Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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March 29, 2023

Tips from Podcast Hosts for a Good Show

by J. Alexander Greenwood

Interested in appearing on a podcast to promote your work—or in starting a show of your own? I asked some of my fellow podcast hosts and great guests for tips about what makes for a good show experience.


My friends Hernan and James Sias produce and host the Business Bros podcast, and their advice for guests and host is simple:

“Have high energy!”

Let me tell you something, it’s hard not to have high energy on their show. I have guested on it and interviewed Hernan on my show, PR After Hours. The Bros are fun, and the show is impactful—they do several episodes a week, live, and you should check it out.

Be a Storyteller

Jamie Green started podcasting about two and a half years ago. An environmental consultant during the day and musician by night, he wanted to highlight the vibrant Kansas City music scene, so he created and hosts the Trading Fours podcast. It has really taken off.

He’s interviewed local musicians, Kansas City music legends and some big names in the world of music and other artistic endeavors. His show is respected by industry insiders, and guests compliment him on his professionalism and hoisting skills. His advice to podcast guests?

“Think ahead of the interview about sharing good stories. A good storyteller is such a delight on a podcast. The best storytellers I’ve had on are Ian Rankin, Jason Falkner, and Chris McLernon - and not shockingly – theirs are some of my most popular episodes.”

I couldn’t agree more, Jamie. That’s why I ask guests to provide some topic suggestions—besides helping me conduct the interview, it gets them thinking about what they will say. (And thanks again for composing a piece of excellent theme music for MGO!).

Keep it Pithy

Another piece of advice is from my buddy Mike Hulsey. We did a show together briefly in my podcast hobbyist period. He doesn’t host a show anymore, but he’s a consumer of podcasts. Mike’s plea to podcasters?

“Keep your podcast short.”

 He adds that he won’t listen to an episode longer than 20 minutes—even if he’s enjoying it. Keep in mind that your show’s length depends on your format and target audience, but brevity is not a bad thing to keep in mind.

Use Good Equipment & Think Like Late Night

Brian Hutton is an old friend who also was a hobby show co-host of mine and a fantastic repeat guest. He has numerous good tips for prospective podcast guests.

“As a guest, have decent equipment and test it. If you’re doing a multiple-podcast tour, spring for the decent external mic and headphones,” he said. “They’re not that expensive, even if you can’t afford the top of the line, you can get a really good mic secondhand on eBay or Facebook Marketplace or places like that.”

He also recommends putting pillows or cushions around you and your mic as a sort of poor man’s soundproofing. “It will make you sound better and more professional.” I might add that suggestion works best for audio-only shows. Sofa cushions stacked around you might raise eyebrows on a YouTube show.

Finally, he suggests creating a callback to a recent episode of the show you are appearing on. As I mentioned previously, you should listen to an episode or two to get a feel for the show. Brian says you should mention one of those previous shows to build rapport.

“Hosts will appreciate it as it helps build credibility and audience.”

Finally, he advises providing a few questions you want the host to ask. “Think about late-night TV chat shows. There are always softball questions to set up comedy bits and interesting anecdotes. Most hosts will be happy to set you up in that way if it helps you to tell your story.”

Have Fun

I couldn’t add much more other than to remember to have fun. Listeners love guests and hosts who are clearly having a good time. Now go do it!

Have you appeared on a podcast or hosted one? What tips helped you?

Note: I’ve previously covered how to get booked on a podcasthow to be a good guest once you are booked on a show and tips on finding the best podcast for you. I am the host and producer of the Mysterious Goings On and PR After Hours podcasts. If you would like to be a guest, please visit the websites for more information. To learn more, please check out my book on podcasting, The Podcast Option, available in eBook, paperback, and of course, audiobook.

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About Alex

Alex Greenwood

J. Alexander Greenwood is an award-winning writer, public relations consultant, podcaster, speaker, and former journalist and broadcasting executive. He is best known as the author of the John Pilate Mysteries and host/producer of the Mysterious Goings On podcast and the PR After Hours podcast. Mysterious Goings On was named an Apple Podcasts "New & Noteworthy" show in 2016 and was a 2019 People's Choice Podcast Awards nominee. In 2022 the show was named a Top 5 Literature Podcast by CrowdUltra. Alex has recorded hundreds of hours of podcasts and made numerous appearances on TV, radio, podcasts, webinars, and conferences. He is the author of the Amazon Top-Selling book, The Podcast Option.

12 comments on “Tips from Podcast Hosts for a Good Show”

  1. Hi J,
    Thanks for the tips on podcasting. It seemed like forever that podcasts had to be over 45 minutes and include lengthy intros and outros filled with promotions to be considered well-done.

    20 minutes is a good time to get a palatable chunk and to enjoy a good story.

    Your post gives me food for thought for my own author platform, as I am interviewing a couple of authors for a cross promotion this weekend. Very timely. Thanks for posting here at WITS!


    1. Hey Kris--yes, I have tried it both ways. One of my shows, PR After Hours (business podcast), is almost always 20-25 minutes. Mysterious Goings On (creativity and writing), once pretty flabby, is now mostly 34-45 minutes. Seems to work with both formats. Good luck with your podcasting!

  2. Great suggestions - all are spot on. I host a podcast for the Women's Fiction Writer's Association and have learned that a guest who comes prepared and has high energy makes the interview so enjoyable and it definitely comes across on the recording.

  3. I love this! The two tips that I needed most were to be "high energy" and to "mention one of those previous shows." Honestly, all the tips are great but those two hit me as things I can do better.

  4. Great suggestions. I've just become a quarterly roundtable contributor on a local blog.

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