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How to be a great podcast guest

You have been invited as a guest at a podcast. Congratulations!

Then comes the moment of panic. What do I do now?

Maybe you read the small print and it says something about making sure you have great audiovisual equipment. You also start wondering how to behave on the podcast. Is it formal? Is it all done in one take? Do I have to dress up? Is there anything else to think about?

The answer is yes. Here’s what you need to know. This post is sent to all of my podcast guests. If you follow this advice you will make your podcast host happy. If you don’t, you might jeopardize your relationship and certainly you risk that your episode stats are low. Note that some specifications apply to my podcasts specifically. If you have comments and great ideas, please feel free to send them over and I’ll amend this post.

Three weeks before recording

Book your podcast recording session (I use Calendly). Study the agreed scope of the podcast episode. Send a few updated links to do final prep, e.g. reports, influencers, orgs, examples, startups, relevant podcasts and other initiatives that matter and which you plan to bring up. Get rid of any angst around this being a media setting. Practice in front of a mirror or a loved one using the questions given. Memorize the opening statement and a few soundbites.

Two weeks before recording

Prepare your desktop or laptop computer (mobile device not supported) and purchase recording equipment, if needed.

Set up an external microphone and make sure you have a headset (or earbuds). Preferably use an external USB mic ($30-75 on Amazon) or an XLR mic with an audio interface. Do NOT just use your internal computer mic. I want to represent the natural richness of your voice.

Ideally used a high-quality webcam (Logitech BRIO Ultra or better) OR use a DSLR/mirrorless camera with a video capture adapter taking the signal from camera to USB via HDMI (Amazon or search engine entry: “hdmi to usb video capture” as well as “hdmi adapter cable from camera”, adapted to your camera).

One week before recording

Remote podcast audio is recorded with Zencastr.com for lossless audio, which records locally on your computer in real time and is then uploaded to the cloud. Register for a free account to check your audio works with the site. Chrome and Firefox should both work but you may need to adjust audio settings. Watch https://vimeo.com/335330315 (1.45 min).

Send a hi-res image of yourself, your company logo, your books, your project logo etc., and the links you want to promote to your host (or as specified) immediately upon booking a recording time. Sign and submit the media release form. We will not record without having your media on file and with a signed media release form (sent separately).

Also, if appropriate, put us in direct touch with you PR/marketing department or agency.
Remote podcast video is simultaneously recorded using Zoom (we will be logged into both Zencastr and Zoom). In case, we need to use Zoom for audio backup, I’ll work with you to adjust audio settings to hi-end audio (e.g. disable echo cancellation and enable hi-fi music mode).

Twenty minutes before recording time

Verify PC/laptop audio setup (ensure external mic is selected). Check and use headphones (no exceptions). Turn off ALL ALERTS (notifications, email alerts). Put your cell phone on MUTE. Log into Zencastr.com using your new account and my invite link. Use Chrome or Firefox browser (do not use incognito mode).

Put on a single color piece of clothing visible on camera. If business casual is agreed, make sure you dress up. Comb your hair (or not). Whatever you do, be ready for a physical appearance to be recorded for posterity.

During the interview

Close down any browser tabs you don’t need. Be in a quiet environment (not a public place or outside). We have set aside a 60-min slot, but I’ll decide on the spot whether we will aim for a 25 min or a 35 min final podcast (both formats are popular choices among listeners). We may record longer and edit down.

At recording time

Relax. Imagine we are sitting around the fireplace in your local coffee shop, sipping your favorite drink.

  • Don’t move around (keep mic distance constant).
  • Especially don’t move from side to side.
  • Don’t move back and forth.
  • Smile (it works every time).

After the interview

Keep the Zencaster browser window open until your file is processed and uploaded (a few minutes, max). Stay on for 5 min debrief with questions and feedback.

By booking this interview slot, you agree to these terms (including the right of the specific podcast) to distribute the interview across social media. I will represent you in the best light possible.

When the episode is published

Here’s something you hopefully can do to promote it, for mutual benefit: 

  • Rate Futurized 5 stars on Apple podcast (here), with a 2-sentence review, and subscribe. Download your own episode on as many podcast players as possible (full list at https://trondundheim.com/podcast/. If invited to the Augmented podcast, check for updates at https://augmented.buzzsprout.com/).
    Share an update when the episode first goes live (Email blast to your mailing list, LinkedIn post, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube).
    As a teaser, the night before (if all goes well), the Audiogram goes out on social, see (links to posts made on Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram).
    The actual episode will similarly be put on these networks in the following days. Please be on the lookout. My social accounts are Twitter @trondau, LinkedIn (undheim), YouTube https://bit.ly/TrondYouTube, Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/trondundheim/).
  • Ideally first share and like my posts with a comment, wait a few hours and then upload your own post (see attached images sized for LinkedIn/Headliner, YouTube and Twitter). The best approach is to line up 2-3 friends who will comment on your posting so we can keep the discussion going. Rope in your PR team and/or your organization or a social media savvy connection. 
  • Write a short blog post about a similar topic and embed the podcast with it (you can embed directly from Apple podcasts or any other player). The show notes will appear as a blog post after 6 days on my end (I’ll include your handle in the tweet)
  • Reshare the podcast episode multiple times. I do 3x to Twitter the first day, 2x to Facebook the first week, and more if I have different collateral to use. Please never share 1:1 the same post, mix it up a bit in terms of messaging. 
    I’ll soon send you the draft show notes, which I’ll do as soon as I can. If you could add a few URLs to things you talked about in the podcast that I didn’t catch, or have misunderstood, that would be great! They will be published in 6 days and will be added to the social media threads to revive the discussion. The archive can be found in Guest List or in Show notes grouped by disruption topics. 
Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

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