PodSchool Podcast | Do you have to pay your podcast guests?


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Do you have to pay your podcast guests?

Will you be out of pocket before you’ve even begun?

If you want to interview guests on your podcast you might be thinking “Holy crap! Do I have to pay all these people?”

Lucky for you (and your bank balance) the expectation with most podcast guests is they won’t get paid.

But that means you need to make sure they get something else in exchange for their time and content.

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What about high-profile guests and experts?

If you’ve already got a decent-sized audience, payment probably won’t come up because trading time for exposure is seen as a fair exchange.

But when you’re starting out you won’t be able to use this as a bargaining chip, so some guests may ask if you offer payment.

Having said that, I’ve overseen the production of almost 60 podcasts and I could count the number of times I’ve had to pay a podcast guest on one hand.

As with anything, there will be exceptions but as a general rule most podcast guests don’t expect it and most podcast hosts don’t offer it.

How to attract high-profile guests to your podcast


Make sure guests get something valuable in exchange for their time

While it isn’t likely to cost you any of your hard-earned cash it’s important to recognise how much value you get out of a guest agreeing to be on your podcast.

In fact, one day you might end up making money off their interview if you get to the point where you can monetise your show. So, keep that in mind when you’re sitting across from someone who’s said yes.

Even if you’re not monetising, your guest is still giving you valuable content you can share with your listener and that’s something you should be incredibly grateful for.

And that’s why it’s important to make sure they have an awesome experience so the fact they’re not getting paid doesn’t matter.

How to make money from your podcast


Be generous

Since you don’t have to be generous with your money be generous with everything else.

Turn up early and make sure you’ve tested all your equipment so your guest doesn’t have to wait around while you deal with technical issues.

Send them a thank you note when it’s done so they know how grateful you are for their time.

When the episode goes live make sure you give them a big pump up on social media to let everyone else know how much you enjoyed the chat.

And most important of all…be prepared!

Do your research, ask interesting questions, and do everything you can to avoid making it feel like a bad date.

For most podcast guests a fantastic experience will be payment enough.

How to get the most out of your podcast interviews


Be flexible

If people are doing you a favour by coming on your show, the last thing you want to say to them is “I’d love to have you on but I can only squeeze you in at 9 am on Tuesday.”

Getting good guests on your podcast means fitting into their schedule so you need to make sure you’ve got a decent amount of time between when you contact people and when you’d like their episode to go live.

One thing that can help with this is batch recording your podcast.

This will help you get ahead of yourself and give you the flexibility you need to work around other people’s commitments.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. In today's episode, I am answering a question from Fiona. She asked me "Do you have to pay your podcast guests?" What an excellent question and the answer is no but I will explain a little further. The expectation for a podcast guest is that they will not get paid. Now, this may vary slightly if you are chasing after really high profile people because if they have the power and leverage they can demand they get paid and they might not do the show otherwise and that's entirely up to them. But for the most part and certainly, even on shows I've worked on where the guests are super high profile there is not an expectation to be paid.
And while yes this is a justified reason to do a little happy dance, since you're not parting with any coin to get people on your show that is all the more reason to make sure there is something in it for them. Now when you are a small fry podcaster and you're just starting out and you've got two little listeners and they're turning up each week and you're loving them sick but you're trying to build and grow you're not going to necessarily be able to say to guests "I've got this reach of millions of people and I can get you in front of their ears."
So sometimes the sell can be a little bit harder which is why you need to make sure that what you offer them is a fantastic experience. I have another podcast episode where I talk about how to get high profile guests on your show and it's not necessarily always about high profile guests but you must always keep in mind the huge favour they are doing by giving you content that you can then ship out and potentially monetise and share on your blog. There's so much stuff that you can do with that conversation you have with them that you really have to keep in mind you need to be giving them something in return. And please be flexible when you are booking guests. This is why batch recording and getting ahead of yourself is so important. Again I have another episode on batch recording but being ahead of yourself means that when you are approaching guests you can say to them "Here are three or four weeks where you could choose a time and I will work around you" or "Here are seven different dates, are any of these good for you?" You need to be flexible and give them options because they are going to be doing something for free, so you want to make it as easy an experience as possible.
That is really it in this episode but when Fiona sent me her email I thought while it's a quick question to answer it is a very important one because if you are starting out and you want to do a guest based podcast and you're thinking "I don't have the money " now you don't have to worry! It's not going to cost you anything other than your time but please make sure that the experience is as good for your guest as possible because they're doing a great thing by coming on your show. Thanks so much for listening to this show. If you have a question that you would like answered just head to PodSchoolPodcast.com and click on the contact page and you will find a way to get in touch with me. If you are enjoying the show please leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. It just helps other people find the show and know that it's not a pile of crap which is always a good thing. I will see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

1 Comment
  1. Stephen Dull says:

    I was wondering this. Thank you for answering the question. Great article.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!