Be a Podcast Guest

Like many aspiring outliers I’ve been multithreading my life by listening to Software & Technology Podcasts while doing mundane tasks like commuting or doing housework. Some of these podcasts will frequently have guest interviews. Becoming a guest on these podcasts can be a great way to widen your scope of influence and impart some knowledge to the podcast listeners.

Over the past two years I had the privilege of being a guest on some of my favorite podcasts: The Windows Developer Show, .NET Rocks! and The MS Dev Show. Being a guest on each of these shows was a great experience, and motivated me to start my own podcast: CppCast. As both a podcast guest and podcast host I hope I can share some tips that you can use to become a podcast guest.

Find a Podcast

If you want to be on a podcast, the first thing you need to do is identify podcasts in your niche. I’m a Mobile developer with a particular passion for C++ and Windows Phone. So some of my favorite podcasts include:

All of these podcasts regularly have guests on the show. I’m sure there are podcasts in your niche that like to have guest interviews as well.

If you’re not listening to any technology podcasts yet, look for podcasts and podcast player apps on your Smartphones app store. A search for software podcasts on iTunes, Google Play or the Microsoft Store should return plenty of results. If you need help narrowing down to a podcast in your particular niche, try talking to friends in your community and find out what podcasts they listen to, or check out this great list on John Sonmez’s Simple Programmer blog: The Ultimate List of Developer Podcasts.

Select Your Topic

After you’ve identified which podcast you’d like to be a guest on you’ll need to select an appropriate topic. Are you speaking at user groups of conferences? Maybe your session content would be interesting to the podcast listeners as well. Or perhaps you recently worked on an interesting open source project or app that you could talk about?

It’s important that you be familiar with the format of the podcast you would like to be on. Make sure you have listened to a few episodes of the show and know the types of guests and content that the audience listens for.

Pitch to the Podcast Hosts

Once you’ve found a podcast and selected a topic you need to reach out to the podcast host(s) to make your pitch. If you’ve interacted with the hosts on social media like twitter, or have a friend who’s been on the show recently, it could help you get your appearance on the podcast. If you don’t have a shared contact with the podcasters just find their contact information on the shows website.

When you contact the podcast hosts tell them about your topic, why you think it’d be a good topic for the show, and perhaps most importantly, why you’re qualified to discuss the topic.

When you write to the podcast hosts its important to remember that you are probably helping them. As a host of a weekly developer podcast I can tell you that it can be hard to find a new guest for every episode. My podcast and probably most others are done as a hobby, not a job. The preparation, recording and editing of a podcast is a time-consuming activity. So by reaching out to them as a potential guest you could be saving them from having to hunt down a new guest themselves.

Prepare for the Big Show

Once you’ve been scheduled to be on a podcast, make sure you’re well prepared to talk to the show hosts about your topic. The length of a guest interview varies between different podcasts, anywhere from twenty minutes to a full hour or more.

Last but not least, make sure you have some decent audio equipment. I’m not saying you need to buy a microphone setup that costs hundreds of dollars. That kind of expense for a single interview would not be worthwhile. Instead I’d recommend the Logitech ClearChat USB Headset. It’s only about $25 on Amazon and many podcast hosts use it when they start their first podcast.

I hope this post has been helpful in getting you interested in podcasting. There are podcasts dedicated to almost every programming language and technology these days, one of them is sure to be interested in helping you deliver your message.

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