This is the Part 4 of our podcasting series: Listen In. In this series, we reach out to various podcasters to cover a variety of different ways to make your podcasts successful. You don’t want your podcasts to go in one ear and out the other. We’re here to help, so all you need to do is: Listen In!
So far, you’ve learned how to successfully monetize your podcasts and build a strong audience of listeners. Now you may be asking yourself: “Wait, but how do I find compelling guests that will keep my audience engaged?” This is where the real meat of your podcast is produced, because strong and prominent guests can be essential to producing some really engaging content.
Oftentimes, if a guest is popular enough you will gain a steady stream of new listeners that stop by just because they’re fans of your guest. If they like what they hear, then you’ve just gained some loyal fans of your own. Increased visibility is just one of the many reasons why having strong guests on your show is so important.
There are plenty of effective ways to obtain high-profile guests for your podcast, but it’s all about knowing where to start. We reached out to a group of influential podcasters to learn about how they got those big-name guests on their show, as well as their general process for finding and obtaining relevant people to interview.
Build a Strong Network of InfluencersTracee Sioux - TraceeSioux.com
“I network with many different people in my industry so I just invite them on my show/podcast. In addition I use Radio Guest List which sends emails stating who I'm looking for and inviting them to send me an email. I get so many responses that I can't interview them all.
First, I want them to be interesting and engaging and to be able to speak to my show theme which is saying YES! to your Soul's Purpose. It doesn't matter what their Soul's Purpose is, just that this is what motivates them. Secondly, I want them to have a social media following and email list so that I can attract new people to my own work. I give them a direct link to the mp3 and invite them to use it for marketing on social media, websites and in their own products.
I have interviewed Andy Dooley who is a top-level presenter in New Thought and Law of Attraction circles. It was a great interview and he now uses it in his private mastermind. He's a friend of mine and I offered to have him on.
I have also interviewed Joanne Bamberger who is very well-known in the political arena. She has been on Fox News and published several books, one of which she included an essay of mine. When she released her new book I offered to have her on my show for publicity. She too is a friend of mine and I used to collaborate with her on her Broadside project.
I have interviewed Robert Devereaux who is a well-known author in his genre who is also a friend of mine.
I have also interviewed Rich Keller from Wooden Pants Publishing about the new model of publishing. He's well-known in the publishing industry and hosts his own two podcasts and radio shows. He had me on his shows when I released my own books and then he came on my show.”
Building a strong network of influencers is very important when you’re in the market for popular and engaging guests for your show. When you’ve selected a topic for your podcasts to cover, then it’s very important to engage with people within that industry. Attend events, participate in relevant online forums, and become an involved member of the biggest organizations within the industry.
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Use all these outlets to communicate with whomever you can that is involved in that industry and maybe even interview them on your show. You never know who might be your next reference for higher-profiled guests.
Provide a Two-Way Benefit SystemAlina Adams - Accepted! Secrets of NYC School Admissions
“My guests are a mixture of parents, teachers, admissions officers, and heads of school talking about their experiences and/or offering tips on how to maximize your chances of getting into the school you want. I've also had representatives from tutoring companies like Bright Kids and Testing Mom spilling secrets - for free - of what parents can do to prep their child.
When it comes to them, they're happy to promote their business, product or services. School representatives want to talk up their particular institution, and parents are open to sharing their experiences - good and bad - to help other parents.
I always reach out to people by making clear what's in it for them. My podcast features exactly the demographic that they want to reach, and it's a quick 5-7 minute interview, so I am not asking for a large chunk of their time.
Even parents sometimes have something to promote. I've interviewed the creator/voice of "Blue's Clues," Traci P. Johnson, children's book author Dan Elish, and filmmaker Douglas Morse about their experiences as NYC school parents - but I've made sure to plug their current projects, too. It's only fair in exchange for their time.”
A key to obtaining prominent guests can often be as simple as providing a two-way benefit system. Never try to shy away from guests who wish to promote their products or services on your show, because it’s not often that well-known guests will talk on your show just out of the kindness of their hearts.
Another important takeaway from Alina is that you absolutely have to understand the type of guest that you’re looking for. Similar to researching your target market, conducting research on your target guests will let you know what they like, as well as what would improve the chances of them being on your show.
Use Previous Guests as ReferralsMelissa Leger - The Smart Yoga Teacher
“Asking people you already know is pretty easy. Being on a podcast these days is great exposure for anyone. Our guests were so excited to be on the show I'd ask them if they had any referrals that would be a good fit and they happily name drop and introduce me. Your guests want to be in good company so they typically will only send great referrals.”
We can’t stress enough the importance of building strong relationships with guests. Keep in close contact with every guest that you have on your show, because you never know when they might refer you to your next great interview.
Everyone wants exposure, so you just need to express the value of your podcast to their promotional needs and meet those needs as closely as possible. If your guest is happy with how the podcast turned out, then they are very likely to recommend your show to their friends and associates.
Be Confident, Be CreativeRobert and Janelle Alex - Mission Date Night
“We have had amazing guests on our show Mission Date Night, from Best Selling Author Laura Corn, Lou Padget, Gay and Katie Hendricks, and the list goes on and on.
The first thing I would say is never feel anyone is too big to be on your podcast. You will be amazed sometimes if you just ask the question. You have to remember that everyone started at the bottom and while the guest you are targeting might be huge now you can always appeal to that person inside them that was just starting out.
Another big way we seek out quests for our show is to listen to other podcasts in or around the same genre as ours. Other podcasts have a wealth of guests, plus it gives you a chance to hear them speak so you have an idea of what the flow could be on your own show. Next, ask every guest on your show if they know anyone else that would make a good quest for the show. We have gotten several other guests by just asking our guest for suggestions. Most guests are quick to offer up people they enjoy speaking with to your show.
Lastly, one of the things we do is be creative in our searches. We will sometimes go outside our genre and find a person that we have heard about and when we like their message, we then go about seeing how to fit them into a subject for our show. We have had a wide variety of people on our show that most people wouldn't associate with relationships (which is what our show is about). This brings a great variety to the show and also keeps your listeners on edge, as they will never know what you are going to be talking about.”
Use Search EnginesNihar Suthar
“I am the host of Incito, an inspirational podcast. I often find guests through About.me. You can search for guests by certain key words, industries, or fields. It's a great search engine for people.
Often times, when I'm reaching out to high profile guests, I just go for it. There's ultimately nothing to lose, and by being confident, you are sometimes able to secure some high-profile guests for your podcast! For example, I have Fawzia Koofi (a presidential candidate for Afghanistan in 2018) as the next guest for my show!”
Never underestimate the potential influence of your podcast. You may think that highly prominent influencers in your industry would never want to be a guest on your show, but you could be missing out on some big opportunities. If you see a guest that you would love to have on your show, then just go for it! You never know what might happen. Just be sure to let them know who your audience is and what VALUE you want to provide.
If you find that you’re running your list dry of possible guests to feature on your show, then think outside of the box. You may be surprised how many different types of guests will have something to say about a relevant topic. Coming up with unique ideas for an episode’s topic could even attract some interest from potential guests.
Don’t be afraid to just have fun with it. It’s your show after all. Good luck!
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