Finding and booking the right podcast guests is one of the best ways to keep your show fresh and your listeners engaged, but what steps do podcasters need to take to make this happen? Having good brand awareness and a strong social media presence is a great place to start, but there are a few more things you’ll need to consider to find the best podcast guests!
Where to Find the Best Podcast Guests
While podcast guest slots can be mutually beneficial for everyone involved, it still takes some effort on your part to find the right guests for your show. Thankfully, you won’t have to look far to find and book great podcast guests. There are many methods for connecting with high-quality content creators, thought leaders, and influencers to invite onto your podcast. Here are a few of the best ways to connect!
Check Social Media
You can find just about anything on social media, and podcast guests are no exception. Join relevant Facebook groups, which tend to be large, established communities where discussions are the focus and reaching out is as simple as commenting or private-messaging someone. Browse appropriate hashtags on Twitter, where you can get a good sense of a guest’s perspectives. Scroll through Instagram to get a better sense of a guest’s brand, find event announcements, and learn about potential guests’ approach to marketing themselves. Or look into a person’s professional accolades and accomplishments on LinkedIn. Chances are that any reputable guest will have a presence on at least one of these major online platforms.
Listen to Other Podcasts
Follow the lead of other podcasts by tuning in to see who they’ve booked for guests. Check out podcasts that are known for having great guests, especially ones with similar content to yours. This will likely give you ideas not only for how to host a better podcast in general, but also about where you might find guests. You may even come across people, whether guests or the hosts themselves, who you want to invite onto your show!
Attend a Networking Event
Websites like MeetUp and Eventbrite often post listings for public networking events (both in-person and online) where business owners, brand representatives, podcasters, and individuals from a variety of communities and professions can connect. These events present fantastic opportunities for podcasters to meet potential guests in-person, as they are specifically designed to create networking opportunities. Just don’t forget to come prepared! Bring business cards and any other materials you may need to share and receive contact information with the people you meet.
Participate in Online Communities
Message boards are essentially the online equivalent of networking events. They allow groups of people to gather and discuss shared interests and are a great place to meet people organically. Also, keep in mind that many people are there for the same reason you are: to make connections. The communities that make up Reddit, called subreddits, are a perfect example of this. Check out The Podcast Guest Exchange, in particular, to find people who would work well as guests on your show!
Use a Podcaster Matchmaking Site
With approximately 50% of American households now listening to them, podcasts have become incredibly popular. This has created a high demand not only for great podcasts, but for great podcast guests, too. Podcast Guests, PodMatch, and a number of other podcast matchmaking websites have been created as a result to help podcasters find guests for their shows. Podcast Guests is free for hosts, while PodMatch starts free and has an optional upgraded version available. On both sites, guests can submit applications to podcasters, like you, who can then review and select the best candidates to bring on their show. HARO is also a good resource, particularly for news-focused podcasts. This forum connects journalists and reporters with the sources and experts they need to cover the stories in their field.
Ask Past Guests for Recommendations…
Had a guest who left a particularly strong impression during a past episode? Ask them if they have any friends or colleagues who would be a good fit for your show! Sometimes, the key to finding new professional connections is relying on the ones you already have.
…Or Ask Your Audience
There’s a good reason your listeners are invested in your podcast. If they’re consuming your content, then they’re probably also following other individuals who share similar passions or interested in similar fields. If you have a podcast website, consider adding a contact form that allows people to submit suggestions for guests or to request being a guest themselves. Then, consider adding a call-to-action at the end of your episodes prompting listeners to send you guest suggestions. You can add a similar call-to-action to social media posts and email newsletters.
What Makes a Good Podcast Guest
Understanding where to find guests is one thing, but being able to identify the kind of person who will connect well with your listeners is another.
It goes without saying that good guests will be easily recognizable to your listeners—or at least have unique insights to offer on the topic at hand. But which specific qualities should you look for when booking podcast guests? Here are a few simple questions to ask yourself when considering a potential guest:
- Does this person have a connection to the podcast’s (or episode’s) topic?
- Does this person have a solid online presence?
- Is this person well-known within their area of interest or expertise?
- Is this person knowledgeable?
- Is this person reliable?
- Is this person a good speaker?
The answer doesn’t need to be “yes” to every single one of these questions, but the more boxes a guest can check, the better.
How to Book Podcast Guests
Much like how you want to find a guest who can help you grow your audience, your potential guest might also be looking for opportunities that can help them grow their own. That’s why your success in booking podcast guests could ultimately rely on how you approach them.
Whether you choose to email them, direct message them on social media, or call them, your pitch should include all of the following elements:
- Your name and credentials
- The name and concept of your podcast
- The reason you’re interested in them, specifically
- A general timeframe
Overall, be confident, courteous, and compelling when communicating with potential podcast guests, both when attempting to book them and when they’re appearing on you show.