One of the big theories behind running an interview podcast is the audience growth aspect.
The idea is that each of your guests has their own audience, so when they share out an episode they were interviewed on, a chunk of that audience will listen to it, try out some other episodes, and maybe even hit subscribe.
But this, like anything else in podcasting, is something that's far from guaranteed.
Many podcasters have been disappointed to find that this approach didn't snowball their download numbers with each passing week, even though they had plenty guests on, all of whom had decent-sized followings.
So why didn't it work? One of the most likely reasons is that the guests didn't actually share out or promote the episodes they were interviewed on.
It would be easy to blame the guests here and claim that there's nothing you could've done about this. But that's not entirely true.
Let's find out why, and how we might be able to fix it . . .
Choosing Podcast Interview Guests
First up, if you simply want someone on your podcast because they have a big following on Twitter, it's going to be hard to grow any sort of audience of your own.
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Your starting point should be thinking about what kind of conversations your audience will want to hear. Do they want to learn something? Are they looking for help or advice? Do they want you to make them laugh? Whatever it is, this starts with knowing your audience, and knowing who your podcast is for. For more help with this, see our guide on creative your podcast avatar.
This should form the basis for who you invite to be a guest on your show. And that will lead you nicely onto the next step . . .
Make It Interesting
Obvious, I know. But the main reason serial podcast guests won't share their latest interview is because they've had that exact conversation a hundred different times, on a hundred different shows.
If you've identified someone as the ideal guest for a topic you'd like to discuss, and it just so happens that they also have a big following and do a lot of podcast interviews, then you need to work to make sure yours isn't just “another one.”
Try to take a different approach than the one they'll be faced with on a regular basis. Can you take the conversation in a completely different direction whilst keeping it on-topic and valid? Can you make it enjoyable for the guest, as well as the audience? After all, if they enjoy it, there's much more chance of them sharing it.
For more on this, here's our guide on how to prepare for a podcast interview.
Make Your Guest Sound Good
Some podcast guests won't share out interviews they've done purely because the overall production quality is bad.
That might be through poor sounding audio, sub-standard editing, or no editing at all. Whatever the case, these are things that you should be taking ownership of. Have a look at our guide to making your podcast sound better for more help on this front.
Don't Waste People's Time
Another issue could be that you're taking about 15 minutes to actually get to the interview. If your guest is respectful of their own audience's time, then this might dissuade them to share the episode.
If you think that's the case, it might be worth considering ditching the 3 minute long theme tune, 4 minute apology about that late episode last week, 2 minutes of weather chat, and put the requests for reviews and Patreon support at the end of the episode. For more on this, check out introducing and ending my episodes.
Make It Easy For Them
Maybe you feel you're already nailing all of the above, and you're still having little success with your episodes being shared.
If that's the case, have a think about how many hoops you're asking people to jump through.
When new episodes go live, what information are you actually sending in your email to your guest?
Including a link to the actual episode post on the website is the low hanging fruit here. Stick to one link, rather than giving them links to the show on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, etc. This info should be available on your site anyway.
A summary of what you discussed is useful too. Remind them why the conversation will be so valuable to people.
“I really enjoyed our chat about X, Y, and Z. I think the listeners will especially take a lot from the section where we talked about ___.”
Politely ask if they wouldn't mind sharing the link out with their following, both on social, and on their email list if they have one.
You can try writing out draft social media posts for them, so they literally just need to do a quick copy and paste to share the episode.
You can also email a link to your official tweet of the episode. This means that, even if they don't want to tweet on their own, they could easily just retweet it or “like” it so their followers can see.
Go The Extra Mile
If you're prepared to dedicate more time to this, you can make your guest want to share their episode by creating some additional resources around it.
Consider picking out a great quote from the conversation, and layering it over a picture of them on Canva. You can optimise graphics like this for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Or, you can use that clip in its audio form to create a very short video, again, using Canva to create a nice front cover image for it.
Sending over something like this will make your guest feel special, and will vastly improve the chances of them sharing your content – providing you've done your main job of making that content good, of course!
Need More Help Growing Your Audience?
Ultimately, having interview guests share your content can be a good way of building your listenership. But it's far from the only way.
In our 30 Days of Audience Growth course we've got loads of other hints, tips, and techniques that you can try. There's something in here that'll work for everyone, no matter what genre or style of show you run.
That's just one of the many things you'll get access to inside The Podcast Host Academy too. You'll also find courses on things like editing, voice training, and monetisation. And on top of that, we run regular live Q&A sessions so you can get some direct advice and support to help you along the way!