In the last article, we talked about setting up your podcast. Today we are going to talk about how and where to find guests for your show!
How Do You Get Guests? This is the biggest question of nearly all new podcasters doing interviews. And like many things, it does involve a Catch-22. When you are brand new to podcasting, it can be a little difficult to get guests because you don’t have a track record and you might not have an audience. But this is when you really NEED guests, so you’ll have to get them one way or the other. Once you are well established with a good reputation and large audience, it will be easy to convince people to be your guests but you probably won’t need to, because they will come to you and ask to be on your show.
Here’s where to find your very first guests for your first podcasts: Your contact list. Who do you know that would make a good guest for your podcast? It might be a colleague, a friend with the right expertise, or even the colleague of a mutual friend. It’s always easiest to start with the people already within your social circle and work out from there.
Friends of friends. You’re going to use your inner circle not only to find your first guests, but to also get introductions to potential guests within their circles as well.
If every time you ask someone to be your guest, you also ask them who else they would recommend, you may never run out of guests.
Put out the call. Send out an email to your list asking for experts. Put the same call out on social media.
And at the end of every podcast, ask your listeners if they have some specialized knowledge that is a good fit for your podcast and give them an email address to write to if they do.
But what if these things don’t work? What if you don’t know anyone with the right expertise for your podcast? Then your first step might be to record a couple of solo podcasts yourself, just to get started. Then when you approach potential interview guests, you can refer them to the podcasts you’ve already done.
Here are a few tips for where to find guests when you don’t know them yet: Don’t try to book Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos on Day 1. When choosing who to ask to be on your show, start small. Look for people in your niche who are new and looking to make their own mark. They will be much more likely to take a chance and say yes to you than someone who is already famous or well-established.
Plus, just like you, they probably need the experience. Attend industry events. If you attend industry events, you’ll find these can be a goldmine for finding new podcast guests. Socialize and network, collecting cards and finding out what each person has on their plate.
For example, if they’re getting ready to launch a new product or website, you’ve just discovered their motivation for being your podcast guest.
Search for book launches. Watch Amazon for upcoming books in your niche. Simply search for your topic, and then change the search from “relevance” to “publication date.” These authors want book publicity and are often available for podcast interviews.
Raid your competition – twice. Search for podcasts in your niche and make a list of the podcasters and their guests that you would like to book on your show. This is an awesome method to use, since you already know these are people open to being on a podcast and you can hear what they sound like before you ever approach them. And don’t forget to ask some of the podcasters about being a guest on their show as well.
Find the bloggers in your niche. Look not only for the people who run the blogs, but also their guest bloggers, too, to find podcast guests.
Use podcasting guest services. These are matchmaking services where podcasters can connect with potential guests. Simply search for “podcast guest service” to find a whole list of them.
Use HARO. Help a Reporter Out is a website that connects experts with reporters. In this case, you are the reporter looking for experts. This is an awesome site chock full of experts on just about any topic you can possibly think of, and it can be a source of podcasts guests who are well versed on how to give a great interview.
More Tips for Getting Great Guests: Set the Stage: When you decide to approach someone, read their blog and leave valuable comments as well as connecting with them on social media. This way when you approach them, they’ll be familiar with your name and the request won’t sound like it comes from a total stranger.
Be Real: Be honest about your audience size. A potential guest wants to hear you have a massive audience, but if you don’t, be honest. Let them know if you do have an audience elsewhere that you can send to your podcast, such as through an email list and social media.
Offer the Link: Mention that you’ll link to their website, landing page, sales page or wherever they choose. This will help them with search engine optimization and possibly help to build their list and make sales.
Discuss Promotion: Tell them how you will promote the podcast on which they appear, now and in the future. Will you use social media? Will you run any paid ads? Will you promote the podcast to your lists?
Send Reminders: Your podcast guests are busy. Send a reminder one week before your scheduled interview (if applicable) and again 24 hours prior. If you have a list of questions, send those three days before you do the show.
Be Thankful: Thank them for considering your podcast, thank them when they agree to be a guest, thank them when you send the questions and reminders, thank them before the interview starts, thank them when you finish the interview, thank them when you send the link… you get the idea.
What do you say when contacting a potential podcast guest?
When you approach someone to ask if they will be your podcast guest, give them the following information:
- Mention a blogpost, podcast, book or video they created that you read or watched. Let them know what you thought of it (all positive) and what you especially liked. They need to know that you’re inviting them on your show because you like their stuff and see the value they bring, not because they are one of 300 random people you’re spamming.
- Tell them about your podcast – the name of the podcast, the purpose of the podcast and who your audience is.
- If you’ve interviewed experts in the past, mention them. Name dropping can be highly effective here. If you have relevant credentials, mention those too, in moderation.
- Mention any graphics you will create to be shared on social media, and the link they will receive.
- Tell them how long the interview lasts (20 to 30 minutes is good) and that it’s audio only. If you’ve already done some shows, give them the URL so they can check it out. If not, give them the URL to a page that describes your podcast and talks about yourself as well.
Once You Post the Show When the show is posted online, send your guest the link to the show so they can check it out. Do NOT ask them to promote it for you – it’s just bad form to ask. They were already nice enough to do the show, and whether or not they share it with their list or social media is up to them (most of them will share it, often multiple times.)
If they share the podcast link, THANK them for that, too. Send them a gift. Yes, I mean send them an actual gift. I don’t know what that is because it will depend on the guest. But in the course of your research and conversations you will learn something about what they like. It could be a new book on their favorite topic, for example, which will cost you about $20 and Amazon will ship it for you.
The gift is important because it makes you stand apart from nearly every other podcaster out there and will leave them with a very positive feeling about you.
That combined with how well you treated them and how great the interview went will assure you can get them back as a guest again when the time is right.
And they might even send someone else your way to be your guest, too. You never know who they know.
Podcasting is such a large and important topic that we’re going to continue this next time when we cover…
Making Calls to Action within Your Podcast Music, Introduction and Editing Your Podcast Where to List Your Podcast And most importantly… Monetizing and Profiting from Your Podcast