By Jorge Newbery
A massive audience is out there listening to podcasts. According to Apple, as of June 2018 there were over 550,000 active shows with more than 18.5 million episodes and 50 billion all-time downloads and streams.
I recognized the power of podcasts when I was CEO of American Homeowner Preservation. In our most recent fund, AHP raised over $35 million, much of which resulted from connecting with investors by guesting on podcasts such as Wealth Formula, Simple Passive Cash Flow and Money Ripples. In July, I and more than 2,000 other people attended Podcast Movement 2018, a Philadelphia event designed to “bring together and educate active and aspiring podcasters, and to grow the podcast community and industry as a whole.” I wanted to learn to guest better in order to spread the word about my new venture, Debt Cleanse Group Legal Services, a legal plan to help consumers and small businesses get out of debt.
I came away with six tips on how to be a great podcast guest.
First, share personal stories. The facts, statistics and other fantastic information you want to share are best conveyed in personal stories that let the audience know who you are and what motivates you. Christine Blackburn of Story Worthy advised that we need to let audiences know why they should care. Although Blackburn’s panel was on Storytelling, her recommendations to add dialogue, avoid unnecessary detours, and find your own voice rather than imitating others are helpful for guests.
Show rather than tell, Blackburn advised. Her example: instead of saying “I was nervous,” say “I wiped the sweat off my brow.” To refine your stories, she suggested, record yourself, listen back and rewrite as needed, and repeat until satisfied, then share with a friend for feedback. Many storytellers (and guests) tend to add too much background, especially up front. Thus, Blackburn advises to start the story when it gets interesting, which is best determined during your refinement process.
Second, learn about the podcast you want to guest on. Multiple podcasters lamented about receiving scores of pitches from guests who had no apparent connection to their audiences.
Instead of blanketing the podcast world with generic pitches, a prospective guest can increase their odds by targeting podcasts whose audiences may benefit from their story. Get familiar with the podcast and customize your pitch and content. Patrice Washington of Redefining Wealth encouraged podcasters to be passionate about their subject, know who they are speaking to and what need they are filling––wise words for guests as well.
Third, share your story with crisp and clear audio. I have given some less-than-ideal interviews using my telephone headset or the microphone on my laptop. A good quality microphone and headphones can significantly enhance the production value of any interview, making you a more attractive guest.
This is not expensive. I bought an Audio-Technica ATR2100 microphone for $64.00 and Sony MDR7506 headphones for $79.99, and there are plenty of other high quality options. To take this one step further, establish a designated space to guest, so you can plug and play. Maybe even add some acoustic foam, or old blankets, to sound-proof the walls. I was surprised to learn that many podcasts are recorded in closets, as the low ceilings and sound absorption by clothes often yield optimum audio.
Fourth, let podcasters know the benefits of having you as a guest, beyond just your valuable content. For instance, you could offer listeners free or discounted copies of an item or service. When I was on Wealth Formula for AHP, I offered free paperback copies of my book, Burn Zones. Listeners were instructed to visit the podcaster’s website to provide their contact info. The podcaster grew his email list and I got my book into the hands of hundreds of prospective investors.
Fifth, when you are on the podcast, share valuable content, answer questions directly and be concise. Don’t hold back information––listeners want to be entertained or educated, or ideally both. Going off on tangents, repeating oneself and rambling dulls the message and makes podcast editing difficult. Matt Dobschuetz of PornFree Radio shared that one guest rambled so much that he could not even listen to his full answers. Instead, during editing, he kept the question and allowed the answer to roll only until the guest answered it sufficiently, then deleted the rest and moved on to another question.
Sixth, do not sell. If members of the audience relate to your story and what you are doing, you may generate business, but overtly selling to the audience is typically a turn-off. Convey clearly that you have a compelling business or mission, but don’t push for sales.
For instance, I once owned 4,000 apartments across the country before a natural disaster devastated my business. I lost everything and ended up $26 million in debt. However, I discovered that one of my creditors made an error and took them to court. The court ruled in my favor and I was able to use this leverage to settle the multi-million dollar debt for pennies on the dollar. I then created strategies which I utilized to settle my other debts at big discounts. Now, I am launching a nationwide legal plan to help others get out of debt without filing bankruptcy.
As Angus Nelson of the Up In Your Business podcast shared, think about what you are offering as a movement. You are asking the audience: do you want to come with me?
Podcast guesting represents an extraordinary opportunity to connect with niche audiences and spread the word about your passion. If you are a prospective guest, these tips will help you maximize your guesting opportunities. On the other hand, if you are a podcaster, reach out. I might have some availability.
Jorge Newbery is founder of American Homeowner Preservation, LLC.