Yesterday I got home from New Orleans after four days at FinCon and now that I am caught up on sleep, I want to talk about it.
On Friday, I spoke on a panel with four other creators about how a podcast host can book and interview guests like a pro. Here are a few of the questions I answered, as well as some that I was asked after the panel that I thought everyone could benefit from.
1. Why shouldn’t you open an episode by asking your guest to “tell us about yourself?”
I feel so strongly about this question that I actually have a full episode of my podcast, Branded, discussing this!
There are a few reasons I hate this question. First, it makes you sound unprepared as a host. Before you bring a guest on, you should know who they are and what they do enough that you can introduce them yourself. If you just give them the floor, you don’t show that you’ve done your research and know who you’re speaking to.
Secondly, it gives the guest the power. So many times, I have heard this question asked by a podcast host, followed by 5-7 minutes of the guest telling his/her life story. You waste time and don’t get into the meat of the episode right away, risking losing the attention of the audience. Instead, introduce the guest in a way that is concise, makes them feel celebrated, and transitions right into the topic of the show.
2. Is it wrong to charge guests to be on your show?
This was a debate between my panelists because one does charge his guests and two, as journalists, are opposed to the idea.
As a marketer, I see both sides, and here is my opinion:
Podcasts are expensive to launch, produce, and maintain. If you have a show that is successful, it really is a powerful marketing tool not only for you but for your guests. Having your guests pay to be on the show is okay if there is potential to see a return on that investment.
On the other hand, as a podcast producer, I would remain picky about who you let on your show (whether they pay or not) and make sure you are always prioritizing quality content for your audience.
3. How do you handle guests canceling on you?
This is something that you will deal with whether your show is brand new or in the top 10. Don’t take it personally. Life happens.
If you have a show that releases a combination of solo and guest episodes, this is an easy fix as you can just record a solo episode in place of that guest. Having a running list of possible topics can make pivoting like this even easier.
If your show is exclusively interview-based, this can be stressful. However, I have found that being part of a digital community can be helpful. Several times I have had a guest cancel a recording for Don’t Retire… Graduate!, the podcast that started my career as a producer. Being able to pop into the FinCon Community Facebook group and post that I need a guest had my inbox filling with money stories and messages that ended up being fantastic episodes.
Lean on your community!