6 Reasons Podcast Guests Won’t Promote Your Show

Carrie Caulfield Arick
8 min readNov 1, 2020


I came across this actual question in a podcast Facebook goup:

“Why would someone agree to be a guest on your show, sometimes even reach out to be a guest, then not help you promote their episode? Why does this happen?”

— Facebook Group Member [name redacted for privacy]

The responses usually range from understanding to bitterness. I think a lot of the negative reactions to this problem comes from feeling a sense of rejection. We work so hard on making a great experience for our guests and it sucks when it feels as if it wasn’t appreciated.

I have been a guest, I have worked with guests and PR agencies to book guests, and I work with podcasters and those that serve them. And I have experienced this phenomenon myself as a podcaster. More importantly, I have had extremely candid conversations with guests on the topic of promoting their interviews.

I’m going to take that emotion and ego out of the equation to create a list of recurring themes I’ve found over the years. What’s on it might surprise you.

#1 The Guest Doesn’t Know What to Promote (and you didn’t send them a link they can use)

Few podcast guests are going (to want) to create assets for social media to promote their episode, so if you give them images, maybe an audiogram, and a link that points to your website or multiple apps (like pod.link), it’s more likely they’ll share the episode.

Don’t just share Apple Podcasts URL for the episode for your podcast guest to promote. It’s wrong to assume the guest and their audience only use iOS devices. I can’t stress enough how important it is. I personally get miffed that you excluded 76% of the world for a medium that is all about access. I may not have time to google your podcast to promote it to my audience. Or I may be annoyed enough not to want to.

The other issue I come across is images perfect for Twitter, for instance, when a podcast guest doesn’t actually post content there. When you ask your podcast guest to promote their episode, pay attention to the social media links they gave you. They may not be your platforms, but with apps like Canva, resizing promotional images for different platforms takes only a few minutes. My audience is on Facebook and Instagram. I need those images if you want access to *my* audiences. (#truestory)

Be thoughtful. Share a universal link, like the episode’s link from your website. Share images and assets that can be used on their preferred social media platform.

#2 They Are Actually Busy

The episode release fits your schedule. But that’s your schedule. Guests do not wait or clear their schedule for your show. Also, maybe their kid is sick. Maybe there’s a work crisis. Maybe they’re on vacation.

Things happen and they won’t necessarily tell you why there’s a delay (without you asking- which you can). I’ve had guests share an episode months after it’s released and got a nice bump in downloads because of it.

One way to get around the problem is to simply tag them in your social media posts. I love when podcasts tag my interview because I can simply hit ‘share’ when I get that notification, saving me a ton of steps. Make it that simple for your podcast guest to promote their episode.

The takeaway here is to not assume their appearance on your show is more important than everything else on their to-do list. They’ve already given you their time and expertise. Don’t give them extra work.

#3 They’re Already Running a Promotion

Speaking of timing, sometimes, as a podcast guest, I have had to delay sharing an interview because I have my own ventures to promote. Ventures that make me money immediately. In this case, I’ll wait to promote the interview so it can get the nurturing it deserves.

And do you really want to compete with my (amazing) content? Or do you want the spotlight? What would you do if the situation was reversed?

When I interviewed scrapbook designers whose big releases were Fridays, I came to realize that they promoted their own products over my podcast. It had nothing to do with me or the content. It was about what they did to make a living. They did eventually share, but I let go of the expectation they’d promote their episode as soon as it went live. My show still ranked in the top #100 of the charts consistently.

Pay attention to what your guest is promoting. Give them grace and space. Follow up in a few weeks with a reminder, then let it go.

#4 Discomfort with Self-Promotion

Unless you’re interviewing celebrities (internet famous, niche famous, or famous famous) the average person may be hesitant to say “hey, look how cool I am!” Even business owners who hope for some long-tail marketing ROI may be skittish about promoting to their audience or network.

Culturally, it may be something they were raised not to do. There’s a lot of emotional baggage that comes along with promoting the interview, so they don’t. I was raised that boasting about your accomplishments is a no-no thanks to Danish culture and I don’t think this unique for those outside the USA or who are first-generation Americans.

Other factors come into play — discomfort with their own voice, imposter syndrome, fear of sharing opinions out loud… You’re comfortable with putting yourself out there regularly, but it can be easy to forget others are not.

Understand that if you’re going to interview regular people fewer podcast guests will promote their episode.

#5 It’s Not Part of Their Normal Content

My content’s main focus is podcasting. If I do an interview on a show that talks about my hobbies or life experience with autism, domestic violence, disability, etc, most of followers probably won’t be interested. In those cases, I’ll share on my personal feeds, in private groups, or to a specific newsletter segment where I know the content will be appreciated.

You’ll never see me share it if you aren’t part of these audiences. And I don’t have time to email you where I shared it. (cause OMG, I write a lot of emails every day and don’t make extra work for me, please)

#6 It’s NOT Good Enough

We don’t talk about this enough because this is not comfortable. I’m going to preface this with it’s okay. This is part of the creative process and acknowledging something isn’t working or needs refinement or is plain bad is the only way we can get better.

But if your guest feels this way, they probably aren’t going to tell you. Because it feels unkind. Yet, I believe it’s kinder to tell you the truth and help you get there with some critical evaluation steps.

Most podcast guests who are known for something or who have large or engaged audiences usually have standards. These standards are driven by the audience they serve. This is definitely true for me: The last thing I want to do is fail them by promoting something I shouldn’t.

If the podcast interviews were photos — — no one wants to share the blurry, out of focus ones where they look awful.

So what is not good enough for me (as decided by my audience)?

  1. Poor Audio Quality. My job is to make people sound great and help the content shine. If I’m a guest on a podcast and I sound bad… well, I’m not going to share your show. For brands, the audio quality is just as important as a social media graphic or other content. If it’s terrible, they won’t touch it.
  2. No Editing. Um, ah, you know, I try to er, be well-spoken, um, but sometimes I, um, have off days. If make half …. sentences…………… or really long pauses……………………………. and you didn’t take them out. Why would I share that? I sound like an idiot. That’s not the look I’m going for. I want to be seen as an interesting expert worth listening to.
  3. Poor Editing. Maybe you edited using an app like Descript. But there are half breaths, missing words the app mistakes for ums, bumpy cuts and poor leveling. Or maybe you took out every.single.breath. and every single um so my pacing (and therefore personality) is gone. Or maybe the background music is too loud. Whatever the case may be, my audience has high expectations that weren’t met. So, it’s a hard no from me.
  4. It wasn’t a good interview. Or interesting. Even I was bored. Maybe we didn’t have chemistry. Maybe I wasn’t the right fit for the show. Maybe your questions were flat. Maybe you didn’t ask great follow-up questions or didn’t have good transitions. There are so many variables and it happens to us all at some point. I don’t want to fill space in your schedule. I want to entertain your audience and provide value. If I didn’t do that, I’m not gonna promote it.

What If None of My Podcast Guests Promote My Show?

If no one is ever sharing your show, some or all of this may be at the heart of the problem.

Listen to your episodes and evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Where do you lean in and when do you get distracted? Does it sound good? Can you hear it in the car? Can you hear it in a noisy environment — — like with the vacuum running, kids screaming, in the shower? What does it sound like on your Alexa? How does it sound with earbuds vs. speakers?

Recently, I had some tough to swallow feedback from a producer of The Moth. (I’m grateful for the insight — and she was right) You may not have that access, so ask those friends who always tell you the truth to listen to give their honest opinion. Create a survey for past guests. Ask your audience what they think. Hire a podcast coach.

Then make adjustments based on that feedback.

If you get stuck, again, this is where coaching comes in handy. Or even taking a class, attending an event or grabbing a course or e-book from a bundle InfoStack’s Podcast to Profit (affiliate link — I’ll be teaching Adobe Audition this year and it’s only $49 for $7000 worth of products!).

Pro Podcasters open themselves up to meaningful, critical assessments even when it hurts. You aren’t alone.

At the Core of the Podcast Guest that Won’t Promote Your Show

When you distill the first 5 reasons to the core, it’s about understanding that the guests are people who have volunteered their time to serve your audience and your content. It’s also about you making the experience positive and simple for them.

Number 6 is about serving your conversation and your own content to make it not only good enough to share but so good that guests are EXCITED to share it.

BUT ultimately (and this may ruffle some feathers)…

Your podcast’s growth is YOUR responsibility.

I have no idea where the idea that 95% (or whatever) of your audience growth comes from guest’s promoting your show came from. But looking at actual marketing trends and industry data on audience growth, guests’ promotion doesn’t even make an appearance (pun intended).

Create a show whose content and quality is share-worthy on its own.

Let go of the expectation that a guest posting on social media about their episode is important. It’s not.



Carrie Caulfield Arick

Podcast Production Expert. Combing the Indie + Corporate Worlds. Thought Leader. Teacher. Advocate. Speaker. Glitter Lover. Your fairy podmother. Now 50% more