10 Thoughts About Podcasting, Guesting and Hosting

I was asked by Mark Herschberg of the Career Toolkit (I interviewed Mark on Episode about how he guested on 300 podcasts) and he is asking some people involved in the podcasting space their thoughts on hosting and guesting on podcasts. I did an episode titled, The Ultimate Guide to Hosting and Guesting Podcast Interviews where I shared much of this information. Here are 10 thoughts about podcasting, guesting, and hosting.

1. My Podcasting Story

The ultimate guide to podcast interviewsBack in 2005 a friend of mine came back from a marketing conference and said, “Hey the next big thing is going to be podcasting. I Googled the phrase and there was one and a half pages of results. I thought I broke the internet.

2. To Host or Guest

When you do a solo show you grow your influence. When you do an interview you grow your network. So many people think the big advantage of being a host who does interviews is the guest will share their episodes with their audience. They will if you do an interview that wasn't the same interview as the last 5 they just did. The real benefit of doing interviews or being interviewed is you are building relationships with people and that is priceless.

3. The Philosophy of Guesting

There are two schools of thought. You can spray and pray where you have a generic pitch letter that says things like, “Hello, I love your show” (my name is Dave and I have multiple shows which one), and then they explain how great they are. If they had taken two seconds to listen to two minutes of a show and PROVE you listened, you would stand out like a sore thumb. Then there are the people who DO listen and write a personal pitch. Again, the biggest benefit of guesting is the relationship you build with each host. Don't do a drive-by interview. Follow up from time to time to see how they are doing (easier said than done).

4. Creating the Perfect Podcast Pitch

All podcasters want to service their audience. You are trying to get them to serve YOU because YOU are so AWESOME. So many pitches are LOOK AT ME, and then the host has to figure out how you can bring value to their audience. Instead, pull up next to the host and pitch an idea that will bring value to the audience. You can explain your background but only in a way that shows you can bring value to their audience. Also, unless you want to be annoying and look stupid, check to see if they have guests. I get many pitches for shows with hundreds of episodes and never had a guest. When you use “SPRAY AND PRAY” you will get guests who will take anyone with a pulse, but that probably means they aren't serving their audience, which means they probably have a very small one.

5. How to get on Hundreds of Podcasts

PodmatchGet ready (identify a few topics that you could talk about). Aim your actions (identify what type of podcast would be a good fit)and listen to their shows to ensure they are a good fit and match your brand). Fire off a personalized email showing the host you've done your homework and can deliver value to THEIR audience. Yes, I know it takes more time. You can use Services Like Podmatch and Podcast Guests.

6. How to be a Good Host

Don't let people on your show deliver zero value to the audience, and don't let people with horrible audio on your show unless it is a household name. It's YOUR show and YOUR brand that takes the hit when the guest is a dud. People love to blame the guest. I blame the host. You didn't do your research or let you let someone on who sounded horrible. When you have a guest make them feel comfortable. Remind them it's not radio and you will edit the show to maximize engagement. At the end of the interview ask them if there is anything they would want removed.

7. How to be a Good Guest

PodcastGuests.comDo your homework and don't pitch to shows you are not a good fit for. Listen to the show so you know who you are talking to. If they don't tell you who their audience is ASK. While you are talking to the host, you are talking to the AUDIENCE. Ask what the target length is. This way you know which version of an answer to provide the short, medium, or long version.

8. How to get the most out of each episode

If you have the time, money, and patience, do both video and audio. When you start with video you can repurpose to any format. HOWEVER, if you are just starting I would recommend audio first, and build your audience (audio is cheaper, faster, with less headaches and less gear. In my travels, audio outperforms video five to one as there are more opportunities to listen than watch. You might ignore that YouTube is telling you to be on YouTube and that they've hijacked the word podcast. Be sure to write a blog post about the episode and embed the player from your media host. We all get so hot and bothered because YouTube is the #2 search engine when we put a three-sentence description of the episode on our website (ignoring the #1 search engine – Google).

This article started as a reply to an email. I realized I had put some time into it, so I copied and pasted it here and then added more with some formatting.

9. Who is Helping Whom?

The host better be helping the audience. They need to either make them laugh, cry, think, groan, educate or entertain. If you're not, you're boring. In the end, it boils down to content and delivery. If the show isn't relevant and it doesn't resonate, you are going to have a hard road to being popular.

10. Is podcasting worth it? The economics of podcasts and what hosts and guests can expect to get out of it

If the goal is to make money QUICKLY don't bother. If you enjoy serving an audience and would talk about your topic for free for three years, come on in. One of my shows is just me wanting to say something to the universe. It cost me $7/month. It's the best $7 therapy money could buy. When it comes to “Is it worth it” you NEED to identify your WHY. If you don't get your WHY you will burn out after you lose motivation. You need to know your WHO so you can deliver valuable information. The hard part of podcasting is combining your WHY with the WHO of your audience to figure out your WHAT (content) that will serve the WHO and your WHY. It has to be a win-win. Creating a podcast is easy. Creating a GOOD podcast takes thought, persistence, passion, and a little luck. For more information see becauseofmypodcast.com

But Should I Guest or Should I Host?

Why are you limiting yourself? Do both. If you are just a guest, you are hoping to grab people from a very loyal audience of the host to come check out your services. It can work, but it will be slow. If you are just a host, building that audience takes time, but as you build your audience you build your influence. It takes time. One way to grow your audience is to guest on other shows. With this in mind, do both. I feel being a host is more valuable as people are tuning in to hear YOU.

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About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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