Since podcasting first arrived on the scene several years ago, it’s become one of the most popular ways to share content with an ever-evolving audience. Finding guests for your podcast is one of the more challenging tasks.
In an era where your customers won’t always have time to sit down and read your latest articles or watch a video, podcasting offers an opportunity to passivel consume content. Your customers can easily listen to your podcasts wherever they go – whether they’re on the tube to work, or in their car.
It’s no wonder that there are now hundreds of thousands of podcasts online, each specializing in a specific topic or niche. What’s more, according to surveys, more than 50% of US customers have listened to at least one podcast.
One of the best ways to deliver instant value through your podcast is to find thought leaders in your industry – people that your customers want to hear from – and interview them.
The only problem? Finding interesting guests for your Podcast is easier said than done.
That’s why we’ve put together this all-access guide to finding the best guests for your listeners.
1. Start with People You Know
Okay, so there’s a good chance that people won’t want to hear you talking to your mother for an hour about her favorite casserole recipes. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people in your community that can’t offer value to your customers.
If you’re a professional in the tech field running a tech podcast, you’ve probably made a few connections over the years with people who have useful information to share. Scour through places like your LinkedIn profile, and keep an eye out for people who you have close “degrees of connection” with. Even if you’re not connected with someone on LinkedIn yet, a close degree of connection improves the chances that a friend or colleague will be able to make an introduction for you.
2. Look for People Who Have Something to Promote
As the popularity of podcasting increases, people from all backgrounds are beginning to see the value of talking about their new products and services in front of the right audience. Since Podcast listeners are 45% more likely to have an annual income of $250,000 or more, you can easily seduce people who have something to sell into wanting to get involved.
Podcasts like Freakonomics regularly search for people in their industry that have an upcoming new product or release to talk about. You can also look for authors on Amazon that have a book in the works. More often than not, these writers will be keen to take part in any marketing scheme that gets them more awareness online.
Check out the “Coming Soon” section on Amazon and send messages to anyone you can find that’s relevant to your podcast. Remember to highlight the clear benefit of being able to talk about the new product they’ll be selling.
3. Look for Thought Leaders Offline
If you want to attract the best guests and plenty of listeners to your podcast, then you need to do two things. First, you’ve got to provide real value – both to your guests and your audience. Secondly, you need to make genuine connections. What better way to connect with a potential podcast guest than to meet with them in person?
Get online and look for some of the upcoming industry events that are happening in your area. You should be able to find at least a handful of locations to attend.
Remember, if you don’t have the money or time to travel too far for a conference, use a site like Meetup.com to find meetups in your area. You won’t meet with as many people this way, but you will still have a lot of opportunities to connect with relevant thought leaders.
Once you’ve connected with someone offline, don’t ask them to be on your podcast right then and there. Add them on LinkedIn, ask for their email, and follow up with an opportunity to guest-star on your program later.
4. Expand Your Opportunities with Online Communities
Not everyone will be lucky enough to have a wide selection of offline events and conferences that they can attend on a regular basis. If that’s the case for you, then you’ll need to take advantage of online communities instead. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available, including:
- Facebook Groups: Head to Facebook Search and filter by Groups. Look for search terms that are relevant to your industry and the information you want to cover on your podcast. This should help you find people that you can interview, as well as new listeners that you might be able to attract to your Podcast.
- Quora: Quora is one of the most under-rated tools for online marketing and growth these days. Not only is it an excellent place to share your thought leadership by answering critical customer questions, but you can also find other thought leaders by looking at who responds to queries too. Look for questions that your customers are searching for and reach out to the people who provide the most comprehensive answers.
- Reddit: Another excellent place to find listeners and guests for your podcast, Reddit is one of the biggest communities on the web. All you need to do is search for the /Subreddits that are relevant to your industry and find some of the most active posters. Reach out to the people that your customers respond best to for some insightful and interesting interviews.
5. Search iTunes for Similar Podcasts
Not sure where to start looking for awesome podcast guests? Why not take inspiration from your competitors. You obviously don’t want to produce the same content as other people in your space, but you can reach out to people who are willing to talk about your industry or niche. Searching for related products on iTunes gives you an insight into the kind of guests you should be reaching out to. All you need to do is search for a keyword to get started, like “astronomy,” for instance:
Pro tip: rather than just stealing the guests that other companies have had on before you, consider asking the hosts of other podcasts to come along and share their thoughts on your content too. The chances are that these people will be happy to reach out to a wider audience and expand their brand reach. What’s more, they might have some useful tips to share on how to build your new podcast up.
If someone agrees to be on your podcast from another company, they may also ask you to return the favor and appear on their site too. This is a great way to connect with people who haven’t found your podcast yet!
6. Check Out Blogs and Articles in Your Industry
If you’re having a hard time finding people you can collaborate with from other podcasts, consider looking at other kinds of content creators instead. For instance, if you’re creating a digital marketing podcast, it makes sense to look at the guest blogs posted on sites like Moz, or Copyblogger. Guest posters are searching for ways to get their voices heard online, and they may already have a trending topic that they can talk about.
Remember, if you do find someone on another person’s website that you want to connect with, you’ll need to show some tact when it comes to asking them to appear on your podcast. Don’t just spam the comments section with a request for them to contact you. Find a way to get in touch with the poster on their social media page or via email, then gradually introduce your podcast.
Explain the benefits that would come from them appearing in your content and let them know what kind of audience you appeal to. Don’t be annoying.
7. Try a Podcast Matchmaking Service
Having trouble landing guests for your podcast using the options we’ve mentioned so far? No problem, there are still some ways that you can get some extra help. For instance, as podcasts become increasingly popular, “matchmaking” services that promise to connect podcast brands with people who want to appear on new shows have begun to appear.
These sites might seem a little strange, but they work a lot like the basic matchmaking sites that people have used for years to find romantic partners. You set up a profile for your podcast, along with a pitch that would convince people they should appear as a guest. At the same time, potential guests create their own profiles that can be presented to businesses.
There are new podcast matchmaking services appearing all the time today, but some of the most popular options include:
8. Ask Your Guests for Referrals
Successful thought leaders and influencers in the digital world often have a network of other thought leaders that they know in your industry. We mentioned above that you can ask your friends and family members to introduce you to guests that might be relevant for your podcast, but you can also consider asking your guests to introduce you to new people too.
Once you’ve finished a successful podcast interview and delivered the benefits that you promised to your guest, ask them whether they can think of anyone else who might be interested in talking to you. Some people might not be able to recommend anyone, others will happily go and share information on your podcast with the people in your community.
This is a technique that the leading business podcast host, Tim Ferris frequently uses. Make sure that you give your guests time to go away and have a think about people that they can refer too. Some people will need some time to browse through their connections and come back to you.
9. Let People Request to Be on Your Show
Finding the right podcast guests can be an exhausting process, so why don’t you let your guests come to you instead? As your company grows and you begin to gain more of an impactful presence online, you might find that people actually want to appear on your podcast. However, if you don’t have a website where people can come and request to be a part of your show, then you could be missing out on some great opportunities.
Start by building a dedicated page on your site where potential guests can come and fill out a form to request to be on your show. Remember, you don’t want to make the form too complicated here. Too many questions might overwhelm potential guests and send them running in the wrong direction. Instead, just ask for the person’s name, their email address, and perhaps a link to their social media page.
You can also include an “About you” section in the form where your applicants can provide extra information that might help you to decide whether they’re right for your show.
10. Ask Your Audience for Recommendations
Finally, once you’ve established a dedicated audience for your podcast, you’ll also have a great source of inspiration available to you. At the end of each episode, consider asking your audience if they have ideas for people that they would like to hear from in your next session. You might not be able to connect with everyone that your audience requests, but at least you’ll have ideas for where to begin looking.
One of the biggest benefits of using this method is that your audience will feel as though they’re contributing to helping your podcast grow. This means that they’re likely to be a lot more committed to coming back and listening to your show each week.
Finding Your Podcast Guests
Finding the right podcast guests for your show isn’t always easy.
Fortunately, with the 10 options above, you’ll now have endless sources of inspiration when it comes to tracking down the perfect thought leaders.
How do you find your podcast guests? Let us know in the comments below.