The trick is how to get excellent podcast guests consistently.
In this blog post, we are going to teach you how to find and book rockstar guests. We break down the process in two stages: Research and Outreach. ✌️
In the research section, we will give you suggestions of the best places to find experts in your niche who would be entertaining, willing communicators. We review social media networks, news media, other podcasts, your listeners, and even services you can pay for to help you find and book excellent guests.
In the outreach section, we will cover the basics of how to contact potential guests, including what to cover in your pitch and the importance of keeping track of your contacts.✍️
Are you ready to learn?
Count down to takeoff in 3… 2… 1… 🚀
Podcast Guest Research
The first stage in getting a podcast guest is the research stage. In this stage, you want to find potential guests who have something to contribute to your show. 👯
They need to be able to talk about something that your target audience values and they need to be able to do so in a way that is engaging. They also need to be willing to spend time recording with you, especially if you cannot pay them for their time, effort, and expertise.
Finding people who are knowledgeable, charismatic, and willing to do free appearances– that sounds tough, right? Well, it can be. But those folks are definitely out there. You just have to know where to look. 👀
Remember, this is a numbers game. You will be rejected. That is ok and normal. You have to just keep trying and eventually your work will pay off.
However, you can increase your chances by doing solid research. 🤓
The key to the research stage is looking in virtual places where potential guests are likely to be. Below are the best places to find potential guests and learn all about them.
Social media is one of the best tools to find potential guests to interview for your podcast. After all, social media platforms have built-in search engines, hashtags, and groups that can help you on your search.
Here are some of the social media sites that we recommend for researching people to invite onto your show. 👇
Twitter has had its fair share of users leave the site, but it is still alive and kicking. People still use it for interest-based communication: Academic niches, sports updates, and political opinions. Because of this, it is still a rich pool of talent for podcast guests, including experts.
Start with the people you already follow. There is a good chance that they overlap with what your podcast is about.
Then take a look at the people they follow and the people that follow them back. 🕵
Once you have gone through those profiles, try out some of the popular hashtags in your area of interest.
Twitter Spaces is a smart place to see how well someone performs in an audio setting, so check out any that have to do with your topic. 🎙️
Probably the two biggest sites that Twitter expats have moved seems to be Mastadon and Spoutible. If you see traces of someone who might be an excellent guest but is no longer on Twitter, check these sites to see if they have migrated there.
Facebook might not be the first choice for younger folks, but hey, older folks may make for better interviews any way, depending on what topics your podcast niche is.
Many public figures have a Facebook Page, so be sure to search those first in your research.
To dig deeper, try Facebook Groups. Groups are usually based on specific interests which makes them great for finding potential interview guests. 👥
Groups often have barrier for entry, like answering a few questions about yourself and why you want to join. Do not let this stop you! In fact, that often means the people in the Group will be more comfortable trusting you and communicating with you once you are successfully admitted in. 🥰
Even if you do not find individuals who would be good podcasting guests, you can ask the Group for suggestions. People in Facebook Groups are usually very happy to help each other out.
As you follow Pages and join Groups, Facebook will suggest similar ones for you. This feature is super helpful in branching out your research so take advantage of it!
Instagram is the land of the influencers. Users typically understand the importance of their personal and professional brand, as well as the need for exposure and free marketing. This is why it can be a rich source for finding interview guests. 😎
Probably the most effective way to research on Instagram is through hashtags. You’ll need to figure out some of the common hashtags used for the topics your podcast cover and then see who uses the hashtags.
Since Stories disappear after one day, it is important for you to follow individuals who you think have potential as a guest on your show, and check their stories just about every day. It is becoming less common for folks to create a permanent post on their page. 🌬️
If your podcast has anything to do with business, LinkedIn is THE place where you need to be doing your research. Not only is LinkedIn focused on the professional parts of people’s lives, it is a place where you can easily tell who is super passionate about talking about their work… and would be likely to do so on your show.
Let’s be real, LinkedIn is also where people go when they are looking for a new job. As hard as it can be switching jobs or even whole careers, it can be a period of great reflection and growth for folks. It can be a great time for them to share lessons learned, or even share the big life questions that they are thinking about. These folks can be excellent interview guests so do not make the mistake of overlooking them! 🧑💼
Tik Tok 🥳
Tik Tok is a platform of entertainers.
They make us laugh. They teach us something. They put in some real sweat to create excellent content. If someone is funny on Tik Tok, they will probably be funny as a podcast guest.
Yes, Tik Tok might be a new, scary land for you, but it is definitely worth checking out to find great guests. 👩🎤
News Media 📰
The traditional news media is often overlooked by podcasters, but it is an excellent place to do research on potential guests.
The local news is a great place to start. And you do not need to just stick to the local news in your area. Search all over. 🗺️
If someone has been interviewed by a newspaper or TV station, chances are, they will be willing to talk on your show. In fact, many times individuals and organizations actively ask local news coverage to put a spotlight on an issue they really care about, so they would love the coverage your podcast could give them too.
If you cannot find their contact information, ask the reporter who covered the story. They are usually more than happy to help, especially if you say that you will link to their story in your podcast show notes. 😃
In fact, local reporters themselves can be great guests. They often know a lot about a lot of topics and are up to date on the latest trends. They usually want to build their exposure too so they will welcome the opportunity to be on your show. Plus, they are trained in conveying information to an audience so you can be confident that they will be good!
Other Podcasts 🎧
Remember, podcasting is a community event. It is not wrong to search for guests that have appeared in other podcasts. In fact, it can even help other podcasts as long as you give them a shout out in the episode with the guest.
If the person agreed to do one podcast, that means they will probably agree to do yours. Plus, you know what quality you can expect from them. 📻
This also goes for shows on YouTube or other similar video content platforms.
Past Podcast Guests and Your Audience 💃
Don’t forget to tap your own podcast network.
Ask your past guests for recommendations, or even better, introductions to individuals who would be high quality guests for your show. It is priceless to have someone’s trust because you treated their friend well when they were a guest on your show.
Ask your audience too. After all, you are looking for guests your listeners would enjoy and be interested in. You can ask for suggestions on your show, during the outro. However, it can also make for great interactive content for your social media, website, and email list. 🧑💻
If you have ever been a guest on podcasts, ask those podcast hosts to return the favor and be on your show. This can work great because you all will have already have the chemistry needed for a great recording, not to mention the equipment too!
Paid Services to Find a Podcast Guest 🦾
Last but not least, you can go the paid services route. Sites like Radio Guest List and Matchmaker.fm can do the research for you, or at least some of the research. Plus, they are often connected with people in the publishing or public relations industry who you may not be able to get access to any other way.
This can temporary option, if you want. Maybe you are just starting your show and you need a boost to help you take off. Maybe you have been using your personal networks for a year now and feel like you have tapped it out your connections. A paid service can help get you out of your rut. 🏋
If you go the paid services route, think about listing yourself as potential guest with them too. You may be able to get paid podcast guest gigs that way and then use that money to pay for the services. Or you may only get exposure, but that will definitely help you in attracting guests in the future.
Podcast Guest Outreach
Ok, now that you have done awesome research on potential guests, it is time to reach out to them to ask them to be on your show. A few tips will take you far in this pitch stage.
Get Good Contact Info
If you did not collect contact info in your research phase, now is the time to do it. The more specific the contact info, the better. For example, getting the general inquiry email address for their company is fine, but getting their personal email address is better. 👍
Even better, see if you can get someone to introduce you. Ask around your network and see if you have mutual friends or colleagues with them. If so, ask the mutual friend to send an email or even a text message introducing you. Give your mutual friend enough information so they feel comfortable reaching out.
In fact, you can offer to give them exact language to use if they prefer that… which is what we are going to discuss next. ⬇️
Clear, Concise, and Compelling Ask
To save yourself time, it is helpful to have a template for outreach emails that you then personalize for each potential podcasting guest.
Your template should include a one sentence description of you, one sentence about your show, one sentence about your audience, and one sentence about what you ask is (example: a remote interview that will take one hour total). Include any impressive data or awards that you have. 🥇
In addition to the template, make sure you concisely show that you have done your research. Mention where you have read about them or had the chance to listen to them. Be as specific as possible about how it would benefit them to be on your show, but at the same time express gratitude for them even considering your proposal. 🙏
Track and Follow-Up
You do not want to accidentally ask the same person twice and you do not want to accidentally skip over reaching out to someone who would be a great guest. That is why you need to keep clear notes. We suggest keeping a tracking spreadsheet of who you have contacted and what the response was.
If they do not reply to you initial outreach, do not be afraid to send a follow-up. However, after one follow-up you should probably stop contacting them, at least for another six months or so. 📆
If you reach back out after a while, acknowledge that you asked them before, but that you would like to ask them again because of some specific reason like your podcast has grown, you have interviewed some of their peers, your audience has specifically requested them, etc.
Ensure a Positive Experience for your Podcast Guest
It is very important for your guest to have a positive experience with your show. You want them to become a fan of your show to recommend it to others, especially other potential guests.
This starts will sending them truthful, clear description of your show and audience. It includes giving them very clear instructions, especially if it is a remote taping. Make them feel comfortable and appreciated during the interview. Remember to send a thank you note afterward. Also send them a link to their episode so they can enjoy it and share it with others. 😍
Always Be Recruiting
Podcasters have a lot on their plate. Between figuring out the latest audio and video recording technology, writing up host questions for interviews, and building a business brand, there is not a lot of time left over to pursue the best, niche guests, especially if you are trying to convince them to do it for free.
That is why you need to weave researching and pitching guests into all the activities involved in podcasts. Always be on the lookout for how to make connections. Jot down notes. If people are interested in learning more about the podcast you host, mention what kind of guests you are hoping to get. You never know when an important door will open! 🚪
Remember, getting high quality guests is always worth your time. It makes your job easier as a host– experts can carry the load in a conversation so hosts do not have to! It builds your credibility not only with your loyal listeners, but also across the industry. Guests are also incredible marketing opportunities. They will bring you their own audience who read or listen to what they have to say.
Even a rejected pitch is worth your time. A lot of times podcasters will get discouraged after they get rejected, but instead you should see it as slowly building relationships. If you are polite and interesting, that potential podcast guest will remember you even if they say no. They may recommend you to friends. They may even become listeners of your show themselves! 💜
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