Are You Failing Your Podcast Listener by Serving Yourself First?

A Big Get. That’s what people in radio call landing an interview with a big name celebrity or a hard to nail-down politician. But, sometimes, that ‘big get’ is all about ego instead of being about serving the listener. Sometimes, that big name has no place on your show. Sometimes, you need to say no to ‘the big get.’

You might be thinking this has nothing to do with your podcast. But, if you have guests on your show, then it absolutely does. Because the criteria we used to determine if a guest belongs on the show (big name or not), is exactly the criteria YOU should be using to make sure that your podcast stays listener-centric. 

In this episode, I walk you through the three examples of guests that might be self-serving instead of serving your listener.

Ignoring these is the #1 sign that your podcast is too self-serving. 

The first example is 100% self-serving. Booking someone on your show because you want to get information for yourself. You are basically pumping them for info because you need that info for your own personal development or business growth. 

Don’t laugh. This is not a ridiculous concept. It happens all the time. People start a podcast just so they can get access to experts they would never have an opportunity to talk to. They are literally using whatever listeners they might have to gain access to the inner circle. 


Are you doing this? Check your intentions. 


The next example of a guest that may be self-serving is if you are booking them just so you can add some promo juice to your podcast. If the whole reason you invite them on your show is so you can get access to their audience, you need to check your intention. If the only reason to have them on the show is to be able to brag about having them on the show or to see a big boost in your downloads, then you might have slipped into ‘self-serving’ mode. 

The final example of a self-serving podcast guest is someone who has (in some form) paid to be on your show. Now, I’m not naive. I know this happens all the time. Heck, I used to make a good chunk of coin hosting radio shows that were what we called ‘pay to play’ where a sponsor paid to be featured on the show.  It’s a model that has been around forever. 

So, what would this look like in the world of podcasting? 

It could be that a sponsor has an ‘appearance’ written into their contract. It could be when your clients are promised to be on your show as a ‘perk’ of being a client. Or, it could be a straight up guest appearance fee that they agree to pay. 

The main thing here is to make sure that this guest doesn’t just benefit your bank account. You have to be sure that you maintain your show’s integrity AND that you talk about something that will actually benefit your listener. Who, by the way, did not tune in for an infomercial! 

All of these examples can go from being self-serving to listener-serving IF you make sure to answer this one key question: What’s in it for the listener?

If you’ve been listening to my show for a while you’ve heard me talk about listener-centric podcasting. You need that avatar filter running at all times. When you bring someone, and I mean anyone, on your show they MUST serve your listener. Ask them how they’re going to serve your listener. Make them think about how they’re going to do that. And that means you need to tell them exactly who your listener is and what they’re struggling with. And it’s your job to only bring on quests that serve your listener. No matter how much money that you’ll make from having them on your show.

The line between a show that is self-serving and a show that is listener-centric can get blurry at times. But there is one key way to make that line crystal clear and always come down on the right side of it. Check your intentions. If your intentions are not to serve your listener, then you are on the wrong side of the line. 

This doesn’t mean that you can’t also benefit from having a certain guest on your show, just remember what your mama told you – serve your listener before helping yourself. 

What, your mama didn’t tell you that? Hmmm. That’s weird. Okay, well remember what your podcast coach told you: Always serve your listener first before serving yourself! 

Here, hold up your plate. Let me give you a big heaping helping of good podcast advice. Take advantage of my free podcast coaching. Book your free 15-minute session by clicking this link to my calendar


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Tim Wohlberg

Podcast Coach

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