Should I Charge Guests to Appear on My Show?

Many podcasters turn up their nose at the idea of charging guests to appear on their shows. Will charging a guest hurt your artistic integrity or make you a “sell-out”? In this brief article, we explain why these fears are unfounded, and how you can ethically charge podcast guests an appearance fee.

Every Podcaster Has Three Basic Needs.

1. Credibility
2. Listeners
3. Revenue

The best route to fulfill these 3 basic needs is through Interview Marketing.

Interviewing top guests on your show and being interviewed on other shows not only increases your credibility but also grows your show and leads to revenue.

The solution on the market is PR and booking agencies. Many of them do great work and provide excellent service. Many do not. But none of them offer to pay the creator themselves, even though the creator is the one doing the hard work that others aren’t willing to do. If money is being spent, some of it should be going to you – the creator.

Is It Wrong to Charge my Guests?

If you’re opposed to charging for guests, ask yourself 2 simple questions.

Do you accept sponsors on your show? A good guest spot is nothing but a longer sponsor spot. Sure, you have a great conversation, you add value to your audience whether it’s through entertainment or education, but ultimately, you as a host are promoting that person and their offers to your audience.

Do you accept pitches from booking agencies? If you say you don’t accept “pay to play” bookings, but you’ve ever worked with an agency before, you do accept them. The only problem is, you’re not the one getting paid. They charged their client so they could make an email intro to you, and everyone in the situation wins except for you. The agency makes money from the client, the client makes money from your audience, and you got an episode that took up your time that you don’t monetize. 

How Much Should I Charge for a Sponsored Interview?

Treat it like a sponsor. Hear their pitch, ask yourself if what they offer is valuable to your audience, and if it is, then charge them a number that makes sense for both parties based on how many people your show reaches in a given episode. Their offer will “sponsor your episode.”

Since it’s a much higher touchpoint where you’re endorsing this person and their offer, you can charge closer to $100 CPM instead of $15-$20 CPM like you would on a regular sponsor spot. (Or $2-$5 CPM for those YouTubers reading this).

Even if you have 200 downloads per episode, your guest fee would be $20. If you increase your release schedule and start taking on more guests, at 5 guests per week, you’re making $400-$500 per month being an interviewer! Not too bad compared to waiting for that magical day when your show somehow jumps from 200 downloads/ep to 200,000. 

Conclusion + 6 Key Points

Conclusion + 6 Key Points

It all leads back to your three basic needs. Interview marketing is the best way I’ve seen to solve those needs. It provides credibility, opportunities for growth, and now, with Guestio and sponsored guests, it leads DIRECTLY to revenue.

Just remember…

Don’t sell out. Only bring on sponsored guests who align with your values and have an offer that actually makes you excited.

Don’t overprice your show for no reason. Be fair and realistic. If you get 1,000 downloads an episode, don’t be the person that tries to sell it at $5,000. Even if you get one person to bite, it’s gonna leave a bad taste in their mouth and you’ll lose in the long run.

Base your pricing off of “per episode” metrics. Remember that person is only sponsoring one episode.

Get creative. Maybe you don’t want to offer a full guest spot. That’s okay. Just do a 10-minute promo segment at the end of your regularly scheduled programming. Just remember to charge accordingly.

Disclose to your audience. If someone paid to get in front of your audience, simply let them know just like you would for ZipRecruiter. A simple “This episode of the show is sponsored by today’s guest who just recently came out with a book about blah blah blah”. The point is if you’re not comfortable just presenting that guest the same way you present your other guests, then don’t! Tell your audience they sponsored it, but that you are very serious about properly vetting those people to make sure they’ll still add value to the conversation.

Don’t feel like the episode is a sales webinar. They didn’t pay for you to sell their product. They just paid to have the conversation. If I paid to come on your show, it’s not to ONLY promote Guestio. The process works better if you still have a value add conversation that just also has a clear call to action at the beginning and end. Just know that you don’t have to charge the format of your show to talk about their offer the whole time. Your audience comes first, so do what’s best for them and provide some real value to that person. If you don’t think they’ll deliver what your audience needs, then turn down the pitch! It’s that simple. 

It all leads back to your three basic needs. Interview marketing is the best way I’ve seen to solve those needs. It provides credibility, opportunities for growth, and now, with Guestio and sponsored guests, it leads DIRECTLY to revenue. We look forward to seeing you all get paid to create and talk about the things you love to talk about. 

Just don’t forget us when you’re famous.


You are in and will hear from us soon...