Do podcasts pay their guests? (2019 Update)

When you’re first getting your podcast set up and going, there is so much to learn.

New jargon, common practices, etc.

And as you prepare to begin interviewing people on your podcast, you may find yourself wondering.

Do podcasts pay their guests?

Podcasts do not usually pay their guests with money. Instead, they pay them in other ways. Typically, this is exposure. Interviews on podcasts is a great way to get exposure outside of your usual audience.

The podcasting industry is very unique.

Sort of like blogging, a person doesn’t have to be famous to garner a large following.

Podcasters do have ways that they monetize their podcasts.

That’s another topic for another post, but what you should understand is that podcasters are constantly looking to get more listeners and increase their podcast’s income.

One of the ways to do this is by interviewing guests.

Which brings up the topic of paying podcast guests.


If you’ve ever done blogging, you probably know about guest blogging.

It’s an SEO strategy where bloggers write content for other bloggers’ websites.

Usually, they get some kind of backlink and they get to introduce themselves to people outside of their normal audience.

This technique was super popular for a while.

To get opportunities to guest post, it was super important that you provide a ton of value to the blog host accepting your content.

Well, guest podcasting has also become a way for podcasters to increase their audience.

When you are first starting, this can be a super helpful way to get exposure.


Because the guests that you interview are likely to share the interview with their own audience.

And that is the essence of guest podcasting.

Important Guests on Your Podcast

For new podcasts, it can be much more difficult to book podcast guests.

Your show is small and the would-be-guests may not see a lot of value in appearing.

John Lee Dumas, the host of the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, came up with a unique way to get around this hurdle.

He would contact large media organizations and propose to do an interview of a notable entrepreneur for them.

Simply because of the caliber of the individuals, the media companies were more than willing to approve.

Then, Dumas would contact the individual he wanted to interview and propose to do an interview on behalf of XXX company.

He included that he would record the interview to put on his own podcast.

This was a brilliant strategy and helped him interview some pretty big name people.


What about your podcast?

If your podcast is small because you just started, you may consider paying podcast guests for their time. While this is not the usual approach, it is a viable option. As long as you don’t come across as spammy.

Most guests do not ask for payment to appear on a podcast. If they don’t see any value in appearing on your show, they just won’t accept the offer.

Ways to reward podcast guests

When someone does accept your request to interview them for your podcast, you need to go completely out of your way to make it as good of an experience as possible.

They have given up their time for you, so reciprocate the gesture.

Let’s look at a few ways you can do this.

Be extremely gracious

When someone agrees to be interviewed on your podcast, they’ve set aside their own life and business for you.

Make sure you go out of your way for them also.

First of all, don’t be late.

There’s nothing worse than showing up for a business meeting – electronic or in person – and the host of the meeting is late.

Next, test your equipment and your set up before you actually begin with your guest.

If you’re using Zoom or Skype, for example, do a test call with someone else.

Make sure the audio is coming through.

Make sure your recorder is actually recording it.

The point is

You want to make sure all of the glitches are worked out before your guest ever begins their interview.

Accommodate your guest’s schedule

We’re all pretty busy people.

And it would be possible to limit your availability to your guest.

But since you aren’t paying them, make sure you work with them.

Ask for their preferred days and times and try your best to make it work for them.

Don’t do a boring interview

When you interview a guest on your podcast, it’s important to make the experience great for them.

Part of this is the actual interview.

It should stand out to them as being memorable.

Start by researching them online.

Look at their social media accounts.

See what kinds of things they like.

Look at their website.

Check out any other podcast episodes in which they were interviewed.

The point?

You want to know absolutely as much about them as you can.

Then, develop questions that reach deeper than the ordinary questions they get.

By that, I mean questions that reach into their passions and motivations.

I can almost guarantee you that they are tired of the same questions over and over again and would love a change.

If you ask challenging but pleasant questions, I’m sure they will both give you and your audience amazing answers and useful information.


So, while paying podcast guests is not typical, there may be a case when it is appropriate.

Like we talked about, usually, the understood agreement on podcasts is that instead of being paid to speak, guests are compensated by exposure.

However, since your guests are going above and beyond for you, make sure you do the same for them.

Make their experience pleasant and they’ll likely want to come back.

Happy podcasting!