I recorded my first guest podcast interview on the Novel Marketing Podcast last week and it dropped yesterday!
Landing the Gig
Just like anything else, there is an art to landing a guest spot on a podcast. The first thing is you have to know and understand the podcast‘s audience. Then pitch a subject to the host that his audience will be interested in. In this instance, I didn’t pitch Thomas Umstattd to be a guest on his podcast; I pitched to be a workshop presenter at his conference, The Novel Marketing Conference, which is going to be this January in Austin, Texas.
He responded that he had all of his guests for the conference. Instead, he invited me to be a guest on his podcast. I’m a big fan and was thrilled!
Let’s Learn About Podcasts
As you know, I’m a very enthusiastic person, so I got excited by this invitation. And then after I said yes, I had a couple of hours of panic because I had never been a guest on a podcast. I’ve led live and Zoom workshops for hundreds of people at a time. I’m not afraid of public speaking and I love teaching. But this was going to be a completely new experience. This podcast has a large audience. I respect Thomas, and I didn’t want to screw it up.
I did what I always do when faced with a new exciting, and sometimes terrifying, opportunity; I went to school. I am planning on a podcast tour for my next book, so I had been filing away bits of information. I also have two great resources that I highly recommend if you are going to be a guest on a podcast.
- Thomas’s amazing course, How To Get Booked as a Podcast Guest.
- Anna David’s book On Good Authority.
Some of this information may seem obvious. However, I am always surprised by how many people think they can wing it.
Know the Show
Listen to episodes of the show so you know what to expect. You’ll learn what the host’s style is, the rhythm of the show, and if they ask the same questions to all the guests. If they have a standard set of questions, prepare answers ahead of time. This way, you are not caught off guard. I recommend listening to at least five episodes. If you don’t have time or that seems overwhelming, at least listen to two.
Get the Right Equipment
Microphone Your computer microphone that is fine for Zoom calls is not for podcasts. You need a high-quality microphone that provides crisp, professional sound. You know when you listen to podcasts and the guests sound far away? That’s because they’re using their computer microphone. Thomas and other podcasters recommend the Samson Q2U.
Headphones To go with your fancy new microphone you need headphones so you can hear exactly what you sound like as you’re being recorded. These plug directly into your microphone. After a bunch of research, I chose the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x which worked great.
Camera If your host also records your discussion on video for YouTube, I recommend investing in a good computer camera. I love the Lumina because it automatically focuses and lights you so that you look fantastic.
This equipment is a bit of an investment, but you want to put your best voice forward. You never know where this opportunity will lead.
Talk to the Host
When you schedule your interview, ask the host what they want you to talk about and who their audience is. For example, I asked how much of the Novel Marketing Podcast’s audience is traditionally published versus indie.
Before the Interview
Follow directions The host will send you a couple of paragraphs on how to be their perfect guest. Read and follow them. This seems really basic, but Thomas said I was one of two people that had ever read and followed his directions. I find that so shocking. Not only is it common courtesy to the host who is doing you a giant favor by having you on his show, it’s also to your benefit. You want to look and sound good for the audience. And you want to be asked back!
Talking Points Write your talking points so you won’t forget them. I like having my notes written even when I’m presenting in person. I rarely refer to them, but knowing they’re there if I get lost makes me more confident. These days lots of people like to have them pulled up on their screen. But I went old school, taping them to my monitor.
Practice Practice what you’re going to say, even if it’s something you’ve talked about a thousand times before. Practice speaking slowly because when we’re nervous, we always speed up. Practice smiling while you talk. It automatically makes you sound warmer, and more interesting. And practice listening. A podcast interview is a conversation. Don’t be so focused on what you’re there to say that you forget to focus on what the host is saying. You want to be able to incorporate a point he just made when it’s your turn to talk.
Say thank you on the recording at the end of the show. Write the host an e-mail saying thank you again. Include any links you might have mentioned in the show so that the host doesn’t have to go searching for them. If you want to be asked back, include a couple of things you’d like to talk about in your thank you note. (I learned those last two from Thomas.)
And finally share your episode on social media. You want to support the host and his podcast. The best way to do that is to get him more downloads. I have heard from several hosts that guests rarely share their episodes. Don’t be that guy. Extra points if you make a graphic using the podcast’s logo like I did above.
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