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Having a regular cohost in your podcast can make your podcast more conversational, personal, and more thorough with alternative perspectives. These tips will help you to podcast with others.
1. Choose the right cohost
Look for someone as passionate as you about your topic. Otherwise, you'll feel like they're dragging the topic down.
You and your cohost need to have a good connection and ability to carry a conversation. Neither of you should be “hogging the mic,” but should be passing the conversation back and forth.
2. Communicate expectations
Expectations are to be expected. If you don't communicate these with your cohost, then you're setting up yourselves for failure.
Make sure your cohost knows what you expect of them. For example:
- When do they need to show up?
- What should they be contributing?
- What is their role in decisions?
- Who handles what responsibilities?
Along with content and recording expectations, have a signed agreement on ownership, rights, responsibilities, and how money will be handled.
3. Prepare together
Always let your cohost know what's going on with the podcast and involve them in the planning. This ensures that it's a joint effort so they're not just responding to your statements the whole time.
Use Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), WorkFlowy, or any kind of tool that will allow you to collaborate (preferably in real time) on a document. The details of how you prepare your podcast together will vary based on your circumstances.
Failure to plan means planning to fail. So plan together and you'll succeed together!
4. Break the ice before recording
Have a meal together. Tell jokes or funny stories and laugh together. Do whatever you can to “break the ice” and personally relate with each other before you record. This will make your recording much smoother, and help you both be on the same mental page.
5. Follow an outline
If you adequately prepared together (step 3), then you should have some kind of outline. Make sure you're both aware of this outline and are following it. This can prevent unnecessary jumps and also allow for teases of later content.
6. Listen and interact
It's easy to get distracted while podcasting (especially if you're live-streaming). But try to focus on what your cohost is saying. Don't just acknowledge their contribution; respond to what they say and add to it.
Simply acknowledging their side and moving on will sound like you weren't listening at all or don't value their perspective.
Do not respond to everything they say with, “yeah,” “uh-huh,” and “hmm.” Instead, you can nod your head to acknowledge what they're saying and encourage the conversation without distracting (or annoying) your listeners.
7. Face each other
Face-to-face communication is always the best! Simple things like accidentally talking over each other is so easy to avoid if you can see each other while you're talking.
Face-to-face also helps the podcast sound more personal and conversational, because that's exactly what you're doing—having a personal conversation with a real human in front of you!
Use Skype, Google+ Hangouts, GoToMeeting, or be in the studio together.
8. Use signals or cues
In addition to face-to-face communication, have some defined hand signals or use instant messaging to communicate important things while you're podcasting.
- Hold up spread fingers to indicate how many minutes until something.
- Point to one of multiple cohosts to clearly state who will speak next.
- Hold both palms open and facing up, extended toward your cohost, offering them the opportunity to speak or ask whether they have anything more.
- Point an index finger up and twirl to communicate that you need to wrap up.
- Hold an index finger up in to communicate “wait,” when you need to get through something without interruptions, like ads or sponsorships.
9. Allow disagreements without fights
Don't be afraid to disagree with each other. Disagreements mean you both have different perspectives, which makes for a more valuable, thorough conversation.
Let these disagreements arise, but don't turn them into fights, and also don't just dismiss them. Let each other clearly state their positions and acknowledge that you could be wrong.
It's always okay to explain why you disagree (and probably more valuable), but you should rarely try to convince your cohost to switch to your side, unless something is clearly being misunderstood or facts misrepresented.
10. Share the rewards
When your podcast receives positive feedback, share it with your cohost to encourage them!
If you monetize your podcast through donations, affiliates, or sponsorships, consider sharing this with your cohost if possible.
What are your thoughts and tips?
If you have some experience working with cohosts on your podcast or someone else's, I would love to hear your stories or tips! Please comment below the show notes!
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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
My wife Kathy and I have been sitting across the dinette table in our RV every Friday morning for over 4 years putting out a 1 hour audio podcast called “Living the RV Dream”. We talk all about the RV lifestyle. We do not always agree on some subjects and usually we each state our opinions and the agree to disagree. Check us out at http://www.livingthervdream.com
That’s awesome, John! What do you use to record that?
Thanks for the tip. I’d really like a co-host, just don’t know how to find one! 🙂 But these are good tips I’ll keep in mind if ever I find one.
Did you listen to the audio of my podcast? I shared some brief tips on how to find a good cohost.
I did! I guess I should say that I don’t know WHERE to find a co-host. I don’t know anyone personally that would be interested in this topic as I am that I think would make a good fit for the podcast. So I keep looking in hopes that someone will stand out.
Ok Daniel, so I this isn’t related to this episode but I’ve searched all through the apple forums and can’t find the answer. So, I hope someone please explain to me how the latest upgrade of iTunes/Podcast app is working. I upgraded my phone and now ALL of my podcasts EXCEPT the ones I previously chose to sync to my phone have vanished from my desktop iTunes library. I even restored from a backup on a different computer and the same thing happened. For eg, now I can’t see TAP in the iTunes Podcast section on my PC, as there was no unplayed episode last time I synced. Serves me right for being one of those people who a) plugs their iPhone into a PC b) likes to keep an archive of episodes of my fave podcasts.
I now have to go back through and resubscribe to the podcasts on the app so they will download. That also makes a 2nd copy of the podcasts in my iTunes library. (If they one of the few with unplayed eps -when I upgraded my iOs to the latest updates).
Sorry for the rant but I even waited a few weeks after first noticing the iOs update just to give them a chance for the bugs to be worked out. I am off to restore my iTunes library again! This time I won’t be upgrading anything! lol
Are you making playlists with your podcasts?
I think you’ll need to adjust your subscription settings and tell both devices to keep unplayed episodes.
You could also check and play with your podcast syncing settings inside of desktop iTunes. Tell it to synchronize your subscriptions but not the individual episodes.
Nope, not playlists, just your run of the mill syncing. I restored the old library and have not updated iTunes since. Seems like the first 3 times may have been a bug, as my phone is not asking for another update. Fingers crossed it stays this way!!
(I’ve had it working for about a week – maybe I just needed to vent? Who knows? I know I won’t be updating itunes for as long as I can avoid it lol!)
About communicating with your cohost: having a face to face recording with cohost is very rare. I can’t suggest to use a chat: based on how you record your podcast, you could hear yourself typing (sure you can edit it) but you will hear your cohost hesitat by reading your note.
As a listener I still would prefer a little “real time” talk between friends, as a podcaster I try to avoid out of content communication as much as possible.
Yeah, it takes a unique skill or understanding to do that. The way we usually work it out is that I type something while my cohost is speaking, and they read it while I’m speaking. It’s rare but helps for quick things like, “let’s wrap up,” or “can you jump to #4?”
Holy Cow!! I love John Huggins comments below – live from the RV! That rocks!
Daniel, I really appreciated those ten tips, and found myself laughing at some of them because we have “been there done that”.
I started my podcast with my associate pastor who has the best voice and personality for such a venture. It helps that he is extremely intelligent, humorous, and passionate about our focus – to support and encourage pastors of smaller churches.
I am so happy to find your podcast and look forward to listening…
Thanks, Jeff! That’s a cool ministry through your podcast!
Do you have any example written agreements you can share or point to? Thank you.
At this time, I don’t. After I finish rewriting my Noodle.mx Network cohost and affiliate agreements, I may share excerpts.
One tip I would add would be to ‘set your cohost up for success.’ An easy way to do this is to avoid asking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. Yes or no questions set your cohost up for failure and can kill a conversation rather than give the conversation life. Your cohost will have to do extra work to get out of the trap you have set for them with a yes/no question. Asking open ended questions usually works better for the flow of the conversation. (Unless of course the point of the question really is to get a yes or a no answer. Usually we are going for a conversation, not just a yes/no answer.)
Another tip would be to assume and acknowledge your *listener.
When doing a solo show, it can be easier to remember that you are talking to a person. With a cohost, it can be harder to remember this because your attention is focused your cohost. You are not simply having a private conversation, you are talking to your listeners.
One way to remember to acknowledge your listener is to envision that your listener is at the same table as you and your cohost, not eavesdropping from a different table. Make your listener feel like part of the conversation, not like they are just overhearing what you are saying. Assume your listener is there with you, not somewhere else listening in on a conversation that the two of you are having.
*Side note: Listener being singular, not plural. People listen on an individual level, not as a group. If a host says ‘you guys’ your listener might think, “Who are those other people he is talking to or about, am I included?” It’s not as personal and dulls the experience for the listener. Simply say ‘you’ instead of ‘you guys.’ People listen as an individual even when the speaker is talking to a group.
The hardest part about addressing the listener when you have a guest/cohost is that transition from “you” being the other person in the podcast to being the person listening. I do this in multiple ways, such a changing from “I” to “we,” like “I really appreciate that thought, Jeremy. We would love to hear your thoughts on what Jeremy just said.” The pronouns changed.