So, you’re in the midst of launching your first podcast but are a little confused on how to get people on your show. Booking awesome podcast guests is a breeze if you have an Alexis.
This is Alexis Germany. 👇
At Sweet Fish, she is our master Podcast Talent Manager. If you’ve partnered with our team, Alexis takes all the hard work out of getting top-tier guests on your show. (It will still help to read through this post to understand what we need of you, though.) 😊
If you don’t work with us yet, here’s some good news: Alexis has shared her expert podcast guest booking best practices. Yay!
What are the best practices for booking podcast guests? Here are the podcast guest booking best practices we go by:
- Use information from customer onboarding surveys to source guests
- Develop a list of potential guests for your customer to review
- Ask customers to create two calendar links (one 15-min, one 45-min)
- Introduce guests to hosts over email
- Create a process for unscheduling guests
- Be open to changing types of guests being sourced
Let’s take a closer look.
How to Source Podcast Guests
At Sweet Fish, we ask that all of our customers fill out an onboarding survey. From this survey, Alexis takes the information she needs to identify guests who would be best for your show.
Where Sweet Fish Finds Guests
The sources we use to find potential guests mainly consist of LinkedIn and our robust network of past podcast guests, hosts, and other industry experts.
Next, Alexis curates a list of potential guests for you to review. This initial list of podcast guests helps us get a better idea of the types of people you’d like to interview.
Once we get your approval on the guest list, the outreach begins. Again, Alexis normally reaches out via LinkedIn or email to our established network of guests, hosts, and other professionals.
Other Podcast Guest Sources
If you don’t have an Alexis or an established network, here are a few sources we suggest using to identify potential podcast guests:
- LinkedIn connections (most people get excited about being asked to be on a podcast!)
- Friends & coworkers
- Past coworkers or bosses
- Authors of upcoming books on Amazon
- Hosts of similar podcasts
- Guests of similar podcasts
- Partner w/ a podcast booking agency
Outreach doesn’t have to be complicated — most people will be excited about being on a podcast. If you’re reaching out cold, make sure the recipient knows it’s nothing sales-y. Otherwise they may just look right over your request.
Additionally, make it clear the value that your potential guests can glean from being on your podcast: industry exposure, thought leader status, something to brag to their disapproving stepmother about, etc.
Create the Calendar Links
As Alexis works to create your initial list of potential guests, we ask that you make a couple of calendar links. This can be done using the calendar service you prefer, such as…
If you haven’t used a calendar service before, simply make a free account using any of the above service providers. Then, make a 15-minute calendar link and a 45-minute one. Send both of the links to Alexis so that she can start booking pre-interviews.
Once we’re able to start booking guests using the calendar links you sent us, Alexis will introduce you to your upcoming guest via email (unless they’re your coworker or Uncle Brad).
An introduction before the pre-interview call is always helpful in case the host wants to do any research beforehand.
The 15-minute calendar link you create will be used for the pre-interview with your guest. This short meeting is meant to help you and your guest get to know each other better.
[RELATED: Check out interview best practices here.]
During the pre-interview, you should be outlining potential talking points and any other details that should be hashed out before the actual interview. Here are some tips we’ve picked up on choosing topics for your podcast.
And, here are three questions we highly recommend you consider asking (these usually get interesting answers):
- What’s a commonly held belief about your role/specialty that you passionately disagree with?
- In the world of your role/specialty, what should everyone stop doing?
- In the world of your role/specialty, what should everyone start doing?
After the pre-interview, you and your guest should be clear on the topics that will be discussed during the interview.
We also ask that you determine the time in which the real interview will take place. It seems to get scheduled quicker than if you waited to email them about it.
The interview is the reason for the 45-minute calendar link. Towards the end of the pre-interview, pull the link up so that your guest can choose a time then and there.
The interview should consist of you and your guest discussing the predetermined topics (unless something interesting comes up). Before the interview, make sure all of your equipment is set up and you’ve tested it at least once.
If you’re conducting the interview over a conference call, reference this equipment guide.
If you and your guest are going to be in the same room, check out this guide.
How to Unschedule Guests
Whether you’re booking your own guests or working with a podcast talent manager, sometimes a guest ends up not being the right fit. It pays to have a templated process to unschedule guests without burning bridges.
Luckily for Sweet Fish customers, Alexis handles any necessary unscheduling.
Template for Unscheduling Guests
If you notice a guest pop up on your calendar that you’re not particularly excited about, know that there are ways to cancel the interview without hurting feelings or ruining relationships.
In the case of Sweet Fish customers, we offer a templated message for hosts to send to guests. That message then sends the guest back over to Alexis who handles the rest of the process. She takes on all of the responsibility of canceling the interview and potentially rescheduling the guest for a different show.
There’s Room to Grow
Once in a while a guest who’s not the perfect fit for your show might pop up in your queue. It’s also possible that you don’t get every wish-list guest booked on your show.
Keep in mind, though, that there’s still room to grow. As your podcast becomes more established and our team learns more about your ideal guests, it will become less and less likely that you’ll want to unschedule anyone.
Plus, we’re always open to updating the kinds of guests our hosts like to have on their shows. If you begin to learn what guests work best for your podcast, don’t hesitate to let your producer or Alexis know.
Like with anything, booking podcast guests gets easier with more time and practice (having an Alexis helps a lot too). When going through the process either on your own or with the Sweet Fish Team, keep these takeaways top-of-mind:
- Use your professional network to source knowledgeable guests.
- Make calendar links to make it easier to book guests.
- As your show becomes more established, you’ll recognize the kinds of guests who do best on your podcast.