You’ve just been asked to be a guest on a popular podcast to talk about your industry and trends you’re seeing. You’ll be able to talk about your journey as an entrepreneur and even share your contact details and website address.
Hurrah! That’s awesome!
And now the work really begins—to prepare for the podcast and set yourself up to wow the host, engage the listeners and turn those listeners into potential clients for your products and services.
Exactly how you convert listeners to leads starts way before you even get on the air.
It’s all about being a great podcast guest.
Over the years as a podcast host, radio show and podcast guest, and now in coaching my media clients to be a great guest, I’ve honed in on 7 powerful secrets that all conspire and combine to entice those listeners to become your followers and raving fans.
1. Be a great guest even before the show begins.
Being a podcast guest is kind of like being a really good date. Before the first date is over, you want to have plans for your second date.
The idea here is to show the host and their assistant or producer that you’re easy to work with, prompt and professional. You will get invited back, or at the very least put yourself in a position to ask for a reference or testimonial for your media kit.
There are a few simple things you can do be a great pre-show guest:
- Be ready with your head shot, a short bio, and a few key points about your topic/what the listeners will hear—and send them these things and anything else they need promptly.
- Give the host a list of questions and answers; if you’ve put together your media kit you’ll be good to go on this one!
- Send the host a copy of your book, e-book or whatever it is that you’re promoting so they can read it ahead of time.
- Be responsive to any requests from the host or their team.
- Share the host’s social media posts promoting your episode.
- Talk about the podcast and how excited you are to be a guest on your own social media channels at least a week before, the day before and the day of—and tag the host and the show.
With these pieces in place, you’ll be one the host’s favorite guests before you’re even on the air.
2. Do your homework.
Your pre-appearance homework is divided into social and technical. Let’s do the technical stuff first and get it out of the way.
The show details may vary, but the one the thing all podcasts have in common is that technology can trip you up every time. So, be prepared for the technical aspects beforehand. There may be glitches over which you have no control, like the conference line is down on the day of your show, but control what you can ahead of time.
Most podcasts hosts will send you a pre-show information sheet that provides all of the details like the format of the interview (Skype or phone for example), date and time information and anything else you need. Pay attention to all of these details and make sure you’re set up before hand:
- Download any special software required.
- If there’s a chat room or special place to log in online, keep the log in details handy and try it out before the show.
- Ensure you’ll be in a place where you have phone and Internet coverage.
- If you need a land line (a lot of podcasts still prefer land lines for audio quality and stability), make sure you have access to one.
Essentially, know the technical requirements beforehand and do a test run yourself so you’re not fumbling around two minutes before the show.
If the show doesn’t give you all of this information then ask for it! Nicely, of course, but you should know exactly where you’re calling in, or signing in, what time, what software you need, well ahead of time.
The second part of your homework is a lot more fun! Get to know your host and their show, if you’re already familiar with them. Follow them on social media. Engage with their posts—and not just the ones about you! Look for things you have in common, like you both love vintage Beetles or you can’t start a day without a coconut milk latte.
Your podcast appearance should feel like a conversation, not an interrogation, and having little details to sprinkle in will help you feel more familiar and relaxed.
But, be genuine about it. Listeners are most likely to respond to you if the host recommends you. They already know, like and trust the host, right? Don’t suck up to the host with fake accolades and compliments; listeners will see right through it.
A final tip for pre-show homework is to listen to several podcast episodes to get a feel for the host’s style, the format of the show (Are there breaks? How long is each segment? Are there other guests or segments not involving you?) and whether the host offers freebies and content upgrades of their own.
All of these details will help you when you’re on air, to tailor your answers and help put you at ease.
3. Keep your energy up!
You’ve probably heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”, right? Well, this is so true in Podcast Land. Energy and enthusiasm are crucial to getting listeners to take notice and respond to you.
It takes a lot more energy to move the sound waves from your mouth to the listeners’ ears over cyberspace than sitting across a table at a coffee shop. So as a podcast guest, you’ve got to project more, literally and figuratively, to make an impression on the listeners.
I’m not talking about shouting into your headset, but using some simple techniques to amplify your natural energy.
First, smile when you talk—I know it sounds funny, but it works. Research shows that people can hear a smile in someone’s voice. It adds a certain inviting, warm energy to your words. You come across friendlier and more animated than a voice droning on about some topic. (This works in any situation by the way, from sales calls to public speaking!)
Practice this in front of a mirror: speak your answers (from the Q&A you sent to the host) and watch yourself in the mirror. It will feel weird at first, but it does get easier and more natural! Click here for a video to get you started.
Second, your body should be in an active position when you’re on the podcast. If it’s not on video, walk around, or stand while you’re talking. If you are on video, it can be trickier, because you can’t really be moving around, so try sitting on the edge of your seat. It will naturally tilt you in towards the camera and help with that friendly approach.
Finally, always be authentic. Think about it. When you hear a podcast guest who’s just a little off, are you likely to follow them or sign up for anything they’re offering? No. Listeners will know when you’re faking your way through an interview. People like authenticity, even if it’s a little messy, it’s real.
4. Pay attention to the time.
This one is pretty simple. If you’ve done your homework, you know the format of the show and approximately how long each segment is. Pay attention to the time, wrap up your comments before the break. Don’t start a long answer with 15 seconds to go before break. Say something like, “Wow, that’s a great question. I know we have a break coming up. The short answer is xyz, and I can tell you more about that after the break.”
Always remember this is a conversation. Don’t be so quick or terse with your answers, but don’t hog all the time either. It’s a dance. Let the host have space to respond to you and engage with you. Take a breath when the host interrupts your answer to interject something.
Flow with the conversation. It will sound more natural, and you’ll sound more inviting than rattling off a canned response because that’s what you wrote down so you have to say it no matter what!!! (Can you feel how tense that is?? Yeah, the listeners will, too.)
5. Tell success stories.
The only thing we love more than a good story, is a story about triumph and success over adversity or shortcomings.
Therefore, during your podcast guest interview, tell lots of stories. Facts and figures are nice side dishes, but they’re a little bland. Stories are a main course!
If you have clients that you’ve helped to overcome something and now they’re a better speaker, a better parent, a better boss—whatever—weave in those stories. Even if you don’t have a lot of clients yet, chances are YOU have a story about how you got to where you are.
6. Have your website ready for visitors.
Being a podcast guest is like sending out invitations to a party—only here, that party is at your website. And just like you’d have your house ready for party guests, make sure your online home—your website—is ready and you’ve got some treats laid out for guests!
Chances are, your host will give you some opportunity to tell listeners where to find you and how to connect with you. Ideally, they’ll link to your site and social channels from the show notes or promos, but be ready with easy-to-understand answers where you’d like people to go, like your Instagram or Twitter handle, your Facebook page, or (preferably) your website.
When I say “easy to understand” I mean this: if your name or URL is long, hard to spell or quirky, don’t use it. When I started out, my URLs had an intentionally misspelled word (because what I wanted wasn’t available) and it was so awkward to try and explain it. If you’re in this situation, buy a domain name that’s easy to spell, say and remember and forward it to your existing website.
Once you’ve got people to your website, make sure there’s something yummy for them to nosh on (I think I need to eat lunch). It can be as simple as:
- A good blog post or two on your topic.
- An about page so they can get to know you, what you do and who you serve.
- A free gift/opt-in/lead magnet so they can learn more from you.
Make it easy for them to find you and follow you. (If you’re not sure how your website comes across to new visitors, set up a complimentary consultation with me and we’ll talk about it!)
7. Offer listeners a free gift.
Let me say this first: do not do this until you’ve cleared it with the show host!
You’ve done the work and now the listeners who tuned in to your podcast interview are dying to find out more. Probably the ultimate way to convert listeners to leads is to offer them a free gift during the body of the interview. Usually this will be towards the end, but if you can, mention it at least once earlier in the interview, and then again at the end.
Who doesn’t love gifts? Here are a few of ideas:
- Send them to your opt-in page with a special, easy to remember URL.
- Create a special free gift only available to podcast listeners, like maybe packaging together two or three of your freebies in a topic-based bundle, or adding an audio component to your lead magnet. Set up a hidden page on your website, like yourdomainname.com/freegifts, to send podcast listeners to.
- Give them a special discount code (great if you’re product-based).
When I was promoting my gift giving book I had a discount code set up for listeners to receive a percentage off the price. They loved it! I kept the code generic enough to be used on any radio show or podcast where I appeared.
If the show host already provides content upgrades with their podcast episodes, they may not want you to offer your own freebie. No problem! See if there’s a way to incorporate something from you in their freebie. And then in that content, you can provide info on how to subscribe to your newsletter, get a free course, or at the very least follow you on social media.
There you have it! By following these tips, you’ll gain experience preparing for any interview as a podcast guest, while building your following.
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