One thing that I’ve found from 2 years of blogging on CrowdCrux is that as much as you think you might know about a particular industry, there is always someone out there who has a deeper understanding of a particular segment, or an interesting alternative view.
Bringing guests on to your podcast is a great way to expose your budding audience to helpful tips or experiences that you might not otherwise be able to provide. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to network with some of the top experts in your industry!
Yes, it can be hard to get guests on to a new podcast, especially if you don’t have any kind of presence in the community at all. Below, I’ve compiled a few tips to that can help you when approaching experts in your field for a guest appearance.
Hope they are helpful! Let me know what type of podcast you have or are starting via comment.
1. Pinpoint what the guest will get out of the appearance.
Have you ever noticed that celebrities will come on shows like The Tonight Show or Conan O’Brien’s show when they are starring in an up-and-coming movie, or are going to be releasing an album? They are there to move product!
What products, services, or ventures is the potential guest involved in that you can help promote in exchange for their valuable expertise and thoughts? Why is the topic/niche of your show a perfect audience for them to sell more product?
If you’re just starting out, you could offer to mention their services/products for free, or ask if they have some kind of affiliate commission program.
2. Pitch appropriately.
Don’t write a 1,000 word email! I can’t say this enough. Get straight to the point.
Make the subject line of your email as clear as possible about what you want from them. For example “Interview inquiry for business podcast” or “Invitation to appear on business podcast.” The reader will know what to expect when they open this email.
Keep the body of the email no more than 2 paragraphs, ideally with bullet points to highlight the key points, like sample questions you will ask, an anticipated time frame, and where they can find more information about you.
If you previously reached out to them on twitter or some other medium, remind them of that fact. I’d also recommend highlighting an article, book, or other piece of content they have composed and suggesting that it could be good piece to draw from for the interview. This way, they aren’t going to need to spend lots of time preparing for it.
Finally, being up-beat, polite, and showing that you’ve read their work will go a long way! For further reading, I recommend Tim Ferriss’ blog post on tips for emailing busy people. Tim Ferriss wrote the Bestselling Book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.
3. Sell the guest on what you will do for them.
If you haven’t gotten a response to your first email, or want to make sure that you stay on the priority list of your potential guest once you do get them to show some interest, I would highlight how you are going to promote the podcast or how you’d like to help their business in other ways.
For example: “Look forward to the upcoming interview on ____! I’ll be going all out promoting it on ___, ___, ____. Maybe after we can talk about other new products you are working on that might be a good fit for my audience.”
I don’t want this to come across as not sounding genuine. This should be 100% genuine on your part. I promise, by helping other businesses, you will eventually benefit.
The message above reminds the guest that the interview will be worth their time and that this could be a longer-lasting business relationship for them.
4. Make it as easy as possible for the guest to provide content.
We touched on this a bit in point 2. You don’t want your guest to think they need to prepare hours ahead of time just for an interview. Suggest pieces of content that they can recycle, whether that’s a video they’ve done in the past or articles they’ve published.
For example, you could say, “P.S. Really love the piece you wrote on social media promotion. Think these could be some good tips for my audience.”
By providing them with the questions ahead of time, you’ll make it easy for them to know what to expect going in, and make the process as painless as possible. When you’re doing the podcast, if you sense that the guest wants to go off in an interesting direction, you can always take that detour, but make sure to have a blueprint you can come back to.
When crafting these questions, I’d recommend checking out this blog post and some of the tips Grant gives from his experience of growing a podcast to 100,000 Podcast Downloads in 62 Days. I’ve provided a sample quote below!
Every time we recorded an interview with a guest, I would ask questions from the mind of that avatar [the audience]. What would they want to ask this guest? If I’m in their shoes, what questions would I have?
It’s your job to do the research long before you launch your podcast to figure what your avatar’s pain points would be and how your podcast will help solve those problems.
Finally, I would keep them updated as to the format of the podcast and whether or not the transcript or relevant links will be available on your website, or added in before or after the interview. This way, they don’t need to worry about plugging their product/website and can focus on the questions you are asking.
5. Build a relationship. Don’t expect anything in return.
Of all the points mentioned, I found this one to be the most true. You can’t go into a podcasting expecting to get something monetary from it. You can only be genuine.
Be curious about what makes them tick, and how they approach your industry. Always be thinking about what you can do for them, and how you can encourage them to share interesting content for your audience.
Personally, I’ve found that when guests know you are genuine, they can relax a bit, will take the time to get to know you more, and be more willing to share your episode once it’s finalized.
Podcasting is a great medium to build relationships with listeners and guests. Make it a positive experience for them and focus on building a relationship that could expand into a future collaboration. Your reputation is EVERYTHING in business. Having a good one will go a long way :).