Being a podcast guest has many amazing benefits and can be very lucrative for your business or brand. However, before committing your time and money, you must know that there are also some drawbacks. You need to understand what they are, how they might work against you, and whether or not podcast guesting is still the right fit for your business/brand.
In this article, I’ll talk about everything that makes being a podcast guest worthwhile, but also the downsides that no one tells you about. My hope is that this article will help you decide whether or not podcast guesting is right for you.
A side note: being the co-founder of a podcast booking agency, this article may seem (unintentionally) a little biased towards the pros rather than the cons. However, I’ve done my best to stay impartial and give you the most unbiased pros & cons list possible.
Also, note that there are more cons than pros in my list but many cons may not be dealbreakers for everyone. And so, the number of cons alone is not indicative of the outcome of this article but rather it depends on how big or small of a problem each con may pose for you.
And now, without further ado, here are my pros & cons of being a podcast guest:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Reach highly targeted audiences
- Great for networking
- Extremely effective for building trust
- Podcast listeners pay attention
- A high-quality demographic
- Content-generating machine
- It’s fun
- Gives you more clarity on your value
- Great for high-ticket-item businesses
- It’s time-intensive
- A lower-quantity form of reach
- Potentially nerve-racking
- You need to be okay with being vulnerable
- A long payback period for ROI
- Lack of control
- It takes resilience, patience, and commitment
- There is a learning curve
- Not high-yielding for low-ticket-item businesses
- Time-zone differences
- Some interviews may feel like a waste of your time
PROS OF BEING A PODCAST GUEST
Podcast guesting has a ton of amazing benefits, including being one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness today. Beyond brand awareness and visibility, here are a few more pros:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Being a podcast guest is a great way to earn backlinks to your website. Many podcasts keep notes of every episode (“show notes”) on their website, where they’ll leave transcripts and relevant links for their listeners. Among these, they usually add a link to their guest’s website or socials. The more interviews you do, the more backlinks you are likely to gain, and the better you will rank on Google and other search engines.
Reach highly targeted audiences
Probably the single most notable benefit of podcast guesting is that it’s niche-oriented at its core. Most podcasts (besides a few exceptions) attract listeners based on very specific interests (i.e. business & entrepreneurship, relationships, health & well-being, etc.). So, if a podcast host accepts you as a guest, it means that they believe you can add some sort of value to their listeners. If you can add value, it means that their audience is relevant to your expertise, and therefore, your business.
Besides reaching niche audiences, you will also be creating relationships with the hosts of shows. If you or your podcast agent are good at finding relevant podcasts, then these hosts will almost always be people in your industry who are good to know.
Extremely effective for building trust
Being interviewed by someone gives you something that no other form of marketing or PR does – the power of personification. Deep-diving into an intimate conversation with an interviewer gives listeners the feeling that they’re getting to know you at a comfortable level. This diminishes the barriers of intimidation or disconnect and makes listeners feel like they can trust you more.
Podcast listeners pay attention
In their June 2022 report on podcast stats and data, Buzzsprout (one of the leading podcast hosting platforms) revealed that 81% of podcast listeners say they pay attention to podcast ads more than they do to radio, TV commercials, billboards, and even digital ads on social media. Furthermore, 80% of listeners listen to all or most of every podcast episode they start.
A high-quality demographic
In one of the above points, I mentioned that podcast audiences are highly targeted. But besides being targeted, podcast audiences also make for high-quality prospective customers:
- Podcast listeners are more likely to follow brands on social media
- 60% of podcast listeners have bought something from a podcast ad
- 3.5% of podcast listeners follow podcast guests heard on other shows
Each new episode that gets released is a free piece of content that you can promote to your email list, transcribe as a blog on your website, post on social media, and more. Beyond that, it’s super easy to create your own set of mini-creatives from each episode. Click here to read more about how to leverage podcast interviews for content.
If you find the process of prepping, creating, and producing your own content tedious, then you’ll find this to be a more natural and efficient form of generating continuous content for yourself.
*This point is somewhat dependent on your personality.
Do you thrive at interpersonal communication? Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge with others, love connecting with people, like it when people are interested in what you are good at, or feel like your best moments come out when you’re in conversation with others? Then you’ll definitely love being a podcast guest because that’s exactly what you’ll be doing. And, as a bonus, you’ll be gaining visibility and potential new customers while you do it.
Gives you more clarity on your value
Another benefit (especially if you’re fairly new to podcast interviews) is that it can help you gain more clarity on your message and your work. By being asked questions all the time, you will distill what it is you do, how you’re effective, and the detailed impact you have on people. This is partly due to the level of detail of some questions and the depth of the conversations during an interview.
Great for high-ticket-item businesses
For clarity: a “high-ticket-item business” is a business who sells high-value and high-priced products or services. The higher the price, the higher the trust required from your customer. That’s why these businesses usually have a deeper or more personal process for funneling prospective customers through to the eventual sale.
Because podcast guesting is extremely effective for trust-building, high-ticket-price businesses are often very successful with podcast-based marketing.
CONS OF BEING A PODCAST GUEST
Now we move to the less glamorous parts of being a podcast guest. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, especially if you want to take it seriously. There are risks involved and it may not be worth your time and money, depending on your situation and what you want to achieve with it.
Here are some things not everyone tells you about podcast guesting:
Podcast guesting can be quite time-intensive. Even if you’re not doing all the legwork yourself, each interview takes about an hour to do on average. Plus you’ll want to do a bit of research on the podcasts before each interview, which is an additional hour before every interview. If you’re using a service like Podcast Connection, you’ll need around 4-8 hours a month for podcast interviews. If you’re finding your own podcasts and pitching yourself, you’ll need about 30-40 hours total per month.
Unless you’re quite comfortable talking to people while being recorded, doing podcast interviews can be a very nerve-racking experience at first. If you have some public speaking experience or you verbally work with people on a regular basis, this mental hurdle is a bit easier to overcome. It does get easier the more you do it and nobody’s first podcast interview is perfect but that doesn’t make it any less daunting at the start.
You need to be okay with being vulnerable
It takes a bit of “thick skin” to put yourself out there over and over again at the mercy of your interviewer. Most podcast hosts are very nice and won’t throw you any curveballs, but others might ask some fairly confrontational questions, which you will need to be mentally and emotionally ready for. Some interviews also get very deep and require a fair display of vulnerability from your side. So if you’re someone who generally likes to keep conversations on a surface level, being a podcast guest might not be the best fit for you.
Podcast guesting has its fair share of unpredictability across the board.
- It’s hard to say who will accept or decline your podcast guest pitch
- The interview might not go as planned at all
- Which podcasts will get you the most customers, leads, or even just traffic is very unpredictable – even if your podcast agency gives you an estimated reach
- Every podcast host has a different process and set of requirements
- Things may go wrong during interviews such as technical issues, etc.
Time zone differences
With podcast interviews being predominantly conducted online, the time zone differences can sometimes get tricky. The top three English-speaking countries for podcasts are the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia – all three of which are in vastly different time zones. You might find yourself having to wake up a few hours earlier or stay awake a few hours later every now and then to do an interview.
A lower-quantity form of reach
Although podcasts boast highly targeted audiences, it does not often boast very large ones. At least, not to the same extent as e.g. Google or Facebook ads would. Yes, you will eventually get accepted by a large show if you keep at it but most of the shows you speak on will be small to medium size. This is not a bad thing – the smaller shows tend to be more niche, loyal, and get higher ratings (which is one of the great things about podcast guesting). But if your business relies on a large volume of traffic or leads, then podcast guesting may not be right for you.
Lack of control
A hard pill for many podcast guests to swallow is that the podcasts hold all the cards. In other words, you need them more than they need you. This means that you as the guest have very little leverage for negotiation or to make demands. You don’t have much say (or are often not even kept in the loop) when it comes to a number of things:
- Which questions will be asked
- Which video conferencing app will be used
- Whether or not the podcast host will agree to a reschedule if you miss the first appointment
- When the show will be released (it can sometimes take more than 6 months)
- What the final product will turn out like after editing, etc.
- You may not get a backlink from the podcast’s show notes every time
- Some episodes end up not getting released at all (not often, but it happens)
It takes resilience, patience, and commitment
Being a podcast guest is a marathon, not a race. It requires doing lots of interviews, showing up consistently and giving it your best every time, repeating yourself often, avoiding rescheduling whenever possible, sharing every interview with your followers (if you don’t want to burn bridges with the hosts post-interview), making interview appointments a priority, and doing all of this for a long time before seeing results.
That being said, the payoff is so worth it in the end – it’s just that not everyone has what it takes to stick it out for long enough to get to the good part.
A long payback period for ROI
Following on the previous point, most podcast guests only start seeing Return On Investment after six to nine months of doing podcast interviews. Naturally, there are exceptions but it’s likely that you will need to keep going for some time before seeing a return.
Check out this case study for more details.
There is a learning curve
Podcasts are quite unlike most other forms of marketing and PR and has its own set of challenges. Firstly, the way in which you should promote yourself or your business is quite different. You may also need a podcast-friendly funnel in place in order to see the ROI you want (your current funnel for social media and/or SEO may not work). Then there are the technical aspects such as sound quality, video quality, internet stability, etc. Your ability to effectively convey impromptu information verbally can also play a role in your success.
If you don’t like being challenged or usually find it hard to adapt, then this may not be the right fit for you.
Not high-yielding for low-ticket-item businesses
If your business model is low-cost high-volume, then podcast guesting may not be right for you. The last point in the “pros” section above (“Great for high-ticket-item businesses”) is also a double-edged sword. Podcast guesting will produce high-quality leads, but not necessarily high quantity. Podcast listeners generally have a much higher conversion rate than other forms of customer acquisition which is great for high-value sales, but that won’t help if your business needs a large number of small sales.
Some interviews may feel like a waste of your time
There are a lot of first-timers out there in the podcast world – people starting a podcast for the first time. If you’re something of a veteran public speaker, interviewer, or conversationalist, then you might find some podcast hosts quite boring, especially those of newer podcast shows.
But be that as it may, perception and reality are two different things. A good podcast guest can make an impression on any audience regardless of the host’s interviewing ability. And every podcast has some kind of following, smaller shows being (usually) more targeted than larger ones. Plus, podcasts grow over time, and some go on to become huge! If you get interviewed on such a show, you’ll be glad you did before they got too picky with their guests.
Nevertheless, knowing this won’t make these interviews feel any more exciting or worthwhile and if that is important to you, then you may need a much, much larger budget (or more time if you’re pitching yourself) to make it work, which begs the question of viability.
CONCLUSION: IS PODCAST GUESTING RIGHT FOR YOU?
Being a podcast guest has tons of benefits but also some drawbacks. It all depends on what kind of person you are and what kind of business you have.
It also has a fairly long payback period so it generally works out a lot better for those who enjoy the process of getting interviewed, being in conversation and diving deep into niche topics.
Based on what I’ve said in this article…
I would recommend podcast guesting to you if:
- Your strength lies in interpersonal communication
- You have a high-ticket-item business
- You enjoy sharing value, talking about your expertise, and connecting with others
- You don’t enjoy prepping and producing your own online content
- You are okay with delayed gratification
- You like being challenged and you adapt easily
- You can accept a certain level of uncertainty and unpredictability
- You are okay with making compromises for podcasts and playing by their rules
- You believe in enjoying the process as much as the result
I would not recommend podcast guesting to you if:
- Your strength lies in intrapersonal communication
- You have a low-ticket-item business (or low price, large volume)
- You don’t enjoy regular conversation, don’t like to be vulnerable, or prefer to keep conversations on a surface level
- You prefer prepping, creating, and producing your own content
- You do not see the benefit in delayed gratification
- You don’t do well with new challenges and you struggle to adapt
- You need a lot of certainty and predictability
- You don’t like compromise and you believe you’re doing podcasts a favor by being on their show
- You don’t care about enjoying the process – only about the result
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