How To Find Podcast Guests
Running an interview podcast has many benefits, but there are downsides too. One is being faced with the challenge of constantly having to secure guests for your show. Where do you start? Where should you look? How do you know who to approach? And how do you go about contacting someone with an interview invitation?
Start With Your Niche
Are there any other podcasts covering the same subject as you? Do any of them do interviews? If so, have a look (and a listen) to see if any of these guests would be a good fit for you and your audience. If someone has agreed to be interviewed on a podcast before then there's a good chance they'd be willing to do so again.
When going down this route just be mindful of not recreating the exact interview your proposed guest has done elsewhere. Even if you're after the same stories and key takeaways, try to approach your questions from a different angle. This will keep things interesting and fun for you, your guest, and your audience.
Look At Other Platforms
Who's doing your subject (or a similar subject) in a blog form, or on Youtube? If someone is a creating content on the same topic than you then there's a decent chance they'd be more than happy to come on your show to talk about it.
Not only can this provide you with valuable, relevant content, it can also help boost your audience numbers. Your interviewee will probably share the episode with his or her own community, who may be interested in your other episodes. The interviewee might also see a lot of your listeners checking out their blog or videos, so everybody wins here.
Are there people in television, radio, newspapers, or magazines who are relevant to your topic? Probably. And you'd be surprised at how many of them would be happy and willing to have a chat on your podcast if you asked them. The President of the USA was interviewed on a podcast recently. So there'll be very few people out there who might still have the outdated view that it'll be a waste of their time. Just ask!
Find Someone Who's Selling Something
Has someone recently wrote a book relevant to your subject? If so they'd probably jump at the chance to come on your podcast and talk about it in front of their target audience (your listeners).
As with any product selling guest, make sure you create an engaging interview that is valuable and relevant to your listeners – even if they don't go ahead and buy the interviewee's product. Avoid the whole conversation being one giant sales pitch as your listeners will spot that a mile away, and switch off.
It can be useful to explain to the interviewee beforehand that you'll be chatting through a number of points. Let them know that towards the end of the conversation you'll ask them about their product. This is where you will give them a chance to talk about it, before pointing folks to where they can go to buy it.
You could even look into setting up an affiliate link or code so you have the opportunity to earn a commission on any items sold by people clicking through on your shownotes.
Ask Other Interviewees
Next time you finish an interview with a guest, ask them if they know of anyone else who'd be a good fit for coming on the show. You can either do this immediately after the interview is over, or you can do it later on by email, perhaps when you're telling them their episode is live. I think it's best to do it whilst you're still on the call with them, as you've just spent a bit of time chatting and you'll get an immediate response.
When you go on to approach any other potential guests you have the added weight of mentioning the interviewee who thought of them. “I was speaking to [guest] recently on my podcast and she recommended I get in touch with you to see if you'd like to come on the show too?”. Immediately you've established some common ground and most people will be very receptive to that.
Ask Your Audience
Not only can your listeners recommend potential guests that they'd like to hear on the show, some might actually be great potential guests themselves. To encourage people to get in touch with you, make it your call to action at the end of each episode.
Also, make it easy for people to get in touch with you. It's a good idea to send everyone to a page such as yourwebsite.com/contact where people can select their preferred way of dropping you a line. You can even create a form on here specifically for potential interviewees to fill in, and submit a request to be on your podcast.
Getting In Touch
Twitter can be a decent way of making contact. But the character limit and the fact that you can only DM those following you can make it difficult to iron out details. When approaching potential podcast guests, you want to make it as easy as possible for them. I still think email is the most effective way to get in touch.
Be respectful of people's time and get to the point quickly with your invitation, though still in a friendly manner. Imagine your potential interviewee checks their phone whilst walking down the street and spots your 700 word email. Do you think they'll read it properly?
Hi [name], how are you?
I'm [name] from the [podcast] and I'd love to get you on the show for a chat sometime about [subject]. I think it would be really beneficial for our audience who are [interest in topic].
(Optional, let them know where you found them or know them from. “I recently read your book, and I really enjoyed it” or “I just watched your documentary on Youtube, and…” – that sort of thing.)
If you're up for it, we can schedule a chat on Skype. I'm available on [date/time] and [date/time], would either of those be suitable?
My Skype ID is [Skype ID]
Remember to also have an email signature set up with a clear link to your podcast website. That way any potential guests can click through, where they might check out who else has been on your show. They might even have a listen to some of your episodes.
You might also want to consider using a scheduling tool like Doodle where you can send a link to a poll where you both click on dates/times available to you. This can save a lot of back and forth of proposing time slots which are unsuitable.
How Do You Find Podcast Guests?
Is this something you've struggled with in the past, or maybe it's actually preventing you from launching your interview podcast? Or have you always been able to source a steady flow of guests without any trouble? Let us know in the comments section below.