How to Ensure Your Podcast Guests Shine: Insights from Dave Jackson

Understanding your audience is non-negotiable when crafting an exceptional podcast. All good podcasters start by clearly identifying their audience. Are you catering to 24-year-old women or 59-year-old women? Knowing your audience is essential to producing content that resonates. This involves diligent research to understand your listeners' preferences and needs.

Guest Research: A Crucial Step

At the School of Podcasting, we emphasize the significance of bringing on guests who deliver the value your audience craves. Before inviting someone to your show, scrutinize their expertise and ensure they align with what your listeners want. Researching potential guests ensures they bring relevant, engaging content that your audience will appreciate. Yes, we can talk about your book, course, etc but you need to deliver value to the audience and not make it a giant pitch.

Your Podcast is Your Home

Start Your PodcastThink of your podcast as your home—a space you've built and nurtured. When a guest steps into this space, their presence should enhance the environment, not detract from it. It’s essential to be discerning about who you allow onto your show. A poorly prepared guest is akin to someone disrespectfully barging into your living room and pooping on your coffee table. You wouldn't tolerate that in your home, so don’t accept it in your podcast.

IF someone wants to do a “Podcast Tour” for publicity for their product or service, and they want to use their built in laptop microphone they don't understand that they are shooting their brand in the foot by showing up with barely listenable audio.

Avoiding Low-Quality Guests

It’s your responsibility to maintain the quality of your podcast. When I let someone on my show who had an air conditioner in the background my audience complained. Also, any irrelevant content can tarnish your brand. Not every guest will fit your show, and it’s up to you to spot potential pitfalls. How can you ensure high standards? Here are three effective strategies:

  1. Listen to Prior Interviews: If a potential guest has spoken on other podcasts, listen to those episodes. This will give you a sense of their audio quality and ability to communicate effectively.
  2. Conduct Pre-Interviews: Schedule a quick pre-interview to gauge their audio setup and communication skills. This brief interaction can prevent many issues and set the stage for a successful recording.
  3. A Right to NOt Publish Policy: If I let a person on my show that I don't know well (I've done my research, and they SEEM like a good fit) I always state, “In the event I feel this interview doesn't deliver value to my audience I reserve the right to not publish it.” I've had ONE person get upset. Everyone else knows they can deliver value (and they did).,

Handling Awkward Situations

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may need to provide feedback to a guest about their audio quality. Approach this delicately by focusing on how improved audio will enhance their content's impact. Explain that you want their brilliance to shine through without distractions from poor sound quality.

I had one guest who hijacked the interview to focus on “Their Story.” When I listened back, there weren't any takeaways for the audience. My audience couldn't have the guest's father as a parent. So I explained this to the guest (he had been great on the pre-interview). He seemed irked and then PITCHED ME HARD to become one of his coaching clients (which I feel was the real reason he wanted to be on my show).

Scheduling and Preparation

Utilizing a scheduling tool like TidyCal can save you heaps of logistical headaches. Whether you prefer TidyCal, Acuity Scheduling, or Calendly, these tools help avoid time zone mishaps and send automated reminders. Preparing your guest by explaining your audience demographics, the interview structure, and ensuring they are technically ready will streamline your recording process and reduce the need for extensive edits.

Doing the Interview

Explain how this isn't live, and that they can restate anything they don't feel comfortable appearing in the episode. Let them know why they are hear and who the audience is. Let them know how long an interview typically is. This gives them target to hit.

Have a few questions your audience would ask on one sheet of paper, and then have a pen that doesn't click ready to take notes for follow-up questions. The key is to keep yourself listening.

Final Tips and Tricks

  • Microphone Check: Always ensure your guest’s microphone works correctly before hitting record.
  • Press Record Promptly: Avoid the pitfall of forgetting to start the recording.
  • Plan for Less Editing: More preparation equals less editing. The better you prepare your guest, the smoother the recording process.

How to Get On Shows As A Guest

This is very similar when attempting to be a guest (instead of the host)

  • Do your research and find shows that need to hear your message
  • DO NOT SPRAY AND PRAY (all podcasters hate those who do it)
  • Make sure the show you pitch has guests (to avoid looking stupid).
  • Write personalized pitches that PROVE you listened.
  • Spend a little money on a microphone like a Samson Q2U, The Audio Technica 2100x

The Biggest Benefit of Interviews

While we all think the guest will share their episode (but they will only do that if your interview differs from all the other interviews), many don't. You need to make it easy to share to have any chance of the guest sharing their episode.

The biggest benefit of interviews is growing your network. Growing your friends. You can use a great tool like Less Annoying CRM to help you remember to reach out to stay in touch with people.

Resources to Find Shows/Guests

There are TONS of these places (Facebook groups, etc). I recommend Podmatch and Podcastguests

Thinking of Starting a Podcast?

Are you considering diving into the dynamic world of podcasting? Look no further! Join the School of Podcasting community today and unlock a wealth of knowledge and support tailored just for you. As someone with decades of life experience, your voice is invaluable, and podcasting offers a unique platform to share your wisdom, stories, and passions with the world.

With our step-by-step guidance and personalized approach, you'll navigate your podcasting journey with ease, turning your ideas into captivating audio experiences. Plus, as a special bonus, use the coupon code “listener” to embark on your podcasting adventure with exclusive savings. Don't the voice in your head hold you back – embrace the power of podcasting and join us at the School of Podcasting today!

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00:00:00 – Based on Feedback
00:00:22 – Opening
[00:01:14] – Conducting Interviews
[00:01:40] – Where Do You Start?
[00:03:19] – Your Podcast Is Your Home
[00:07:18] – How to Avoid Guests With Terrible Audio
[00:11:25] – Telling a Guest Their Audio Isn't Good Enough
[00:12:58] – Get a Scheduling Tool
[00:14:39][] – Send Reminders
[00:15:24] – Your Checklist
[00:17:36 ]– How to Ask Questions
[00:19:30] – My Interview Setup
[00:21:01 ]– LISTEN
[00:21:43] – No Active Listening
[00:22:25] – Worst Question Ever
[00:24:19] – Scheduling Nightmares
[00:24:54] – Double-Intro
[00:25:29] – Let them Think
[00:26:15] – No Value Answers
[00:27:55 ]– Share Your Insights Last
[00:29:56] – EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT
[00:32:53 ]– Make It Easy to Share
[00:33:37] – Why Guests Don't Share Their Appearance
[00:34:24 ]– A Greatest hits Interview
[00:34:56] – The Biggest Benefit of interviews
[00:38:11] – What Do I Do With a Bad Interview?
[00:38:50] – The Awkward Conversation
[00:40:28] – Rearrange The Content

Mentioned In This Episode

Join the School of Podcasting Community

Profit From Your Podcast Book

Power of Podcasting Network

Dave's YouTube Channel

Dave's Podcasting Newsletter

Buy Dave a Coffee

Put Dave In Your Pocket

Where Will Dave Be?

Question of the Month

Podcast Rodeo Show

Podcast Hot Seat

Your Podcast Website


Acuity Scheduling


Podmatch and Podcastguests

Less Annoying CRM


This is episode 938 of the School of Podcasting



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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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