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6 Tactical Steps for Booking Bigger and Better Podcast Guests
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Join in as Andy Wang explains different ways that he’s landed big-name guests since launching his podcast. In this post, you’ll learn strategies and tactics for booking more prominent and more experienced guests for your podcast. Andy shares his outreach methods, who to contact, and helpful resources.
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I’ll share tactics that have yielded great results on my own podcast. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, as well as Katie Cassidy, who played Laurel Lance/Black Canary on Arrow ( TV show). Others include. Ready Player One screenwriter Zack Penn and Silicon Valley investor Guy Kawasaki, to name a few.
It doesn’t matter if you start from scratch. If I did, so can you.
Set goals the right way
It’s important to write down your podcasting goals, and I want you to do that today. For starters, keep it simple.
Write down 10 guests you want to book. This list should be a mix of those that you think are possible and a few long shots.
Then I want you to set a goal to “fail” a hundred times this year. You can break that up into smaller sections of three months, which equals receiving 25 NOs. This is much harder than you think. That’s because you probably won’t get a response to most applications, and those don’t count.
How I set up my podcast pitch
When I want to invite someone to my show, I usually send a short invitation with a link to a landing page.
This page includes:
- A few past guests (a little name-dropping can go a long way).
- A booking link. This is a very efficient approach because the invitations are emailed when people accept them, and the date is automatically added to my calendar.
I love getting these emails with automatic bookings in my Outlook calendar. But I also like the cancelations because I’m trying to reach the hundred.
Either way, remember that you’re committing to a process that will allow you to attract a good guest. You’ll get some rejections, but you also never know who’ll accept. It’s like a board game. Sometimes you get ahead, and sometimes you lose a round. The important thing is that you keep playing.
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, here are the six tactics to attract bigger guests to your podcast.
This post is a transcription of one of the talks from our PodPros Quarterly Virtual events.
No. 1 Start with your own network
See who in your circle of acquaintances might be considered potential podcast guests. Look at your family and friends first.
My first guest was Jim Kimo, a longtime guitarist for “Weird Al” Yankovic. He also happens to be a friend.
Make yourself known and let people in your social circle know you’re looking for guests. It’s only a matter of time before you get referrals and introductions.
No. 2 Join Podmatch
No. 3 Check out who’s appearing on other podcasts.
Once you’ve exhausted your entire personal network, this is the next step. When I listen to other podcasts and come across a guest I’d like to have on my show, I send them an invitation. It works! This is how I landed Tony Horton, the pioneer of the famous P90X workout, on my show.
My brother had heard Tony on a podcast and told me about it, and I went to Tony Horton’s website and sent a message on the contact page. Within a week, I had a date booked on my calendar for an interview with Tony!
You never know where you’re going to get that yes. Sometimes it just happens super fast.
Listen Notes.com and podchaser.com can be very helpful: Both sites let you listen to shows and create a playlist. This helps you organize and keep track target guests you want. You can also get notified when a particular guest appears on a podcast. This is how I got an interview with Jamie Metzl, author of Hacking Darwin.
I saw that he was appearing on a number of podcasts. After listening to a few shows, I went to his website and sent him an email. A week later. I went to his apartment in New York City to record an episode.
No. 4 Timing is everything.
You may have to be a polite stalker to do this. Be on the lookout for public figures who are promoting a new project, such as a book, movie or TV show. Barnes & Noble is a fantastic place to look for new releases, and even better “coming soon” books.
With about a one to three-month lead time, you can contact the publisher, who often helps promote the new releases. In my experience, it helps to reach a lot of people. You don’t know where to get the Yes or when you’ll going to get the nos.
Then there are publicists and PR companies that work with celebrities. You can try to reach out to their agent. I think that’s a long shot, but it never hurts to try.
I used this exact technique to get Ryan Serhant of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York” on my show. Getting a celebrity guest doesn’t always translate into a big hit with downloads. But for me, Ryan’s episode is one of the most downloaded.
I think a lot of listeners recognize his name from TV.
I tend to do a lot of research and prepare for interviews, if possible I try to read the guest’s book. I’m sure you’ve your own approach. After all, no one can do you better than you. So lean into that. When I interview a celebrity or an author, I try to be strategic and take into account what my audience wants to hear.
In short, have good questions and be prepared.
No. 5 Make friends with publicists and podcast bookers
I used to ignore 98% of email pitches until I realized the mistake I was making. I was missing out on the opportunity to tell podcast bookers and publicists exactly what kind of guest I was interested in!
If a show was booked through a podcast booker or publicist, you should send that person feedback afterward and thank them for making the interview happen. They’re usually very active in scheduling and monitoring the entire process. At the end, you can ask who else they work with and find out if there are any other good guests.
Another task is to provide a great experience for the guests. You should be well prepared, ask thoughtful questions, and build rapport. Don’t forget to ask if your guest has any friends they can recommend.
Tony Horton actually recommended a guest during his interview. After I finished recording, I said, “Hey Tony, you mentioned Scotty Pfeiffer. Can you hook me up with him?” He replied, “Absolutely.” Always be on the lookout for heartfelt introductions like this. They’re very helpful.
No. 6 Attend live events and conferences
It’s super portable and easy to set up before the conference. I often email speakers and direct them to a landing page set up specifically for that conference. They can then use the booking link to select a day and time.
You can then follow up via email to find out where you’ll be recording in person at an event. Ahat gives you access to people who’d likely be difficult to reach.
Many public figures, often think to themselves, “While I’m there, I might as well do a podcast recording.” I’ve done this at Podcast Movement, Inbound Fin Con, and even at a LinkedIn event. Not only has it allowed me to get guests that would have been hard to schedule otherwise, but it also gives you the opportunity to record 5, 6, or 7 interviews at a time.
And with a weekly show, that’s one or two months’ worth of content!
In conclusion: I hope these six tips have set you on the right path to booking bigger guests. Get out there and invite great guests to your podcast!
About Andy Wang
Andy Wang is the host of Inspired Money, recognized by Forbes as a Top 10 Personal Finance Podcast By Financial Advisors. He has been named among the INVESTOPEDIA 100: Most Influential Advisors, Top 100 Most Social Financial Advisors by Brightscope, and has appeared on Reuters TV, Barron’s, and Forbes. Andy has been a featured speaker at industry conferences including Inbound, Fincon, and Podfest. He is co-founder of the Asian American Podcasters Association.