Podcast, Tips, Advice

10 Ways to Be a Great Podcast Host

Constantly improving your abilities as a podcast host is extremely important for improving your podcast and making it more engaging. After all, even if you have the best podcast topic with the best setup and the best audio, if you aren't a great host, then listeners won't tune in. So, it is vital to work on improving your hosting abilities in addition to improving your podcast setup and audio quality. To help you out with improving your abilities, we've compiled 10 of the best ways to be a great podcast host below.


10. Show Appreciation.

Always thank your audience at the end of every podcast episode. You may even want to give shout outs to listeners or recall interactions you've had with listeners. Your podcast revolves around your listeners, so you should always take some time to show your appreciation for them tuning in. You rely on your audience to listen, subscribe, give feedback, engage with you on social media, and so on, so you need to thank them for their attention and time. A little appreciation will go a long way with your audience.


9. Find the Best Guests.

When selecting guests for your podcast, be picky. Of course, you should be grateful for anyone that is willing to be on your podcast, but your guests need to be the right fit for your podcast. You owe it to your audience to only bring the most engaging, relevant guests to your podcast. Think about what your audience wants and select guests based on that.


8. Be Yourself.

One of the biggest parts of being an engaging host is being yourself. No one wants to listen to someone who is putting on an act. Listeners can sense when you are being fake or putting up a front. Be authentically you and let your personality show. Also, don't be afraid to tell personal stories and let listeners get to know you better. Listeners want to know and relate to the host and they certainly don't want to listen to a stiff host or someone who uses complicated jargon for the sake of sounding smart. So, use the language that you use in your everyday life, slang and all! And, if you ever make any mistakes, don't worry! You're human and mistakes happen. Also, listeners appreciate a host who can laugh at their mistakes and move on. After all, the listeners are coming back to listen to you and hear your unique voice, perspective, and story, so be 100% yourself.


7. Focus on the Conversation.

A great way to keep your podcast engaging is to view your podcast as a conversation with your audience. If you are talking at your audience or overwhelming them with formal talk, then you aren't engaging in a conversation with your audience. Talk to your audience like you would talk to a friend. Or, think of your audience as a third person listening in to your conversation with a friend. Your audience wants to feel like part of your podcast and like they are being directly spoken to, so avoid speaking as if you are talking to a crowd of people. No listener wants to feel like one of many or an outsider.


6. Review Yourself.

It is a good idea to listen back to previous podcast episodes to hear for yourself what you could improve on. This practice also puts you in the position of your audience, so you can really start to understand how they likely feel and what their thoughts are while listening. You may remember some mistakes or things that you can improve upon that you recognized during the recording process, but you can't remember everything. Also, hearing yourself is much different than recalling your podcast, so you will absolutely notice more things that you can work on as well as things you should continue doing when you listen to your episodes. So, don't just publish episodes and forget about them, revisit them after the fact and use the notes you take to direct your attention and effort in improving your abilities.


5. Focus on Your Content.

Presenting your content in an engaging manner is obviously important, but you have to have interesting content as well. An engaging host with boring information might be better than a boring host and boring content, but it certainly isn't optimal. The key is to bring both interesting content and engaging presentation of the content. A podcast is a really valuable tool for delivering content, so you need to put the time in to compile interesting content for each episode.


4. Let Your Passion Shine Through.

You should always let your passion shine through on your podcast. If you are passionate about each podcast episode topic, then that will be clear to listeners and you will be a much more engaging host. Your audience can tell by the tone of your voice when you aren't interested in something, so only talk about things that you are truly excited about. Also, selecting episode topics within your expertise will ensure that you know what you are talking about. If you are knowledgeable about your topics, then you don't ever have to worry about stumbling through anything and you can be sure that your passion will be clear. Podcasting is all about knowledge and passion, so let those direct your episodes to better engage your audience.


3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.

Whether you are doing a solo podcast or you have a guest, you ALWAYS need to prepare. Now, you obviously want to speak freely on your podcast and you want to avoid reading from a script, but preparation is important for keeping your podcast episodes on track and content-focused. No preparation will likely result in an episode that lacks focus and clarity. So, conduct research and write yourself an outline, notes, a script, or anything else that works for you to keep yourself on track. How you prepare is up to you, all that matters is that you are well-researched, focused, and have something to fall back on if you lose your train of thought or direction when podcasting. Your preparation should help you keep rambling as well as long pauses of silence to a minimum.


2. Avoid Information Overload.

Given the nature of a podcast, it can be easy to deliver too much information too quickly. If you overload your episodes with information, then listeners may become bored or confused, which means they will likely stop listening. Break up information with stories, personal anecdotes, etc. to keep your audience engaged. You should always be looking for new ways to more effectively teach and communicate with your audience, but you should always include a digestible amount of information in each episode with a variety of breaks throughout.


1. Understand Your Audience.

Even if you follow each of the tips above, if you don't understand your audience, then you will never be able to improve as a host. Being a podcast host means that you need to be thinking of your audience at all times. This includes what they are potentially thinking or feeling while listening, things they may be confused about, things they may want to know more about, and so on. You need to be in your audience's head so that you can answer any questions as well as clarify things for your listeners before they get the chance to even ask the questions or wonder about anything. When you understand your audience well, you are more able to connect with them. And, resonating with your audience is what keeps listeners coming back.


Being the best podcast host you can possibly be is a process of constant improvement. You can always be more aware, more in tune with your audience, more knowledgeable, more engaging, more prepared, and the list goes on and on. There are a lot of aspects to being a great host, so it may seem overwhelming. Your audience is listening to your podcast for you though. Even if they are totally interested in your topic, if they don't enjoy you as a host, then it is highly unlikely that they will listen. So, be aware of your hosting abilities and work on honing in on your skills further to keep those listeners engaged and coming back for more. Happy podcasting!


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Article Image: dhe haivan via Unsplash.

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania