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Female podcast host wearing headphones broadcasting online in a studio sitting in front of a microphone and laptop

I‘ve been fortunate enough to be a guest on several podcasts and while I’m not exactly an authority on the topic, I’m happy to share my advice on how to be a podcast guest based on what I’ve learned.

Before I explain how I’d like to remind you why being a podcast guest is a good thing. Simply put, it’s been good for my business and strengthened my E.A.T. reputation (E.A.T. is the acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). Podcasts serve as both marketing and networking tools. Little did I know that audiences around the world would hear the tips and stories I shared and as a result, people from Mexico, Sweden, Ireland, Brazil, India, and South Korea reached out to greet me, and that has been lovely!

I’m a podcast fan. And for me, hearing someone’s voice is a lot more personal than reading what they’ve written on their website, blog, newsletter, or book. And lucky for me, having a silky smooth “radio voice” is not a requirement. (If you’ve heard my voice, you know what I’m talking about). In this sense, being a podcast guest is a great equalizer. In fact, anyone with an internet connection and something to say can host a podcast or be a guest on a podcast. It’s probably one of the many reasons podcasts continue to soar in popularity. And judging from the email I receive and the coaching clients I’m working with, it appears I’m not alone. Many of you want to share your knowledge as a podcast guest and have asked me for tips on how to do it.

Here is what podcast guests need to know in 2023.

  • What To Do Before Pitching to a Podcast Host
  • What To Do As Podcast Interviewee
  • What Does The Podcast Host Expect From the Guest
  • What Makes a Good Podcast Guest
  • How To Pitch Yourself As a Podcast Guest
  • Checklist For Pitching a Podcast Host

What To Do Before Pitching a Podcast Host

Research Past Episodes. To get booked as a guest on a podcast, you should listen to at least three or four episodes of past shows. This helps you become familiar with the host(s) and the segments they use. For example, professional organizer and podcast host Janet M Taylor ends her podcasts by asking guests how they stay organized. When you know that question is coming, you can prepare an answer.

Another reason to listen to previous episodes is that you’ll want to reference at least one past episode so the host can tie it in with your topic. The host usually links back to that previous episode in the show notes, along with your tips. Referencing a past episode also shows your interest and appreciation for the host’s work.

Research the Podcast Host. Of course, you should be familiar with the host’s website. Review their products and services and their About page. LinkedIn is a good place to learn which university they attended and their career path. Check out their other social media profiles too. Explore what they’ve liked, shared, or commented on. Do not feel obligated to connect with or follow them — especially if their social media posts are unrelated to the podcast. Some people use social media for their personal lives (to socialize), not for business.

Read What Others Have Said. Reading the podcast reviews on Apple and Spotify is enlightening. That’s where you will find audience commentary on their favorite episodes and guests, plus, it will give you insight into the host’s target market and what the audience likes best about the show, host, and guests.

What To Do as a Podcast Interviewee

Practice. Practice. Practice. It is wise to have at least three tips, anecdotes, facts, or very short stories related to your area of expertise that you could tell “in your sleep.” You need to be able to share these in a conversational and natural manner. Do not give one-word answers. It makes you sound like you’re answering quiz questions. If you do public speaking, you might be familiar with the term “pocket speech.”  It’s something you can talk about without notes. It has a structure (beginning, middle, and end), and it flows. That’s your goal.

Don’t Lecture. Be concise, and remember that podcasts are dialogues — not monologues. Give the host a chance to respond, ask more questions, or change the topic. You can even invite more questions by giving the host options. Here’s an example: “So there you have it [name of podcast host]. That’s my personal definition of clutter. Do you think your listeners want to hear more about how clutter enters our lives, or would they prefer practical tips for decluttering?”

Set Listeners Up for Success. Share one or two practical tips that listeners can relate to immediately. For example, you could say:

Well, let’s begin decluttering in the fridge. It takes about 15 minutes, and that’s one of the reasons I like to start there. The other is because refrigerators don’t typically contain sentimental items. (haha) I start on the top shelf, left corner, and go from left to right, top to bottom — just like we read books. Step 1: Gather supplies. Step 2: Take everything out. Step 3: Clean the inside of the fridge. Step 4: Organize the items while they are on the counter. Step 5: Check the product expiration dates. Step 6: Put expired items in the trash. Step 7: Make a list of what you need to purchase. Step 8: Put items back into your nice clean fridge.”

Listeners love practical tips. They want to know how long something will take and what supplies to have before starting.

Know When the End is Near. As the podcast episode is wrapping up, the host will ask, “Is there anything else you’d like to share with our listeners?” or “How can listeners find you?” This is an invitation for a Call to Action (CTA). You can get a little creative. Instead of saying, “My website is Metropolitan Organizing dot com,” elaborate a little. You could say, “If listeners want free organizing tips, they can sign up for my newsletter at Metropolitan Organizing dot com.” Or “If listeners want to purchase my book, From Hoarding to Hope, they’ll find a link on my website, Metropolitan Organizing dot com.” The idea is to get the audience to your website.

Manners Matter. Thank the host for allowing you to talk about what you do and why you do it with their audience. After the show is published, help the host by promoting the episode in your newsletter and blog. Include a link to the episode on your website too. In addition, share the links to the podcast on LinkedIn and other social media sites or wherever you have followers.

What Podcast Hosts Expect From Guests

Your podcast host will want your height, weight, and last year’s income. (Just kidding!) Before your interview, the host will ask you to submit a headshot and a bio. Your bio should be very, very brief. This is not the place to include a detailed timeline of your career. Instead, aim for between three and five sentences. Do not cut and paste what’s on your website’s About page. That’s just plain lazy. It would be best to your tweak your bio so it appeals to the host’s audience.

What Makes a Good Podcast Guest

Good podcast guests are flexible. Before setting a date, offer the host a few topics as well as tips. For example, if you specialize in decluttering closets, you might say, “I can talk about spring cleaning — specifically closets. I can offer tips on creating color-coded capsules for kids and processing hand-me-downs using my three-dot system.” You want to have a few action steps that listeners will find helpful. Remember, you are there to educate, motivate, and/or entertain listeners.

Items You Need To Record

  • A strong internet connection. Ensure you have an excellent internet connection. Prepare a backup connection if your internet might drop due to weather or other issues.
  • Microphone. You should have a good-quality microphone. Headphones work better than your computer’s built-in microphone.
  • Hydration. Make sure you’re well hydrated and have drinking water nearby in case you need it. (Also, use the bathroom before you start recording).
  • Quiet. Situate yourself in a quiet room if possible. More than once, I sat on the floor of my closet because it’s quieter and almost muffles my barking dog. (I’m not kidding!) Obviously, this is not an option if you are recording video too. If you are doing a video simulcast, spend a few minutes preparing your background.

How To Pitch Yourself as a Podcast Guest

Distinct-Different-Differentiating. Determine if you have a unique perspective on a topic related to the organizing industry. Sometimes this is referred to as a POV (point of view) or a “spin.” A unique POV will set you apart from the others and make you newsworthy. Marie Kondo stands out because her “spark joy” philosophy is radically different. No one was using those two words in that way. She also had a distinct way of folding everything. She used a specific order for decluttering items. Love it or not, Kondo was newsworthy.

Here are three practice questions to ask yourself regarding POV.

  • Are you doing something distinctly different to differentiate yourself?
  • Is there a popular method or technique in the organizing industry that you vehemently disagree with?
  • Do you work with clients who are extra special in some way? It’s not enough to say, ‘all of my clients are extra special!”

The Three Ws. Now it’s time to channel your former self. Remember when you learned to write essays and had to answer: What? Why? and How? You’ll do the same when pitching a podcaster. Again, here are three examples:

    • Let me explain WHAT overwhelmed listeners should do first after inheriting a bunch of stuff from a loved one.
    • Let me share my ideas on WHY color-coded file folders aren’t right for everyone.
    • I bet your listeners would like to know HOW they can safely dispose of old prescription medication

The most important thing to note in the three examples above is that you focus on action, not theory. Listeners don’t want a debate. They want to hear your best practices.

Podcasts are here to stay so there’s no better time to put these tips to use and begin marketing yourself to an entirely new audience. Good luck becoming a top-notch guest and remember I’m here if you need me. And, if you want to become a podcast host, check out one of my very favorite podcast hosts, Michele Lamoureux from The Good Life Coach. Michele wrote a helpful blog post titled The 5 Things You Need to Know About Launching a Podcast.

The 2023 Podcast Guest Checklist

  • Listen to past episodes of the podcast and read reviews
  • Research the podcast host: their website, LinkedIn, and other social media
  • Practice communicating casually, clearly, and concisely
  • Share: tips, tools, anecdotal advice
  • Have a specific call to action (CTA)
  • Prep a short bio + headshot
  • Share a few ideas shared with the host ahead of time
  • Check your internet connection
  • Have headphones and a microphone handy
  • Have water to drink
  • Tidy your background and make sure you are camera-ready if you’re going to be on video

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