Being a guest on podcasts is a great way to share your message, yet it’s not something I see a lot of ministry leaders doing. Here’s your guide to being a great podcast guest.
There are over 2 million podcasts, and over 60% of all US consumers listen to podcasts. People listen in their homes, in the car, while they’re out taking a walk or exercising, and at work. Podcasts are everywhere. In the previous episode, I interviewed Eric Nevins, founder of the Christian Podcasters Association. Eric shared how podcasts are an effective way to get your message out to more people.
Look at the advantages podcasts have:
Podcasts tend to have a loyal following
As a guest, you “borrow” the host’s credibility with their audience
Builds your reputation as an authority
Exposes you to new audiences
You can generally guest from anywhere in the world
Podcasts are evergreen – that show stays out there. Someone may listen the day it comes out – others weeks, months, and even years later.
Here are my tips for being a great podcast guest.
I get emails all the time from agencies and individuals trying to guest on Life and Mission, but I’ve never accepted an unsolicited pitch. What? Because these people have obviously NOT listened to this podcast. I mean, when have you heard me talk about crypto? Please don’t be like that.
Most podcasts have a process, either through an application, or some other channel. Check the podcast website. If you reach out by email, do so only after listening to two or three episodes, and only after identifying how you can serve that audience. The point of this article isn’t to teach you how to pitch yourself–that’s a whole thing in itself! Let’s just say don’t be a jerk. Don’t make assumptions, and show up with a heart to serve (not sell).
Now, let’s get you ready to be a great guest:
Follow the host’s process. Do what they ask you to do. Be ready to provide headshots, a short bio or introduction, and even a few suggested questions.
Listen to at least two or three episodes. Get to know how the show goes, their style, and the types of questions they typically ask.
Find out (listen & ask) if there are questions the host asks every guest so you can prepare your answer.
Practice what you’ll talk about, and tell stories!! Practice telling your key stories (ones that will resonate with this audience) without taking rabbit trails or rambling.
Get a microphone and learn how to use it. You can get a decent mic for about $100 (I use the ATR2100x) (affiliate link)
Use earphones or earbuds to prevent echo on the recording.
Don’t use a shared WiFi (coffee shop, etc.) if possible. Wired connections are more reliable than Wifi. Plan ahead.
Dress professionally. Be prepared to be on video.
Make sure your background isn’t distracting (visually, and audibly)
Watch your lighting (don’t sit with a window in the background, etc.)
Turn off your phone, or silence it and turn off notifications.
Be on time, ready, with your tech tested – EVERY TIME
Pay attention to cues from the host
Speak with confidence.
Match the tone of the show (another reason to listen).
Stay engaged with the conversation.
Show up to serve the audience and the host.
If you have a CTA or a gift/offer, ask before recording if you can share it (usually at the end). It’s really nice to offer something specifically for that audience.
Don’t continually refer to your offer or hint at giving/support for your cause.
Thank the host. You may send a card or even a small gift of appreciation afterwards.
Promote the podcast in your channels (social media, email, etc.).
If you do these things, you’ll be well on your way as a podcast guest. As you become known as someone who is easy to work with and who serves the audience, chances are podcast hosts will be willing to refer you to others.
Our stories have the power to move supporters along on a journey: introducing them to a problem, dispelling myths, offering hope, introducing them to our organization, showing them how we solve the problem, building trust, and inviting them to take action.
At any point in time, you’ll have people at different stages along these five levels of awareness (from copywriter Eugene Schwartz):
Unaware – They don’t even know there is a problem.
Problem Aware – They know about the problem, but not about solutions.
Solution Aware – They know about solutions, but not so much about your organization, the work you do, or what makes you special.
Brand Aware – They know about you! But they aren’t convinced you are the right fit for them.
Most Aware – They get it! They know about the problem, what you do to solve the problem, they know, like, and trust you, and they’re ready to join you (just waiting for you to ask).
It’s important to think about the donor’s journey, and where they are in it, when crafting our stories. We must also consider our organization’s goals (increase monthly donations, bust a myth around the problem we solve, attract volunteers, etc.) and position ourselves and the story accordingly.
Address potential donors according to the stage of awareness they’re in. Do this, and donors will be more informed, engaged, and ready to respond when it’s time to ask for their support.
I can see why people might be hesitant to allow strangers into their space. We are conditioned to look at people who are not like us as either scary or exotic. Since childhood, most of us have been warned of “stranger danger”.
The ad features a family of shaggy “monsters” enjoying their vacation. It starts where many of us are when it comes to inviting strangers to stay in our homes–it’s a little scary. But then we see a delightful series of scenes: enjoying a beautiful view with a cuppa tea, a family hike, collecting shells, taking selfies, cooking, playing games…
These are simple things we enjoy with our own families.
The shaggy monsters clean up after themselves, straighten a picture on the wall, and leave a thank you note. As they close the door, we finally see them as they really are–a human family, just like us.
Kevin Morby’s song, Beautiful Strangers, provides a relaxed musical backdrop. Not a word is spoken. It’s a beautifully orchestrated story with an important message:
Strangers aren’t that strange. We have more in common than not.
The stories we tell can build bridges
Unfortunately, in our attempts to elicit emotion (or donations), we often emphasize our differences rather than our shared humanity. When we do this, we miss opportunities to present a realistic and nuanced view of the problems we solve. At worst, we reinforce stereotypes and even exploit the people we are called to serve.
Every story gives us a chance to choose. Do we set up a “them and us” narrative, or will we do the work to offer another perspective?