Having guests and co-hosts on your podcast can make your show even more exciting. There’s merit in being a solo podcaster providing information or your opinions on a topic, but having someone else with you can create a more engaging environment. A co-host or a guest can drive conversation in the studio and on social media, which in turn can boost your audience.
However, if you don’t create a welcoming environment for your guests and co-hosts, they’re less likely to have a good time or have a meaningful conversation. Your episodes suffer, and your podcast suffers. It also means that they’re likely to decline any future invitation to come back.
So what can you do to foster a good relationship between yourself and anyone you invite on your podcast?
⇒ Know Who You’re Reaching Out To
Bringing guests and co-hosts on to your podcast is a great way to both cross promote your guest and your podcast at the same time. With podcasting’s popularity, many big names are popping up in the podcasting sphere. They can bring a spotlight to any podcast they’re on. However, just bringing a person on to hype up your podcast can be a bit disrespectful, especially if you don’t have any idea of who they are or what they do.
Before you contact your intended guest/co-host, do your research! Check out their background, what conversations they’ve been a part of, and what their experience is. It’s respectful to both your guest/co-host and your audience, and lets you ask more fun, poignant questions.
Doing your research can also help you avoid questions that the guest has already answered on other shows. Your guest has more than likely been interviewed on other podcasts and outlets, so they may be turned off if the majority of your questions have been answered at length on other shows. Doing your research can help you create interesting and original questions, which keeps your episode fresh and standing on its own.
⇒ Do The Footwork To Ensure A Smooth Session
As the podcast host, it falls to you to ensure that the session runs as smoothly as possible. Be sure to test your equipment beforehand. Make sure that your guest knows how to operate their equipment as well. If you’re using a recording software like Zoom or something similarly browser-based, make sure that your guest has the link at least a day before the intended session.
On the day of the recording session, make sure that you’re on time and have everything you need at hand. Make sure that everything from your microphone to your internet connection is recording ready. If you live with multiple people, make sure that they know that you’re going to be recording and will be unavailable. Cutting down on potential interruptions or technical difficulties will go a long way in showing your guest how much you respect your podcast and their time. Many podcasters may enlist a third party production company for the interview session, as well, which can alleviate stress on you.
⇒ Converse Off The Record
Have a conversation that isn’t recorded as part of the episode, before you even bring them on the show. Get a feel for how they talk, what it sounds like when they pause for a sentence, and what it sounds like when they pause in a conversation so you can speak. Getting a feel for how they speak will cut down on accidental cut-offs during your actual episode.
Speaking before you actually record also gives you a chance to tell your guest/co-host what your goal with the episode is, and if there’s any quirks to your podcast that they might not know. For example, if there’s a specific topic you (or they) want to avoid, or if you’re trying to keep your content family-friendly, this is the ideal time to let them know. Giving them a heads up beforehand ensures that they’re not caught off-guard as soon as they join for the episode recording.
Your first conversation can also be where you highlight questions you want to ask, for your interview guests. Showing them your questions ahead of time allows them to think about their answers and how they want to phrase them. While getting their answers in the moment to a question just sprung on them can sometimes create a conversation you didn’t think of before, introducing your questions ahead of time can cut down on unnecessary filler words or awkward pauses. Some hosts will send the questions to their guest days in advanced, giving the guest ample time to prepare their thoughts and answer in their best light.
Active listening is essential to producing great interviews. Methods vary depending on who you’re bringing on, but listen to what the other person is saying! If you’re just running through a list of questions and not paying attention to what your guest or co-host is saying, it may show a lack of interest and a lack of respect for your guest’s time. Having a great conversation is oftentimes more engaging and informative than simply reading off a list of questions and not responding to your guest’s answers.
If you’re bringing someone on as a co-host, listen to what they’re saying, then engage with it. Let them contribute to the conversation on the same level that you do, and do your best to keep from cutting them off. The episode lives and dies by your chemistry, so remember that you’re talking together to discuss a topic that engages you both, which will engage the audience as well.
If you plan on featuring this person as a long-term co-host, these things will come with practice. You both have an interest in your podcast, and it’s up to you both to contribute and ensure that you’re creating high-quality content.
If you’re bringing someone on as a guest to be interviewed, remember that your guest is the star of the show! It’s your podcast, so your audience is well-versed in your opinions and experiences. Your goal as a host is to guide the conversation to your intended goal, while letting your guest do the lion’s share of the speaking.
⇒ Keep The Respect Up Post-Recording
Thank your guest and answer any questions they may have about when you intend to publish the episode. Depending on your podcasting style and how much editing you do, also offer to send the file their way to listen to before you officially publish anything. Also, be sure to ask them what their social media handles are so you can tag them/follow them upon the episode’s release.
Once you do publish your episode, make sure that you share the episode link with your guest/co-host so that they can promote it. Part of the fun of featuring others is that they have an audience that you may not be able to reach, so your episode together can get more traction than an episode that just features you.
A Final Word On Having Guests On Your Podcast
Podcasting with others is a completely different experience than podcasting on your own. While it does involve a bit more work, it also means that you can have more fun creating an engaging experience for your listeners.
Looking for new ways to bring guests to your podcast? Check out our live audio platform!