So you’ve started your podcast, or you’re thinking about starting a podcast, but sitting alone in a recording booth, or wherever you plan to record from, does not appeal to you? Perhaps what you need is the Rory to your Lorelai, the Starsky to your Hutch, or the Ben to your Jerry. In other words, perhaps you need a co-host — someone who will complement and complete all that you bring to the show.
Often times we are reluctant to consider entering into a partnership such as co-hosting. We get scared that we’ll lose creative control, that we’ll end up doing all of the work, or simply, that the other person will annoy us, and we’ll annoy them, and it will all be one hot mess! While these are potential risks of sharing your podcast with a co-host, there’s also a certain magic that happens when you interact with someone you have great chemistry with and who pushes you to reach new heights.
This post looks at all the great benefits a co-host can bring to your show. And to help ensure that your partnership does not go the way of Kanye and Taylor, we’ve also included some helpful tips for working with a co-host and being a great one yourself.
Related read: 9 Celebrity-Hosted Podcasts We Love Right Now
So here are our top 8 benefits of getting a co-host for your podcast:
1. Shared Experiences
As humans, we love sharing experiences, and if we’re not physically able to share the moment, we’re taking pictures and videos and sharing those! The bottom line is that we enjoy experiences more when we share them. The same can be true for co-hosting a podcast. The experience of tackling new challenges together and overcoming obstacles can make the podcasting journey that much more enjoyable. And while having a co-host on your podcast creates the opportunities for many positive shared experiences, a co-host can also provide the much-needed support through any lows, as you have someone to shoulder these with you. When shared, your lows are not as low, and your highs are doubled, making this one of the main benefits of having a co-host on your podcast.
2. Keeps You Motivated
Having a partner is great for the days when you lack motivation. They can encourage you, support you, and remind you why you started out on this journey in the first place. Knowing that you are not alone in this endeavor can also help motivate you to keep achieving your goals and ambitions, particularly because you know that someone else is relying on you to show up and do the work!
This brings us to the next benefit of having a co-host:
3. Keeps You Committed
Having a co-host helps keep you committed to the goal, much like the way a gym-buddy can help you stay committed to an exercise regime. When we enter a partnership, we are committing to that person, and so we place a value on the relationship. We then are less likely to do something to jeopardize that relationship. In terms of a podcast, partnering with a co-host means you would be more likely to maintain your commitment to the process of episode creation and would not lose momentum in your efforts to grow your podcast audience.
Related read: How to Stay Motivated to Keep Podcasting
4. Helps With Preparation
It was stated previously that a co-host helps shoulder the load when times get tough. While that was more metaphoric in nature, a co-host can also help shoulder the physical load of all that goes into recording and publishing each podcast episode and growing your podcast as a whole. You can now divide tasks between two people, enabling you to get through the tasks with greater efficiency. It’s particularly beneficial if your co-host brings expertise in different fields to yours. If they’ve got great marketing skills, they could run with the advertising of your show across the different social platforms and engage with your audience, while you may be skilled in the more technical side of things, like editing and creating show notes. As the old saying goes, “Divide and conquer!” and this is exactly what a co-host can help you do.
Related read: How to Plan for Recording Your First Podcast Episode
5. Facilitates Conversation
An obvious benefit of having a co-host is that they enable a natural conversation to take place. It takes a great number of presentation skills to make a monologue sound like a conversation and not just a lecture! But by having a co-host, you can allow the topic to flow naturally. Your co-host can ask poignant questions from the perspective of your listeners, thus helping to draw your listeners into the conversation and allowing them to fully engage with the content. An insightful conversation is often much easier and more enjoyable to listen to than the same person talking for the duration of the whole show.
6. Brings Different Perspectives
Another great benefit of having a co-host is that they will bring different perspectives to the content. They may see things differently to you, based on different cultures, backgrounds, religious beliefs, and just through having had different experiences to you. This then allows your show to firstly be relatable to a much wider audience but also enables your audience to develop their worldviews and perspectives along with you, making your content even more valuable.
7. Helps Bring Balance
A co-host can also help bring balance to your show. Your different personalities and temperaments and how you both function in different situations can help keep the show’s equilibrium. If you tend to get heated when talking about a particular topic, your co-host can help keep you grounded, so that your passion shines through, rather than it escalating and turning your show into nothing more than a rant. This balance is also important in your preparation. A co-host might pick up something you missed in your research, or present the same topic from a different angle. This will help you both create content that is more holistic, rather than being one-sided and narrow, and help cement your show as worthwhile and relevant.
Related read: 8 Best Practices for Podcast Interviews
8. Brings the Fun
Lastly, having a co-host can be great simply for all the fun and laughter it brings. There aren’t many things in this world quite as great as a good laugh with friends, and a co-host can help simulate those moments during a recording. With a co-host, you can get genuine laughs from jokes — both yours and theirs — real reactions to stories or anecdotes, as well as plenty of opportunities for you to play off of each other. If you’re having a great time, your listeners will be able to tell…and they’ll most likely be having a great time with you!
Now, before you call up your favorite colleague, Steve, asking him to be your co-pilot, read through our top tips for co-hosting a podcast to ensure that your partnership is a match made in heaven, and doesn’t become double trouble!
Top Tips For Co-Hosting a Podcast
#1 Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
ALWAYS communicate. Nothing destroys a relationship quicker than a lack of communication. From the beginning, communicate your expectations, your vision, and your goals. Then set regular times to get together to discuss how things are going, where change may be needed, and whether the goals and mission remain the same.
#2 Agree on Commitment
It is important that together, you agree, not only on what the commitment to the podcast journey looks like but also the commitment to your roles and responsibilities. Even if your co-host is a good friend, it is still important to draw up a contract where your roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. This will help one person from feeling like they’re carrying all the weight and prevent resentment from settling in.
#3 Agree to Honest Conversations
It is important that when you do set aside time to communicate as Tip #1 suggests, you agree that those conversations must include honest feelings and feedback. This will help ensure that any issues that one or both of you may have can be fixed before they become major problems.
#4 Agree to Disagree
This is not referring to the fundamentals of the show, such as the goals or levels of commitment, but is referring to differing opinions based on the content of your show. You may cover a topic which you realize you simply do not have the same viewpoints on — and that’s ok! As long as you both show respect to the other person’s point of view, these disagreements can provide for very interesting discussions.
#5 Always Put in the Preparation Time
You may work exceptionally well with your co-host. There may be tons of chemistry, quick banter, and no shortage of conversation, but this does not mean you can skip the preparation process. If you ride on the coattails of your chemistry for too long, your audience will start to notice that you’re not putting in the effort, making them wonder if they should put in the time.
#6 Know Your Role
Your roles and responsibilities in terms of creating the podcast must be defined, but you also need to know your role within each episode. This means deciding who takes the lead for a segment and who is the one to react or ask the questions. There is no hard-and-fast rule for how this will work best — it’s dependent on your show and how you compile your content. But what is important is that these roles should be decided on beforehand, particularly if they change from segment to segment, and marked on your script or outline, so that there’s no awkward pauses or clumsy transitions between segments.
#7 Develop Silent Communication
This refers to hand signals or other non-verbal cues you should use to make your recording as seamless as possible. It’s very unpleasant for listeners if co-hosts talk over each other, or are constantly interrupting one another! But with hand signals, this would be kept to a minimum. If you signal to your co-host that you’re about to finish your piece, they can jump in with their question or insight at the right time, ensuring that the conversation flows smoothly.
#8 Always Remember Your Audience
It can be very easy to get caught up in a great conversation and forget that there are actually many other listeners! So even though great conversation and dialogue is what you’re after, your audience needs to feel a part of the conversation, and not like they are merely eavesdropping on something they are excluded from.
#9 Remember You’re a Team
Last but certainly not least, remember that you are a team. The foundation of any great relationship is aiming to showcase your partner’s gifts and talents, rather than your own. As a co-host, you shouldn’t try and embarrass your partner or point out their flaws while you are recording. Good-natured ribbing is one thing, but throwing your partner under the bus during an episode is another! As a co-host, don’t try and always get the last word or the last laugh — your audience will most definitely pick on that! In other words, don’t try and steal your co-host’s thunder, but rather create opportunities for them to have their moment in the sun. If they do the same for you, you’re well on your way to one beautiful partnership.
Getting a co-host can be one of the best decisions you could make for your podcast. A co-host can help keep you motivated and committed, and they can help you and the podcast achieve the best you possibly can. They can share the workload, help ensure that your content is well-rounded and relevant, as well as making your podcast journey that much more enjoyable through sharing the experience. And if you both bear in mind the tips for being a good co-host and strive to put these into practice, there’s no doubt your partnership will be one for the books!