Having a strategy for finding and booking high profile guests to interview for your podcast is a crucial part of running a successful interview-based podcast. Without a strategy in place, you may find yourself scrambling to book your next guest just in time to publish the interview according to your publishing schedule.
Here are 7 methods I have personally used to find and book high profile guest interviews for my podcast:
1. Your existing network
If you’re just getting started as a podcast host, reaching out to your existing network is a great way to book your first few interviews. Your existing network includes friends, colleagues, and even personal mentors. It’s easier to get an interview with a personal acquaintance despite having a brand new podcast than it is to reach out to people you don’t know. Once you’ve done a few interviews and attracted some listeners to your podcast, the methods listed below will become more viable.
2. Conferences and networking events
I am a strong advocate of good old-fashioned face-to-face networking. I attend seminars, conferences and Meetup groups related to marketing, personal development and entrepreneurship on a regular basis, and nearly half of the guests I’ve interviewed for my podcast are people that I’ve met in person at a live event.
Speakers at events are often more approachable than you might think. At a break or at the end of the event, simply walk up to the speaker and introduce yourself. Tell them you host a podcast about x topic and would love to have them as a guest on your show at some point in the future. Do not try to book an interview with them right in that moment. Peak their interest, and ask permission to send them some more details about your show. Agree on a method of communication (email, social media, phone call, etc.) and follow up with them after the event.
3. Cold emailing
A cold email is an email you send to someone that you do not know personally. Most individuals openly display their email address on their website, and in the cases where they do not, you can send them a message using the contact form on their website. Either way, your message is likely to reach their inbox, or the inbox of their personal assistant.
Begin your email by introducing yourself as the host of XYZ Podcast. Tell them a little bit about your show (its purpose, niche or topic focus, target audience, listener stats, etc.). In some cases it helps to list a few of the people you’ve already interviewed, especially if the person you are reaching out to knows who those people are. Next, compliment their work and tell them why you think they would be a good fit for your show, and why your listeners would like to hear from them. Wrap up the email by inviting them to contact you for more details if they’re interested, thank them for their time and consideration, and then click send!
Not everyone will accept your invitation to be a guest on your podcast. Sometimes the timing isn’t right, sometimes they just aren’t interested, and sometimes they don’t respond at all. This is perfectly fine. Cold emailing is still one of the best ways to book high profile guests for your show, even if you have to send out a lot of them just to get a few interviews.
4. Direct messages on social media
This strategy is just like the previous but instead of sending someone an email you send them a message in social media. I have used Facebook and LinkedIn on many occasions to introduce myself to a potential guest, and ask for their email address to send them more details. I have yet to come across someone who doesn’t have a personal profile or fan page on either of these platforms and check their message regularly.
Twitter is also a great platform to connect with potential guests, however since you are limited to 140 characters, your message needs to be brief. A short message such as “I’d love to have you as a guest on my podcast. Can I send you some details?” should be enough to get a response from someone. Move the communication over to email, and then send them a more detailed message.
5. Masterminds & Facebook groups
If you join a mastermind, whether in person or online, you will have the opportunity to connect with many like-minded individuals who may be suitable guests for your show. Many mastermind groups will also invite guest speakers to share their advice with the mastermind group on a webinar or Google Hangout. Some mastermind groups are free, but the ones that attract the most committed people cost money (anywhere from a hundred dollars per month up to $1,000 per month or more). The cost of a mastermind will usually be in direct proportion to the professional success/calibre of the individuals who are in that mastermind. Developing relationships with people in masterminds (for the purpose of a podcast interview or otherwise) is invaluable.
There are also thousands of groups on Facebook where people with common interests interact with each other. Some groups are private or invitation-only,and some are open to the public. Both types of groups give you the opportunity to communicate with other people and tell them about your podcast.
6. Other Podcasts
If your list of potential guests to contact is running low, an easy way to find more people to reach out to is to scan the list of guest interviews from other podcasts. Regardless of what industry/niche your podcast is in, there are like other podcasts that serve the same audience. Open iTunes and take a look at some of the top podcasts in your category. Scan their list of episodes and see what names appear as guest interviews on those episodes.
One of the reasons why this strategy works so well is because you are finding the names of people who have already done podcasts interviews, so podcasts are not unfamiliar to them. If you see the same person appearing as a guest on multiple podcasts within a short time frame there is a good chance they are promoting something (a new book, for example) and booking as many interviews as they can to reach more people with their message. If you reach out to them at the right time, you should be able to book an interview.
7. Referrals from guests
I always research my guests before I interview them, and in that process I often discover that they are connected to or close friends with other people that I would love to interview for my show. Obviously, a warm introduction to that person increases the chances that they will agree to an interview, but there is definitely an art to asking for that introduction.
Never ask the person you are about to interview for an introduction to someone else before you begin the interview. This could lead them to believe the only reason you wanted to interview them was to get the introduction to that other person, which pretty much ruins your rapport with that person right from the start. Wait until after you’ve finished interviewing them, and if (and only if) you feel a strong rapport with that person and they are willing to chat with you for a few minutes after the interview, then it is appropriate to ask them for an introduction. If there isn’t any one specific person that you want an introduction to, you can simply invite your guest to introduce you to anyone that they think might be a good fit for your show.
One last strategy worth mentioning is to let high profile guests come to you! Add an Interview Application Form to your website’s contact page. I estimate that at least 25% of all the interviews I have booked for my podcast have come from people who have applied to be interviewed. This is definitely worth implementing!
Success breeds success…
Regardless which of the above strategies you decide to implement, the great thing about them is that they compliment each other quite well. Do whatever you can to book your first few interviews, get some momentum going, and once you do you’ll discover that booking more interviews using all of the strategies mentioned happens quite naturally.
Let me give you an example of what I mean:
In 2014 I interviewed Joel Brown, the founder of the very successful Addicted2Success blog. The strategy I used to book Joel was a cold email. Later in 2014, I noticed Joel post a picture on Facebook of him and another entrepreneur that I respect: Jairek Robbins. I sent Joel a message on Facebook, asking him to introduce me to Jairek. That introduction resulted in booking an interview.
Here’s another example:
One of the Meetup groups I attend regularly is called Internet Masterminds. The host of this group is Matt Astifan. I invited Matt to be a guest on my podcast, and shortly after our interview he added me to a private Facebook group for internet marketers. A few months later, someone in that Facebook group mentioned they were publishing a new book and looking to do interviews. I reached out to him and booked an interview. That individual was Sohail Khan, author of the now bestselling book Guerilla Marketing And Joint Ventures.
I also ended up interviewing another entrepreneur who I met at those events: Nadeem Ahmad. After I interviewed Nadeem, he introduced me to Minesh Bhindi, a successful investor from the UK. After I interviewed Minesh, he introduced me to Mark Anastasi, the New York Times bestselling author of The Laptop Millionaire. Talk about a ripple effect!