Never pine after the guest who got away again with these tips for chasing (and landing) engaging conversationalists for your podcast.
We all have one. That is, the one who got away — that exceptional interviewee that was going to make the episode or maybe even the show. As a marketer, it’s more important than ever to find the right guests for your podcast, but losing that dream guest happens more than might be expected! Yet, a plethora of episodes with seemingly perfect guests hits the airwaves every single day. How is that possible? We’re about to let you in on the secret. So, pull yourself together and stop pining over the one who got away: Here’s how to chase and land guests for your podcast.
Have a Backup For Your Backup
The golden rule when it comes to landing podcast guests is to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. “But, you just said you’d help me land the perfect guest so I no longer have to pine over the guest who got away!” Exactly. There are so many wonderful, potential interviewees in the world — Why settle for just one? Cast a wide net out into your network and see who comes back to you. Rather than banking everything on one person, you might be surprised at how exceptional a guest from an “unexpected corner” could be.
We suggest having a list of guests who are all equally great in your back pocket, ready to go. That way, if person A suddenly becomes unavailable, you can move on to person B, C, or (yes, it has happened), even person D. Your goal is to move ahead with the best person available in the timeframe of your production schedule. When it comes to choosing a guest, TIMING is of utmost importance.
No One Likes the Paparazzi
Chasing celebrities is tough work — just ask the paparazzi! This is especially true when it comes to landing a high-profile influencer or other celeb as a guest for your show. Our advice: Don’t be like the paparazzi (unless you want a restraining order against you from Samuel L. Jackson, right, THE JAR AUDIO EXPERIENCE ™ team?!) In other words, DO NOT build an entire show or episode around a celebrity (“Why are you so obsessed with me?”) who may prove inaccessible to you.
People get worked up about the “reach” celebrities bring to a project (which can be a great thing and a strategic relationship moving forward), but unless they’re getting paid, they may not do much work on your behalf or want to promote your show, even if you DO manage to book them. Securing celebrity or top influencer involvement typically takes a trust-based relationship with a suite of top talent agents and requires a flexible podcast production schedule to accommodate the celebrity’s busy life. Celebrities also cost money. The only exception to this would be if your episode topic happens to line up with a cause the celebrity cares about and gives them a platform to spread a related message or if your podcast is part of a larger promotional campaign for a brand the celeb is already committed to. So, when it comes to celebrity guests (aka. Very special “unicorn” guests):
- Do your research
- Develop relationships
- Get ready to dig deep into your pockets
If you don’t possess the time or budget to do so, you may want to refer to that backup guest list you created after we discussed not putting all your eggs in one basket. Oh, and here’s a pro tip: Younger, hungrier guests often make for better interviews anyways.
Don’t Go In Blind
Have you ever met your hero only to discover that the ultra-inspiring, life-altering, witty and engaging conversation you’d dreamed of having felt more like talking to a brick wall? Some people sound better on paper than they do in real life. Podcast guests can be the same. That’s why we always, always conduct pre-interviews. You will know immediately if your “dream guest” will be able to sustain an interesting, half-hour or longer phone call. They may be the perfect expert but can’t hold a gripping conversation! When you’re working in the audio realm, which relies on captivating an audience based solely on sound, you’re in trouble if that’s the case. Especially for establishing your brand as a thought-leader, you want your listener to make it to the end of the episode! So, find out beforehand. Pre-interviews also put potential guests at ease and give you an opportunity to talk through the episode’s goals.
Once you’ve conducted pre-interviews with all potential guests, you’ll have more information with which to choose the best person to deliver an excellent episode.
Here’s the JAR Audio perfect podcast guest equation:
[(Expertise x Ability to Deliver Expertise Through Lively Conversation) + Time] = The Perfect Guest
To sum it all up, you want your guests to be passionate, well-spoken people who will appreciate the opportunity to be on the show and leave listeners with a warm feeling. Not only will it make your episodes better, but having fantastic guests will establish your brand as an industry leader, allow you to chime in on the conversations you’ve decided are important for your brand, and will make your show significantly more memorable — All without just plugging “The Brand”. Hello, value-add! That perfect guest might not be the first person that comes to mind or even the most valued expert in their field. Your job is to cast a wide net, see who comes back, have a conversation with them, and then determine which guest is the best fit for your episode (including the element of production time) — plus a few backups! If you do all that correctly, you will highly reduce your chances of pining after the guest who got away. Why? Because there are plenty of incredible people in the world who can get the job done just as well, if not better.
Want to hear what not to do when chasing guests? Check out Episode Two of How To Get Ahead In Podcasting, where the JAR AUDIO EXPERIENCE TEAM once again drops the ball on landing the right guests for their latest shows.