Finding engaging, insightful and interesting guests is one of the challenges of having a podcast. Podcast guests are useful and worthwhile for many reasons. They can help engage your audience, they take the pressure off you as a presenter, they can help you extend your reach and they can position you as a thought-leader in your industry.
But it's all well and good knowing the benefits of podcast guests but how do you find them and how can you secure the partnership? We know how daunting it can be to find guests but we're experts in this field. After all, we've had some impressive guests on our ReMake Manufacturing podcast.
In this post, we'll cover all you need to know about how to attract and engage the best guests for your podcasts. We'll share our top tips - ones we've NEVER shared before and more.
- The first podcast is always the hardest to finalise
- Simplify your podcast concept
- Ensure your guests are the ideal fit
- Tap into your network
- Build a connection
- Reach out and be confident
The first podcast is always the hardest to finalise
If you're just starting, it can be difficult to even consider what the first podcast will be and this is usually the hardest step when it comes to podcasting. But as soon as you have the first podcast nailed down, you'll be on a running streak for the remaining shows.
Maybe your first podcast could be a short show on the concept of your podcast and why you're choosing to launch it and what makes yours different in your sector. This can then be used as content to share with your prospective guests and it'll allow them to understand who you are, the benefits of the podcast and the goals you're trying to achieve.
Or, you may choose to do an interview with a guest you already have in mind. Either way, you need to ensure that your first and every podcast defines your 'why' and solidifies your goals and ambitions for your business.
Simplify your podcast concept
The theme and brief for your podcast will determine its success long-term. This will also play a vital role in attracting guests to your podcast too. Picking a topic that you can commit to for the long-term is the best for success as it doesn't restrict your creativity and it allows room for growth and we're all for that at Red-Fern.
Having a simple podcast concept will also be easier for your guests to understand and they'll be more inclined to be a part of it. You don't want to cause confusion between your potential guests, everything needs to be easy. Stick to a topic or industry you're passionate about and have experience in - this will naturally be reflected and will be more likely to entice your listeners and guests. Be informed and interested and your audience and guests will thank you for it.
The more passionate you are and the more simplified your concept is the more passionate and keen your guests will be - FACT.
Ensure your guests are the ideal fit
So you might know your theme for the podcast and you're aware that the first podcast is a challenge to drill down but how do you ensure your guests are the perfect fit? Here's our checklist below.
- Who's the perfect fit? Are you looking for an expert in your field, an educator or someone who shares a unique opinion? This should all relate to your 'why' and your vision for the podcast.
- Will your guest appeal to your target audience? It's important to have insights into your audience so you know what topics and guests will appeal to them. Accurately identify your demographic and match this with your guest accordingly.
- Does your guest have an online presence? Do your research and ensure you're aware of everything they do and the circles they operate in. If they have an online presence this will be a big perk for your podcast promotion purposes. Also, your guests bring their audience with them so it’s great if they already have an engaged following.
- Does your guest have previous speaking experience? The more experience your guest has, the more likely the conversation will flow. This doesn't need to be make or break but it's an important factor to consider.
- Is your guest knowledgeable on your subject area? Will they bring real value to the podcast and will your audience be excited to listen to them? Don't settle and do the research.
The right podcast guests will make a good impression on your listeners giving your podcast legitimacy and thought-leadership in its genre. Also, interviewing guests who are in a similar demographic will also mean your audience is more likely to be engaged and tune into the episode and even subscribe.
Tap into your network
Look at your existing network and from all areas of your life. It can be an uphill struggle finding the guests but if you're looking in the right areas, you may even have some fantastic guests in front of you. Look at your existing network of friends, family and colleagues. Are there any groups you are a part of? Have you attended any events with key speakers?
Another great place to locate speakers is on the WORLD'S largest professional social media platform - LinkedIn. It's a platform designed for connection and collaboration. ONE BILLION interactions happen on LinkedIn every single month so there are many opportunities to be had. There's forums and groups on the platform and it's a brilliant researching tool to get to know your potential guests too.
Search for existing industry podcasts on iTunes or Spotify and see which guests are already appearing in your industry. This is a good chance to see experts who are already speaking within your industry and they're more likely to be a part of your podcast too.
Also, see if there are any new authors who are wanting to get published or any new business owners who would like the publicity. Although your podcast might not be 'big' or popular to begin with, individuals who are breaking out into the industries are sometimes keen for any promotion and support so this is a great chance to connect and provide help.
An important point not to forget is your existing website and the existing content you're already sharing is an important factor when it comes to attracting podcast guests. A well-written website and content marketing allows your guests to connect with you and your ethos before agreeing to any podcast coverage. Make sure you've got all areas covered so you come across as professional and approachable.
Build a connection
Social media, across all channels, is a hub for connection and content collaboration. If you're keen to make a connection with your podcast guests, social media is a great place to start. Follow them, share their content, comment on their posts and engage with everything they share. This will show your commitment and your support. They'll likely see your engagements or comment back to you - allowing you to open a natural conversation with them.
Another way to connect with your podcast guest before reaching out to them is by featuring them within your content whether that’s social media or blog posts. This could be a round-up of your favourite industry-leading individuals or a round-up applicable to your industry. This is free promotion for the guest without them needing to provide content for you. They'll love the free promotion (who doesn't!) and they may even reach out to you to thank you for the feature - a great conversation starter.
During the connection and relationship building phase, make sure you're gathering all the research you can about the guest. The more research you've done, the more tailored your messaging can be. The more tailored your outreach message is, the more likely they'll be to reply to you knowing you've done your research - it’s a winning combination and won’t go to waste.
Reach out and be confident
When it comes to reaching out to your podcast guests the hard work should have already been done. You'll have built some connections, you'll have done the appropriate research and you'll have fully embraced what you're trying to achieve with your podcast.
Making the first move can be a little daunting. As most of our connections and conversations happen online you're more than likely going to carry out the first initial conversation on email or social media. See how you can contact your guest, they may have a professional email address you can use or they may be active on DM's. Either way, this will be different for everyone.
Key points to remember
- Craft a unique subject line: if you're utilising email then this is fundamental and will determine whether your pitching email is opened or not. Keep your subject lines short, relevant, interesting and ensure it signifies a shared goal between the podcast and the guest.
- Be confident: confidence is easily communicated on email so don't be negative about your podcast, be proud and don't add modal verbs 'might, could, perhaps'. Be confident and show the guest you've done your research and they'll be a valued expert on your show.
- Write a compelling pitch: all the research you've gathered, use this to communicate your reasoning for their presence on your podcast. Feature the following points: who you are, why you're contacting them, what you can offer (the benefits for them), what you want to discuss, where you'll promote the podcast, examples of your work and what you'll need from them.
- Include a CTA: this should be a simple action you want the guest to take about confirming their attendance on your podcast. The goal of your first outreach email should be to make that initial connection and receive a reply back. The reply may prompt for more information on the podcast or it may be a simple 'yes'. Either way, end your email in a way that requires a reply 'would you like more information on the points I've covered? I can reply in this thread or we can jump on a call?', 'If you're keen to be a part of this exciting episode, please reply and let me know.'Keep the conversation open.
- Follow-up and don’t lose contact: if your potential guest hasn’t replied, there may be a chance they’ve missed your email or message so prompt them. If they don’t reply to the method you’ve tried, try another platform for connection. You don’t want to be a nuisance but don’t give up if they don’t reply the first time around.
Don't let self-doubt stop you from reaching out to your potential podcast guests. If they're admired in your industry, it doesn't mean they won't feature on your podcast - if you don't try you won't know. Have the fundamentals covered and be prepared and you'll be set up for success.
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