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When searching for podcast guests, a common question might spring to mind: Do podcast guests get paid? And should you be paying your guests to appear on your podcast?

It’s true that in recent years, the popularity of podcasting has exploded, with new shows being launched daily. And when starting out, budgets can be tight, especially for indie podcasters. There’s a lot to consider, from recording software to equipment, setting up and launching a podcast can quickly add up. So the question of having to pay your guests is fair enough.

Some podcast hosts might believe that paying their guests is necessary, while others argue that the exposure and publicity they offer is enough compensation. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the argument for not paying guests to appear on your podcast, why you don’t need to pay your podcast guests, and how you can compensate them in ways other than parting with your cash.

Reasons why podcasters don’t pay their guests

If you’re already counting the pennies of your podcast production, then you can be reassured.

The very vast majority of podcasters do not pay their guests to be interviewed on their podcasts.

That’s right; most podcast guests appear on podcasts 100% for free. Even with the high-profile guests appearing on Diary of a CEO, Steven Bartlett has previously said that he has never paid for any of these guests a fee to appear on his podcast.

So, all in, it’s quite normal not to pay podcast guests to appear on your show. And there are a few reasons why this is the case. Firstly, many podcasters simply can’t afford to pay their guests. Podcasting is a relatively low-cost medium, and many hosts are working with tight budgets. They may not have the funds to pay for guest appearances, especially if they are just starting out.

Another reason why podcasters don’t pay their guests is that many guests are happy to appear on podcasts for free. For many guests, the exposure and publicity that come with being a guest on a podcast are more valuable than any monetary compensation. Guests may see appearing on a podcast as an opportunity to promote their own brand or business, and the publicity they receive can be invaluable.

Some podcast hosts believe that paying their guests could compromise the integrity of their show. If guests are being paid to appear on a podcast, they may feel obligated to say certain things or promote certain products. This could undermine the authenticity of the show and make it less appealing to the show’s audience.

Other ways to compensate guests

So if you’re not paying your guest for their time to appear on your podcast, how else can you compensate them?

One option is to offer guests the opportunity to promote their own brand or business on the show. This could include giving them a few minutes to talk about their work or products or allowing them to share links to their website or social media accounts.

You’ll notice, for example, that at the end of every episode of The Confident CEO Podcast which features a guest, I ask the guest if there’s anything that they want to promote or share with the audience. I also include links to anything mentioned in the show notes for listeners to follow up with. When booking guests for my podcast, I also emphasise that they are getting exposure to my audience, who in turn could become part of their audience.

You could also offer to promote their appearance on social media or in your email newsletter.

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Remember to be flexible

We all have schedules; because we’re all busy.

But, if you’re expecting someone to give you their time for free (particularly if they could be making money in that time!!) then you need to be as flexible as possible.

Finding mutual times to record a podcast episode can be challenging; particularly if you’re living in different time zones. But being flexible with your schedule can go a long way to welcoming a podcast guest who is eager and enthused to guest on your podcast versus someone who is having to record at unsociable times or times that don’t fit with their schedule.


Deciding whether or not to pay your podcast guests is a personal decision that depends on your budget, the value your guests bring to your show, and the expectations of your guests.

But if you’re worried about the prospect of paying guests, be assured that the majority of podcast guests appear for free.

Do remember though that there are other ways to compensate them, such as offering exposure or collaborating in other ways. Ultimately, the most important thing is to be transparent and honest with your guests about what you can offer and what they can expect from appearing on your show. With the right approach, you can create a successful podcast that offers value to both your guests and your listeners.

What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

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Verity Sangan

Hey! I'm Verity. I love all things podcasting and am passionate about getting more women find their voice through podcasts. When I'm not in work or busy with mum-duties, I host The Lazy Girl's Guide to Podcasting.