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By Jennifer Lewis

In the ever-expanding soundscape of the digital ad, our agency decided to journey into the realm of podcasting. When we launched imPRessions, a podcast dedicated to dissecting the world of PR and marketing, the team needed to find an opening in a crowded marketplace of podcasts. With hundreds of business podcasts producing quality episodes, the market seemed a bit saturated. Thankfully, with a bit of time and patience, imPRessions successfully hit the podcasting market. In the process, our team has learned quite a bit about how to create a show with impact. While various factors need to be considered when managing and hosting a podcast, one aspect that can make or break any episode is – the guest.

Being an invited guest on a podcast can position the individual as a subject matter expert, help promote their business, increase social media followers, and reach new audiences. However, logistics need to be in place to be an effective guest, as in a good pair of headphones and a decent microphone and more.

Here are some of the top ways guests of imPRessions have positively influenced the episodes.

Be Familiar with the Podcast.

PR practitioners know all too well that the secret to building media relations is to familiarize themselves with the reporter’s work. The rule holds true for podcasting. If you want to be a guest on a show, comment on their work through social media, promote the episodes to your pages, and when reaching out, mention a few of your favorite moments or episodes.

If you are approached by a show you’re unfamiliar with, listen to a few episodes before you commit to being a guest. Even the most popular podcasts might not be a fit due to style or format. Be sure to know exactly who you are partnering with, and who the audience is, before hitting record.

Ask for Talking Points and Practice.

Even if you are a subject-matter expert on the topic slated, practice is crucial. Most podcast hosts will suggest an introductory call ahead of the recording to discuss the topic and logistics of the show. However, asking for talking points in writing will help any guest understand the flow of the proposed conversation, and will help prep for questions in advance. While the beauty of a successful podcast is a natural, free-flowing conversation, there is nothing wrong with preparing in advance for what the hosts may ask you during the episode.

Be Conversational and Interesting.

This one may seem a bit obvious, but an important tidbit to remember. With a microphone on and a recording in session, it’s not uncommon for a guest to clam up. Perhaps a small stumble over an answer or forgetting to make an important point, don’t forget to turn up the charm and remain friendly and relaxed. A good podcast host can sense if a guest needs assistance and will jump in to switch topics, or even hit pause for a few minutes. As long as guests remain interesting, listeners won’t mind if there are a few too many “um’s” or longer than usual pauses. With a bit of practice, even the shyest podcast guests can make an impact on a show.

Plug Your Business, But Don’t Overdo It.

It’s perfectly acceptable to promote your business or product offering as a guest on a podcast. However, judgment is crucial. Podcast hosts will usually plug your services either during your introduction or when wrapping up the interview, but too much “self-serving” talk can turn off listeners, as well as the host, if a guest is not careful about where, or when, to discuss their business. The best approach is to inform the host of products or which business offerings should be promoted, and they will include it in the planning of the episode.

Teach Listeners.

Podcast fans tune in for a variety of reasons.  However, two main components for keeping an audience is to entertain and educate. The best way to make an impact on listeners, and to build reputation, is to teach both the host and listeners on a particular subject. The “lesson” does not need to be over-the-top, in fact, even just a few unique facts or pieces of advice is sufficient. Whether the guest can draw from real-life experiences or has tangible data or statistics to share, any piece of information that can be leveraged as a teaching tool is immensely effective in creating a successful podcast episode.

Communicate with the Hosts/Producers.

Ultimately, the best way to leave a mark as a guest on a podcast is to communicate and build a friendly rapport with producers and the hosts prior to the recording of an episode. Just as there may be sensitive topics or questions to avoid, podcast hosts appreciate when guests offer specific talking points during the planning phase of the episode. After all, even though you are a guest in someone else’s home, you still plan on bringing wine or dessert, right? The same logic is applied to being on a podcast. Communication regarding what you want to talk about can open doors to a variety of topics and ultimately result in one of the most listened to episodes of the show.