There are some things that are just a given – it would be tricky for a plane to fly without wings, or for a boat to sail without water, or to run your car without gasoline – unless you’re one of the cool kids rocking a new Tesla, of course! Much in the same way, for podcasters using the interviewer-interviewee format, we would not be able to do what we do without our amazing guests! A great discussion, insightful answers, witty banter – it’s the lifeblood of your content. Subsequently, the quality of this content hangs – quite decisively – on the guests we invite onto your show.
So, what’s the best way to keep the wings on the plane, the water under the boat, and the gas in the tank? What’s the best way to keep the blood flowing, and get those great guests that give that great content?
Read on in today’s article as we discuss 5 ways to Recruit New Guests for Your Podcast.
Let’s start with a couple of simple asks…
1. Ask Your Audience
They’re called your listenership for a reason: they’re already listening! Those who follow your podcast and pay you the amazing compliment of tuning in to listen to what you and your past guests have to say tells you that you’re already doing something right, and they may be able to steer you in the direction of making more great content.
Every podcast has a target audience, a sphere of influence, a community, a tribe that values the ideas, advice, or entertainment being shared. Who is your target audience? Fitness enthusiasts and athletes? Home makers in search of creative ideas to use in their own domestic domains? CEOs and business leaders? Gamers in search of tips and tricks to improve their leaderboard standings? Whoever your target audience is, they share an invested interest in your area of expertise and exploration, so ask them:
“What do you want to hear, and who do you want to hear from?”
This can be done through a simple announcement and call to action at the end of episodes.
Here’s an example that you could adopt for your own podcast:
“Thanks for tuning in to today’s show, friends! Please post to the comment section below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with suggestions and requests for future guests, and I’ll do my best to feature them in future episodes.”
This is so simple, so easy…and so effective. It also has a wonderful added benefit of further engaging your subscribers, followers, and listeners. This fosters a greater sense of community and converts casual fans into committed followers – and committed followers are great advertisers, and will share their enjoyment of your podcast with others in their community.
You could also use your social media platforms to prompt listeners to give you guest recommendations. Ask for guest recommendations on Twitter, and get your followers to tag the potential guest in the post (this could result in a quick interaction between you and the person, making for a quick conversion on your initial ask). Make an Instagram post with an eye-catching picture or short video, using an adapted version of the above “script”, strike up a convo in the comment section, and ask your community for suggestions that way. Use Facebook and go live; engage and interact with your podcast family directly and find hot leads in real time.
When it comes to finding new guests, asking your audience for their opinions on who you should recruit is a reliable way to engage your base, and find someone that you know will fit the brand and purpose of your podcast.
And what’s our second ask? Well, I’m glad you asked…
2. Ask Your Guest
Another great way of finding new guests for your podcast is to ask your guests.
Think about it: personal trainers know other therapists, athletes, and nutritionists. Realtors know other investors, mortgage pros, and specialists in the realty space. Tech gurus know other brilliant industry geeks! The person with whom you’ve had an awesomely inspiring exchange, the person your listeners responded to with an overwhelming outpouring of gratitude for their ideas, the person sitting right in front of you, could be the key to unlocking a network of other professionals, vendors, and thinkers in the space.
You may have literally just finished recording an episode and you’re still sharing the same space (be it in the studio together, or even on a Zoom call), leverage the opportunity and ask a simple question similar to the following:
“Thank you so much for the amazing conversation, I really appreciate your time! Do you know of any other people you think would be interested in doing this, and can bring value to a discussion like the one we just shared?”
The approach presented in the above example is simple, complementary and specific. It’s simple in that it is easily a natural part of the conclusion to a conversation, it won’t feel awkward or forced. It is complimentary in that your current/past guests value is acknowledged; this is important, you don’t want to come across as an opportunist. Think of this as making the best use of a new relationship, not merely capitalizing on it in a self serving way.
It’s also specific in the sense that it confines any possible suggestions to individuals who walk and work in the same field. Even if they aren’t necessarily in the same sphere, they’d simply bring value to your podcast. This is a great way to recruit new guests.
It’s also a natural progression into our next point…
In days gone by, networking events were typically buzzing forums, where potential contacts mingled, handshakes and pleasantries were exchanged, and business cards were dished out with reckless abandon! These events will hopefully make a roaring comeback in the not too distant future, but networking is not limited to in-person events.
the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
You can interact with others to develop contacts through non-physical means such as video conferencing calls, email, and social media platforms. Good old fashioned phone calls (preferably with warm leads), or sharing lunch or coffee after official introductions are made through a mutual third party. These are all great ways to establish connection and relationship – be it from a distance or up close and personal.
And for our introverted podcasting pals out there, we get it, networking can be seen as a scary proposition that leaves you drained and exhausted. But instead of viewing it as something negative, try to train your perspective and allow yourself to see it as a helpful positive. Less an intimidating inconvenience, and more an important investment. Some would straight up call it a “necessary evil”, but let’s try to look at it as a chance to make a new relationship with a person who could potentially change your life as a friend, and potentially change your listener’s lives as a guest on your podcast.
And please don’t overlook a simple fact: if you can’t get direct access to a circle of like-minded people, you can always get access to their content…
4. Check Out Similar Podcasts
You’re a podcaster! So you know the bigness, the vastness, the “bigvastness” of the podcasting world (okay…that’s not a real word, but this thing is huge!). According to stats from Podcast Insights (check out the Related Read linked below), as of January 2020, there are 850,000 active podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes. Whilst there will never be another podcast with your unique “fingerprint” (your voice inflections, charming idiosyncrasies, and special way of breaking down ideas), there will very likely be another podcast exploring similar topics, ideas and themes. Check them out!
Listen to other podcast hosts in your area of interest and reach out to them and ask them to collaborate. Chances are, they may very well be in the same boat and would not only be much obliged to your invitation to be a guest on your show, but reciprocate in kind! You may eventually find yourself being recruited as someone else’s guest, simply as a result of checking out, and reaching out.
You could also simply take note of the guests on other podcasts; these individuals may be regular features on a particular show, or they may be found “working the circuit”, featuring as guests on a number of different podcasts in your field. Throw your hat in the ring! Reach out to these great individuals and ask if you could recruit them to be guests on your own show. The worst that could happen is they decline your invitation (and don’t worry, no one likes rejection but this will not be the end of the universe – the bigvast world keeps on spinning!). The best that could happen is you end up recruiting an amazing guest for your podcast!
Related read: 2021 Podcast Stats & Facts
5. You’re it!
Lastly, don’t overlook yourself. Remember, you’re a podcaster with knowledge, skill, and insight – you could even be an authority in your niche area of expertise (if you don’t feel that you are just yet, check out Jennay Horn’s article on 8 Strategies To Build Authority In Your Podcast Niche to help you out in this area). You may have had a guest on every episode, or you may have adopted the format more recently, but don’t limit yourself from stepping out of your comfort zone and putting the spotlight on yourself as the chief person of interest.
Remember, your listeners aren’t just tuning in for your guests alone, they trust, respect, and value your voice. There’s much relational equity that is built up after you’ve been podcasting consistently for some time, lean into this and lend your voice to your listeners. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone either; you could recruit a guest host, or a guest interviewer for the particular episode where you’re the featured interviewee. I have personally done this for an acquaintance on his realty podcast; he typically interviewed his guests, but I was invited to come in to interview the man himself – and the end product was well received. It turned out he was the perfect candidate for a guest for his own podcast!
These five suggestions are just five of many, but I’ve personally experienced great results with them and have seen others do so too. Don’t be afraid to ask! Your listeners and your guests may hold valuable keys to unlock doors to new relationships that you do not. Don’t hesitate to reach out; you could potentially connect with a new, interesting person that brings new, interesting content to your podcast. Don’t ignore your cohorts in your space; they’re running the same race and you will find you have so much more that connects you than separates you. And please, don’t neglect the wealth of wisdom that you carry – share it. Explore these five options, and you will undoubtedly find yourself recruiting amazing guests for your podcast!