How to Make Your Podcast Guests Happy

tips from a podcast host and podcast guest

If you have an interview-based show, you’re going to need to schedule and record with guests. Not only is it important to pick the right guests for your topic and your audience, but there are certain things you should do to simplify the process and make them feel as comfortable as possible. These are unwritten rules, but they make a world of difference. Today we’re talking about how to make your podcast guests happy.

In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss…

  • Finding the right guests
  • Contacting and scheduling your guests
  • Getting great stories and information from guests
  • Encouraging guests to promote the episode

“What to Expect as a Guest on My Podcast” Audio Only:

“What to Expect as a Guest on My Podcast” Video and Audio:

Sample Podcast Script

Here’s a sample podcast script and outline I’ve been using to produce amazing interview-based podcasts for nearly two decades!

Sunny Gault | Podcast Coach and Mentor | Independent Podcast Network

Episode Transcript

If you have an interview based show, you’re going to need to schedule and record with guests. Not only is it important to pick the right guests for your topic and your audience, but there are certain things you should do to simplify the process and make them feel as comfortable as possible. These are unwritten rules, but they make a world of difference. Today, we’re talking about how to make your podcast guests happy. Take it away radio man. Podcast Your Business.

Hey, hey, everyone, welcome to Podcast Your Business. My name is Sunny Gault. I am a podcast coach and mentor and I’ve been podcasting for 17 years. Prior to that I was in radio and television. So I have tons of experience. I’m also the founder and CEO of Independent Podcast Network, I’d love for you to check us out at, we provide a ton of free resources for podcasters, just like you. And then if you’re at the level where you’re ready to monetize your show, we can help you with that. But today, I’m here to help you create amazing podcasts specifically for your business. That’s what we focus on. And we do this by mastering the five P’s of podcasting. Thank you, Mister radio, man. So the five Ps of podcasting, this is something that I created based on seeing podcasters progress. And knowing what you really need to do in order to make this whole podcasting thing work. So the five P’s are prep, plan, produce, promote, and profit. By the way, I have a whole course it’s a free course that you can take on each of these. And each of the peas are different modules. So if you want more information on that, it’s on our website. But today, we’re going to talk about one of these p so let’s go through them. So prep is should you start a podcast, that’s one the first question you should ask yourself is should you really do this thing? Then when we talk about plan, it’s about the look and feel for your show your format and things like that. Produce is actually physically creating the content, promote us telling everyone about it. And then profit, of course, is making money. So each of our topics here on podcast, your business focus on what are those peas, Mr. Radio man? What are we talking about today? Plan.

Yep, I’m putting today’s topic in the plan category. Really just because it starts with planning. When we talk about making our podcast guests happy. It kind of starts in the planning process, produce and promote are also part of this whole thing. So it really depends on what you’re focused on, which P it falls in. But let’s go with plan today. Here’s what we’re going to discuss in the episode, we’re going to talk about finding the right guests. Because if you don’t even start with finding the right guests, there’s no way to make your guests happy, right? We’re talking about contacting and scheduling your guests, preparing your guests for the recording. And then when you’re in the recording process, how do you get those great stories and information from your guests? How How were you a good host to be able to get those great stories. And then we’re also going to talk about encouraging your guests to promote the episode because I know that’s kind of a big thing, right? You do all this work with the guests and the guest doesn’t even promote. So I’ll give you my tips and tricks on that. We’ll get started with all of this right after this quick break.

As you guys know, I’ve been podcasting for many years, I have interviewed hundreds of guests. And if you count my radio and TV background, I would guess 1000s of guests, I’ve also been a guest on many different types of podcasts. So what I am telling you today is based on my personal experience, and it’s unique, because I’ve been on both sides. And trust me, I’ve got a lot to say. So let’s get into this. Let’s start with talking about finding the right guests for your show. There’s basically two different options here. Either you are seeking them out, or they are seeking you out. One but one of the two, right when you seek your own guests out. And usually this involves some sort of online process, right? You’re googling guests. Perhaps you read their book, you heard them on another podcast, but you are doing the initial outreach. Those are usually the best guests because you know your show the best. So you’re probably not going to spend all the time and effort to track down someone that you don’t think is a good fit for your podcast. I encourage you to watch other interviews that this guests that you’re thinking about having on your show have been on. So go on YouTube or whatever video platform, see if they have any videos just search for their name, search for their name and other podcasts. Just do googling for their names, see what kind of content comes up because you’re probably going to be able to learn a lot, not just information but you’re also looking for are they a good gas? Are they interesting? Are they bland, all kinds of stuff that is pretty important before you invite them on your podcast. So let’s talk about the second one. And that is, I call this people making the podcasting rounds. These are people that are specifically reaching out to podcast, I don’t slam them, because it can be really helpful, especially if you had a guest canceled last minute, or you just kind of fell behind schedule, it is nice for people to reach out to you. So this would be a combination of things, the first thing that comes to mind for me are PR companies. If your podcast has been around for a decent amount of time, you are going to get on some lists. And PR companies are going to start to reach out to you and they’re going to pitch their guests. So that’s one way that this can happen. There are also websites out there, they’ve been springing up more and more over the last few years specifically for podcast guests. Usually those are podcasters, doing some outreach and going to these sites to find guests. So that’s more with bullet point number one. But still, that could be another resource. Also just general email solicitations that kind of goes on with the PR companies. But that could be an expert just reaching out to you, personally. So it doesn’t have to be through a PR company. But you’ll start to get email solicitations to I do find that the PR companies have done some screening and prepping with their guests. So those guests have a tendency to be a little bit more polished, I guess I should say. That can be good and bad. That’s just something to kind of know in advance. Okay, my recommendation of people meeting guests potential guests are reaching out to you to be on your podcast. A lot of times they will pitch themselves, they will say hey, such and such holiday is coming up, we can talk about XYZ topics or this has been in the news lately, let’s talk about XYZ topics. Don’t necessarily just go with their topics, I view any kind of you know, topics or ideas that they give you. Those are just ways to start talking about other topics, okay, it kind of gives you a ballpark of what they feel comfortable talking about. But if you just go with their topics, and you know that they’re making the podcast rounds, know that there are going to be several other podcasts out there talking about the exact same thing as yours now, is that horrible? Not necessarily, because you’re gonna bring your own pizzazz to it, you’re gonna ask different questions, hopefully. So, you know, it’s not going to be the exact same episode. But I, you know, I still don’t want to talk about the exact same thing everyone else is talking about. So consider using those topics as a guide, and then maybe thinking of a different topic or perhaps a slightly different angle, and be creative. Really think about what would be in the best interest of your audience? What did they really need to hear? Okay, so that’s a little bit about finding the right guests, again, I still think the best way is to find them yourself. But going through other sources and people reaching out to you can really help.

Next, let’s talk about contacting and scheduling those guests. So if you are the person making the first contact, then you can reach out to them through email. But as we all know, email is overused. Hardly any of us can get to inbox zero, because we just got tons of spam and stuff gets lost in email, and it goes to the junk folder and all this other crazy stuff. So yes, you can send an email, maybe that is the first thing you do, maybe you’ll get lucky. But be prepared to try something else. So one of the things that I like to do is asked for referrals. Sometimes I’ll go on LinkedIn and see if anyone else I know knows that person, maybe they’re willing to do some sort of email introduction, those are great, any kind of referrals that you can get, hey, this is Sonny, she does this podcast, I thought you’d be a really good fit. If you can get someone to say that on your behalf. That’s pretty awesome. So consider referrals. also reaching out to the people directly through social media, sometimes that does help. So see what social media they’re promoting on their website, if any, go to Twitter, go to Telegram, go to Facebook or Instagram, whatever they’re promoting. And leave them a message that way short and sweet. You know, don’t make it super long. But that can be a great way to outreach to avoid the email and the other. The other way that I’ve used is online groups. So I’m not really on social media anymore. But when I was I would use Facebook groups. And now I’m still on LinkedIn. And I’ll post there a lot, but we are on LinkedIn. And so I could get into different groups there and connect with people and it’s just, it’s just different than email. That’s what we’re trying to avoid here. Okay, so that gives you some ideas of ways if you are making the first contact that you can reach out to try to connect with a guest. What are you going to say to them? First of all, you need to keep this short and sweet. All right, you need to explain what your show is about Very quickly, I’m talking like two sentences, something really, really just short and sweet. So tell them what your show is about. Point them to where they can listen. And then give them an idea of what you want to talk to them about. You don’t have to go on and on. You don’t have to like sugarcoat everything. You don’t have to give them your podcast numbers. You don’t have to do any of that. I’m telling you don’t waste your time. Until you know, they’re somewhat interested because that’s exactly what it is. And you’re just wasting your time. You’re just dangling a carrot right now. Hey, I exist. I would love to talk to you about XYZ. Hey, if you’d like to listen to the show, here’s a quick link. Okay, that’s all you’re doing.

Now, if you get to the point where they’re like, Yeah, I want to be on your show. Now we need to talk about scheduling them. Please be organized about this. Again, going back to email, the worst thing you can do is go back and forth. Hey, does Saturday at 3pm work for you? And they email back? No, that doesn’t work. I don’t work weekends, How about Monday at two. Sorry, that doesn’t work for me, blah, blah, blah. But that is like the worst way to do this. Nowadays, most people have online schedulers, you definitely need to have one and they may have one that they want to use. So be flexible with that. But I highly recommend that you use an online scheduler. And if it’s your scheduler, make sure that you’ve got those reminders turned on. So that something goes out at least 24 hours before a recording. I know sometimes you can do like multiple reminders, just don’t overdo it, right? I think a lot of times, it’s like 24 hours before and an hour before. So figure out what that is don’t send too many. But that can be very, very helpful. And then make sure, and a lot of times this is done through an online scheduler but make sure it creates a calendar invite for the recording. Because a lot of people especially if they’re professionals, you know, I live according to my digital calendar, okay, if it is not on my calendar, it is not happening. So I really appreciate when someone sends out a calendar invite, it automatically goes into my calendar, and then I don’t miss it, there’s no opportunity for me to miss it. Because that is what guides my schedule every day. So make sure there’s a calendar invite that goes out. And to go along with that you guys, especially when you’re first setting this up, test the tech to make sure it’s working properly. So recently, I was on a podcast. And we had to reschedule this thing a few different times for different reasons. But one of the first things that I noticed is this person did have a calendar, you know, invite that went out, it appeared on my calendar, but all it said was podcast. And for me, everything I do is podcast related. So that description was horrible, right. So make sure your description is good. Make sure that the reminders are going out when you want any information is included in the invite that you want to include. Another issue with this is that because we had to schedule the recording a couple of times, I kept getting reminders from stuff we had cancelled. And I have no idea why. Oh, and the other thing was, it actually was appearing twice in my calendar. So let’s say the interview was Monday at 8am, I would get two entries that said podcast Monday at 8am. And it was very annoying to me to the point that I was like super close to just canceling the interview. Because of the tech because I was like, this is really annoying. I’m just like, I guess I’m just really anal retentive about some stuff. And I did not like it showing up on my calendar that way. So the moral of the story is test your tech, you know, have your friend create a fake appointment with you for recording and go through the process to make sure it’s showing up. And it’s giving your guests the information that your guest is going to need. And to go along with all this communication, it’s always better. If each side has a single point person. I’ve had it happen to me multiple times where I’m trying to schedule a guest for an interview, and I’m going through their assistant but then I’m also talking to the guest and then sometimes I’m talking to the PR company. So it’s very confusing as a podcaster to have to try to figure that out. So limit it, you know, to one person if you can.

Now let’s talk about preparing guests for the recording because you want to have a recording that sounds good that everyone feels good about that they’re well prepared. So one of the first things that I do and this kind of ties into the whole calendar invite, but immediately after a booking, I send them a link with info on what to expect. Okay, so hey, you just, you know booked to be a guest To on the podcast, here’s what you can expect from here, you’re going to get XYZ from me …. whatever that is, I like to give them a general overview of what they’re going to expect as a guest on my podcast. Now, there’s a lot of stuff you can put in to a document like that. I literally have it as a Google Doc that I include in a link, and then I put that link in the calendar invite. And that’s really important, too. The more succinct you can make all of this, the better. You don’t want your guests going back into old emails and getting really frustrated going, where is that link? Where’s the link? Where’s the recording link? I mean, that’s the biggest thing, Oh, my goodness, it’s not knowing what recording platform to record on where is the link, because people will send out too many emails. And between, you know, myself or an assistant or whatever is going on, there’s just too much to review. So keep everything as succinct as possible. Now, that document that I was telling you about where I said, there’s a bunch of stuff you could include, I realized I went over that really quickly, I do have some samples that I’m going to link to in the description for this video of what I typically send out, you can copy that just make a copy of it, and then change it up based on whatever you do for your show. But that’s a great way to get started. So that’s the first thing I do, I send out that, you know, document and it gives them an overview of what to expect as a guest.

Now let’s talk about pre-interviews. A lot of podcasters think you have to do a pre-interview, if you don’t, you’re a bad host. And I’m here to tell you that that’s a bunch of lies. Okay? You should only do pre interviews, if it’s for the guests benefit, not yours. What do I mean by that? Pros do not need a pre interview. Okay? They’ve done this a million times. Usually, when I’m a guest on shows, a lot of times they ask for pre-interviews, and I’m thinking, so this is definitely for their benefit, because I’ve done this a million times, and I teach people how to podcast. So this is not for my benefit at all. Anything that I need to do to prepare for this. I can do without a pre-interview, right? I can have a script, I can research the podcast, I can do things like that on my own time. Do we really have to set up another time? And the answer’s no. Who does need that, though? Okay, so let me do the flip side as a podcaster. A lot of the people that I interview for those parenting shows that I do are average, everyday parents that don’t have any experience, they may be sharing a very personal story. They might be nervous for a whole multitude of reasons. So I find that nervous, let’s say non techie people that might be concerned about equipment, and what link Do I go to? And, you know, how does this work and I bought this microphone, but I don’t know how to set it up. Those are the kinds of people that need pre interviews. So again, it’s for the guests benefit, not yours. As a podcast hosts, you should do some of the things that I’ve already mentioned through going through on videos and other podcast episodes and researching the guest online, you should have everything you need. In order to do the interview. It’s okay to ask them if they want to pre interview no problem with that, but do not expect it. If you are going to do a pre interview, treat it like a dress rehearsal. So schedule it with the recording platform that you’re going to use on recording day. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves is that I’m going to be on a podcast, they send me a zoom link, but the actual recording is with squad cast or Zen caster or something like that. So we’re not even testing what we’re going to be doing. So treat it like a dress rehearsal, make it short, 30 minutes or less emphasis on the less. Also do it one week or less before the real interview. This is supposed to be like when you do a real dress rehearsal because I also have a background in theater. You do that right before the performance. But I am telling you, I’ve been on podcasts where the pre interview is done like two months before the recording. And I completely forgot what we talked about in the pre-interview. So if I forgot it, the guests probably or you know, the host probably forgot it as well. I’m the guest in this situation. So do it one week or less before the real interview.

Also, to help your guests prepare, I like to send a script or outline of what we’re going to be talking about in the recording. I like to send that in advance. And if you guys want I’ll include a sample link to the script that I typically send my stuff is a combination of script and outline. We’ve talked about this on previous episodes. So you can go ahead and search for that if you haven’t heard me talk about this yet, but I’m happy to include the Google document that is Send that is basically a kind of scripty outline. I send that in advance. And the reason I send is because I want them to prepare, if they have an overview of exactly what we’re going to talk about during the recording, then that helps them prepare, you can always change up your questions. By the way, I’m not saying it’s gonna go exactly according to plan. In fact, that’s very boring. But I can’t tell you how many guests have thanked me for that. And I can’t tell you how many times it’s a guest on other podcasts, I have wished that someone would send me what in the world we’re going to be talking about. Because even if we do the pre interview, I still don’t know questions, I’m still you know, it’s still kind of like all over the map. So definitely a lot more planning can be done. And all of that makes your guests feel more comfortable. Which leads me into the next point….

Let’s talk about recording and getting great stories. First of all, just standard etiquette here, be at the interview at least 10 minutes early arrive at the link, I’m assuming most people are recording remotely. So arrive on the recording page at least 10 minutes early. Make sure you’ve done your research, please know how to say their name and business correctly. The moment someone mispronounces my name, or instead of independent Podcast Network says independent podcast or independent podcast business or I don’t know they mess it up, they’ve kind of lost some credibility with me, because they have my speaker sheets, they have all the information on me. So it’s just it’s not a good luck, right. So know how to say their name and business correctly. Preferably, before you even get on the call. Review the script and outline with them. This doesn’t have to take a long time, okay, but just kind of run through. Maybe they didn’t get a chance to see it beforehand. Okay, so now you’ve got you know, a couple minutes, just run through the script or outline with them. If they need to know anything about the recording platform, like this is how you mute yourself. This is how you turn off your video, if you’re recording video, whatever they need to know about the recording platform, tell them that as well. Make them feel comfortable. That’s the goal here. And here’s the thing, I’m talking to all the podcast hosts out there, the onus is on you, you have to do the impressing, even if the guest reached out to you and said, Hey, I’d love to be on your show. They are still what your guest What do you do with guests, you treat them like guests, it’s up to you to impress them, it’s up to you to make things simple for them nights, not vice versa. Okay, I say things like, Hey, don’t worry, if you make a mistake, we can always go back, you know, I’m going to edit this, this isn’t live, you know, we’re going for, you know, just a casual conversation, pretend it’s just you and me having a cup of coffee, chatting about whatever it is we’re talking about today. So do what you can to make them feel comfortable. Hopefully, they’re not rushed. Hopefully, you know, you gave them every info, you know, all the information they need for the recording platform. And, you know, they’ve got everything that they need their computer, you know, is compatible with the program, all that kind of stuff should bit incent in advance. Because if you’re doing that the day of the recording, they are going to be frustrated. And by the time you press that record button, you know, you know you don’t know what’s going to come out of their mouth. Okay. Listen, while they’re talking, ask follow up questions at genuinely interested, because you should be interested, you should not just be going through the motions. If you feel like you’re just gonna go through the motions and why even record podcasts, audiences are very savvy, and they are going to know if you’re just faking it. Okay, so be sincere. I also like to ask the question at the end of every interview, is there anything else you want to talk about? Or is there anything else that you want to say about that? This has been one of my best questions that I’ve ever asked people because, you know, I kind of have my list of stuff that I want to say. And then after that, sometimes they open up sometimes something, you know, it triggers something in them, sometimes they just say no. Okay, so I don’t want to build this up too much. But I always ask, is there anything else you want to talk about? And it may be the best question, see what they say? Stay on time with your interviewer respect their time. If you’re having tech issues or whatever, and you realize you’re gonna go over ask them, How much time do you have? Maybe you have to reschedule. Maybe you lose the interview. But the worst thing is they have to miss something else because you’re still recording because either you went over on content or there was a tech issue or something like that.

Now, a couple things that people have done when I’m a guest on a podcast, I’ve never done this, but some guests may like this is that post interview so it’s usually like the day after maybe it’s the same day that you get some sort of Thank you Email. I think this probably means more for people that haven’t done podcasts a lot. So if it’s someone you did a pre interview with as well, because you thought they might be a little nervous, maybe that’s someone you want to send an email to, and just say, Hey, I think you did a great job. Thank you so much for your time today. Honestly, when I get these, I think it’s sweet at the moment and then I instantly forget about it. So for somebody like me, who’s more on the pro side of stuff, doesn’t mean as much to me, I’ve been getting these automatic emails lately that thanked me and then asked me to follow the show, and subscribe here. Like, no, I don’t think I’m gonna do that. But thanks for letting me know.

All right. last bullet point here is how do we encourage guests to promote their episode? The first thing is, if they have a great time on the show, that’s where it all starts, right? If it’s a crappy interview, they’re not going to promote it. Okay, so do a really good job as a host be entertaining, be fun. You know, that’s the first thing, but also don’t expect them to promote it. Yes. Should you ask them? Yeah, absolutely ask them. But I’ll tell you what, you know, for my parenting shows, I relied on a bunch of different sources for experts. And in fact, at one point, when we were in regular production for the podcast, I relied on hospitals and their PR staff to help me because I needed a lot of OB GYN ends and people like that. Do you know no matter how many times after one of their episodes came out, I would contact the people that set up the interview, I would, you know, reach out to them through social I did everything and never did they promote it because I thought that’d be amazing exposure, right? Because like a hospital’s Twitter has a bunch of followers, right? If they could just retweet what I posted about the content that we created with them, that would be amazing. In the three or four years that I was doing this, I don’t think a hospital ever promoted. Okay, so I learned to kind of not expected it would been amazing. I don’t think it ever really happened. Okay. The other thing is when the episode is finally released, and by the way, do that, within two months of recording it, I had someone recently say, oh, and I think this was actually after the recording. So now I asked before, but after the recording, they said, Oh, this isn’t going to come out for six months. And I’m like, Excuse me? Who does that? Because let me tell you, especially for the people, the pros, right, they usually have something to promote, that’s usually what they focus their whole little, you know, talk on or whatever, you know, it needs to be sooner than that they’re expecting this to go out sooner, not six months, right. So two months is kind of like the max. Okay. So when the episode does come out, within two months of recording, what I like to do is if you’re on social media, follow the person or the group or whatever, follow them on social media be the first follow, okay, then when the episode comes out, post about it, be sure to tag them include some sort of visual not just taxed, because that’s really boring. Alright, so make a post about it, make sure you tag them because someone from their group or them, they should see it, and the easiest thing to do is to get them to retweet, or, you know, forward or whatever platform you’re on, you know, not just like something because that doesn’t do as much but repost whatever the case may be. That’s, that’s really what you’re after there, to ask them to do a special post about it. You can ask, they don’t usually do that. So don’t expect that. But you know, getting them involved somehow like retweeting it, or whatever isn’t as big of a deal. Then also send them a follow up email, make sure you include the direct link to your episode, which should be something on your website, if at all possible. Because why are we promoting Apple podcast? Why are we promoting Google, they don’t need our promotion, bring it back to your home base, which is your website, we’re going to be doing a whole episode on the importance of podcasts websites coming up in the next month or so. So if you do have a direct link, by that, I mean the link that actually takes them to your episode, include that in the email, if you’ve created artwork or any kind of additional media, because sometimes people do separate artwork and they have the person’s photo on it or something like that. Included, send it all right, and then hope and pray that they actually respond some way again, the easiest thing is just to forward on something that you have already created. That doesn’t take a lot of effort. And if all else fails, know that you can go back months later. Weeks later, perhaps and reap promoted, maybe they something just slipped through the cracks. Maybe they just totally forgot. So maybe you make a little note and then in a couple of months, go back and re promote that episode, even though it was released a few weeks ago or a few months ago. Why can’t you re promote it? And maybe you’ll get their attention then. Okay, so I know I talked about a lot, there was a lot to cram into this episode. I hope that helped. We will be right back after this quick commercial break.

This one’s a long episode, but it was packed with tons of good information. I hope you guys apply it. When scheduling guests for your podcast, I do have a couple of freebies for you. Today, it’s a couple of samples. So I have a sample of that Google doc of what to expect what I send my guests of what to expect for the entire process of being a guest on my podcast. So I have versions of it for just audio recording, as well as audio and video recording. So go ahead and look in the description for those links. So you can get a copy of that and you can modify it. I also have a sample script. So remember, I said I like to send out a script in advance. And mine is kind of a combination of a description and you know, some some stuff that’s scripted, and then most of it’s just bullet points. So I have a sample of that, that you can make a copy of as well in Google Docs, and then feel free to use that as well. Now, if you appreciated today’s content, we have a ton more of it at our website, which is Independent Podcast Network. There are free resources including blog posts, more podcast episodes like this one. We’ve got videos and lots of beautiful fun handouts that you don’t even have to leave your email address. You can just go ahead and download it. And if you’re brand new to podcasting, I also have podcast courses available for free at Until next week, remember, podcasts are awesome!

You may also like...

Follow our Podcast!

Podcast Your Business helps entrepreneurs and small businesses create podcasts that increase revenue and brand awareness. Each week, Sunny provides practical tips and inspirational stories that motivate you to meet your podcasting goals!

Is Starting A Podcast Best For Your Business?

If you found us through Kajabi University, come get your freebies!

Let's Go!