Inviting guests to your podcast can be a difficult and daunting task. Below are some strategies on how you can optimize your ability to get guests.
Step 1: Identify your audience
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you may be surprised how many people forget this when inviting guests. You want to have guests that have extensive knowledge or experience within your target audience. Ultimately, you will be more likely to attract more prominent guests when you have a specific audience. If you were the host of a podcast that talks about sports you may want to invite athletes, sports analysts, coaches, etc. Your target audience would be men ages 16 - 45 (no surprise here) and it wouldn't make sense to invite a politician or makeup artist on the show that has no benefit for your listeners.
If you are struggling at identifying your target audience you are not alone. Most podcasters struggle at first because they are just trying to establish relevance. You want to avoid just taking who you can get. As tempting as this is, you will get more listeners than fans. The difference between fans and listeners is that fans are there for the guest and listeners are there for you. This is why it is important to select guests within your target audience as they will be more likely to bring more future listeners with them. Once you begin to identify your audience you can begin to target guests within that field.
Step 2: Find where potential guests interact the most
Once you have identified your target audience you want to begin scouting for potential guests. Luckily for us, we live in the digital age so it won't require much effort to find them. If you are not too familiar with the major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube) now would be a great time to get acquainted with them. Most likely your audience and your potential guests interact more on a specific app. An example would be if you are looking for someone who has a financial background like an accountant. LinkedIn would be a great place to start. If you are looking for a current celebrity, TikTok or Youtube would be a better option. You want to be present on the social media platforms that are relevant to your show. When pitching potential guests you want to be acquainted within their space or you may risk getting turned down. Once you have identified who, you want to begin compiling a list of potential guests.
Step 3: Create a list of Potential Guests
Now that we know where our potential guests are located, we can begin to construct a list. Keep in mind that not everybody will agree to come on to your show. It will be nice to have backups and a list of people you can pull from in an emergency. I would suggest that you compose a list of 100 potential guests. This may seem like a daunting task at first, but you will find that it will be relatively easy if you've identified where your potential guests are located.
I like to split my potential guests into three categories; Locked Guests, Prime Guests, and Breakthrough Guests. Locked Guests are more likely to say yes on short notice or if you need a guest because they are within your immediate network. You will have roughly an 80% success rate with your locked guests. Prime Guests are the people you need to get on the show. They are the ones that will be beneficial to the growth of your podcast. Breakthrough guests are those who you want. Most of the time they will not even respond or say no, but it is nice to have so you know what you're working towards. They are famous in their niche and it opens opportunities to pursue other breakthrough guests. Compose a list of potential guests in a format that makes sense to you and then you will be ready to begin inviting guests.
Step 4: Create your "Elevator Pitch"
Before you go inviting guests, it would be a good idea to have an "Elevator pitch". This is how you get potential guests' attention. It is ultimately your pitch to someone being a guest on your show. We will dive into the different types of mediums you can use in Step 5: Invite! If you would like a better explanation on how to create an "elevator pitch", check out "How to create an "Elevator Pitch"". The goal of an elevator pitch is to be prepared. It should be short and be no longer than 1 minute. If you choose to pitch them with text, email, or Instant Messengers (most people do this) read your pitch out loud before sending it. You want the pitch to be concise and straightforward. No one wants to read a 400-word email! When you have your "Elevator Pitch" you will be ready to invite guests on to your show.
Step 5: Invite!
Now that you have identified your audience, found where your potential guests are, created a list of potential guests, and have your "Elevator Pitch" ready, you can begin inviting guests. There are multiple ways you can do this, but it will require you to reach out to individuals you do not know. That is why it's a good idea to have an "Elevator Pitch" because not only will you be introducing yourself, but you will be asking them for their time. Here are a couple of strategies that I have found many podcasters use.
I recommend this option if you are reaching out to someone with professional background. Although current trends are shifting towards texting and instant messaging, email is still the primary medium used by professionals. An email will be a good choice if you have a large mailing list. Email is also good for sending invitations that sync to you and your guests' calendars.
If I had to choose one way to invite guests it would be Instant Messaging. It is more work to find an email or phone number for the guest, so why not save yourself the trouble and message them directly. I am aware that some LinkedIn profiles have the option to share that information, but they too have an instant messaging feature. If you are unsure of what medium to use, go with Instant Messaging.
Texting or Calling:
I am not too familiar with this strategy, but I have heard other podcasters experience success with this. Texting is slowly being accepted as a normal way of reaching out to people. There are apps like Community and Whatsapp, but I would almost consider them Instant Messaging. If you are a host of a podcast, odds are you are comfortable talking to strangers. Cold calling potential guests would be an excellent way to show that you are confident in your speaking/listening abilities. I have heard plenty of podcasters experience success with cold calling and texting potential guests.
Referrals or Call to Action:
Ultimately, you want guests to come to you. You can ask previous guests to leave you a referral or leave a type of call to action. This can be anything from asking guests to promote their episode on social media or asking if they have anyone who they think would be a great guest. This is a great way to save you time and build trust with potential guests.
When it comes to inviting guests you want to possess great communications skills. If you have created an excellent elevator pitch you will have tremendous success inviting guests to your show. Remember to keep your ego in check and remember that you are asking them for something. It is okay to have people say no. It is all a part of the journey! Just move down your list and pitch the next guest. When a guest agrees to come on to your show, be sure to communicate all necessary details. You will want to provide them with available dates and times. You can even use a scheduling app to have their schedule months in advance. For more details on different scheduling strategies, check out "Schedulers that are good for podcasting"
Once you have them scheduled it would be a good idea to keep actively communicating what they can do to prepare. The last thing a guest wants to feel is that they are not in the loop. Let them know what you will be talking about or topics that they would like to talk about. You want to show that you value their time and that you are excited for them to come on. If there is one thing that I have learned hosting the Intelligent Conversations is that the host controls the energy. Most likely if you show your excitement they will show the same, which gives you better content.
Step 6: Learn and Make Adjustments
This is perhaps the most important step! Every podcast has its own unique way of finding guests. My advice would be to find a style of invitation that works for you. If cold calling guests isn't working for you then try a different approach. If you find that it is easier to schedule guests on social media do it! Finding guests for your show should be a smooth process. Learn what works and doesn't work, then make adjustments. This may seem straightforward, but you will be surprised how many podcasters stick to their traditional ways. Podcasting is about providing a unique insight to your audience. If you aren't willing to make changes you will fail.
If there is one take-away from this it is that being prepared matters. You may feel overwhelmed, but inviting guests should be an easy process. At first, it may be hard, but as time goes on you will begin to develop an effective way of inviting guests. When you start to get comfortable with this process you will begin to see results not only in selecting guests but enhance your listener's experience.
Schedule a Free Podcast Class
Get Professional Podcast Licenses