5 Tips for Finding the Best Podcast Guests

find the right podcast guests and impress them

Finding guests for your podcast may seem a bit overwhelming at first- especially if you’re just getting started with a new podcast. But, as you’ll discover in today’s episode, finding great guests isn’t just about having large download numbers. It’s really more about knowing where to look, how to impress them, and how to create a great podcasting experience so they share it with others. Today we’ll discuss some of my top tips for finding the best podcast guests.

Here’s what we’re talking about today…

  • What are some of the benefits of having guests on your podcast?
  • How do you find the best guests for your podcast?
  • Ways to prepare your guest to ensure a great recording

recording instructions for audio and video podcasts

Let your guest know in advance what will happen during their podcast recording. We recommend modifying these Google Doc templates and sending them to your guest shortly after they book their recording date.

Sunny Gault | Podcast Coach and Mentor | Independent Podcast Network

Episode Transcript

Finding guests for your podcast may seem a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you’re just getting started with a new podcast. But as you’ll discover in today’s episode, finding great guests isn’t just about having large download numbers. It’s really more about knowing where to look how to impress them, and how to create a great podcasting experience. So they share it with others. Today, we’ll discuss some of my top tips for finding the best podcast guests. Take it away mister radio man. Podcast Your Business.

Hello, and welcome to Podcast Your Business. I’m Sunny Gault. I’m a podcast coach and mentor. And I’ve been doing this whole podcasting thing for about 17 years. I’m the founder and CEO of a company I would love for you to check us out. We’re called Independent Podcast Network. We create a ton of free content like this podcast for anyone that’s interested in podcasting. But we also work with podcasters who want to make money with your show. So check us out at https://independentpodcast.network. Today, I am here to help you create amazing podcasts, especially for those of you who are podcasting for your business, right. So your podcast is somehow connected to your business. And we do this we’re successful because we master the five P’s of podcasting. The five P’s of podcasting is an idea, a concept that I created, and really helping podcasters become successful and to achieve their goals. So the five P’s are prep, plan, produce, promote, and profit. Prep has to do with why you’re even starting to show and really digging in and determining if this is a good fit for you. Plan is all about the look and feel for your podcast and includes the format. Produce is actually creating the content, whether it’s audio or video, which the recording and editing and all that good stuff. Promote is telling people about it, how to get the word out about your show, and profit is making money with your show. So Mr. radio man, which of those peas are we talking about today? Produce.

Finding podcast guests is part of the production process. And it usually happens right in the beginning, as you’re planning a new episode, sometimes you will determine your topic for the episode first, and then you find the guest. I do that a lot. And then other times, you’re going to build the topic around your guest, because you just landed this amazing guests, you just found this person and you know they need to be on your show. Of course, either way, the bottom line is about creating great content for your audience. And having guests with different perspectives can certainly help you do that. So here’s what we’re going to talk about today, we’re gonna go over some of the benefits of having guests on your podcast. If you haven’t launched your show yet, this may be something that you’re considering as you’re thinking about the format for your show. Sometimes, you know, a format requires guests, sometimes it doesn’t obviously, podcast your business. We don’t have guests, it’s just me sharing my ideas and my experience being in this podcasting space with you guys. But other shows that I produce do have guests, and the whole format is really based on that. So how do you know which one to choose? Then we’ll talk about how to find the best guests for your podcast. And that’s what a lot of you are probably tuning into today. So I’ve got five tips to not just find them, but really make them happy and really make your guests work for your show. And we’re also going to talk about ways to prepare your guests for recording. Because it’s not just finding them, it’s keeping them happy. And you know, it’s entertaining your audience. And the whole thing is really connected. Because you want your guests to have a good time you want them to perhaps come back and be a guest again, or at the very least tell other people to come on your show. Right. So that’s kind of an overview of what we’re going to discuss today. And we’re gonna get started right after this quick break.

Should you have guests on your podcast? Is that the best way to communicate the information that you’re trying to get across to your audience? Well, let’s talk about some of the benefits of bringing on guests for your podcast. Some people think that there is less pressure when you have guests because if you are asking open ended questions, which really makes your guests think and they’re not yes or no quick answers, right? They really have to do some digging, then your guest is going to be doing most of the talking. And sometimes people think that’s less pressure to have to kind of fill in the gaps. But here’s the thing, you still need to do the research on your guest and you still need to do your research on the topic. So if you have a guest on Yeah, they may be talking more, but you’re still moderating this. And you always need to maintain control of your show. So that’s really important. Don’t just rely on your guests to to run things. That’s, that’s not what we want to do. Yes, we want their perspective. Yes, they’ve got the expertise and the passion behind it, if we find the right guests, but you still need to be in the driver’s seat. So is there less pressure, it really depends on the individual host. Sometimes people view pressure as having to think of the next question to ask the guest. Sometimes people think, you know, pressure is finding the right guests to come on the show, in general, so they’d rather just do episodes that don’t have guests. So is there less pressure, possibly, it really depends on the individual host. Also, you could have more lively discussions. So if you don’t have to carry the show yourself. As in like, right now for podcasts, your business, it is just me talking. If I am not entertaining enough, or whatever, you guys are probably just gonna go to another episode. So that could be pressure, right? And it is up to me to make the discussion or this little monologue back and forth. A little more exciting. Okay, so could you have more lively discussions, if you had a guest? Well, it really depends on the guest, I’ll tell you what I have had some people, I thought were going to be absolutely amazing on my shows before, not this show, but other shows I’ve produced. And they were great when I was just talking to them on the phone, and then you get a microphone in front of them, and they tense up and they freak out. And so it really depends. And that’s part of your job as a host too, is if your guests gets into that mindset, where they’re starting to freak out, it’s about you making them feel more comfortable, and maybe exposing a little bit more of yourself or sharing a little bit more about whatever you’re talking about, from a more personal level. So they feel more comfortable sharing as well. So can you have more lively discussions? Possibly, but you have to find the right guest.

Increased knowledge, that’s another benefit of having guests on your podcast? I would say definitely, definitely, if you find people who are knowledgeable on whatever the topic is, you know, bringing more perspectives to the table, I think is always a good thing. So you know, you’re hearing their perspective, they’re hearing your perspective, it’s a conversation. Those are the best episodes, I think, and obviously depends on the podcast, but definitely bringing that increased knowledge. That’s, that’s great for your guests, and the podcast in general. Now, I’ve got a lot of experience doing this, because with my parenting shows, that is the format for those shows. So it depends on the podcast depends on the topic. But in general, the format is to have some sort of experts, a common expert or guest, a main guest right for your show. But then to also have parents who have questions about whatever the topic is, or perhaps personal experience, to share their perspective as well. Because it’s not just about whatever the expert says that can sometimes fall into the textbook side of things, especially when you’re talking about parenting topics. Well, this is what the textbook says you should do. And then you have parents, at least on my shows, you’ve got parents who say that’s great, but here’s what I’m personally experiencing in my house. So that’s an example of increased knowledge. It’s not just from the textbook, there’s real world experience as well. And your audience greatly benefits as a result. Another benefit to having guests on your podcast could be reach and growth of your show, because some guests share the content with their audience. Now, if this is something that is really important to you, I definitely would bring it up in the conversations you have back and forth with the guest to see if they are a good fit. Because you need to be on the same page, there’s nothing worse than thinking you’re gonna get this big star on your show this celebrity, and then they don’t do anything to promote it, you might get some SEO value if their name is then the title of the episode. But you could also get your heart broken as well. So just keep that in mind. Can it reach additional people? Can your podcast grow as a result? Yes, but only if they’re willing to share it. So if that’s really important with you, make sure you check in with your guests as you’re prepping them for your show.

So let’s talk about how to find the best guests for your podcast. Okay, and I’ve got I’ve got kind of five tips that fall into this category because it’s not just about literally finding the people. There’s a lot more that’s involved in this process, but all of it is going to result in you getting better guests for your podcast in general. Okay, so tip number one is this. It starts with you you need to ask yourself some really important questions and that is What kind of guests Do you really want to have on your podcast? So you have to know the format of your show really? Well, you know, we talk about your audience avatar, you have to know who you’re reaching out to and who you want your audience to be. Who are you talking to? When you turn on that microphone to record? Who are you actually talking to? And what type of guests would they actually want to hear on your podcast? So ask yourself some of those questions. I would also be really true to yourself as to your expectations with this guest. And we talked about this just a little bit before, what do you expect the guest to do? We talked about it in regards to promoting the show. But maybe you’re expecting your guests to provide more of the content, I don’t really recommend that I recommend that you outline what you want to get out of the conversation and that you provide that to the guest in advance. But you have to know what your expectations are for the guest, if you’re expecting to just hit the record button and they make your show or that episode. Amazing. I don’t think that’s the best way to run a podcast. But if that is your expectation, you better make sure that your guest is under the impression that they are basically giving a dissertation to your audience. So So what do you expect? And does that match what the guest expects as well? Okay, so know your expectations going into this. So that’s, that’s my tip number one.

Tip number two, let’s talk more specifically about how to find potential podcast guests. This can happen in a variety of ways. I always recommend that, again, it starts with you and what you think is best for your audience. So I mentioned earlier, it could start with the topic. So you know, you need to talk about XYZ topic, everybody is talking about it. And you need to have your perspective out there as well. So that’s one way to do it. And then you find people that have experienced it and talking about this and sharing their ideas. A lot of times these are going to be thought leaders in whatever your field happens to be. So for my parenting shows, who are the thought leaders in the parenting space, these could be coaches, authors, teachers, I’ll tell you what, some of the best guests I’ve ever had on my podcast or other podcasters. Because sometimes, you know, you’ll have an expert, you know, so there’s some sort of parenting expert, or whatever your area of expertise is. And they’ll also have a podcast. So this is the best of both worlds. Not only do they get your topic, but they know what it means to podcast, they probably have a great podcasting microphone, they understand how you record podcasts and how they’re released. And they just have a better idea of the expectations. To go along with that I would say YouTubers as well, it’s a little bit different. But usually, if you can handle audio and video, you can also handle just audio if you have an audio only podcast. So think of those leaders in your field that are doing those types of things, and invite them onto your show. You can also look at people that speak at conferences and industry events. It’s not a big jump to say that someone that wants to speak at whatever the event is, let’s say it’s a nursing event, and you’ve got some sort of podcast that’s focused on nurses. Well, it’s not a big leap to say, hey, if they’re going to speak at that event, they might be interested in talking about that very same topic on my podcast. So do some research who is out there already making waves and wanting to talk about this type of stuff. Another thing that we’ve seen, I would say in the last five to 10 years is these websites pop up their services. And they are focused on either being a podcast guests, so the people that want to appear on podcasts, or they are focused on podcasters, who are looking for guests. So you can do a quick Google search. And there are general ones out there that you know, basically, someone would pay a fee. So let’s say oh, I want to be a guest on podcast. So I pay a fee to have my bio put up on all these different sites. And if you just Google “podcast guest”, you’re going to find a bunch of different things.

Now, there’s also services out there which take it one step further. I think these are a little bit more professional, a little bit more organized, where they work directly with people who want to be guests on podcast, they prep them, they do research to determine what types of podcasts would be best for them to appear on. They do a lot of the background and the follow up and the emailing and everything that’s involved. So the two services that you could check out would be interview valet. I personally know the guys over there. So I think that’s great service. I’ve also worked with interview connections. So if you just Google either of those, you’re going to get a guest that is very well prepared. Now that doesn’t mean they’re going to have a guest right then and there. That is a good fit for your podcast, but it is just one more way to find people bowl, media and PR companies. After you have been podcasting for a while, they are going to start reaching out to you, if you have any sort of web presence, where you can be found through Google, you are eventually going to get media and PR companies sending you one sheets of whoever the expert is, and like, you know, a laundry list of topics that they could explore. And they do a pretty good job, I think it’s a good idea to have relationships with these companies. I would just encourage you, if you’re thinking about having one of these people, these experts that come from the media and PR companies on your show, I would ask what other podcasts they’re appearing on. Because the only downside really is oh, well, this expert was on this show. And then they’re on their show, they’re basically making the podcasting rounds, not saying that’s a bad thing, necessarily, because you’re gonna bring your own questions. And, you know, a guest being on your show is going to sound different than a guest being on another show simply because this is your show, and you do things a different way. But for somebody who is just scrolling through podcast episodes, and they see the same gas, and all these different shows, will they skip over some of these episodes, possibly. So that’s just one thing to consider in bringing in these experts that, again, are coming from media and PR companies, and may be appearing on a bunch of different podcasts. The other thing is, the guests that you already have on the show can be great for recommending other guests. So a lot of times after I’m done interviewing someone, I will say, hey, you know, we’ve got these other topics that are coming up, do you have anybody else that would be great to be on the show that can talk about these different things, maybe they do, maybe they don’t, if you do a good job, they are more likely to recommend you. And we’re going to talk about that a little bit more towards the end of today’s episode.

So tip number three, we just talked about how to find potential guests. So hopefully, that gives you a bunch of ideas. Tip number three is getting your guests booked. Because just because you find someone, really the real work is getting them on your show. And even knowing that they opened the email or knowing that you reached out to them that’s like a big win. Because you know, it is it’s like you open your email box, and everybody is just spammed and, you know, we’re trying to get through emails, get to inbox zero, all of that stuff. And sometimes things fall through the cracks. I know for me, personally, I’m always going through my spam and my trash. Because it’s like the email doesn’t know like the email provider doesn’t know is this spammers a trash I have so many good things end up in spam. So whatever the case may be, if you’re going to reach out to people, you know, you need to make sure that you actually make some sort of connection with them. If you’re going to do email, I do recommend email introduction. So if you know someone that knows the guest, it is always better to have some sort of introduction as opposed to you just reaching out to the guest, that always looks better. And usually that happens through email. So yeah, you know, may end up in spam or trash, you’ve got all of that kind of stuff to deal with. But if you’re going to do email, try to get some sort of recommendation or introduction, that usually works pretty well. I also recommend you connect with the guest in multiple ways. So if you’re going to send an email fantastic. also reach out on Facebook, Twitter, know where they’re at online and see if you can get one additional way to reach out. It’s just for protection, right? Because sometimes you don’t have a lot of time and you’re trying to schedule guests. And so I always find that it’s helpful if you can connect with them in multiple ways, social media is a great way to do that if you are on social. Now what are you actually sending them? What are you saying to them, it’s really important that your podcasts have some sort of a one sheet. So that just literally means one sheet don’t make it really complicated. That explains what your show is, who the host is the type of topics that you talk about, things like that, how can they find you? Are you on social media? Where can they you know, listen to your episodes, all of that, that’s called a one sheet. And for example, if you guys have a Canva subscription, then they’ve got a bunch of different templates for that. So always guide people, if you need a one sheet go to Canva and then you just kind of fill in fill in the gaps right fill in the spaces for that have a one sheet to share with your guests that really hypes you up and and really sell yourself I know this feels a little weird to a lot of people but up sell your podcast. If you’ve been podcasting for a little bit, tell them about your downloads. It doesn’t matter if it’s a ton of downloads are not, don’t get hung up on your download number. What else can you provide that may be of interest to the expert? Can you somehow um add them to a mailing list or you know, promote the episode on your newsletter. You know, are you going to have backlinks to their website? A lot of time experts are looking for those backlinks because that really helps promote their website. Do you have a section on your site where you can link to them? Do they get their own URL? So for example, for the parenting shows that I talked about our parenting podcast, not only does the expert up here, on the episode page, but they have their own link. So we have, we’ve got a section on the site for all of our experts. And so they have their own link, which is great for SEO value. And it will list all of the episodes that they have appeared on or you know, they contributed to our blog posts or videos or whatever it is. So that’s a great link that a lot of people link to on their site, because they’re, you know, trying to show people their accomplishments and what they’ve done. So that we use that a lot to get guests on the shows, also your social presence, you know, and promoting them and doing all that kind of stuff. So really sell the podcast, not just your downloads, but everything else that is connected to your podcast, and how that can help your expert or your guest. I also recommend knowing your podcast topic in advance, or at least having an idea, I wouldn’t just reach out to an expert and say we just you know, we’d love to have you on the show doesn’t matter what you talk about, we just think you’re fabulous. No, again, this goes back to maintaining control of your episode. If that is the case, though, truly, and you just want the guests on your show, that’s okay. But come up with a few episode topics to suggest to them and even say, hey, we’d be open to other ideas, but don’t just leave it open ended, if it is very specific. So let’s say you determine your topic in advance and you’re finding you know, a guest or expert to be on your show to talk about that topic, then perhaps go into a little bit more in depth of what the topic is about, maybe give an overview and some bullet points of some of the things that you plan to talk about on the episode and then why you think that they would be a good fit for that. And then the final part really, in getting your guests booked, is going with some sort of scheduling or booking platform that’s built into an online calendar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been a guest on somebody else’s podcast. And this has gone awry, because their system, their booking system is pretty poor, let’s just put it that way. And it creates a lot of confusion. And that’s the last thing you want for your guests. Your guests should never be confused on your expectations for them how the recording is going to go and what to expect. This all starts with having some sort of online calendar and booking platform, so they get reminders, and everybody is on the same page. Okay.

Tip number four is the next step is really preparing your guests for the recording, letting them know the plan in advance. And this does tie in with with booking them right through the online scheduler. But then how do they know where to go? Where to be what to wear? Is this audio? Or is it video? Right? There’s all these questions that they may have, especially if you’re going through and assistant, someone that is helping with the booking process. So make sure there’s a plan, when are they going to get additional information, maybe you have it set up so that you schedule the guests and then all the information for the episode is sent out a week before recording. That’s okay, if that’s your system. And that’s how you have things set up. But let them know that in advance. So let’s say they schedule with you confirm the scheduling and then send them something that says, hey, we’re going to provide all this information for you. And further details, the recording link, whatever you have to give them one week or two weeks, or whatever your timeframe is before the recording. And we will be reaching out to you at that time. This is all about planning, letting them know what’s going on. I like providing some sort of script or outline in advance for how the show is going to unfold. And you could do that easily through Google Docs. And then you just send them the link. And if you need to make changes to it, it automatically updates on there and as well. And also recording instructions. So sometimes people don’t have a lot of experience with this whole recording process for a podcast. So I like to give them detailed instructions on what to do. And you know, if you have this external microphone, please bring it make sure it’s connected, go to this link. It’s, you know, not everybody needs that kind of information, but it’s there. If this is their first time if they’re nervous, at least they have it. So those are a couple things that you could provide as part of this planning process and letting them know what is coming up for the recording.

And then my tip number five is just you know, when you get to the point where it’s time to record, you’ve done all the hard work. You have found the guest you have done all of your prep work whether you’re you know, doing research on the gas, you’re doing research on the topic. So that is not the moment to cram for your final exam here, okay, which is the recording, that is your time to let go, relax and have fun. Trust in your prep work for all of this. And at all costs, make sure your guests feel comfortable, allow them an opportunity to promote themselves, that’s usually something that happens at the end. But don’t forget that, because yes, I’m sure they want to be on your show, just out of the goodness of their heart. But give them some time to allow other people to connect with them, and to show off the other projects and things that they’re working on, that they’re proud of. And then of course, thank them, and let them know when the episode will be released. If you do all of that, you guys and I know it’s a lot, and every guest is going to be a little bit different, you may not have to do everything every time. But if you do that, with finesse, I promise you, not only are you going to score amazing guests for your show, but they’re going to be talking about you, they will share it with other people. And they will make this whole process so much easier for you. All right, we’re gonna take a quick break, I’ve got a freebie for you on the other side.

So earlier, when we were talking about preparing your guests for the recording, I talked about giving them some sort of plan, letting them know what the plan is. And this can be as detailed as you want. But that could include recording instructions. Now that is our freebie for today. I love giving recording instructions and letting people know what to expect as part of this whole recording and post production process. And that’s what I’m going to share with you guys. So if you want to see the it’s actually a Google document, you can have it in any kind of format you want. But we usually have it as a Google Doc and we send them the link, it’s included in the calendar event, right. So there’s like a section and notes and stuff where, okay, on this date, I’m recording with this person. And then there’s a link to this document which outlines everything for them. So if you want a copy of that, if you want to check it out, you can modify it again, every podcast is a little bit different. But check it out for yourself. See if it works, add stuff, subtract stuff, whatever works for you guys. I’m gonna include the link to that in the description below. And it will take you to our website at https://independentpodcast.network. Please check out the website stay we’ve got more great episodes like this podcast episodes, blog posts, I have entire free courses on how to podcast how to run dynamic ads on your show. Just go up to the search bar and type in whatever podcasting topic you want to know more about. And if I don’t have something let me know and I will add it to the side I promise. So check us out https://independentpodcast.network. Until next week, remember… you should start a podcast!

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