25 Tips on How to Be a
Great Podcast Interview Guest

podcast microphone on a desk
5 minute read

You’ve been invited to be a guest on someone’s podcast, what’s next?

It’s not as easy as just showing up for the interview, you have to be prepared and ready to put your best foot forward.

Have you ever listened to a podcast where the guest was hard to hear or maybe there was a ton of background noise? It’s distracting, right?

Or the guest drops a few too many “um, like, you know, uh huhs”?

Don’t be that guest. You can do a few simple things to get ready for the interview that will make a huge difference in the quality of the interview and make the best impression for your business.

Being a guest on a podcast is a great way to get exposure for your brand.

If you had the chance to get a bunch of your ideal customers who want to know more about your product or service in a room, you’d jump at the chance!

That’s what podcasting is — it’s a voluntary target market looking for what you have to offer.

People don’t listen to podcasts they aren’t interested in.

They search, scroll, find exactly what they want to hear.

I believe podcasting and being a guest on a podcast is one of the best ways to get more eyes, or “ears” on your business.

A lot should go into prepping for the interview so you sound great, look great (yes, many podcasts record the interview on video), and come across like the pro you want the audience to connect with.

You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment but you do need a few basics to sound like a pro.

Popular Podcast Guest Equipment

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A little Podcasting Trivia for you first…

How many podcasts do you think exist right now? You’d be right on the money if you said over 1.4 Million podcasts with over 34 Million episodes. Only about 46% of those podcasts are active, so we’re talking 630,000 active podcasts.

And here’s another astonishing fact — over 3,000 podcasts are added to iTunes DAILY! — stats from My Podcast Reviews

Let that soak in for a sec.

Of those active podcasts here are the most popular categories:

The top 5 categories in order are:

  • Religion & Spirituality — 100,000 shows
  • Society & Culture — 96,000 shows
  • Business — 66,000 shows
  • Education — 64,000 shows
  • Comedy — 62,000 shows

65% of listeners listen on their smartphone or device.

The net-net of this little diversion is that there are tons of shows and almost all of them need guests.

So, why not you!

25 Tips for being a great podcast guest

Equipment:

1. Use an external microphone — I prefer a stand-alone microphone, like this one here, instead of relying on my computer, however, if a computer is all you have then definitely control the noise in your environment. Here’s a USB Podcast Microphone Kit and here’s just a stand-alone USB mic.

This is no joke…If the interview isn’t being recorded on video at the same time, I’ve recorded and been a guest on podcasts where I’ve sat in my closet with the door closed.

Why? It’s probably the best place for sound. Your clothes absorb all of the ambient noise and you just sound better.

2. Use earbuds — using earbuds is also a great way to deal with ambient sound. The mic is also closer to your mouth with your earbuds so you sound clearer. The earbuds that came with your phone will work just fine if you’re calling in from your phone. If you are on your computer, these earbuds are great.

If you use your cellphone, definitely use earbuds. Your phone’s microphone picks up a lot of ambient noise.

Vocal tips:

3. Speak with a smile — when you smile, it changes the tone of your voice. You’ll sound more alert and competent.

4. Watch your words — For the love of puppies and kittens, stop saying UM, YOU KNOW, and LIKE and any other completely distracting filler words!!!

Remember when I said that 65% of listeners listen on their cell phone or mobile device? That means they might be listening with their earbuds.

When you listen with earbuds or earphones, your attention is heightened to the sounds. There’s nothing that’ll make a listener push skip faster than a boring or annoying guest.

Watching filler words really does matter. You’ll sound less competent, confident, and professional if you sound like a 13-year-old at the mall.

podcasting woman at desk

Ambient Noise:

5. Soundproof your space — sounds that might not bother you will most definitely bother a listener and your host might not even air your episode because it makes them look bad, too.

6. Other than the obvious sounds — kids playing, babies crying, dogs barking, gardeners with a leaf blower, loud restaurants, or coffee shops; there are a lot of little sounds that get picked up when you’re recording.

7. Clothing or jewelry interference — a necklace, tie, or garment that rubs against the mic will cause feedback or muffled sounds. I discovered that when I wear my Apple AirPods that certain earrings click against them. The bottom of the AirPods is where the mic is for the Bluetooth version which means all of that clicking would be recorded.

8. Desk or keyboard sounds — don’t try to multitask when you’re being interviewed. You’d think that would be obvious but it isn’t.

Every keyboard stroke or mouse click is captured making for bad sound quality.

9. Control fidgeting — if you’re a fidgeter and you move around a lot, you might be making noise with your chair, desk, cords, etc. Try to eliminate that by removing distractions, sitting up straight, and avoiding all of your typical fidgetings.

10. Turn off your phone’s ringer, notifications, etc.– that’s another annoying sound that pops up occasionally when listening to podcasts. Turn off anything that buzzes, chimes, rings, or makes a noise.

Self-Care prior to recording —

11. Fuel your brain — Eat a light meal, drink water or tea, and do a little meditation. That will help your body fend off the adrenaline rush that often comes along with being interviewed.

12. Handle your business 😉 — Definitely use the bathroom before you start recording. Remember that adrenaline? Well, that can make you want to run to the potty if you’ve not prepared beforehand.

13. Stay hydrated — keep a bottle of water near you while you’re being interviewed, too. I prefer using a straw with the bottle because it makes it easy to take a quick sip. You don’t want to be gulping or slurping while on the mic.

woman at a table holding phone and talking into microphone

Interview prep:

14. Get to know your host’s brand — if you haven’t already spent time on their website, do it. Read a few blogs, opt-in for one of their lead magnets (even if it’s not relevant to you…it’s to get to know your host’s style), check out their social media.

15. Research your host’s interview style — listen to at least 3 past episodes to become familiar with their tempo and tone.

This will help you adapt to their style and that’ll make you a great podcast guest.

16. Prep your message like it’s a keynote speech — hosts appreciate it when guests are well prepared and comfortable with the questions.

It makes for a better interview and you showcase your expertise.

17. Request the interview questions in advance if they’ve not provided them — this allows you to prepare thoughtful answers to the questions.

BUT… practice the answers until you have memorized them so you sound natural, like you’re having a conversation with the host, not reading from a script.

It’s even okay if you fumble your words occasionally, that makes you real. Just know your stuff, share your stuff, and stay on point to the questions.

Have you ever watched a talk show on TV? 99% of those shows go over the questions well in advance of the show not just to prep the guest but to keep control of the show. That’s why a pre-interview set of questions is great.

Interview:

18. Don’t step on the host — basically, don’t interrupt the host and begin answering questions before they finish asking.

A good rule of thumb is to take a silent breath before you start speaking.

19. Be generous — you’re an expert, right? You’re going on a podcast because you want something from the exposure, right? Then give the good stuff away!! Don’t be stingy with your answers, go deep if you can, give away your best stuff.

Too often, people think that giving too much will keep potential customers from buying from them. NOT TRUE.

In my experience being generous as a podcast guest will get you even more exposure and customers.

A few of the experts in my niche who do it so well are Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, & Stu McClaren. I admire their dedication to generosity when it comes to the availability of their proven methods. By the way, they are extremely profitable.

Check out this quick punch list of tips from podcasters

20. Communicate don’t pitch — you’re not there to pitch your business but to share your wisdom, how you’ve helped your customers, tips that work, and a little about YOU.

People who pitch, unless asked directly by the host to do so, come across as greedy.

21. Have a media kit — even if not asked, send over a simple digital media kit or one sheet to your host. It’s just nice to have all of your info in one place.

22. Promote the show — promotion is often required and the host provides some detail on how to do it. But if it isn’t, promote like heck anyway.

A few things that could happen if you promote your interview:

  • You could get asked to be a guest on another show
  • You could get new leads
  • You could get new customers

Notice I didn’t say anything BAD on that list. Promotion of the show is good for you. Like drinking enough water or eating clean. Just do it.

On-Screen Interviews — all of the above apply, plus…

23. Lighting — make sure you have enough light to be seen clearly on screen. In the world of lighting, what you think is enough, might not be.

A ring light works great to give you the light you need. Or, position your desk in front of a window that gives you natural lighting. Ring lights are GREAT for adding focused light for videos of all sorts. This one has a lot of good features.

24. Background — if at all possible, have a clean, simple background for your interview. Don’t do your interview in your bedroom with your bed in the shot, your closet open, or clutter everywhere.

If you can’t have a simple backdrop, consider staging your backdrop to look more presentable. Move some furniture around, have the lights on, make sure your space is clean and tidy.

25. Appearance — obviously, look your best. Not overdressed or totally GQ or glam. Be comfortable, look approachable, and smile.

Another point about fidgeting, especially on camera. What looks like a simple movement is amplified when you isolate yourself on screen.

There you go! 25 Tips on How to Be a Great Podcast Guest.

I hope they help you knock it out of the park as a guest podcaster.

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