Finding The “Right” Guests for You and Your Podcast
Finding podcast guests is a challenge in itself. Finding the “right” guests for your podcast is another story. The difference? The right guest will be in alignment with you as a podcaster and fit with your podcasting goals.
What does this really mean? As a new podcaster, it’s easy to get excited when anyone shows interest in coming onto your podcast show. The fact that a potential guest is only interested in self-promotion might not phase you.
Well, guess what? It should!
While there’s nothing wrong with promoting your guests — in fact, it’s typically expected and I encourage it — it’s much more important to get a guest who matches up with your podcast message. And, by extension, your personal message.
Do You Need Guests For A Podcast?
Do you need guests for your podcast or are you just following the trend? Truth is, it depends on your podcast show format.
Interview shows are a specific podcast format that — you guessed it — revolves around having guests. You might also have a conversational podcast that you run together with a co-host. You all could choose to have guests come on now and then.
You may have an education show, which involves multiple hosts. Or a solo-cast, which is solely about you and your story or opinions on an industry. You can enhance both of these formats by bringing on guests. It’s totally up to you. Podcast formatting rules are not set in stone.
Your audience might appreciate the twist of having a guest on.
As you can see, not all podcast formats need guests to be considered a “proper” podcast. Not even close. However, you’ll see that there are many advantages to having podcast guests on your show.
Especially if you can find the right guests.
Here’s how to do it.
Remember The Purpose Of Your Podcast And Your Why
What is the purpose of your podcast? What’s your why?
These are two questions you should ask before making decisions about all aspects in managing your podcast, including which guests you accept onto your show.
Are you interested in interviewing someone who is in a similar field as you are? Do you have to be mindful of competition to fulfill your purpose? Do you want to interview successful experts, or up-and-comers?
What about public figures? If your podcast features news about celebrities or influencers, public figures might be appropriate. If it’s about real estate, a professional who has credentials to show would be more ideal.
What if your podcast is about mental health issues relating to women? In such a case, you could go a lot of ways. Perhaps a successful sportswoman might guest on your show and talk about mental health in her sport.
Naomi Osaka, anyone?
Or maybe you want to bring on a close friend with a heart-wrenching story to share about dealing with mental health issues.
What about your why?
Your bigger why also plays a significant role in dictating the guests you have on. If part of your why is to help other women share their message with the world, then the above example of having a friend on to share her story about battling mental health fits in line with that.
When considering your guest, think of your purpose and why and then ask yourself, “How does this guest enhance that?”
How Can This Connection Serve Both Of Your Long-Term?
The best podcast guests are the ones that fit a few important criteria. Before we dive into those, ask yourself how the connection with your guest will serve you as the host, as well as your guest in the long term.
If the guest is well-known, or their contribution is extremely valuable, the podcast episode they guest on could be one that boosts your audience reach consistently over time.
For your guest, their appearance (orally, of course) could bring in clients or customers consistently in the months following the episodes’ release.
For you, it will drive more listeners and, if the episode is sponsored, increase your affiliate income. If your podcast is focused on your business, it can also bring in more sales.
Another way a guests’ presence on your show might serve you is by adding perspective.
Remember, their input is not just for your audience. What they say might stick with you for the long term and have a major impact on your podcasting journey and, possibly, your life.
What criteria should you consider when scouting out a valuable guest?
There are a few basic things to make sure of before accepting a guest onto your show. These questions cover them.
1. Does the guests’ contribution fit with your target audience’s demographic?
This criterion implies that you should already know all about your target audience and their interests. What do they listen to your podcast for? Will the guest deliver on that?
2. Does the person have experience doing interviews, especially podcast interviews?
Even professionals go off-topic sometimes, and speak about themselves too much. It can happen when you feel like you’re talking to a friend — which should be the case.
It’s fine to go on a tangent sometimes. Mostly, though, it’s off-putting for listeners who simply want to get what they’re there listening for.
Finding someone who has experience as a podcast guest makes it easier to keep things on track. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you shouldn’t give less seasoned speakers a chance.
3. Is your guest willing to promote the episode to their followers or subscribers?
Marketing a podcast episode that features a guest should be a shared task. But this isn’t always the case. Do your best to find someone who is willing to work with you to promote the episode.
4. Do you feel a deeper connection with your guest?
What does your intuition tell you about a potential guest? This is something you should consider for ensuring authenticity in both your podcast and yourself.
It’s fine if you and your guest don’t prioritize the same values or support the same things in all life areas. However, it’s essential that you all build rapport beforehand, have some understanding of each other’s vibe, and flow well together.
Your listeners will pick up on any friction and awkwardness.
It’s okay to be a bit awkward. Sometimes, it adds character and laughter to the show. It’s not okay when your energies don’t mesh together at all.
How Do Podcasts Get Guests?
You can find podcast guests in a variety of ways.
These ten, in my opinion, are the best:
- Listening to other podcasts and later asking the interviewee.
- Asking your audience for recommendations.
- Asking your circle of friends, family, or colleagues for recommendations.
- Asking people in your circle to come on as guests.
- Asking Facebook group owners and members.
- Asking people on social media.
- Asking people at podcasting events.
- Reading articles and asking people who were interviewed.
- Asking authors who released books relevant to your podcast niche.
- Asking your guests for recommendations.
Remember, the key to how to find guests for your podcast is ensuring relevance to your niche and, in turn, for your audience. The second key is to honor yourself as a podcaster and make sure your guest aligns with who you are.
If you’re not sure about who you are as a podcast journeyer, we can help. Even if you haven’t started yet, we can take you from a shaky, aspiring podcaster, to a confident, intentional podcast host.
Our 90 Day Podcaster program is just what you need to stay inspired and aligned. Plus, we help with booking podcasts guests and identifying your target audience.