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How to Prepare for a Podcast Appearance Podcasts are a great vehicle for promoting yourself, your brand, and your vision. They have an expansive reach to an unlimited number of listeners and an evergreen shelf life on the web. Because they're so widespread and continually available, you'll want to make your podcast interview as effective and impactful as possible.

By Emily Reynolds Bergh

Key Takeaways

  • Don't be shy about promoting yourself, your brand or your purpose on a podcast.
  • They are a fabulous opportunity to shine; just make sure you embrace the host and the listeners in the limelight.
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Do you know when you've "arrived" these days? When you're on a podcast, either as the host or a guest! I may be exaggerating just a little, but a good barometer of success in the current marketplace is being deemed worthy of a guest appearance on a podcast. It means you've attracted interest. It means you have the power to generate an audience. It means someone believes you have something important to say and to share.

So when you get the chance, you'll want to be prepared. As head of my own PR firm, part of my role is prepping and grooming clients for podcast appearances. Here are the coaching tips I pass on to my clients so they can take the best advantage of participating in America's newest favorite media channel.

Related: Go Beyond Swapping Business Cards and Small Talk — Here's How to Forge Meaningful Relationships.

Best practices for podcast appearances

As ubiquitous as podcasts have become, it's still exciting when you receive an invitation to be featured on one. Very exciting. But excitement can also lead to nervousness, intimidation or even stage fright, which can leave you tongue-tied and result in a missed opportunity to make the most of your moment.

You can take steps before and during your appearance to facilitate the most favorable outcome, and I break these steps into three stages.

Related: Effective Strategies for Entrepreneurs to Grow Their Podcast

Stage #1: Prepping the week before your interview

Do not wait until the last minute to ready yourself for your appearance. I don't care how busy you are, how bare your cupboards are or how many party favors you have to assemble for your kid's birthday on Saturday; do not be an eleventh-hour podcast guest.

At least a week out, schedule the following tasks:

  • Listen to as many episodes of the podcast as you can. As you do so, get a feel for the host's style — are they easy-breezy, or do they throw hardballs? Do they talk more, or do their guests talk more? Is the tone casual and conversational, or quite formal, educational and informational? To be a good fit for this show, you'll want to be familiar with the show's personality and craft your content to it.
  • Research the podcast's format. How long will you be on? Will there be breaks so you can regroup and reset between segments? Will you be expected to field listeners' questions, or will you be in control of your "script"? Knowing what to expect before taping begins paves the way for fulfilled expectations.
  • Draft your pitch. Now's the time to start writing down what you most want to communicate during your appearance. Whether it's encapsulating the mission of your business, positioning yourself as a thought leader or driving traffic to your enterprise, you should be clear on what you want to pitch and how you're going to do so. List talking points. Make note cards. Record voice memos to assess how you're coming across and tweak your angle to address weak spots.

Related: If You're Going to Be a Guest on a Podcast, Don't Make These 4 Mistakes — They Could Cost You Leads.

Stage #2: Setting the scene for the interview

Almost all of my clients' podcast interviews are done remotely, with my client in their location and the podcast host calling from their location. Very often, the interviews are videotaped as well as audiotaped, which adds another layer of interaction with the audience.

Assuming you're going to be seen and heard, take the time to ensure that your environment will be most conducive to a crisp and clear listening experience and a visually appealing presentation.

  • Equip your interview area with proper lighting. You want your image to appear bright and professional, not dark and shadowy, which can be accomplished by a ring light or natural light coming through a window in front of you. (Note: You don't want a window behind you, which can create an annoying glare.)
  • Stage an attractive background. There is no need to redecorate or clutter your office, but a well-placed plant, a knickknack or a thoughtful collection of books on a shelf behind you can create a pleasing backdrop. Use a preset background from a videoconferencing platform only if it's high quality and will appear solid and steady behind you.
  • Plan to wear earbuds and set up a microphone, which can diminish background noise and improve sound quality on both ends.
  • Before interview day, check that all your equipment is working so you won't encounter any last-minute technology glitches.

Stage #3: Showing up for the interview

It's time to get yourself camera-ready and your space podcast-ready!

  • First, let's rewind to the night before. Get a good night's sleep so you feel your best.
  • Then, leave ample time to dress and primp the morning of so you look your best.
  • Next, about two hours before go time, do another quick tech check to ensure everything's operational. If not, you'll need time to troubleshoot.
  • Take control of everything around you — turning off all noise sources, silencing your phone and nearby devices and isolating yourself from everyone and everything in your vicinity (including your kids and your pet!) for the duration of the podcast segment.
  • Have a glass of water off to the side and soundlessly sip throughout the interview to keep your mouth hydrated.
  • As the countdown begins, take several deep breaths to calm and center yourself, becoming fully grounded in the present moment.
  • When the interview starts, sit up straight, don a welcoming smile, incorporate true-to-life gestures and facial expressions and, most importantly, listen closely and deeply to the host. You'll be tempted to divert your thoughts to your next turn to speak, but if you do that, you could miss what the host is saying to you or asking you.
  • Trust your natural instincts and trust your expertise. You were asked to appear on the podcast for a reason — go show 'em why you deserve the invite!

Related: 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Podcast Interview

Leave a lasting impression

More than anything, podcasts are meant to be engaging and entertaining. So it's fine to have fun; you're encouraged to have fun. The more genuine you are, the more listeners will get a sense of you as an individual instead of a talking head, and the more they'll trust that what you're saying is coming from a place of authenticity.

To make the most effective use of your time in the spotlight, remember that podcasts are primarily an auditory experience, where voice, cadence and clarity take center stage. So enunciate a little more than you usually do and slow the pace of your speech just a little more than you normally would. You don't want your listeners to miss a single word. And don't be afraid to add humor wherever and however you can — no matter how serious the conversation or earnest your message, you can never go wrong making your audience laugh.

Podcasts are, at the core, a promotional vehicle. When it's your turn to ride in one, don't be shy about promoting yourself, your brand or your purpose. It's a fabulous opportunity to shine; just make sure you embrace the host and the listeners in the limelight too. By the end of the episode, you might earn a slew of new followers!

Emily Reynolds Bergh

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder at R Public Relations Firm

Emily Reynolds Bergh — vintage-shoe hoarder, cycling junkie, & lover of pink drinks — is a marketing & PR pro with 15+ years of experience under her belt. Now the founder & owner of the award-winning R Public Relations based in New York, she’s been featured in numerous publications & podcasts.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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