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Should you podcast with a co-host?

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Illustration of two friends or co-hosts

It’s all fun and games until somebody gets annoying

Working with a podcast co-host can be one of life’s great joys….if it’s the right person.

If it’s the wrong person it can be as fun as performing surgery on yourself with a corkscrew.

When you’re starting out, having someone to bounce off can seem like the easiest option.  But while there are plenty of advantages to not going solo there are a few things you should consider…

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Is your podcast co-host afraid of commitment?

When you ask someone “Would you like to do a podcast with me?” the answer will almost always be “YES!”

Why?  Because podcasting sounds exciting!

Most people have a romantic view of what it’s like and don’t realise how much work it is or how long it can take to build an audience.

Podcasting to no one but your mum can be a pretty soul-destroying experience but if you want to change that you have to keep churning out episodes.

That means you need to be sitting across from someone who’s as committed to getting through the hard times as you are.

How do you grow your podcast audience?

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Don’t let chemistry make you lazy

If you find a podcast co-host who keeps you on your toes, excites you with their opinion, makes you laugh AND puts in the hard work then hold on tight!

One of the great things about working with someone you gel with is you can rely on that to get you through if one of you is off your game or, heaven forbid, underprepared.

But don’t let that be the reason you take your foot off the gas when it comes to preparation and effort.

Chemistry alone can carry you for a while but your audience will sense you’re not trying.  And nothing turns people off like sounding like you don’t care.

How to connect with your podcast audience

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Don’t forget your audience

While it’s great to entertain the person sitting across from you, if you focus too much on them it’s easy to forget the people listening.

I’ve heard shows do 15 minutes of ‘talking amongst themselves’ before they even get to their content.  And while this might feel fun at the time, to a listener it sounds like you don’t care if you’re wasting their time.

Even if you don’t mean to be self-indulgent it’s easy to slip into sounding like that when you’re hosting a podcast with someone else.  So don’t forget the people you’re there to serve.

Why you shouldn’t waste time in your podcast introduction

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But what if I really want a co-host?

If you’re still keen as mustard to get yourself a podcast co-host here are a few tips to help you make the most of the arrangement…

Use hand signals

Some people think waving your hands around in a studio is reserved for people who’ve got their podcasting training wheels on.  But in reality, it’s the mark of a true professional.

To make a show sound seamless the conversation needs to pass effortlessly from one person to another.

Ideally, there’ll be no moments where you talk over each other or interrupt.  And the best way to achieve this is with hand signals.

That’s because your brain often conjures up moments of brilliance when someone else is talking.

In a pub, you’d just throw your two cents in right then and there but that’s the difference between a ‘conversation’ and ‘hosting’.

In a podcast, this kind of undisciplined banter sounds messy and can be a pain in the arse to edit.  So, instead of jumping all over your co-host when inspiration strikes, a subtle raise of the hand will let them know “When you’re done, I’ve got something to add.”

That way they can finish their train of thought secure in the knowledge their brilliance won’t be trampled on.

Then, when they’re done, they can give you a nod to let you know it’s your turn to take the lead.

In people’s ears, it’ll sound like a seamless conversation even if, in reality, it looks like you’re both trying to land a plane.

How to be an awesome podcast co-host

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Put in equal effort

Nothing breeds resentment like one person showing up for an hour to record then disappearing for the rest of the week.

There’s so much work that goes into each podcast episode so make sure you’ve had a clear discussion about who does what.

If your co-host is happy to edit the show (which can take A LOT of time) make sure you pick up the slack elsewhere and tackle something meaty like social media or guest booking.

For a show to be it’s best every week, you need to feel like podcasting partners in crime so make sure you’re pulling your weight.

How long does it take to put together a podcast episode?

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Your goal should be to make your co-host sound amazing

This is the single most important rule when working with podcast co-hosts.

If everybody’s goal is to make the other people in the room sound amazing you can’t fail.

Your audience will smell it a mile off if your M.O. is to be the person who speaks the most or gets the last laugh and it really doesn’t win you any brownie points.

If you’re committed to a team win your show will be so much better.

Plus, it’ll be a joy to do because nothing feels better than working with people who’ve got your back.

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.

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GET MY FREE PODCAST GUIDE

WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

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