!

#2 Share the episode when it goes live. Don’t just leave a link and a smiley face. Pick out some key moments from the podcast, excellent questions the host asked, some bombs you dropped. Really entice people to tune in and share the episode across multiple platforms.

#3 Share it more than once! Like all your content, make sharing your podcast guest spots a regular part of your content calendar. This will not only drive new traffic to the podcast, earning you even more love from the host, but it also reminds other hosts that you are guest material.

Keep going

Each podcast you’re on is an exchange. You have the chance to be in front of someone else’s audience, and they have the chance to learn about you and what you’ve got to share. It’s a give-get situation, but I think the more you can give, the more you will get.

Each podcast is also an opportunity to practice and improve. You will sound better and more polished each time and (hopefully) feel less nervous. But it takes practice, so embrace the journey.

Prepare, practice and podcast like a boss!

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