Many successful podcasts have guests that are interviewed or co-host, so booking and scheduling guests for your podcast is a no brainer. Having highly qualified experts, industry leaders and high-profile authors add immensely to the listener experience and is vital for success.
However, what if you’re just starting out or new to this process? Don’t worry, this article will help you no matter what level you’re at. There’s a strategy involved for inviting, booking and interviewing guests, and we will cover all those bases.
Podcast Marketing Materials
Before we go for a job interview, a big date, or even to the grocery store, we need to get ready on some level. Since getting high-profile guests requires a lot of preparation, we are going to address that straight away in this first step.
Prepare Marketing Materials
Marketing materials add weight to your podcast in the sense that they back up and provide information for what is largely an audible endeavor. Here are some examples:
- Website or blog
- Social media accounts
- Resume on LinkedIn
Think about what would happen if the potential guest did an internet search on your name and podcast. What would you like to have shown up in the search results?
Have all this information ready before making the initial contact, so they have lots of reasons to be interested in getting back to you after reading your message.
7 stats to have ready before making contact
While you’re preparing your marketing materials, be sure to get the following information ready in case anyone requests it:
- How long you have been podcasting
- Number of subscribers
- Number of episodes
- Downloads per episode
- Size of email list
- Followers on social media
- Website traffic
But what if you don’t have some of the above?
Don’t worry about that now, get as much started as you can. There are lots of free ways to publish on the internet, especially on social media. Do what you can, and add a little bit to it each day.
Now that you have a presence, some stats, and have gotten the ball rolling, you need to work on getting guests. The most important thing to remember is that the profile of the guest is less important than the rapport you have during the interview.
Think about it: people like hearing good conversations. You could have screens in public places playing highly produced content everyone ignores, but once a couple starts fighting everyone’s suddenly starts paying attention. That’s because humans are highly interesting creatures, no matter where they are from. So don’t sweat about how famous your guests are, it’s the quality of the conversation that counts.
Here are some people who would make great guests:
- Team Mates
- Pastors/Spiritual Mentors
A good strategy is to figure out a highly interesting topic first and then find someone equally passionate about it to an interview. The result will be interesting, 100% guaranteed.
Create a Compelling Invitation
The next step is to craft a compelling, interesting and short email inviting them to have a conversation with you about potentially being a guest on the podcast.
The format should be as follows:
- Introduce yourself
- Tell them how much you admire their work
- Tell them about your work in that niche
- Tell them about your podcast
- Invite them to be a guest
- List incentives
- Call to action
Here’s an example cold-calling email inviting Ernestine Shepherd, the world’s fittest 80-year old grandma to a fitness podcast:
Dear Ms. Shepherd,
Thank you so much for reading this message! I’ve been a huge fan for years, and as a fitness enthusiast, I’m always looking at your pictures and videos for inspiration.
For 10 years I’ve been working as a fitness trainer with women over 50, and always make a point to mention your name when they need an extra push to finish their reps.
I’ve just started a new podcast and all my clients are on my subscribe list. I would be so honored if you could be a guest!
So many of us get discouraged at times, and we all want to know how to keep going despite all the hardships that get in our way.
What keeps you motivated? So many of us are waiting to find out! Between all our social media accounts we have about 500 subscribers and I imagine that this interview will go really far in terms of reach.
In addition to that, I get 300 views on my website per month, and it’s going up consistently.
I wrote about you recently in an article on inspirational women that you can read at this link: (http://mywebsite.com/article)
I would be honored to chat at whatever time is convenient, and look forward to hearing back from you.
With heartfelt thanks,
New Fitness Podcaster
The basic tone of your message needs to convey your admiration and respect for the guest. If you can convey that, your message will get across and it will be difficult for them not to respond!
Scheduling the Interview
Scheduling an interview can be a lengthy process by regular email, with many back-and-forths about dates and times.
Scheduling apps are a valuable method to avoid this by giving you a way to present several dates and times and allowing your guests to choose the most convenient one for them.
This prevents any errors in communication and streamlines the process.
Our favorite scheduling apps include:
Prepare for the Interview
Once you have your interview scheduled, you will need to prepare materials in order to make sure the conversation flows and that you get as much valuable information as possible. The information you need includes:
Get as much information about your client’s work history and accomplishments, including any books they have written, videos, television appearances, and interviews. This information will help you to formulate the right questions to ask during the interview.
Links and Contact Information
The next step is to get a list of links to the guest’s website, products, channel or any other medium that you can give your subscribers to research further after the interview has been completed.
The quality of the questions you ask is much more important than the quantity. Before making a list, it is important to figure out what new information you can give your listeners vs. what they can get online.
Not only will this make for a great episode, but it will increase your popularity as a podcaster because people will come to know you as someone that produces exclusive content worth subscribing to.
The first questions you ask should give a primer for people that have never heard about the guest or topic. This will get them acquainted with the subject and create a desire to listen to the entire episode.
These questions include:
- What is it you do?
- Where do you do it?
- Why did you start?
- How long have you been doing it?
- Why do you love it?
In-depth & Personal Questions
The next set of questions will delve deeper into the topic and can provoke personal responses and opinions that will provide greater context to the topic. Some ideas include:
- What are some myths about (the topic)?
- What makes your work important?
- Can you share any personal struggles?
- How can people overcome their own struggles?
- Do you have any feelings about the (topic) industry?
- Who do you admire?
- What are some of your favorite books or videos?
- Are there any other resources you recommend?
- What does the future hold for you?
When making a list of questions make sure to highlight all the important/key questions that you want to make sure are answered. Any secondary/extra questions can be asked at the end. Once you are finished preparing, make sure to message your guest before the interview. Use this message to share the questions, confirm the start time and to give them a link to post on social media with the date and time of the episode.
Conduct the Interview
It’s interview day! All the hard work is behind you and the time has come to prepare yourself for a great conversation.
Here are a few things to have ready before you start:
- Check the settings on your communication apps (i.e. Skype, Google Hangouts, Zencastr)
- Make sure all your materials are ready (like your questions and background information)
- Turn off notifications on your computer and/or mobile
And the last thing is to be relaxed, calm and confident. By following all the above steps you can reassure yourself that you are prepared to deliver a great interview in a professional way.
Post-interview communication is really important to ensure that your guest had a great experience. That way, they will be more likely to promote the episode and to be a repeat guest.
Here are the steps to great post-interview communication:
- Send them a thank-you note straight away after publishing the interview. A simple thank-you note with gratitude is enough, along with links to the episode that they can share with their followers.
- Send a follow-up message a day or so after you publish with some stats on the episode, such as the number of downloads and shares.
- If you write a newsletter, be sure to include them in the message (but don’t add them to the list unless they give you permission).
Make sure to stay in touch with them and keep following what they are doing. You can even mention them on future episodes with other guests if the content is related. Any time you publish an episode or blog post referencing their work, you can send a note with a link they can share on social media. All these steps ensure that you are building a relationship with them, and this is one of the most important steps in building an online community of like-minded people passionate about your subject.
Whether you are a beginner or seasoned podcaster, having guest interviews is vital to sharing important information with your audience. The process does not need to be difficult as long as you have a formula.