So You Want To Be On A Podcast?

May 12, 2021

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of healthcare podcasts available to listeners in 2021. There even are podcast networks devoted exclusively to healthcare topics. For healthcare professionals, these podcasts can provide valuable information. They also offer a platform for healthcare pros to get their messages across as podcast guests.

But how do you get on a healthcare podcast as a guest? In some cases, you may be asked. Daily and even weekly podcasts that use an interview format are always recruiting guests. It’s an endless process. Further, they are constantly looking for episode ideas. So while waiting around to be invited as a guest may pay off, you should consider pitching a topic for which you are an expert to podcasts you want to be on. Even if they say no initially, that will get you on their radar screens.

A great thing about podcasts is that almost anybody can launch one. A bad thing about podcasts is that almost anybody can launch one. And while the terrible podcasts tend to flame out quickly, there are ongoing healthcare podcasts that struggle to retain an audience through most of an episode, often because (I’m just being honest here) they’re boring.

The point is you shouldn’t jump at a guest opportunity simply because one was offered. If a podcast sounds amateurish or induces sleep, appearing as a guest will do you little good. Then there’s subject matter. If you, an oncology expert, are asked to be a guest on a podcast about the revenue cycle, you should politely decline (and the podcast should find a new producer). Make sure the podcast is a good fit relative to subject matter and overall vibe.

An easy way to determine subject matter fit is to read descriptions of past episodes. Can you imagine the audience you want to reach being interested in those topics? In terms of a show’s vibe, can you picture yourself having a stimulating conversation with the host or hosts? If the answer to both is “yes,” go ahead and book it.

Whether you’ve been recruited or successfully pitched yourself for a healthcare podcast, now that you’re going to be a healthcare podcast guest, you have to prepare. If you haven’t listened to any episodes of the podcast for which you’re booked, now’s the time. Does the host seem informed and prepared? Does conversation flow freely or are there painful silences? Understanding the dynamics of the podcast enables you to 1) visualize your own performance, and 2) develop strategies and ideas for the episode.

Once you’ve listened to a couple of episodes, all you’ve got to do now is show up and knock it out the park. Just kidding! “Winging it” frequently ends poorly, even if you are a legitimate expert or thought leader.

It is imperative that you and the podcast host/producer communicate clearly about the episode’s topic and beyond the tentative title. A good podcast team will send you a preshow form to fill out that helps align participants regarding the episode’s content. However, do not wait to be contacted. If you don’t hear from anybody within a week of the recording date, send the host/producer a list of questions you can be asked or an outline of points you want to cover. Make sure they acknowledge receiving it.

In addition to boredom, nothing chases away a podcast audience faster than bad audio. Though some podcasts will send guests a microphone prior to their appearance, I’d recommend buying your own mic and headphones – especially if you think you’ll regularly be guesting on podcasts. You don’t have to spend more than $100 on each. (Here are good guides for mics and headphones. USB mics plug into a computer and are vastly superior to laptop mics, which make you sound like you’re trapped in a box.)

When the big day arrives, you’ll be sent a link by the podcast host/producer to Zoom or another videoconferencing platform such as, SquadCast, or Zencastr. Click on that link and you’ll likely be dropped into a “green room” where you can check your video and audio. (Many podcasts will use video for the recording, even if the episodes are released only in audio.)

And the show has begun! If you and the host are well-prepared, all you’ve got to do now is be your engaging, insightful self. Focus on the conversation and not the fact that you’re doing a “show.” This will help you be more relaxed and in the moment, as you naturally would be in a conversation that wasn’t being recorded.

You also need to be yourself plus. Amp it up a bit, go to 11, show some passion for your topic. You can’t get your message across if listeners are drifting away. Remember, to a large extent a podcast is a performance. Avoid monotone and project personality and humanity. That will make listeners remember you and get you booked on more podcasts.

Here are a few other quick tips:

  • If you’re asked an open-ended question, try to keep your answers relatively concise. Don’t ramble or excessively repeat yourself.
  • Use the host’s name in conversation. Write it down beforehand or make sure to note it on your computer screen.
  • Prepare a summary to use at the end of the episode that ties together your main ideas and messages.
  • Don’t talk too fast and don’t be afraid to pause for a second or two before answering. The podcast folks can cut out excessive dead air.
  • If you stumble over an answer, just say, “Let me try that again.” Then pause and give it another shot. They’ll cut out the false start.
  • Prior to the show, prepare stories that are relevant to the topic and that you know well. That way you can whip them out at the right moment. Listeners (and podcast hosts) love stories.
  • Silence any devices that could make distracting noises during the recording.

When the show is wrapping up, make sure to thank the host (by name) and listeners (and to include any calls to action.)

Once the episode is published, promote it. Podcasts love a good guest, but they love a ratings hit even more. If you or your organization has a large email list or social media following, let everyone know about your appearance on the podcast (and include a link).

The right healthcare podcasts can help promote your organization or establish yourself as a thought leader. To fully leverage these opportunities, you need to be prepared, be yourself, and be willing to promote the episode when it’s released. Do those things consistently and healthcare podcasts will be fighting to book you.

Chris Nerney

Chris is a veteran healthcare and technology writer with more than 10 years of experience in content marketing following two decades in news and technology journalism. He has written healthcare and technology content for HIMSS, IBM, IDG, Unisys, DXC, Abbott, and many other clients as a freelancer, specializing in thought-leadership articles, white papers, blog posts, website copy, and pre- and post-conference material. He also is a podcast producer, writer, and cohost. Chris served as executive editor at, overseeing websites such as Datamation, eSecurityPlanet, Intranet Journal, and several others. He covered Internet startups and venture capital for in the late ‘90s, producing a weekly and a monthly newsletter. He began his technology writing career at Network World, launching the popular ‘Net Buzz column. He migrated to technology from news journalism, working as a news editor and entertainment section editor at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Chris began his newspaper career in Massachusetts and was named the 1995 Editorial Writer of the Year by the New England Press Association. He has a B.S. in marketing and communications from Babson College. Chris also did standup comedy in the Boston area for five years, for reasons that elude him.