How To Choose The Right Host For An Effective Podcast Swap

To guest on a podcast is one thing but to become the show’s guest host is a different level of value add altogether. Have you heard of podcast swap? It’s a term in the industry for when podcast hosts swap and guest on each other’s show, taking the reins to a different audience. In this episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard break down the things you need to know about podcast swap and the value it brings to your show. And to do it effectively, you need to choose the right host. Tracy shares the three criteria to help you find the person to bring on to your show and discusses some models and strategies to grow. Join Tom and Tracy as they share this exciting way to spice up your podcast while getting more value.

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How To Choose The Right Host For An Effective Podcast Swap

We have a great topic we want to share with you. This has to do with picking podcast hosts to do a guest swap. Tracy, you are the undisputed expert on this. You’ve done a tremendous number of interviews in your podcasting and columnist career. You have wonderful words for the wise to share. I would really want to turn this mic over to you, and I’m going to be your sidekick on this episode.

Ask me the burning questions because that’s what interviewing is all about. I want to explain first, what’s a podcast swap? You may have heard this term. It’s a term that’s thrown around the industry. A podcast swap is where someone else has a podcast show, you have a podcast show, and you swap and guest on each other’s show. That’s the idea.

It’s not a podcast swap if they’re YouTubers only, it’s a podcast swap if they have a podcast show and you have a podcast show, and by that, an active one because they’re not going to have you as a guest if they stop their show. If they pod faded, it doesn’t count, because they’re not going to invite you on. We want to have someone who’s already got an active show, you have an active show, and you’re going to swap and be guests on each other’s shows.

It makes sense to me, a podcast swap. I like it.

Why do you think this works, Tom?

Why do I think it works? You’re providing each other value. You’re getting exposure to each other’s audiences. It probably works on many different levels. It works to give you exposure to their audience, that they get exposure to your audience. From a selfish perspective of being a host, you get value out of it, and they probably feel the same way.

That’s conventional wisdom right there. You have shows and you’re swapping. The real key to it is the fact that they already have podcast listeners and you already have podcast listeners. You’re not inviting a guest who’s a TikTok influencer and has Instagram and YouTube followers only. You’re inviting people who are like for like.

Podcast listeners listen to on, average, seven-plus shows in their playlists, so they’re more likely to click subscribe and listen to your show, too. You’re more likely to get more listeners when you podcast swap with another podcast host than you are to get listeners from having a TikToker on your show. You might get TikTok followers, but you’re not likely to get podcast listeners from that because if they’re already listening to somebody else’s show, they already are interested in podcasts.

I agree. That makes the most sense because it’s an easy ask. It’s not such a leap for someone who’s not a podcast listener to then think, “I need to go listen to a podcast. What app do I have? Do I do that?” if they don’t do it very much. really easy. This is something that we’ve seen happen where we have some customers who will post something on social. Let’s say on Instagram, a video clip from their podcast, and they get 200,000 views of that little video on Instagram. They then have a lift in their podcast of about 1,000 listeners in that month, not 200,000. Why is that? It’s what you just said, Tracy. Not everybody is going to come from that social over to listen.

We see a significant jump in listeners happening and in growth to your subscribing base because where they go back and binge-listen to all your episodes when there is a podcast swap. Any host who’s been doing this for some time will tell you that the best lift in listeners happens when another podcast host is on their show. It’s what happens naturally. That’s what I’m proposing to you to think about to put that into your strategy.

 

FYB 204 | Podcast Swap

 

In the early days, if you’re just starting your show, I recommend one podcast swap at a minimum per month. You could do more, but at least one is going to help you with that show listener growth that you desperately need. We’re going to talk a little bit now about how to be more effective about which podcast host you choose because that matters too. We want to choose the right host for our shows, not just any podcast host.

That’s the tough part.

The idea is at minimum to create that. Now, personally, my show, The Binge Factor has only podcast hosts on it. It’s just that. However, I dial that in a little deeper, and I invite someone who might make a good partner for us. If there’s a partnership possibility in terms of the services that they offer, dovetail nicely with our services, or the advice that they give is very similar to mine, then I will more likely to invite them on than I am just any podcast host because my show is geared for that.

That makes it a little more aligned because if they’re going to listen to my guest who has a podcast show, and they’re getting advice from them about podcasting, they’re more likely to click through and listen to me just by that swap that happens, or in addition to that other show, they’re going to listen to us, too.  That’s why I do it that way, the partnership model.

Let’s think about the three characteristics that I look for in the right podcast swap. I want to make sure we have a matched audience. If I’m looking to attract, because I have a community that is only for women, I want to have women on my show. It’s not being sexist about it, it’s just a match for what I’m trying to do. Be clear about your audience, a target. Especially if you’re just new and starting out, and you don’t know what it is, have a target in mind and be thinking about, is this matched?

Sometimes, you clearly can’t go by what people write about their show. You have to listen to it. Check it out. Is this a good match for me? Would the right type of people that I’m going for be attracted to this? How much money will they spend? I want high-end clients. That’s the goal of my show. I don’t want to go on a show that’s all about doing it yourself and bootstrapping things. Making sure the audience match is there in some way, shape, or form is really critically important. That’s my number one criterion.

I like that. As you say it, Tracy, it occurs to me, I bet there are a lot of podcasters who don’t put in the time to listen to the show of someone that they’re considering having on their show. I understand a lot of times, people don’t have as much time as they’d like to, but it’s a pretty important step in that process. Would my audience be interested to listen to this show? Would I even be interested to listen? Do you think it’s going to provide value to your audience to have that guest on your show and they go listen to theirs? Is the show not all that interesting? Is it a dud?

The reason why I say if you’re going to do this, you have to listen to the show is my number two thing, is that you should have a matched view or perspective. I want it to be that it can dovetail. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same style, energy, and all of that. If I don’t believe in what they’re saying, I can’t have them on my show. It has to have some matched perspective or intention in the right way.

There are people who will never get invited on my show because their advice to the podcasting industry is not in the best interest of the podcast host. It’s just not. They’re selling them something. They’re selling them smoke and mirrors, and I know it. They’re lying to them to get them into their programs. They will never come on my show. There’s a list.

You know that because you screen them out.

 

 

There’s a list of those people that are no-nos on my show. If they ask, they’re an automatic no. My team knows because I know that what they believe in and what they’re doing out there is not in integrity with what I want to put out in the world. It’s just it. You can’t always tell that if you don’t listen. That’s the two. I like to make sure that they have similar promotion or publication integrity. That is in a sense, we believe in people who publish every single week. If they’re not at least publishing weekly, then first off, they don’t have enough guest opportunities for you to be on their show, too. Either you’ll be out for six months before you get on their show or it’s just not at a pace that is reasonable to do it.

That’s the first thing. The publication schedule matters. To me, if they aren’t then pushing it out on social media or adding it to their website, they don’t have to do all of that, but if they’re not at least doing one of those things, then they’re not serious about their show. If they’re not serious about their show, then they don’t have listeners.

They can say all they want, but I know for a fact they likely don’t have listeners because I see and know it. I can tell the difference by watching what they’re doing on the outside, whether or not they have listener growth. I don’t want to be in someone who’s not going to promote me if I’m going to do all this work to promote that.

It has to be mutually beneficial. That happens by checking their website and social media, and seeing how they promote their show. They may not be doing the best practices and exactly the way I’m doing it, but I also think that maybe they’ll learn something from me. If there’s an opportunity for that, as long as they’re making an effort, I’m more than willing to share with them my model. Hopefully, they can learn from that.

This makes perfect sense, Tracy. You have to give and get value out of it. If that’s not an alignment, then you shouldn’t do it.

That’s what we’re looking for, alignment. That’s why I say matched audience, perspective, promotion, and sharing. That’s it. What do I want in differences? I want a difference in energy. They probably have a lot of listeners who’ve been listening to them, and maybe it’s that they haven’t decided to buy from them or join their platform, courses, or programs. They haven’t stepped into it because maybe that host has the right information but not the right fit in terms of personality. Me being so different and such a different energy level, might be a draw in contrast. That’s always good for me. I like it when there’s an energy differential.

I also like it when there’s a style difference. My style is less technical. I just don’t go into the whole, “We do it here. You guys hear us. I know my nitty-gritty details.” I don’t do that when I’m being interviewed. I’m giving them the why, the perspectives on things. That other stuff comes in as backup stories, other things there, but I’m not going to dive into it. If their show is all technical, sometimes me providing that why and those purposes can really help that host to have a better show, and helps to draw people to listen to my show in addition, because now we’re providing both pieces for them. That’s a great way to have. Make sure we’re both winning.

That’s an important thing, especially for a lot of new podcasters to understand, Tracy. A lot of times, I’ve heard hosts say, “If I invite them to be a guest on my show, are my listeners going to like their show better than mine?” They get a little hung up on that. That’s a mistake. As you said, most podcasts listeners will listen to many different shows on a regular basis.

If they like yours, they may like another one also. I don’t think we should get hung up on whether they’re going to like us better than that other show, or maybe, “I’m going to lose all my audience to this show because they’re going to like this guest a whole lot better. They’re much more experienced than me.” What do you have to say about that?

This fear and risk of competition is the wrong attitude to have if we’re going to lift all boats, increase our industry, and promote everyone at once. Our good friend and great podcaster who hosted The Note Closers Show, Scott Carson says, “Coopetition.” We’re cooperating and competing together. That’s okay. I’m not the flavor for everyone. I know it.

 

 

Sometimes my overexcited energy is just too much for people. There’s got to be some more laid-back Zen kind of coach for them somewhere else, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that I’m wrong, they’re wrong, or we’re competing against each other. It means that there’s more room for everyone in that model. That’s what we’re looking for.

That competition model mindset is not going to be good for you. If you are in that mindset, I don’t know why you’d have this style of a show. Create a totally different style of show, and that might be debate and argue with your competition show. I did that. I have a guest on my show. I aired someone on The Binge Factor who I completely disagreed with. He swore to me that I wouldn’t air it, but I did. You can guess who it is.

I’m not thinking about that.

I’m going to look it up and make sure it’s aired, real quick.

I had your show up. I have it still here. I don’t know which one.

I’m just going to double check it and make sure.

That was very good of you to have someone on that you completely disagree with. I’m sure you did it in at least a respectful way, but you’re transparent about how you disagree with the person.

This is something that we have to really look at carefully. If you’re going to disagree with someone, you have to narrow them in and have to focus them, because otherwise it’s just not going to work for you.

Let’s see the most recent episode.

It hasn’t aired yet.

This fear and risk of competition is the wrong attitude to have if we're going to lift all boats, increase our industry, and promote everyone at once. Click To Tweet

That’s important for people to see. Did you expect that? Did you know you disagreed with the person or you didn’t know it until you conducted the interview?

I didn’t know it would be so contentious on the interviews.

Contentious is fair. I’m interested to listen to that one personally. When did it air? What is it?

It aired on 10/12 of 2022. It was a lot longer. It’s Albert Corey.

I know who he is.

I felt like it was good to put a perspective on it, but I framed it. I told him I was going to do it. I go straight with him. If you’re going to say, “We disagree on it and we should present that idea to everyone,” go ahead and do that but be straight about that. He’s not competing with us. He just has a different view on what goes on in the world.

That’s a very good way to do it. You never want to publish something and frame it in a way that is going to shock or surprise the guests you had on your show.

On the flip side of it, I’m not willing to be on his show. That’s what came out of it.

Is that what came out of it?

I knew that. He didn’t invite me, but why would he when I disagree so vehemently about everything? I wouldn’t go on his show because I don’t want to step into that audience. It’s not a match for me. It’s a waste of my time. I don’t see that it would be worth my while. I learned that quickly by interviewing him. That’s one of the reasons I’m going to say this to all of you. I invite them first rather than wait for an invitation from them.

FYB 204 | Podcast Swap
Podcast Swap: Any host who’s been doing podcast swap for some time will tell you that the best lift in listeners happens when another podcast host is on their show.

 

Is it because it’s harder for you to say no when you’ve been invited, then you want to make sure you’re invited for the right reasons and not just have someone else frame what shows you should be on or something?

Very likely, your guest is going to feel that law of reciprocity weighing on them, and they’re going to be like, “I need to invite her on.” I don’t want to be in that position where I have to say yes because of that.

You don’t want to be the person to say no and have what ends up being an uncomfortable conversation.

I always invite first, really schedule out so they come on my show first, and then I’ll cancel on the back end or didn’t book yet. That’s usually what happens. I do it that way because I prefer to give first. It’s who I am and how I show up anyway. I have a busy schedule. I get asked on hundreds of shows a year, and I don’t want to be on 100 shows a year. I don’t want to dilute my brand that way. I want them to be a right fit for me.

I will be like, “I had you on my show where promotion is happening. I’ll get on your calendar.” I then never do, and they don’t remember, so I don’t really worry. If they push hard and come back to me about why they want me on the show, “Tracy, you never booked on my show, and I would like you on it,” I’ll do that. Very rarely does it happen the other way. That’s okay.

It happened. I was interviewing DP Newton. I love him. He’s got a great show. Honestly, I was shocked he wanted me on his show because I didn’t think it was quite the right fit for me. We had so much fun on the show that there was no way I wasn’t going to invite him to my show. It was random. I didn’t seek him out first.

He met me through PodMatch. He did invite me on, and I agreed to go on the show because I was intrigued by it when I listened to it and curious about why he wanted me on there. We had so much fun that there was no way I couldn’t invite him to my show. It wasn’t going to not happen the other way. That was a good fit. It rarely happens. I don’t invite them first. It’s just my model. You do your own.

There are lots of people who are like, “I need you to have me on your show,” or they push into the first place, and I just feel like that’s not the right energy for it. I want to be invited on the flip side of that because it’s a right fit for us and the swap is right for us. I just do it that way. The other thing is that I really have to be careful that, and in the case of some of the people that you might have on your show, especially if you’re doing this competition model, is that we don’t get into a place where we’re being associated with someone without integrity in the services, coaching, and messaging that they provide.

I don’t want to have them on my show and have to discontinue their episode in the future. I’ve done it before where I delist an episode, so it won’t appear on the podcast app anymore. I remove it from my blog roll. I untag it everywhere in our blog. This is the technical way we do it. The page is still live, so if they’ve linked to it, they can send people.

Do you noindex, nofollow the post even? Do you do that?

When being interviewed on a podcast, you should be about the audience that's there and what value you can bring to them and to the host. Click To Tweet

I have done that for a couple of people. For someone who got in trouble with the SEC, I did that. I didn’t delete it because a broken link is a negative on your website. That’s something that I make a very clear habit of.

Sorry. I’m getting a little technical on people here. For a blog post, make sure Google doesn’t send traffic there. There are some things you can do. Let’s say, “This page is here on my website. Don’t pay any attention to it.” It’s like the wizard behind the green curtain. Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

Here are my numbers. I didn’t give you this at the beginning because this is not who I am. It’s not how I show up in the world. I don’t brag about myself. It’s not how I start. When I start in a podcast and being interviewed on a podcast, I’m about the audience that’s there, and what value can I bring to that audience and to that host. At some point in the process, I want to make sure that you understand my credibility, and there might be a story to that.

I recently gave a speech about AI, but it was about how asking good questions, being a great interviewer, and having done a volume of interviews over my lifetime here. This is in the last few years that I’ve tracked this number, I don’t go back further than that. Since 2015, I’ve done 3,003 interviews. That’s my number, 180,000 minutes of interviews.

On average, I do 375 interviews a year. Either I’m interviewing someone else or they’re interviewing me.

That’s more than one a day, Tracy.

I know. I usually have 6 to 8 a week.

That would do it.

That’s my range. It’s usually somewhere in there. It could even be 8 to 10 on a weekend I’m home, and then nothing for a week while I’m away. It just does. The numbers add up. In doing that, there’s a clear distinction and number. Here’s what I find that podcasters do over time. When you hit over 100 episodes and 100 interviews, maybe not all your episodes are interviews, but when you clearly hit that, you will start to be more discerning. It happens every time. It’s the number one thing I hear from everyone with 100 episodes or more. “I’ve decided to get more specific about the kind of guests I want. I reject more than I invite on.”

This is the common theme that happens over 100. Why not start that sooner if it’s going to happen anyway? The biggest growth in your show happens from 25 to 100 episodes. That will be the largest growth curve you will have. You’ll have steady growth after that, but the largest growth curve will happen between 25 and 100 episodes. If that’s going to happen, then why not start to dial in as early as that? Test your criteria. Each month, get a little tighter on it. It could be a great growth strategy for you in your show.

FYB 204 | Podcast Swap
Podcast Swap: We don’t get into a place where we’re being associated with someone without integrity in the services, coaching, and messaging that they provide.

 

It could be. No wonder you don’t have time for me to take you to lunch most days. Holy mackerel, Tracy. That’s a lot.

End this call, and I have an immediate interview with someone from France. I’m busy. I did clear my schedule for your birthday, mostly. I just cleared it for lunch.

We’ve been married for several years, and I don’t get a whole day.

You don’t get a whole day. Sorry. It’s your birthday. For everyone out there, think about this. Podcast swaps are a great part of your guesting strategy. They can be an effective growth for your listener base, especially when you do a little bit of work. It doesn’t have to be a tremendous amount of work. Check the fit of the audience, perspective, and the fact that they’re actually going to promote you. If they’re going to do those 3 things, and those 3 things are a good match, then take the risk. Have them on your show. Invite them first. They’ll reciprocate. If it’s a good fit for you, they’ll realize quickly in that interview that it’s a good fit for them, and you don’t have to work hard to pitch them at all.

That seems like some great insight, Tracy, coming from someone with 3,003 interviews. Thank you for sharing that perspective. I even learned a few things now. We started podcasting together when we started doing it, and I wasn’t aware of all those numbers.

That’s because you didn’t also seek the guest. I did about 90% of that work of the guest seeking over the years in all of our shows. I refined it over time.

Well done. Thank you so much for tuning in, everybody. We will be back next time with another great topic.

 

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Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is an Authority Magazine columnist, former Inc. Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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