By Jan Griffiths, President & Founder of Gravitas Detroit
We are experiencing a podcast boom. Right now, you can find over 850,000 active podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes in 100 different languages. Podcast listeners are more likely to engage with a brand on social media and are more attuned to new products or services while listening.
Six months ago, I launched the Finding Gravitas Podcast and each week I feature a different guest focused on authentic leadership. If you’re going to be asked or you’ve been requested to be on a podcast, here are some things that you should know. This list came together through trial and error and, realizing after a period of time, that I was asking people to do the same things over and over again.
My hope is to help you make sure you have the best experience possible, you’re prepared, 100% confident and produce the highest audio quality for your podcast host, and, more importantly, for the audience.
KNOW THE WHY
Before anything else, take time to really understand why you’re being asked to be a podcast guest and to make sure that your values align with the audience and the content that the audience is looking for. I would always recommend scheduling a pre-call with the podcast host to make sure the alignment is there.
Pro tip: before you talk to the host, listen to “episode zero.” Most podcasters will produce a background episode or some kind of early episode to provide listeners an opportunity to understand what the podcast is all about.
CONTROL YOUR BRAND
Provide your biography and headshot ahead of time to your podcast host. What if the podcast host doesn’t ask for these things? It’s up to you to control your brand. Some hosts will give you an opportunity to introduce yourself, others will do it for you. When you provide a biography, you can be sure that the first impression the audience gets is on-brand with your messaging.
Pro tip: write your bio in an “introduction format.” This makes life easier for your host and makes sure your brand is safely under your control.
OWN THE ROOM
I have a mobile studio for my podcast. I’m able to come to the guest’s place of work, to a recording studio, or to a conference room to make sure I can control as much of the audio quality as possible. This is not often the case for most podcasts, and it is likely you’ll be recording remotely. So, you own the room, choose a space in your home or office where you feel comfortable, be undisturbed, and sound great.
Pro tip: make sure that you find a quiet room with soft furnishings and carpet to prevent any sort of echo or audio distortion. The worst thing in the world is to have a room with a concrete floor and nothing in it.
GET THE EQUIPMENT RIGHT
As a podcast host, there’s no doubt that the audio equipment matters to produce a quality product for the audience, but as a guest, you can add so much to your presentation with some quality equipment. First and foremost is the microphone. To get the best audio quality possible, buy a separate wired mic for your computer or cell phone. There are a number of options and they range anywhere from $20 in price to over a thousand, choose something that fits your budget.
Pro tip: use headphones. They should be comfortable; you’ll be wearing them for 30-60 minutes or more. More than the comfort factor, headphones keep your microphone from picking up the voice of the other person for a better audio experience.
Yes, I mean it, don’t move. Be careful with hand gestures. Sometimes when people talk, they get excited about a subject, they have a tendency to inadvertently slam their hand on the table or desk in front of them and that will send a vibration up through the microphone and causes a deterioration in the audio quality.
Also, chairs creak and floors squeak. This is one that I am guilty of from time to time, I tend to move in the chair without realizing it. Your creaky chair, your jingle-jangle jewelry, be careful with any noise that will interfere with the sound quality.
Pro tip: Find a comfortable position before you get started. I always ask my guests to stay as close to the mic as possible. For the type of microphone that I use, I ask the guests to stay one fist away from the microphone. This is not really a natural position, so make sure that you’re very comfortable with the position of the mic before you get started because you’re going to be sitting in this position for quite some time.
CONSIDER SOFTWARE AND BANDWIDTH
During your pre-call, find out what software your podcast host will be using (i.e. Skype or Zoom). Leave plenty of time to test your equipment before recording the session. You’ll need time to double-check that your platform is set up to select your external microphone and your headphones.
Once your system settings are correct, it’s time to check the bandwidth. Your internet connection is always an issue when recording with video conferencing. So, make sure that you have the maximum amount of bandwidth available to you.
Pro tip: this is the time to kick the kids (or spouse or roommates) off their devices and make sure that you’re not recording at a peak usage time in your house or office.
TIE UP THE LOOSE ENDS
Just because the interview is over doesn’t mean your job as a guest is done. Make sure you provide your host with any website URLs and social media handles so that your host can properly tag you in any promotion. Because you’re a guest on a podcast, that would imply that there’s some commonality between your audiences and the content and the message that you’re providing. So, if it’s appropriate, promote the podcast on your network as well.
That’s it, know the why, control your brand, own the room, get the equipment right, don’t move, consider the software and bandwidth, and tie up the loose ends.
One final thing: relax and enjoy the conversation. The purpose of the podcast is to provide your audience with content and information that’s coming to them on an audio platform. It should feel like they’re part of the conversation. So, don’t be too scripted. Have fun and enjoy the experience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Griffiths is the President and Founder of Gravitas Detroit. She and her company are dedicated to embracing, empowering, and emboldening a new generation of leaders.
Armed with the skills she learned in the Welsh farmlands and a degree from the University of Wales, Jan moved to the United States at 23. She quickly made her mark and rose through the corporate ranks, ultimately serving as Chief Procurement Officer for a $3 billion, Tier-1 global automotive supplier. Her success in the position helped earn a spot on Automotive News’ list of the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry.
For all her success in the automotive space, Jan’s true passions have always been for driving change and inspiring professional leaders. This passion drove her to transition into a second career at Gravitas Detroit. In her new role, Jan brings compelling energy to industry, professional, and educational events. She’s already proven a success earning awards like Corp Magazine’s MVP Entrepreneur Award and sharing the stage with notable thought leaders including Carly Fiorina and Dr. Janet Yellen.
In January 2020, Jan launched the Finding Gravitas podcast where she interviews some of the finest leadership minds in the quest for Gravitas.
Jan stays active in the community serving on the Global Supply Chain Management Advisory Board at Wayne State University and the Automotive Women’s Association.
Jan likes to seize the day as an early-morning workout junkie and she enjoys sharing perspectives on life events with the Starbucks crowd over a nice cup of tea in the Metro Detroit area.
Be sure to follow Gravitas Detroit on social media!