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Podcast Guesting: Tips and Best Practices for Being a Great Guest
Episode 4212th March 2024 • Branded • Larry Roberts & Sara Lohse
00:00:00 00:22:41

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Welcome back to Branded: your comprehensive guide to creative branding. On today's episode, we're talking about one of our favorite ways to become a thought leader and grow your brand: guesting on podcasts. We're sharing some of our tips and tricks for being a great podcast guest that gets you invited back, including:
  1. Do your research on the show and audience before you pitch and make sure you're pitching the value you'd bring to the show rather than just pitching yourself.
  2. Be prepared from a technical standpoint. Invest in a microphone, have a quiet recording space, and take the necessary steps to make your side of the interview look and sound professional.
  3. Seriously, buy a microphone. Rode Podmic. Samson Q2U. Audiotechnica 2100x. All low-cost options that will help you sound great. (More at https://favoritedaughtermedia.com/freebies/recommended-products/)
[embed]https://youtu.be/fbnarY83_-o[/embed]

Transcripts

Larry Roberts [:

What is happening, everybody? I'm Larry Roberts.

Sara Lohse [:

And I'm Sara Lohse. And this is branded: your comprehensive guide to creative branding.

Larry Roberts [:

And on this episode of the podcast, we're going to be talking about guesting on podcasts to build your brand.

Sara Lohse [:

This is one of my favorite topics. I actually launched my company to focus on this originally because podcast guesting is such a great way to grow your brand and really break out into the thought leadership space. But it's also a really easy way to do it.

Larry Roberts [:

Yeah, it's easy, but at the same time, so many things that are easy have these levels of detail that really need to be addressed to make the maximum impact.

Sara Lohse [:

Yeah, it's easy in that the prep is a lot lower than actually starting a podcast. You don't have to go into all of the steps and details of launching a show, but also you do need to do some prep. And I think we've seen a lot of people do this really poorly and not prepare the way that they should. So let's really dig into what you should be doing if you think you want to be a podcast guest.

Larry Roberts [:

So let me ask you this, because I hear a lot of people, they often tell you that you have to have a one sheet. What do you think about that?

Sara Lohse [:

You don't. It's good to have, for sure, but it depends on how you're pitching. So if you're using something like pod match, because everyone knows we are the Alexand Filippo fan club, so if you're using pod match, it creates one for you. So you don't need a separate one sheet that gives you a profile. So that's sufficient if you're doing it that way. A one sheet is more so if you're directly reaching out to people to be on their show. So it really depends on the method that you're going for.

Larry Roberts [:

And I think reaching out can be an extremely beneficial and extremely productive way to get on podcast. You don't necessarily have to have or be a member of a guesting platform or have a guesting service that reaches out to people for you. But I get pitched a lot, not so much anymore because you and I have this show and we get pitched now. But back when I had my solo show, I was getting pitched constantly. I mean, 10, 12, 15 pitches a day to be on the show. And the vast majority, and I mean, the vast majority of those pitches really weren't tailored to my show specifically.

Sara Lohse [:

People get into the habit of just copy and pasting their pitches, and it's the same thing if you were to just copy and paste a cover letter for a job. It's not going to be relevant, it's not going to be really poignant, and it's not going to get you booked because it's obvious. I've gotten so many pitches that say, like, insert show name here or call me by the wrong name.

Larry Roberts [:

Literally say that.

Sara Lohse [:

Yeah, it has the brackets and everything. And you're supposed to have put the show name there, but they didn't because they just copied and pasted really quickly. And I wonder how many other people got that same email. And you have to actually do the prep and pay attention and be thoughtful about it. But I have an answer to this question, but I want yours first. What is the biggest mistake you see people make when they're pitching for a podcast?

Larry Roberts [:

The biggest. I mean, there's so many to choose from. I know. The biggest is they don't even know the show. They don't know what the show is about. They don't understand the show's audience, and they don't understand what value they could specifically bring to that particular show.

Sara Lohse [:

That was half my answer.

Larry Roberts [:

Okay.

Sara Lohse [:

For me, it's they're pitching themselves, not their value. And we see that all the time. It's just this person, and I was guilty of it when I first started doing this. It's part of my whole story with stacking Benjamins and Joe Saul Sihai and just pitching. This is the person, this is their expertise that doesn't like you're not pitching yourself unless you're some super celebrity. If Taylor Swift was to say, hey, I'm Taylor Swift, can I be on your podcast? I would cry and say yes and then wake up. But you're not pitching just who you are. What you're supposed to be pitching is what you're bringing to their show and what you're here to talk about.

Sara Lohse [:

What key takeaways the audience will walk away with, what action items they'll walk away with, what they're going to learn from you. And going back to what you said, you have to make sure that that value is relevant to the audience of the show you're pitching to. It's not going to be the same for every single show. You need to have different pitches and different key takeaways, different stories based on who you're trying to talk to.

Larry Roberts [:

Well, and I think that kind of leads us to a different area of that in the fact that if you're going on podcasts to build your brand and expand on your audience, you probably need to do a little homework on those shows and figure out which shows have an audience that would be attracted to the value that you do bring. If you're an advanced podcaster, you've been on several shows, then that's probably the focus point. But at the same time, I think as a beginner, for a guest, I wasn't overly picky about what shows I went on as a beginner. What about you?

Sara Lohse [:

Yeah, as you get started, that's okay, I think because you're getting practice because podcast guesting and podcasting in general, it's like anything else, you need to do it more to be better at it. But I actually think I did it wrong when I started because the first few podcasts that I went on were massively successful podcasts. And not that I regret being on their shows, I regret being on them at the time that I was on them because I wasn't good at it. And I don't think I brought the value that I should have brought to that show. So if I were to do it now, I would present myself better and I would present the value better. But I didn't know better back then because I hadn't done it before. You don't have to be super picky. You still want to make sure that you're bringing value to the audience because that podcast host is still working really hard to create a show.

Sara Lohse [:

So bring value, but get some practice in before you try to go on those bigger shows. Don't do what I did and just embarrass yourself.

Larry Roberts [:

Well, it's funny because I think we all kind of go through that to a certain degree. Now, granted, you were on some really big shows, but I think we can all look back when we first started our little podcast journey, and that sounded awfully condescending. But when we started our podcast journey.

Sara Lohse [:

You say little a lot, and then you always stop yourself and say like, oh, that's condescending. Maybe just because you're a really huge person, like you're six foot something. So everything is little to you.

Larry Roberts [:

Everything's little. Yeah, exactly. But at the same time, I don't mean it that way from an overall perspective. Anyways, as we start our little podcast journey, we look back and we go, oh my God, I was on that show and I showed up that way and I spoke this way. It was just, you look back with these, we're just going to call it regret because you've evolved so much and your brand has grown so much and your personality and your Persona on a microphone or in front of a camera has evolved, and if you're not looking back with a little bit of regret, you're not growing, in my personal opinion. So while we're throwing this out there that you want to be cognizant of how you show up on these particular shows, don't let that hold you back from going on, taking advantage of an opportunity and going on a show that could be beneficial for you regardless of where you're at in your little podcast journey.

Sara Lohse [:

Agreed. No, I think the first few shows I was on were stacking Benjamins bad with money with Gabe Dunn, which huge audience, huge show, and fit in finance with Tamara Andress. And those are three really great top of the charts shows. And I just came and just made a mockery of everything that they had.

Larry Roberts [:

Going in direct contrast. Probably the biggest show I'll say that most likely that I've ever been on is called Kill Tony, and it's a comedy podcast. And all of my bigger appearances were on comedy podcasts. But good Lord, I look back on both of. Because I think I was on there twice. I was on twice. I look back at both of those performances and go, oh my God, we can never let the public see this. Know they're out there on YouTube and it sucks.

Sara Lohse [:

Links will be in the show notes.

Larry Roberts [:

Yeah, and I've actually my phone, and I was going through my phone the other day trying to free up some space, and I was deleting. I was, I was just filtering by videos and both of my Kiltoni appearances are on my phone. I'm like, oh, bro, that was so bad. It's a good thing you went the branding route and got away from comedy because it just wasn't working for you. But it is what it is. But again, take advantage of the opportunities, but prepare yourself as much as possible.

Sara Lohse [:

What are some ways that you can prepare?

Larry Roberts [:

Well, I think from a technical perspective, because this is where we see people drop the ball more often than not is they show up technically unprepared. And you had mentioned earlier that guesting on podcast was a less expensive way of getting on podcasts, but at the same time, there's a minimal financial investment that you want to make. Definitely preparing yourself to go on podcasts.

Sara Lohse [:

Please. If you're going to go on any podcast, buy a microphone. The amount of people that show up with their Apple Airpods or their internal microphone. No, buy a microphone.

Larry Roberts [:

And then they sound like this and they're trying to talk on the microphone and you don't have a microphone, but you're using your internal mic, and it sounds like you're way far away and it sounds like you're in a well and you just. No one's going to listen to that, bro.

Sara Lohse [:

No. And the person, like producing that show, they're doing everything that they can to make the show sound professional and make it sound great. But it sucks because there's so little that control that we have over the people that come on the show. I mean, we can choose the guests, but oftentimes we're going to go with the guest who's going to bring the most value, whether or not they are professional podcasters. So they're not going to have the microphones and the headphones and the whole setup. And the value of the content is great, but it's hard to listen to because it sounds terrible.

Larry Roberts [:

No, I edit episodes all the time. And man, it's so frustrating when I hear the people on there and they're delivering great value. What they're saying is amazing, but the sound is just so bad that trying to overcome the distraction of the poor audio makes it very difficult to take in the value that they're delivering. So do yourself a favor, buy a microphone and it doesn't have to be anything expensive. You can have USB microphones that plug directly into your laptop or your desktop machines with no other interface, no other requirements, nothing. Just plug it in. Plug and play. Plug and play, literally for less than $100 all day long.

Larry Roberts [:

And that is a very minimal investment for you to get a platform for you to continue to build your brand.

Sara Lohse [:

Yeah, and also, depending on what computer you're using, get an external camera if you have like a newer MacBook or something. Those actually tend to have really high quality cameras. But if you don't have a newer computer or you have a desktop, make sure you're buying a webcam. So at the minimum, I know, Larry, you use your fancy actual real camera. That is like $900. That's a little excessive in my opinion. But you can get a good webcam for $100. And it's just going to make the visuals of your episode look a lot better so that it's not so much in contrast with the host.

Sara Lohse [:

That's always so annoying to see. It's like one person has really great quality and then the other person, it's like they're going through a tunnel on dial up.

Larry Roberts [:

I mean, if you've ever watched that branded podcast, you'll notice that one image is amazing and the other is, oh.

Sara Lohse [:

And the other one is wearing a red hat. No, you invested a lot more into your setup than I did, for sure. I asked you if I should upgrade.

Larry Roberts [:

And you said no, no, I don't think you should, honestly. And I said that just to lead into this conversation, because you do have a webcam. You didn't go and spend $900 on a Sony or whatever it may be. There's several different models out there that are great, that get similar images to what I've got here. But you probably spent 100 and a half, and you've got an amazing looking camera that does a great job. And it's so far above and beyond what we tend to see on more of a regular basis than we would prefer. But at the same time, it's not just the camera. The environment that you're recording in makes all the difference in the world as well.

Larry Roberts [:

So regardless of the camera that you have, the next most important thing for visuals is lighting. You got to have light. You have to have light. So take the time to put your gear together and jump on zoom. Most of us have zoom, if only the free version, and just get an idea what it looks like. Make sure that your face is well lit. Make sure that there's not shadows everywhere. Make sure that it's not dark.

Larry Roberts [:

Make sure you're not sitting in front of a window. Because regardless of who you are, if you're sitting in front of a window and you got bright sunshine shining in behind you, guess what you're going to look like? You're going to look like a shadow. It's just a silhouette. We can't see you. So you have to keep those things in mind as you go to set up your recording environment. We're not even going to call it a studio. I've been playing this game for ten freaking years, and that's how long it took me to build this studio that I have here. And it was an evolutionary process.

Larry Roberts [:

It's funny, if you saw some older pics of my studio back when it was still just a bedroom with some cameras in here, and not even high quality cameras, you go, oh, okay. Well, I see where we started out, and I see where we're at today, but it took literally, 2024 is my ten year anniversary. It took a decade to finally get the studio where I like it now.

Sara Lohse [:

Happy anniversary.

Larry Roberts [:

Oh, thanks. I wish I knew the month. And maybe I could always go back and I could look, I bet I could. I bet I could go on, probably could, and dial it back and see when I first. No, I really can't. You know why? Because the first podcast was the comedy podcast. That was a no no show and.

Sara Lohse [:

It got taken down.

Larry Roberts [:

I actually went back and I blitzed it from everything. So I don't know if Lipsyn may have a backup. I don't even know if their backups would go that far, but it'd be interesting to see. Yeah.

Sara Lohse [:

Where you record is really important and the lighting is. It's an easy fix. Do not rely on natural lighting. I know it's going to make you look better, but it's cloudy. Like, clouds can go by or cars can drive past and give shadows. So don't rely on that. Go on Amazon. Buy a ring light for $20.

Sara Lohse [:

Yeah, Larry, you've got like 15 lights in your studio.

Larry Roberts [:

17.

Sara Lohse [:

Okay, I was close. I've got one ring light here and one over there and on the lowest setting because. Or else I get washed out. But super simple, they're each a couple of bucks, so get the right lighting. But if you're in a, like, try to record in a small space. If you're in a big open room with, like, wood floors, there's going to be so much echo. So try to have an office that you can record in. Put in an area rug.

Sara Lohse [:

You'd be surprised how much of a difference an area rug makes.

Larry Roberts [:

Oh, it's huge. And I mean, example, on both sides of me, I've got studio link curtains, actual studio curtains. They're super thick and they're sound dampening curtains that literally go from the ceiling to the floor. They're eight foot curtains, and they cover both walls. To the right and left of me, the wall in front of me, I've got sound dampening panels on that wall as well. And if you look at my floors, my floors in the house, they are hardwood or a laminate, whatever the heck you want to call it. They look like wood. But here in the studio, I have this.

Larry Roberts [:

It's almost like a faux bearskin rug. It's one of those, like, hairy rugs. But I love it. It looks cool, but it works great as a sound ampener. So I've taken a lot of effort and put it into this room to help eliminate as much sound as possible. I even took it as far. There's a window on this wall here. I've got behind the blinds, of course, you don't look at it from the outside and see in.

Larry Roberts [:

But behind the blinds, I have, like, egg crate foam. And then I have a big carpet that I also tacked to the wall. So I've got carpet, I've got eggshell. And then on the outside, I have my studio length curtain, so you can't see any of that additional sound dampening. But I went to extreme measures.

Sara Lohse [:

Did you learn all of that from like, a serial killer's handbook?

Larry Roberts [:

I don't know why that would be. Trying to make sure nobody can hear you scream.

Sara Lohse [:

Yes. Maybe that is all out and I'm just going full Dexter in my mind right now.

Larry Roberts [:

No, I actually learned it with my time in the voiceover industry because room treatment and sound dampening and sound, we'll call it proofing, although there is no such thing, is absolutely critical from a voiceover perspective. You have a little more leeway from a podcasting perspective. But when I was originally starting to get into voice work, this was the studio I was building out for voiceover, so it had to be extremely quiet because there's just no leeway there.

Sara Lohse [:

My office is a closet that happened to be carpeted.

Larry Roberts [:

There you go.

Sara Lohse [:

That's all I did. I bought my ring lights, and then you got me a microphone because mine was crappy.

Larry Roberts [:

There you go. There you go. Merry Christmas. Yes. But anyways, you don't have to go to the extreme links that I went to and at the same time, again, took ten years to get here. But do take those initial steps to maximize the impact of the content that you create by guesting on podcast. To continue to build your personal and.

Sara Lohse [:

Professional brand and buy a microphone. Cannot stress that one enough as a personal favor to us. Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. If you want to go on a podcast, get a microphone. I think there's like the rode pod mic is about $100. There's a bunch, I think Samsung Q.

Larry Roberts [:

Two U s A M s U n q two U is a great one. The audio technica. I'll pronounce it clearly so that in case you look it up, the 2100 X, that is a great little microphone, typically runs somewhere around $69. It's both XLR and USB, so you can use it by plug and play. Or if you start to get more advanced in your podcasting and you want to go the XLR or the traditional microphone cable route, you can always expand on it and grow from there. So there's that opportunity. There's just a whole laundry list of them out there.

Sara Lohse [:

I've got a page on my website. If you go to favoritedaughtermedia.com, go to recommended products. I've got some links to some good microphones, some headphones, cameras, a bunch of stuff that can help you get started as a guest.

Larry Roberts [:

Yeah, very cool. So go to favoritedaughtermedia.com. Do not go to workwithbranded.com, but go to favorite daughter instead because I haven't.

Sara Lohse [:

Set it up on our website yet. Okay, you go build it. You go build it. I built our whole website. You go build that page.

Larry Roberts [:

Challenge accepted.

Sara Lohse [:

Go. I dare you.

Larry Roberts [:

Hey, I built larryroberts.com. I could get my own plug in there, too.

Sara Lohse [:

Don't go to saralosi.com. It's some architecture student in Europe.

Larry Roberts [:

Really?

Sara Lohse [:

Yeah, I never bought it.

Larry Roberts [:

Really? That's a shocker. I would have thought that Sara Losi, with your unique last name spelling, I would have expected that to be available for.

Sara Lohse [:

No, no, I think it's like an architecture student or something.

Larry Roberts [:

I mentioned it before, but I had to wait for the previous owner of Larryroberts.com.

Sara Lohse [:

Oh, they died?

Larry Roberts [:

Yeah, they passed away.

Sara Lohse [:

Oh.

Larry Roberts [:

I didn't know then their estate was selling it. And yeah, it took me a couple of months of negotiations back and forth because they wanted a real pretty penny for it. And I finally got them down to just a pretty penny and managed to go ahead and secure that anyway.

Sara Lohse [:

So hard to spell, so I didn't even care. I don't need it.

Larry Roberts [:

Yeah, I guess it would be difficult for you. And again, that's why I thought it would be available.

Sara Lohse [:

Yeah. But every time I'd be like, saralohse.com, s a r a, no h lohse. The H goes before the s.com. It would be too much.

Larry Roberts [:

You've got it already spelt out. I mean, that's your whole pitch.

Sara Lohse [:

There we go.

Larry Roberts [:

I like it. So anyways, all right, so you got a little sidebar on websites and URLs and getting your own personal domain. But anyways, if you're going to guest on podcast, just do a little homework, prepare for the shows, make sure you know the value that you're bringing to each of those shows. Make sure you're ready to have a discussion specifically for those particular podcast audiences. And just invest a couple of $100 in the tech. So you show up and you show up. Good to go. Yeah.

Sara Lohse [:

The better you look and sound on a podcast, the more podcasts are going to want you on their shows. So it's only going to help. It's not going to hurt. They'll hurt your wallet for a minute, but you can do it at a really pretty low budget.

Larry Roberts [:

Yeah. Small price to pay to continue to build your brand. So typically we don't take shortcuts in building our brand. There's no need to take shortcuts on jumping on podcasts to expand that audience, expand that reach as. So hopefully you got some value out of this episode. I know we did. So we appreciate you tuning in each and every week. And with that, I'm Larry Roberts.

Sara Lohse [:

I'm Sara Lohse. We'll talk to you next week.

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