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[Reality Check] What NOT to Do With a Podcast Guest - Catharine Bramkamp
Written by
Zetta Brown
May 2015
Written by
Zetta Brown
May 2015

Last week, Catharine Bramkamp talked about how to book guests for your podcast.

Continuing with our mini-series on podcasting, this week, Catharine will address something that I'm sure causes any podcaster the flop sweats, embarrassment, and loss of face: how to handle--and avoid--disasters.


Disaster Avoidance: What Not to Do With a Podcast Guest
Catharine Bramkamp
, Producer – Newbie Writers Podcast

You invited a number of guests to appear on the podcast. All is well, another day saved, but no one new wants to play. And no one is returning your emails. What happened?

After two and half years and over 100 shows, my partner and I have learned a few things about podcasting, and we’ve made mistakes and solved challenges while recording. Here are a couple of common mistakes to avoid . . . thus freeing you up to create better and more interesting mistakes.

Tip #1 Respect the calendar. Don’t double book.

One guest at a time is your best bet. If you run a half-hour podcast, it’s your only option, as more guests would be too confusing for the listener.

I was asked to be a guest on a show hosted by BlogTalkRadio (http://www.blogtalkradio.com). I called in and heard another guest already talking. I was never introduced or acknowledged. After five minutes, I bailed. The host not only didn’t acknowledge that I called in, but did not admit there had been a booking error.

If you do double-book by accident, apologize, apologize, apologize, and do it as quickly as you can. If the call doesn’t work, if there are technical difficulties--apologize as if it’s your fault. The faster you contact a guest (I contact even while we are recording the backup show), the better they will feel and the better your chances are to re-book them.

Tip#2 Know why you booked the guest.

Have a clear idea of what you want to hear from the guest. If you have limited time, stick to one theme or subject. Write questions ahead of time and try to mix them up. Don’t always ask the same questions to every guest during every podcast. Why is this guest different?  Why do you care?  Why should your listener care?

Tip #3 Prep your guest. 

Make sure the guest is familiar with your system. Should they call in? If so, send them the correct call-in number. Really. I was given the wrong number to call in to BlogSpotRadio with—twice.

Let your guest know if they need to use Skype (www.skype.com/en/download-skype) or a mic or headphones. For Newbie Writers Podcast, we finally implemented a list of rules for our guests so they aren’t installing Skype five minutes before we’re ready to record (true story).

#4 Follow up and thank the guest.

Send a thank-you email the day or day after the podcast. Include a link to your site and/or the recording of the interview (www.newbiewriters.com). Encourage them to use the recording in any way they like. Why?  Because it helps everyone’s SEO and it’s the generous thing to do.

Be as professional as you can. Your guest is taking time out of their own busy schedule. Treat them well, and you both will benefit from the experience!


Catharine Bramkamp is the writer part of Newbie Writers Podcast  (www.NewbieWriters.com) that focuses on newer writers and their concerns. She is a successful writing coach and author of a dozen books. Check out www.YourBookStartsHere.com for her current books.

She and her husband have successfully parented two boys past the age of self-destruction and into the age of annoying two-word text missives.


©2015. Zetta Brown. All Rights Reserved. Zetta is an editor and the author of several published short stories and the erotic romance novel Messalina: Devourer of Men. She provides editing services through JimandZetta.com.

Got a [REALITY CHECK] about the publishing life to share? If you would like to be a guest on my blog, please friend me on She Writes with a message! :)

If you like this post, then stop by Zetta’s Desk for editing tips and follow “Zetta’s Reference Desk” where she features a writing reference book every week. Don’t miss this week’s featured reference!

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