So you want to host an interview podcast. You know what you want to podcast about and the ‘why’ behind your show, but how do you find guests? And why would they want to come on your show? I cover how to find great podcast guests — and how to get them to say yes to coming on your show — on episode 9 of Podcasting Step by Step. ( subscribe to Podcasting Step by Step for free)
What do you want your listeners to learn?
Before you get lost in a Google search, ask yourself what your ideal listener wants to learn. What excites them? What scares them? What are they struggling with? Spend 20 minutes brainstorming ideas. Then start looking for guests who can speak to what your ideal listener wants to hear about.
Finding podcast guests
Listen to other podcasts. I’ve booked several podcast guests after hearing them on my favorite shows. This is one of the best ways to find podcast guests because you’ve already listened to them and know that they’re interesting and can deliver value. You also know that they are up for coming on podcasts. On your phone, keep a running list of people you’d like to invite to be on your show as you come across them.
Facebook Groups. Who’s moderating your favorite Facebook Groups related to your audience? They might make good guests and would likely share the interview with the entire group. Or, a member of the group might share a story that really resonates with you and you think could really serve your audience. There are Facebook Groups dedicated to podcasting, such as She Podcasts, that have specific days in which podcasters can pitch themselves to be on shows.
Read articles. Subscribe to newsletters that offer a round up of interesting general news and news related to your podcast. Who is being interviewed? Make a list of people you want to reach out to, and save the links to the articles. If the guest agrees to come on your show, you can use the articles to help craft some interview questions.
PodcastGuests.com. This website has a free and paid version that helps hosts and guests find each other.
Authors. Look up books related to your topic on Amazon. This is a great resource to find experts in their field who are usually happy to promote their work.
Friends. If you have a dream guest, do you have six degrees of separation to them? Maybe you can level up by interviewing their friends or former colleagues. PS, your first interview shouldn’t be with your dream guest. You’ll be too nervous! Get some practice first.
Your podcast guests. When you start interviewing people, at the end, ask them who else you should talk to. They might have friends in a related field who’d be great for your show.
How to pitch podcast guests
OK, you have a list of people you want to come on your show. How do you get them to say yes? In a brief email, no more than 2-3 short paragraphs:
introduce who you are, what your podcast is about, and what your listeners get out of it.
tell them how you discovered them (article, podcasts, etc); why you think they’d be perfect for a specific episode on your show; and a brief sentence about what you’d talk about.
share a little more background on yourself that builds your credibility. This can be about your podcast, or your career, or your experience with a hobby if that’s what your show is about. It’s totally OK if you’re new to podcasting, or haven’t launched your show yet. This is an opportunity to showcase who you are and what’s driving you to do your show.
finally, make the ask. Give the potential guest something to say yes to. This can be as simple as, “So what do you say? Are you up for coming on the podcast?” End your email with something like this.
How to find email addresses
If your potential guest has a website, it’s likely there. Failing that, I’ve direct messaged people on Instagram, on Facebook, and have also connected with them on LinkedIn. There’s also a website called hunter.io that helps you find the email addresses of people who work at companies. This isn’t always 100% accurate, but it’s a free and could help you find the address you need. Lusha can also help you find business email addresses.
Scheduling your podcast guest
Once your podcast guest says yes, it’s time to book them in! Until recently, I managed all my podcast invites through Google Calendar and it worked perfectly fine. I’ve heard a number of people say they struggled with back and forth to schedule interviews but for whatever reason, I didn’t have that problem. However, I’m trying out Acuity because someone sent me an invite that way and I liked how slick it was. They have a free and a paid version that lets you set up certain hours of availability that your guests can choose from. It also lets you create a form for them to fill out with useful information like their Skype handle, social media handles, and whatever else you want to get from them up front. You can also include info you want them to know, like top tips to record quality audio with Skype. Acuity will automatically send your guest a reminder about the interview 24 hours in advance.
And that’s it. Podcasting is very hot right now and people are quite keen to be interviewed on podcasts. Chances are not everyone will say yes to you, but many of them will, especially if you did your homework to explore what your ideal listener wants to hear about and then found guests who want to speak to them and can provide a lot of value.