Growing your podcast is not as easy as it looks. There are a hundred and one things that are probably on your to-do list, including expanding your podcast’s audience. There are many ways to do this, however, one strategy may prove to be a little more impactful than the rest.
And the answer? Finding the right podcast guests to increase listenership.
- Why do you need to find the right podcast guest?
- How do you find the right people for your podcast?
- How do you know if a guest is the right fit?
- How do you ask someone to be on your podcast?
- How to prepare your guest for your podcast episode
- How to get your guest excited about your podcast
Based on current data, global podcast listens have drastically increased since the pandemic by 42%. As everyone is listening to podcasts, it’s no secret that podcasting is one of the top ways to market your business and/or yourself. So, to get the most out of this strategy, vetting aligned podcast guests should be a well-thought-out process.
And you are in luck, as this guide breaks down how to find interesting and noteworthy guests, how to prepare them for their podcast interview, and how to get them hyped enough to share it.
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Why do you need to find the right podcast guest?
As previously mentioned, a major reason we tend to eagerly await a new episode from our favorite podcast, is probably because they have interesting guests, from every walk of life, that are experts at what they do.
The right guests can bring fresh perspectives, inspire your audience, and provide social proof through credibility to your show. Additionally, seeking out guests with related audiences will prompt your guest’s listeners to tune in to your podcast and potentially subscribe, thus growing your listenership.
If you want listeners to hit that subscribe button, then putting in the effort into finding podcast guests is a definite must. Once you find the right guests, this will not only keep bringing listeners back for more but will prompt them to share your podcast with their own friends and family, thus skyrocketing your downloads.
Would you rather buy from a brand that never shows its face on social media or a brand that showcases real conversations with real people?
Exactly, you’d choose the latter.
So whether you’re growing your business or personal brand to make more sales, or to simply get your message out there, the right guest will propel you forward.
But, how exactly do you find these magical hidden gems for your podcast? Let’s talk about it.
How do you find the right people for your podcast?
In reality, there are infinite ways to scour the online maze to find podcast guests that are aligned with your mission, but the ones listed below are by far the most effective.
It’s also crucial to take into consideration who your audience is so as to narrow in on the spaces that will give you the most bang for your buck (or time rather). For example, if your listeners are mostly millennial females between the age of 26-35, you should use Instagram and/or Twitter to discover your guests.
But how do you know where your listeners are hanging out, and where can you find that perfect guest? If you haven’t already, it is important to first define your listener avatar, which is your perfect, idealized listener. As outlined by The Podcast Host, this is the person you want listening to your podcast and telling their friends about it. Once you’ve defined who is listening, you can use social media demographics to inform your podcast strategy.
Each social media tool, for example, has a specific type of individual that spends time on that platform. Instagram’s largest age group (33.1%) is between 25-34 and largely female (57%), according to Sprout Social. So, if your ideal listener is a 60-year-old male who is retired and wants to learn more about fishing, then Instagram is probably not the ideal social media tool to use. Why? Well if your listeners are not hanging out on that particular social media channel, then that perfect podcast guest probably isn’t there either.
Before we delve into looking at specific social media tools that you can use, let’s look at one of the most basic tips to finding your ideal podcast guest.
Listening to other people’s podcasts
First, make a list of 50 other podcasts (100 if you’re an overachiever) similar to yours. Then, each week set aside time to listen to a couple. It is important to take note of who their guests are, and then observe the listenership on their episodes. Does one episode have 450 more listens than the other? If so, hit up that guest, and see if you can get them on your episode too.
Once you’ve found that individual then you can reach out to them on their preferred social media channel or via an email contact form on their website.
While you’re at it, scroll through their comment section and observe any listener questions. These questions might guide you towards popular topics your audience is dying to listen to. Maybe you even find an expert commenter that you can connect with.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at each social media channel individually to learn a little bit more about how you can leverage your audience to find your next podcast guest.
Are you ready to get into it? Here we go.
There are over 1 billion users on Instagram every month, so there’s no shortage of potential podcast guests. If you’re new to Instagram, there are many ways you can use this powerful platform to market your need for new guests. From hashtags to outreach, here are a couple ways you can use this powerful platform to find your next guest:
- Make a post asking for podcasts guests in your particular niche.
- Research popular niche-related hashtags and leave your “two cents” (as Gary Vee’s 1.80 strategy explains) in the comments.
- Go live on Instagram with another guest and cross-promote your podcast, asking listeners if they know of anyone who’d be interested to be your guest.
- Toggle to the explore page, and type in podcast-related hashtags into the “tags” section. For example, if you type in #podcaster, 1.9 million posts pop up. Find one that catches your eye and look through their followers to see if you can find someone that stands out.
- Use niche-related hashtags, for instance, #budgettravel or #digitalnomad to find the top trending posts. Then, if they resonate with you, don’t be shy, send them a message! Introduce yourself, and let them know why you’d love to have them on your show.
|Let’s look at a tangible example.|
|Hi! It’s Yvonne, Spreaker’s Content Manager. I also have a podcast called The Branding Lab, focusing on the importance of branding. |
The podcast’s ideal listeners are female entrepreneurs that are launching or have just launched their business, therefore Instagram is the ideal social media tool to use to find guests. Instagram is full of experts, therefore I used the hashtag #brandingstrategists to find potential guests for the podcast.
My pro tip? It is important to scroll through the images, read posts and click through to individual’s professional pages to see if they would be a good fit. From that point onwards, send them a DM, but make sure to make a comment on their most recent post as your DM will probably end up in their General or Requests folder and they might miss it.
Linkedin is happening, it’s no longer a place where your digital resume collects dust. In fact, it has evolved into a playful way to promote your skills and expertise. With this said, it is important that you find a common ground between you and a potential guest by following these steps:
- Go to your college’s Linkedin page
- Click on the Alumni tab
- Type in your niche, for example: “holistic wellness” or “personal development”
- Begin reaching out to those you feel compelled to with a personalized message
Another tactic is to simply type your niche topic into the search bar, and click people. Now, all the people that are related to your topic will pop up. Make sure to do some research on them first before sending a message, to ensure they’re the right fit for your podcast. With that said, if you use the free version of LinkedIn, your messaging options are limited, but with the pro version, there are more “connects” (which are email messages) to use.
However, if you don’t want to subscribe to the costly monthly pro version of the tool, you can make a list of all the people you’d like to connect with and then sign up for the LinkedIn free trial version, which gives you access to all the pro elements for free for thirty days.
The internet is littered with vague content, so get specific and use Twitter’s advanced search options to pinpoint an expert in a particular field within your niche. For instance, meditation and mindfulness are gigantically popular topics these days.
If you want to get more specific, you can add more keywords, such as “meditation to cure illness”. This way, topics and people who have written about this specialized topic will appear, and you can start retweeting some of their work to make a connection.
Pinterest is truly underrated. Here are some quick facts about Pinterest to get your wheels turning:
- 80% of millennial females are on Pinterest, and 80% of American moms use it
- Pinterest has more users than Twitter and Snapchat combined
- 2020 started with 320 million users and now it’s at 459 million (source Sprout Social)
This should guide you in the right direction when it comes to your audience. Are they female? Are they moms? Then you should definitely be on Pinterest.
You can spend time creating a Pinterest strategy to attract the right guests or you can use the search bar. Think about what terminology your guests might use. For example, if you want to interview female entrepreneurs you might search #ladyboss or #fempreneur as a keyword.
Last but not least on the list of social media channels that you can use, let’s delve into using Facebook, our favorite tool!
Always begin by offering value through a freebie you have, or by simply answering questions. This way, it won’t look spammy when you introduce yourself and ask the group if they’d be interested in being a guest on your podcast.
There is a Facebook group for every niche, even one for those obsessed with Instant Pot. With that said, there’s no shortage of specific groups for you to find podcast guests that are experts in their field.
Alternatively, you can also search within groups to get particular results. For example, you can search “web design” or “web design for beginners” into the search bar and toggle the filter towards “most recent” so you get the most up-to-date results.
Now that we have covered all of the basic social media tools, let’s look into some more unfamiliar routes that you can take when looking for your podcast guest.
For those of you who don’t know, Feedly is a program that sifts through unwanted internet information so you only get the good stuff. It leaves you with personalized articles and news pieces that may be of particular interest to you. Eliminate content overload with Feedly but following the following steps:
- Gather your favorite sources
- Feedly filters out the “litter”
- You get personalized news and information delivered to your inbox
This can help you find guests because you’ll receive the latest and most relevant news written by experts in their field. All you need to do is sift through which expert is aligned for your podcast.
Reddit has been around since the dark ages…or well, since 2005. Its user-driven content attracts millions of users around the world.
If you’re not familiar with Reddit, let us explain it. There’s no funny business on this platform. There will be no spam messages or else you’ll be banished into an online jail dungeon forever.
No no, not really, but Reddit doesn’t take kindly to any sort of self-promotion so it’s important here that you understand how to use it to find your next guest. You can lurk in the Podcast community, Podcasting, or Podcast Guests groups on Reddit to find your next guest.
Medium, a writing platform where “170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking”, is an expert gold mine. We absolutely love the authenticity on this site. Writers write real pieces without the fluff. You’ll feel instantly drawn to a writer on this platform for this simple reason.
Usually, pieces are short and sweet too so it won’t take long before you find an expert who stands out to you. Even better, to get customized article suggestions, on your settings tab select a few related topics related to your podcast.
Alternatively, you can find expert guests by scrolling through the top trending pieces on the home page. Click on their profile, and navigate to their about page. Typically, most authors include their website link so you can get in touch with them that way.
Broadcast it on your podcast
Use the intro or outro to deliver a short snip letting your audience know you’re looking for experts in _____ [fill in that blank with your nice subject]. Or, ask them if they have anyone in mind that would fit nicely as a guest on your show.
And we’re not stopping there. Next up, Amazon.
Use Amazon to scope out upcoming authors
This might seem like an unlikely place to find a podcast guest, but you’d be surprised how many guest opportunities are waiting for you. Especially if you search the hot new release section or even the upcoming release section.
Reaching out to these experts is a win-win.
New releases could always use more promotion, so why not use your guest to do so? Make them feel like it would be beneficial to them by providing a free platform (your podcast) in which they can speak about their new release, and they’re sure to say yes!
Remember how we talked about the comment section earlier? Don’t forget to scour the Amazon comments. People spend time crafting their opinions there.
Attending Industry Events
Nothing beats finding podcast guests in person. To find upcoming conferences near you just type “upcoming conferences for _____ in 2021” into Google. If you type in “upcoming conferences for personal development in 2021 you’ll find a list of 90 plus conferences happening for teachers and leaders.
Although due to current circumstances it may be more realistic to attend digital events this year, there are still tons of options out there for you to make genuine connections. You can find live events in Facebook Groups, on Linkedin, or as just mentioned, from Google. Make sure to be prepared with questions to vet your future guest (more on that to come in another section).
Podcast – Guest Connector Websites
The easiest way to find podcast guests is by using one of these sites:
- Podcast Guests personalized guest opportunities sent directly to your inbox for you to vet
- Pod Match like Tinder, for podcasters
- Podchaser a new platform that leverages data to drive matches so that you don’t have to spend hours searching for your guest
- Match Maker is also similar to Pod Match, matching you with the most aligned guests
Alright, now that you have a plethora of ideas to find your podcast guests, let’s chat about the criteria you should consider to ensure they’re the right fit.
How do you know if a guest is the right fit?
Get your shovels out, you’ll need to do some digging.
Start with their website.
- Does the copy talk to you?
- Is it aligned with your purpose?
Next, read their bio and see if it resonates with you. You may have already done this part, but if not check out their social media pages. How do they present themselves there? Do they have the right energy to fit your podcast? This will also let you know what type of speaking style they have.
To add, check out any Youtube videos or blogs they recently released to get a better sense of their expert level. Have they proven they can do a specific thing over and over again to gain the same results?
At this point you’ve got your guest list, you’ve narrowed it down based on more investigations and now it’s time to take the plunge and ask them.
How do you ask someone to be on your podcast?
First, and foremost find their personal email. You want to make sure you’re speaking directly to them to eliminate any chances of your email getting lost in the sauce.
Great, you have their email. Let’s formulate a message.
The key here is to “hook them” so they are actually interested in reading beyond the first sentence. Based on the information you pulled from their website, blog, youtube video, etc. make a connection with them first.
You can do this by saying something like:
|“Hey____, I just recently read ______ and I really enjoyed the part where you spoke about _____. It resonated with me, I’ll be sure to share it with my community.”|
Then go on to explain why it is you’re emailing them. You might say something like this:
|“The reason I’ve reached out to you is that I have a podcast _____ and I know my fans would really benefit from your expertise in _____ niche. If you’re interested in booking a 40-minute session feel free to book a call here”|
It’s a good idea to let them know how long they’ll need to block off and how they can book the call with you right away. We are going to let you in on a little secret that not many people know.
Another way to snatch their attention right off the bat is to record an audio file or video (preferably video if you’re emailing them).
Think about it… how many personal videos have you received in an email? This tactic makes them feel special, and remember you. They’ll be drawn to answer your email and appear as a guest on your podcast.
|Let’s look at a tangible example|
| It’s me again, Yvonne! I came across a podcast episode where I felt like the guest being interviewed would also be a perfect guest for my podcast. After googling her name, I found her Instagram page. |
When sending her a DM, I noticed that she had a clickable link in her bio (a linktr.ee type of link that allows people to add multiple links). One of those links was “Book a Call.” I ended up booking a call with that individual, pitched her my podcast and the episode idea, and ended up sealing the deal. Sometimes booking a call with a potential guest to provide more information or to introduce yourself and your podcast can really help you.
If you can’t find their email, then go to their social media channels. Check out their Instagram page and/or LinkedIn.
End with a call to action by setting up a Calendy or Acuity platform and linking to the email so they can book a call with you. This way you can speak with them more about your podcast, and so they can get an idea of what questions you might ask them.
How to prepare your guest for your podcast episode
There are a couple of ways you can prepare your guest before the interview so that it flows smoothly. Consider sending a pre-interview survey with questions like:
- Why are you passionate about this topic?
- What experiences have you had that relate to this topic?
- How have you used [insert topic] in your life before? (only if this is applicable)
Ask for their bio and headshot. And, to branch off what we discussed earlier, make sure to do your research on the guest so you can show that you’ve taken an interest in their life.
How to get your guest excited about your podcast
It’s simple, make them the center of attention. Make them feel special! Listen to them intently and they’ll be sure to recommend your podcast to their community.
Once the podcast goes live, also make sure that you send an email to your guest. In your email, you should include:
- A thank you message outlining how amazing it was to have them on your show
- A link to all the important places where the episode is now live, such as Apple Podcasts, Google, and/or your personal podcast website.
- An audiogram or a social media post that they can share on their own social media channels. Also, include a couple of pre-written tweets or posts. The idea here is to make it as simple as imaginable for them to share your content.
Buffer does a great job of informing their guests when their episode goes live.
They send an email on launch day while also including a series of shareable media: pull quotes, images, links, and prewritten tweets and status updates. All the guest really needs to do at this point is copy, paste, and tweet!
At the end of the day, finding podcast guests that will grow your audience is about finding an aligned match. Do most of the work on the front end, and it will pay off in the long run. Have you used any of these strategies to find guests?