Thursday, February 9, 2012

Some Thoughts On Podcasting With Guests

I don't know if you know this, but having guests on your show can dramatically increase the number of listens it receives.

Yeah, I keep telling myself that this is common knowledge but if it is, why am I'm not listening to that inner voice? In fact, I've been telling Tim Arthur the same thing about Techmonks. "We have to get guests on the show" I explain.

Why am I writing about this today? you ask. Well, while updating today's episode of Room 3026 Live, I decided to compare the number of listens for February to that of January. To my surprise, two of the most popular episodes over the past few months were shows where we had guests. Coincidence? I think not.

There is definitely something special about having visitors on the show. The question is what?

Why Have Guests?

Easier To Promote 
The first thing that comes to mind is that a show focused on a guest is easier to promote. When I think about sharing our daily show, typically I'll write, "Room 3026 Live: Episode 462" as the title. That's great and all, but it doesn't explain what listeners can find within that episode. However, when we focus our efforts on one person or topic, the title can easily reflect that.

Guests Bring Their Own Listeners (BYOL)
Depending upon the guest and the size of their support group, I have personally experienced a huge live audience. In addition, the number of archive listens tends to skyrocket as well.

Learn From The Experts
This is probably my favorite reason for having guests on the show, it's because they are really smart people. I know a little about a lot of things, but when talented and experienced guests grace our show the place comes alive.

Builds Your Network
As a result of the previous point, bringing guests on the show not only provides knowledge transfer but it also builds your network. I have met some amazing people over the years and the show only helped facilitate a friendship.

Tips For Hosting Guests
I am, by no means, the perfect producer, but finding interesting people to talk with comes through nurturing your personal relationships.

Start With People You Know
The easiest thing to do is schedule friends who you know well. This tip insures that your first interview won't flop and scar you for life. Part of my success has come through a feeling of confidence and the best confidence booster starts with friends and family.

Do Your Research
This is one of the reasons I don't have guests on as often as I'd like. It is important to take some time and understand your visitor. What makes them unique? What are they doing that caught your attention? What's happening in their industry? In the end, a good conversation occurs when you have something to talk about.

Prepare For An Interview With Questions
Maybe it's just me, but I feel naked without a script or rough outline. When you have guests on your show, take some time to jot down a few questions. You don't have to read them verbatim, but they help you stay focused. Through your research activity you can identify some really interesting questions.

Be Nice!
Unless you're trying to punish a person, don't throw in unexpected questions that might embarrass a guest. I like to share my show notes with visitors prior to the interview. This will help them relax and feel confident about your time together.

It's Not About YOU, Play Your Part
While the show may be yours, it's not really about YOU. When you have guests on, and depending upon the message, the interview is about your visitor. Therefore, remember to ask questions and get out of the way. Allow your guest to elaborate and talk their way through your question. Your job is to help the guest look and sound good.

Schedule Them Often
This is probably the hardest thing for me to do, but it's extremely important. When you talk to people about being on the show, do your best to put it on a calendar. This step will help you prepare for a show, but it also empowers you to make decisions on offering variety in topics and guests.

Final Thought
This article is just my way of capturing a few thoughts on the subject. I know, first hand, that hosting guests on your podcast is very beneficial for both you and your visitor. So, don't waste anymore time and get to inviting. Good luck!

If you have any experiences in this area, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a message in the comment section below.


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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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