As the writer and producer of our podcast Margins from Managing Editor, I’ve got a lot of ideas about what makes a great podcast guest. They mostly involve wearing headphones and not making strange noises in the background.
Brigitte Lyons has thought about things a little bit more deeply. Brigitte is the founder and CEO of Podcast Ally, a podcast booking agency that helps people and organizations nurture their brands through podcast appearances. And in a world of social distancing, masks and virtual events, having the media skills that make you a great podcast guest is one of the most accessible ways to keep your name out there.
We first met Brigitte while recording an interview with her for Season 3 on Margins, and we loved our discussion with her so much we knew we had to ask her to join Managing Editor Live 2020. For her session, Brigitte will be sharing what makes a great podcast guest.
Why Is It Important to Learn to Be a Great Podcast Guest?
This is a really big question!
I think there’s a couple of different pieces to it. First is relationship-building. So every time that you go onto a podcast, you're building a relationship, usually with a great contact in your industry. I've seen a lot of our clients that have gone on podcasts, and they've either formed business partnerships with the podcast hosts or had those hosts actually directly hire them. So there's an ongoing relationship that can start when you are a great podcast guest.
The other piece of it is that being a good podcast guest is good for you and the results that you get in terms of showing up in front of that audience. How you prepare for a podcast interview makes or breaks whether you do podcast interviews simply for exposure and getting introduced to a new audience or if you’re providing what you really want, which is to make an impact that inspires people to take action or to sell something. Being a good podcast guest really determines if you’re going to reach any of those goals or not.
What Do You Need to Do to Have That Kind of Impact?
In my experience, most people feel like, “Oh, they're going to ask me questions. I can talk about my business. I can talk about my work all day long. It's no problem.” So they just show up and give the interview. They don’t give any thought or research into who the audience is, what the host’s interests are, or what the show has covered on that topic before.
Also, if you don't prep for your interview, you're not going to tell stories that really connect with the audience. You're going to kind of ramble on. And afterward, I think you look back on the interview and think, “Wow, that could have been a lot tighter” or that there was a point you’d really wish you’d gotten across for this specific audience.
What Should Go Into Your Preparation?
First of all, I want to say that it doesn’t have to be a lot. You don’t have to listen to 10 different episodes of a podcast. Be really intentional while you’re looking for the kinds of things that will help you show up as a good guest.
We’ve already talked about a few of those. Start by looking into the host. In addition to running a podcast, what is it your hosts do? Have they written a book? Do they run a business? What are their interests? Check out their Instagram, see what they talk about. That way you can connect with them on a more personal level and make sure you're telling stories that really connect to them.
The other thing that you can prepare is just glancing through the last 10 episode titles on their show so you can get a sense for what kinds of things they are talking about and the kinds of things they emphasize in their show notes.
How Many Old Episodes Should You Listen To?
You need to listen to at least one episode. When we work with clients to prepare them, we try to find an episode that relates to their topic. So let's say we have some clients that are copywriters. If they're going to be on a podcast and they've had a copywriter on before, that's the one that you want to listen to because the host will talk about their own impressions and experiences with that industry. And so you want to know what they're bringing to the conversation, not just what you are, so you can meet them and the audience where they are.
The other piece of this is you want to prep stories. It's really important that you have storytelling to go along with each of your points. You want to think about: what are the things that they're going to be interested in; and then, what kind of story or anecdote can I share in addition to the advice or tips? If this were an actual podcast interview, I would go on to tell you a story of a client that we did this prep for and how it completely changed her results.
Why Do You Think Strong Storytelling Gets Overlooked?
That is a really good question. It’s because the question that you get isn't usually, “Tell me a story about a time when …”
For example, you didn’t just ask me to tell a story. You asked me to give my insight or my advice or my opinion on a topic. And I think that people want to answer the question that they've been asked. It doesn’t occur to them to go further than that. So I like to practice with people saying things like, “For example” or “Let me tell you a story about that.” I really think it’s that simple — just don’t make it immediately obvious that telling a story is the thing that you should be doing.
Do You Have Any Favorite Examples of How You've Seen Podcasts Help Your Clients’ Businesses?
One of my clients is Jennie Nash, who runs a book coaching company called Author Accelerator. Her company helps people write their books, everything from nonfiction to memoir, any kind of book, and also sometimes get book deals. She hired me because she wanted to get more clients for her book coaching company. She did an initial batch of nine podcast interviews, and she brought in $50,000 of revenue that she can directly attribute back to those specific interviews. Jenny’s actually signed on for two additional projects with us since then.
I have another client named Amber Rae, and she came out with a book a couple of years ago called “Choose Wonder Over Worry.” We lined up 24 podcasts interviews for her book launch, and her book became an international bestseller. So that is kind of the dream of every author — and I hear a lot from authors that podcasts are where it's at right now for promoting your book launches.
Wow, That’s Really Cool. I Need to Hire You.
That’s what storytelling does, right? Without those examples, you wouldn’t have said that.
Where Will You Be Giving Your Presentation From?
Well, I live in a little travel trailer. It's a 21-foot fiberglass travel trailer that I live and work in and travel the country. I'm not quite sure what state I will be in, but I will certainly be in the woods somewhere, looking out at the trees, while I give my presentation.
Sign up for the newsletter to get all the latest updates from Managing Editor.