Do Podcasts Pay Guests? The Complete Guide

Podcasting has exploded in popularity over the last decade. As more and more people start podcasts, the competition for high-quality guests increases. This leads many podcast guests to wonder: do podcasts pay guests? The short answer is sometimes, but not always.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about whether podcasts pay guests.

We’ll start by looking at the reasons why some podcasts do pay guests. Next, we’ll discuss the various payment models and ranges guests can expect. We’ll also look at the factors that determine if and how much a podcast will pay.

Finally, we’ll provide tips for guests looking to get paid and summarize the key takeaways.

Why Podcasts Pay Guests

Podcasts have gained immense popularity in recent years, becoming a powerful platform for sharing knowledge, stories, and insights. As the podcasting industry continues to grow, it’s no surprise that podcast hosts are willing to pay their guests. Here are a few reasons why podcasts pay their guests:

To Attract Top Talent

Podcasts strive to feature influential and knowledgeable individuals in their episodes. By offering payment to their guests, podcast hosts are able to attract top talent. This not only ensures high-quality content but also enhances the podcast’s reputation and credibility.

Paying guests can entice experts, industry leaders, and celebrities to share their expertise, experiences, and unique perspectives, making the podcast more appealing to listeners.

To Compensate for Time

Participating in a podcast interview requires time and effort from the guest. They need to prepare for the discussion, carve out time from their busy schedules, and often travel to the recording location. Paying guests acknowledges and compensates them for their valuable time.

It also shows respect for their expertise and the value they bring to the podcast.

To Provide an Incentive

Offering payment to guests serves as an incentive for them to appear on the podcast. While many guests may be willing to share their knowledge and experiences for free, compensation can motivate them further.

It shows that the podcast host values their contribution and recognizes the effort they put into preparing and delivering valuable insights. Paying guests can also encourage them to promote the podcast to their own networks, increasing its reach and potential audience.

Common Podcast Guest Payment Models

When it comes to compensating podcast guests, there are several common payment models that podcast hosts and producers use. These models vary in terms of how guests are compensated and the benefits they receive. Here are some of the most common payment models:

Upfront Payment

One common payment model is upfront payment, where the podcast host or producer pays the guest a set fee for their appearance on the show. This can be a flat fee or negotiated based on the guest’s expertise and popularity.

Upfront payment ensures that the guest is compensated for their time and expertise, regardless of the success of the podcast episode. It is a straightforward and transparent way to compensate guests.

Revenue Share

Another payment model is revenue share, where the guest receives a percentage of the podcast’s revenue generated from their episode. This model aligns the guest’s incentives with the success of the podcast, as they have a financial stake in its performance.

Revenue share can be a great option for guests who believe in the podcast’s potential and are willing to invest in its success.

Back-End Sales Commission

Some podcast hosts offer guests a back-end sales commission, where the guest receives a percentage of the sales generated from products or services promoted during the episode. This can be an attractive option for guests who have their own products or services to sell, as it provides an additional revenue stream beyond their appearance fee.

It also incentivizes guests to actively promote the episode to their own audience.

In-Kind Services or Products

Instead of monetary compensation, some podcast hosts may offer in-kind services or products to their guests. For example, a host who is a professional photographer may offer a guest a free photoshoot in exchange for their appearance on the podcast.

This payment model allows hosts to leverage their own skills or resources to provide value to their guests, while guests receive a tangible benefit in return.

It’s important to note that the payment models mentioned above can vary depending on the podcast and its specific circumstances. Some podcast hosts may also combine different payment models to provide a more comprehensive compensation package for their guests.

What Determines Guest Pay Rates

When it comes to determining guest pay rates for podcasts, several factors come into play. Podcast hosts and production teams consider various aspects to decide how much to compensate their guests. Here are some key factors that influence guest pay rates:

Podcast Audience Size and Reach

The size and reach of a podcast’s audience play a significant role in determining guest pay rates. Podcasts with a larger and more engaged audience tend to have more leverage when it comes to compensating their guests.

This is because appearing on a podcast with a substantial following can provide valuable exposure and publicity for the guest. The greater the potential reach, the higher the likelihood that guests will be compensated for their time and expertise.

Production Budget

The production budget of a podcast also plays a crucial role in determining guest pay rates. Podcasts with larger budgets have more resources available to compensate their guests. These budgets may come from advertising revenue, sponsorships, or investments.

A higher production budget allows podcast hosts to offer more competitive compensation packages to their guests, which can attract high-profile experts and industry leaders.

Guest’s Expertise and Demand

The expertise and demand of the guest themselves are important factors in determining their pay rate. If a guest is a recognized authority or expert in their field, they may command a higher fee for their appearance on a podcast.

Likewise, if the guest is in high demand due to their industry influence or popularity, podcast hosts may offer a higher compensation package to secure their participation.

Niche or General Interest Topic

The topic of the podcast episode also influences guest pay rates. Podcasts that cover niche or specialized topics may attract guests who are highly knowledgeable or experienced in that particular area.

In these cases, guests may be more willing to negotiate a higher pay rate due to their unique expertise. On the other hand, podcasts with broader, general interest topics may not necessarily offer the same level of compensation since the guest’s expertise may not be as specialized or exclusive.

It’s important to note that guest pay rates can vary widely depending on these factors and the specific circumstances of each podcast. While some podcasts may have the financial means to pay their guests, others may rely on non-monetary incentives such as exposure, networking opportunities, or cross-promotion.

Ultimately, the decision to compensate guests and the amount offered is a negotiation between the podcast host and the guest, taking into account the mutual benefits and objectives.

Tips for Getting Paid as a Podcast Guest

Pitch Relevant Topics

When approaching podcast hosts, it’s important to pitch topics that are relevant to their audience. Do your research and find out what kind of content the podcast usually covers. By offering a topic that aligns with their interests, you increase your chances of getting invited as a guest.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to highlight any unique angles or insights you can bring to the topic to make your pitch stand out.

Highlight Your Expertise and Following

Podcast hosts are more likely to pay guests who can bring value to their listeners. When pitching yourself as a guest, emphasize your expertise and experience in the field. Mention any relevant qualifications, certifications, or achievements that make you a credible source of information.

If you have a strong following on social media or a dedicated audience, make sure to mention that as well. This can show the host that having you as a guest will attract more listeners.

Ask About Compensation Up Front

Don’t be afraid to discuss compensation with the podcast host right from the beginning. It’s important to be open and transparent about your expectations. Ask if the podcast pays guests and what their compensation policy is.

Some podcasts may offer monetary compensation, while others may provide exposure or other benefits. By clarifying this upfront, you can avoid any misunderstandings later on.

Negotiate Respectfully

If the podcast host offers compensation that is lower than your expectations, it’s okay to negotiate respectfully. Explain your reasons for seeking a higher rate and provide examples of your value as a guest. However, it’s important to approach the negotiation in a polite and professional manner.

Remember that podcast hosts have budgets and constraints, so be open to finding a compromise that works for both parties.

Consider Exposure and Promotion

While monetary compensation is ideal, it’s important to consider the exposure and promotion you’ll receive as a podcast guest. Being a guest on a popular podcast can increase your visibility, attract new followers, and open up new opportunities.

So, even if the podcast doesn’t offer direct payment, weigh the potential benefits of the exposure and promotional opportunities they can provide.

Provide Value to the Host

To increase your chances of getting paid as a podcast guest, focus on providing value to the host and their listeners. Come prepared with valuable insights, actionable advice, and engaging stories. Show genuine interest in the podcast and its audience.

By delivering high-quality content and making a positive impression, you’ll increase the likelihood of being invited back as a guest and potentially being paid for your expertise.

Remember, every podcast is different, and their policies regarding guest compensation may vary. It’s important to do your research and have open and honest conversations with podcast hosts to ensure a mutually beneficial arrangement. Good luck!

Key Takeaways on Podcast Guest Pay

Some Podcasts Pay, Many Don’t

When it comes to podcast guest pay, it’s important to understand that while some podcasts do compensate their guests, many do not. The podcasting landscape is diverse, with a wide range of shows operating on various budgets.

Some podcasters simply don’t have the financial resources to pay their guests, while others may choose not to as a personal preference or to maintain the authenticity of the conversation.

Payment Varies Greatly

If you’re lucky enough to be invited on a podcast that offers payment to guests, it’s crucial to note that the amount can vary greatly. Some podcasts may offer a small honorarium, while others may provide a more substantial fee.

The payment structure may also differ, with some podcasts offering a flat rate per episode, while others may offer a percentage of the podcast’s revenue or a combination of both. It’s essential to have an open and transparent discussion with the podcast host about payment expectations before agreeing to appear on the show.

More Options for Top Guests

Top-tier guests with established expertise or a large following may have more opportunities for podcast guest pay. Popular podcasts often have larger budgets and are more likely to compensate their guests.

These shows understand the value that notable guests bring to their audience and are willing to invest in their appearances. If you have a strong online presence or a significant following, it may increase your chances of being paid as a podcast guest.

Be Strategic When Seeking Pay

If your goal is to get paid as a podcast guest, it’s crucial to be strategic in your approach. Research podcasts that align with your expertise or niche and have a history of compensating their guests.

Look for shows that attract a relevant and engaged audience, as this will increase the value of your appearance. Networking within the podcasting community and building relationships with hosts can also lead to more opportunities for paid guest appearances.

Focus on the Value Exchange

While monetary compensation is always desirable, it’s important to remember that being a podcast guest offers other benefits beyond just payment. Appearing on podcasts can help you expand your personal brand, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and reach a new audience.

The value exchange between you and the podcast host should be seen as a mutually beneficial opportunity. By providing valuable insights and engaging storytelling, you can create a positive impact on the show and its listeners, which can lead to new opportunities and increased visibility.


The podcast guest pay landscape is complex, but the bottom line is that quality guests can often negotiate compensation. While upfront pay is rare for smaller shows, established podcasts may offer ways for guests to earn money through revenue share, commissions, or other arrangements.

With strategic pitching and highlighting your expertise, pay is possible. But never lose sight of the wider value exchange, as podcasting ultimately thrives on compelling conversations and shared ideas.

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