Interview-style podcasts are popular for a number of reasons. It allows you, as the host, to create valuable, interesting content for your listeners. These podcasts are great for cross-promotion. Many people will advertise, “Hey! I was just on [podcast name], check this out!” on their social media platforms or on their website. Plus, interviews take a lot of pressure off of you because the guest will do most of the talking.
Things like networking, using various website platforms, and research will help you get started in finding the right guest for your show. Now, actually contacting them is the hard part. Creating an intriguing subject line, the right pitch, and knowing your reader is key to getting great interviews and growing your podcast even more.
Finding guests can be hard if you are just starting out as a podcast. It can be difficult in general, even as an experienced podcast. If you are not creating new content each week for your listeners, your podcast will suffer. In this article you will learn how to find a guest for a podcast, some tips & tricks along the way, plus a template email if you are feeling stuck.
How to Find Guests for a Podcast
It can be difficult as a newer podcast to figure out your “theme” and the content you will be creating. Finding guests can be even harder. One of the best ways to grow your podcast is to create informational and fun content for your listeners, and sometimes that means inviting someone to speak on your show. Plus, it allows for some pressure to be taken off of you.
Word of mouth is key to building a network of people who not only support your show, but who also can increase your access to potential guests. As you start out, talking to people about what you do on your show and what it’s all about will give you the opportunity to grow further.
Say you are at the grocery store and you see someone you know — of course they are going to ask how you’ve been. Tell them about your podcast! Starting with friends and family is also a great way to build your guest list, but only if their experience is relevant to your show.
There are a few websites that allow you to connect with potential guests and other podcasts to grow your show. You are able to message them and send them a “pitch” most of the time. Think Tinder for podcasts. Here are a few that have been helpful for me.
This website is used like Tinder. Once you set up your profile, the website picks the top matches for you. You favorite guests or other podcasts, and sometimes you will get a message from them! Unless you go premium, you only have so many messages you can send in a month. It is great for looking at your competitors too — seeing other podcasts in your same category can be helpful.
Feedly isn’t necessarily a booking service, but it’s a great source to have. It allows you to read content all over the web from the topic you choose. This is a great way to find guests that are relevant to your podcasts.
PodMatch is another service similar to Tinder for podcasts. It does the research for you and even helps get the guest on your show. The basic plan is free, but it doesn’t offer as many features as the premium plan does.
Researching is a great way to find guests relevant to your podcast. Research the topic your show is based on or the type of episode you want. For example, if you were hosting a podcast about psychology and you were to research “authors with new books about psychology,” you might find someone to pitch to, and they’ll likely take up the offer because they want to promote their new book to your audience.
Your audience and your guest’s audience should overlap somehow. Have they created some of the same content you have before? Do they have their own podcast that you could potentially be a guest on? These are questions you should be asking yourself when researching for a potential guest.
Finding big names for your podcast will allow you to grow your following even more, but how to contact them professionally while still throwing some of your personality in there is the big question.
Tips for Contacting Guests
When contacting potential guests, it is important to stay relevant to your show and your goal. You do not want to be interviewing someone if it has nothing to do with what you do on your show. Choose a guest that matches your brand.
Contacting them is the hard part. Sometimes their information is not even on the internet, so you have to do some digging. Forming your pitch and what you want from them is key to finding guests for your podcast.
Different Ways of Contact
There are many ways to contact someone, whether through email, their website (if they have one), or their agent. You need to know who you are contacting. This is important when delivering your pitch.
First, create an exciting subject line. This is the only information, besides your name, that will influence whether they open your email or message. It should be direct, and maybe a little mysterious. You don’t even need to mention your podcast.
Bad Subject Line: "come onto my podcast"
Good Subject Line: "Invitation to Speak: Let's Help New Entrepreneurs"
Structure your pitch with the reader in mind. Know your audience. Whatever you do, try not to send a basic template email to them. It can obviously correlate to what you have said to others before, but make sure you show that you know the person and what they do.
For the “meat” of the message, be straight up about what you want. Don’t overuse the word “please. It is important to tell them what exactly you expect, what they are gaining from the experience, and if you want, some potential talking points. For example, if they just came out with a new book, mention that.
If you have a good list of previous guests, include the link to your podcast, the link to your website, and even a screenshot of the best parts of your website. For example, I would usually send a screenshot of the “About” page and guest highlights. More often than not, they won’t click the link to your website right off the bat unless something catches their eye.
Make the benefits obvious to your potential guest. Most people are interested in the audience size, the number of downloads you get per episode, and how the show will be promoted and on what platform (via their website, social media, etc.).
If you haven’t launched yet or only have a few episodes out, just be honest with them. Be transparent about how many followers you have on social media, how many listeners or downloads you have, everything. Your potential guest might fact check you if they are interested in your show.
You want to focus on the W’s: who, why, what, where, when.
- Who you are
- Why you are contacting them
- What you offer and how it benefits them
- Where you will promote the show
- When you would like to speak to them and how much time it will take
For those who are still stuck, there is a basic template email you can use to personalize later in this post.
Call to Action
The call to action should be easy and simple for your potential guest to understand, and it should take little time to do. For example, asking someone who does not know who you are to schedule time on your calendar tool may be easy on your end, but it’s asking a lot from them. Your potential guest may just want to follow up with questions before even scheduling the interview with you.
At the very end of your email, it should be simple and easy to reply to. Say something like, “If you are interested, please let me know a few dates and times in November that work for an interview!” Of course, always thank them for their time. Be as professional and as nice as you can, but without being overly nice.
Be persistent! If you do not get a response to your pitch email, following up is a great way to make sure your potential guest actually received the email in the first place. There have been countless times when I have sent an email and it went straight into my recipient’s junk mail. Follow up by replying to the original email you sent, or by forwarding it to them with a small message.
It could be as simple as: “Hi [name], I am following up regarding my last email. I would love to have you on my show. Let me know if you are interested in working with me. Thank you!”
If they don’t reply to that email either, try a different way. Find whatever social media they are most active on, then send them a message there.
If you still do not get a response after trying several ways, move on. There will be other guests. I promise.
Template Email for Contacting Potential Guests
We already went over your pitch email or message should and shouldn’t include, but here is an easy to read “Do’s & Don’ts” table to guide you when writing up your email.
|keep it brief||start with endless details about yourself|
|short & personal reason why you are inviting them||overuse the word “please”|
|hyperlink to your podcast||be negative in ANY way|
|attach screenshots of your website||exaggerate your show, you, or how great you are|
Guest Invitation Email Template
One thing we’ve learned while working on podcasts is that having a template can save you a ton of time, especially if you are reaching out to a lot of potential guests, or if you are working with a VA to help find you more guests. So we’ve created a sample email template that you can use for all of your outreach:
Time is Valuable
Any guest on your show is valuable to your podcast. But, so is their time. Make sure guests get something valuable in exchange for their time — and I do not mean money.
Money is such a tough issue with podcasting. Do podcast guests get paid or not? Does it cost money to be on a podcast? Learn more by checking out our other blog post linked down below.
Be flexible and understanding; make them feel heard! Always be nice of course. No one likes a stuck-up host. You may have just gained yourself a reoccurring guest or even a friend!
Do Podcast Guests Get Paid?
This is the big question. The quick answer is: no. Both you and the guest are benefiting from an interview, so money is not usually a question. If it is, then in my opinion… don’t. Just no. That is basically saying, “I don’t want to do an interview with you unless I am getting paid for it.”
For more information, check out our post on Do Podcast Guests Get Paid?
Getting an interview with a new guest on your podcast can be scary. If you focus on being yourself while still providing helpful information about your podcast and what the guest will gain from it, you can increase your chances of landing the guest.
Remember, your guests don’t owe you anything! Even though it is a nice gesture, promoting the show is not part of their job — it is yours. When it is over and you are finished editing, send your guest a shareable link! This allows them to share it with their friends and family, and hopefully promote it on social media.
At the end of the day, it is your podcast and you choose exactly what content you want to create. If you want guests on your show, you know how to land them if you have made it this far. Feeling comfortable reaching out takes practice and patience. You got this!