Whether your podcast is guest-centric or you just want to have a guest every once in awhile, it's worth noting that having guests can be a great strategy for multiple reasons. It can be a really good way to get some variety on your podcast, it lends itself to promotion opportunities, and having intriguing guests can potentially bring in new listeners and engage your current audience. Finding guests, booking them, and deciding how you want to feature your guests can be tricky though, so we are going to break down everything you need to know about podcast guests below.
How to Find Guests:
Below is a list of several sources that you can find guests through. However, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that networking is at the core of finding guests, no matter what source you use. Genuinely engaging in conversation with others, listening, and offering and giving to others are all aspects to developing connections. Then, once you've created a connection, you can develop your connection further and ask someone to be a guest on your show. Finding guests is all about the relationships that you create and have, so remember that regardless of the source(s) you use.
Friends & Family
Reaching out to friends and family can be a good place to start with finding guests. You may want to simply have one of your friends or family members on your podcast as a guest. This can be an awesome opportunity to feature a different part of yourself on your podcast. On the other hand, you may want to ask around within your friends and family about anyone that they may know that could be a podcast guest for you.
Social media is a terrific place to look for potential guests and even connect with them. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin are huge resources when it comes to networking, so use them to research and engage with others. Connecting with your own followers, joining Facebook groups, and checking out subreddits are also great ways to use social media to find guests. In some cases, it may be difficult to stand out from the crowd when reaching out to someone you would like to have as a guest, so always genuinely engage with them, but also work to be noticed, and make the benefit of being a guest on your podcast clear.
Attending events, such as conferences, meetups, etc., are awesome opportunities to connect with others and open up the possibility of having them on your podcast. A lot of times, people are more willing to accept a podcast guest spot if they are asked in person, so events can be good opportunities for booking guests. There are events around just about every interest, so seek some events out and network with the community around your podcast topic.
Checking out other podcasts, especially ones within the same realm as yours, may lead you to a guest that you'd like to have. Other podcast hosts and guests can make for great guests on your own podcast because you know they are likely willing to be a guest on a podcast and are comfortable with it as well.
Other Platforms: Aside from social media, blogs and YouTube are excellent places to find potential guests. There are blogs and YouTubers around every topic you can think of, so these are perfect places to find influencers. On these kinds of platforms, you can get an even better sense as to what they could bring to your podcast as a guest. Then, you can reach out to them via their provided contact information or social media.
Influencers: Doing general searches online for authors, musicians, celebrities, artists, experts, professors, and anyone else that you may want to have as a guest can be a good starting point for searching for guests. The research that you do here can aid in your research on social media, other platforms, and so forth. In terms of finding authors, a great place to specifically search is the "Books" section on Amazon, where you can search through and filter the books by a variety of things, including "coming soon." Authors with books that are "coming soon" can be awesome potential guests because they want the opportunity to spread the word about their book, particularly if they are a newly published author.
Businesses: You can also find businesspeople related to your topic by doing some general online searches for businesses. If you find a business selling a product or service related to your podcast, then you can take a look at their staff page and reach out about having someone as a guest on your podcast.
Newspapers, television, radio, and magazines are also great avenues for finding guests. Similar to with blogs and YouTube, you can get an even better sense as to what they could bring to your podcast as a guest before searching for them online and on social media.
Podcast Guest Service
Podcast guest services can help you with the process of finding and booking guests. These services act as matchmakers by connecting podcasters with potential guests. A few popular podcast guest services are: Podcast Guests, Interview Connections, and Interview Valet.
Reaching out to your audience for guest suggestions can be helpful with brainstorming guests as well as finding guests. Your audience can provide you with suggestions of guests that they would like to hear on your podcast, and in some cases, an audience member might be able to introduce you to a potential guest.
Following up and keeping in touch with past guests is really important. You can build an awesome network from your guests that could lead to new opportunities and even friendships. It's not only important to foster those relationships, but past guests could possibly provide you with referrals for new guests. They may even help you get in direct contact with potential new guests.
In order to select guests, you should define your ideal guest(s) first. These can be more general guidelines as to the kind of professionals or fields you are looking for, or they can be specific guests that you would like to book eventually. Once you have your ideal guest(s) defined, you can direct your research. Go through the various sources listed above using your ideal guest(s) as a guide. Check out any information you can find about a potential guest, as well as videos, radio interviews, podcasts, etc. that they're featured in. If they've created or written anything that exists online, take the time to look through it to get a sense of whether they would be a good guest or not.
Once you have a potential guest that you would like to book, you have to reach out to them. Whether you are contacting a guest in person, on social media, or via email, you should develop a compelling pitch. Your pitch for them to be a guest on your podcast should be personal, brief, and direct. You should include a quick overview of you and your podcast, include the reason for why you'd like to have them on your podcast, convey the benefit or value that they would receive from being a guest, and include a call-to-action.
After your initial contact, you should follow up 2-3 times if you haven't received a response. Your first follow-up should be about 2-3 days after your initial contact, and you should then extend the wait period by a few days for each subsequent email. Follow-up emails should be personal and understanding, quickly reference your previous contact, convey further value, explain your purpose for contact, and include a call-to-action.
If you receive no response or they decline your invitation, you should thank them for their time and extend your interest in working with them, having them as part of your podcast, or other endeavors in the future. The key to your last contact is leaving the door open for opportunities in the future.
If they accept your invitation to be a guest, you should then work on setting a date for recording. Depending on your guest's availability, this might be a longer, more difficult process. No matter the guest, you should ensure that the date, location, type of guest spot, and all other necessary information is communicated and made clear. After the original booking, you may even want to give your guest a few reminders leading up to the recording day just to make sure everything is totally set.
Methods for Having Guests on Your Podcast:
A live set alone or in addition to other methods of featuring a guest can be an excellent way to show off a musical guest. They can play a few songs and it makes for a great podcast addition, especially when you include some talk pieces with the guest as well. This also tends to be a very appealing method for musical guests because they are often more comfortable performing and it is an opportunity for their music to be heard.
Interviewing a guest is a useful method when you really want to feature your guest and/or you want to learn more about your guest or their knowledge about a certain topic. Interviewing a guest definitely requires a lot of preparation from the host though. Having interviews on your podcast showcases guests who may not want to prepare content beforehand, but are interested in contributing. Typically, this is the best middle ground option in terms of benefits for you as well as your guest. With an interview, a guest will gain more recognition or be able to promote something of their own and fans of your guest will tune into your podcast.
Having a guest co-host an episode can be a terrific opportunity to dive into a topic that you and your guest are particularly knowledgeable about. Also, if you have a guest in mind that you know that you genuinely get along with and they complement your personality well, this could be a way to feature a slightly different side of yourself. Co-hosted episodes can make for some really entertaining content if the relationship between the co-hosts is right. If you have a notable co-host, they can bring in some new listeners and if the guest is lesser known, but has an entertaining personality and/or expertise, you can help them gain recognition.
Finally, your last option would be to allow a guest to completely takeover one of your episodes. This would likely mean that you are not at all featured or only the slightest bit at the beginning and/or end. If you have a really special guest and/or someone who has a lot of interesting content, this would likely be your best option. With this method, your guest has enough time and space to really speak to your audience as well as dig into whatever content they want to present. Having a takeover would generally be best if you have a pretty notable individual that will bring in a lot of new listeners.
Tip: It is important that you always promote guests on social media and request that they promote you and your podcast in return. In particular, you should ensure that each guest agrees to post about their appearance on your podcast before it is uploaded.
Preparing for Your Guests:
With all of these methods for featuring a guest, we would suggest that you oversee what your guest contributes since it is your podcast and whatever they contribute ultimately reflects on you. Obviously, you want to give the guest the agency that they need to contribute the best content possible, but it is always a good idea to be aware of what your guest is contributing to ensure that it is appropriate for your podcast.
Before your recording day, you should take the time to prepare for your guest, including setting up and testing equipment, setting up your podcasting space, and preparing research, notes, and questions. For more information on preparing for your podcast and guests, see our articles entitled Questions You Should Be Asking Your Podcast Guests and How to Prepare Your Podcast Episodes.
Following Up With Your Guests:
You should always follow up with guests after you record to thank them and to keep in touch. As mentioned, this can open the opportunity to find new guests in the future as past guests can introduce you to their own connections. However, the potential guests and general business opportunities are not the only reasons to follow up with guests. Keeping in touch with past guests can create friendships, offer the opportunity for return guests, and can simply help you build out your network.
When having guests on your podcast, it is really up to you to decide on your guests and what methods are best for you, each guest, and your audience. It is also important to remember that you should consider the benefit that your guests want to receive from being on your podcast. Your guests may want to promote something of their own, they may want to gain recognition, or they may just want to contribute to your podcast. All guests are different though, so be mindful of that when making decisions about guests. Regardless of the guest and method that you choose, having guests on your podcast can be really beneficial for keeping your podcast engaging as well as growing it. Happy podcasting!
For more information related to podcast guests, see our Questions You Should Be Asking Your Podcast Guests, 10 Ways to Be a Great Podcast Interviewer, and How to Record Podcast Interviews articles.
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