Guests On Your Podcast: How Does That Work?
Hosting a Podcast by yourself can be a daunting task to do. Single Host Podcasts rely mainly on the speakers to entertain, inform, talk, and engage with their audience on a deeper level to keep them interested throughout the whole episode.
It requires a lot of self-esteem and confidence to be able to broadcast conversations with yourself/monologue to millions of people to listen to and base their opinions of you based on the ideas and arguments you’re giving them as well as the topics you’re discussing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, single host podcasts work really well for the informative and growth genres like self-development podcasts, news, crime shows, and content that you're supposed to absorb and do not need a lot of reflection and discussion. However, for podcasts that discuss popular debates about social media, relationships, politics, etc... It is detrimental to have at least someone else on the Mic in order to spark conversation, get different perspectives and points of view as well as inspiring your audience to think and ask questions.
If you’re a host who would like to introduce guest speakers to your podcast while making your listeners still feel comfortable during the conversation you should absolutely read this article and discover how to make that work.
Why Having Guests?
Even when you are a co-host, it is important to consider having more people on your podcast. There are some of the reasons why:
1. Keep it Entertaining
Having different guests on your podcast will keep the conversation interesting and entertaining especially if the person is a good communicator and would be able to engage in debates, provide unpopular opinions and push your audience to think and ask questions.
Having successful and intriguing people on your podcast will get your listeners excited for the episode and tuning in as soon as it drops in order to learn more about the person you’re inviting and how your chemistry will be working together.
It’s a huge bonus to have a (somewhat) celebrity on your podcast as it can really be cool for your fans and they will be already aware of who the guest is as opposed to someone who they’ve never heard of.
2. Providing Insight and “Professional” Opinion
If you are a regular person that happens to be discussing a serious/interesting topic and giving your average person perspective on it. You would definitely want to invite an expert in order to have them give their Professional opinion and debunk or confirm myths about the subject of the episode that has been going around in the community and that “Everyone believes it but it’s not true”.
Example: Diabetes is not caused by sugar (Yes, I know, shocking! Read this article from Diabetes.org.uk for more details, thank me later!)
This reminds me of the cohosts of the “Why’d You Push That Button” Podcast. They discuss different behaviors of daily social media users and how technology is majorly affecting our Social behavior.
They start by providing their own insights and then they invite social media platforms engineers, product designers, psychologists, and sociologists to try to explain the “Science” behind the phenomenon and give us, listeners, a different perspective.
This feels very interactive and it also gives the listener a feeling that he’s learning something new, that he never thought of before and not just randomly listening to people rambling.
3. Extend Your Audience
This is very helpful if you’re inviting someone who is with a big social media presence. People that have their brands online will usually tell their audience that they’re being invited on a podcast in order to get them to listen to them (especially if they don’t have a podcast/youtube channel, it would be a great opportunity for them to speak more openly to their audience and give them a little bit of insight on their lives).
This will result in fanbase crossover where you will be introduced to this person’s audience.
It’s important to note that when inviting someone with the intention of a collaboration or audience crossover, you need to make sure that you choose the right person for it. You need to be relevant to their content and make sure you’re not a competitor so that their fans keep being interested in what you put out and come back for more, else the goal of the collaboration will not be achieved.
4. Stay Out of The Spotlight
Having a guest on your podcast will not only keep things exciting, but it will also put the pressure and focus off of you and onto this new person you’re introducing to your audience. It can be a good idea to put down the mic for a change and have someone else talk about their lives and their experiences.
When Having Guests And WHO?
Inviting a guest to your podcast should be a very strategic and well thought out decision. You have to study your audience/content and know when is the best time to bring a new figure into the conversation. Here’s a guide that will help you identify the best moments to invite someone:
Your guests have to be needed for the conversation. If you’re talking about random things, that are very relatable and that everyone experiences at least once in their life. It might not be a great idea to invite someone and be conversing with them. A better idea is to poll your audience, have them submit their stories, and talk about it with them. It will bring much more engagement.
Your guest should be relevant to the conversation. For example, if you’re talking about facts and behaviors like social media phenomenons, it’s important to have social media experts/influencers as guests. Experts are always welcome if you need to state facts or explain an ambiguity to your listeners.
If you’re talking about serious and social issues such as the BLM movement, LGBTQ rights, Me Too movements, etc... You should have someone who was affected by this cause in order to share a real and raw experience instead of “experts/researchers” who will only state statistics.
Study your audience and check if they actually will accept someone into your podcast. Depending on your genre, the listeners might react differently to the idea of guest speakers.
How can you study them? Easy!
Poll them on the podcast’s social media account and see the results. They’re the only ones that can tell you what they want to hear from you.
The frequency of having guests on your podcast is really important. In order to keep your audience engaged and not confused, you have to come up with some time of a routine or a regular schedule so they know what to expect.
For example, some podcasters will have guests only on special occasions (A “blank” Special) where they invite someone and it’s a rare occurrence on a holiday like Thanksgiving, Halloween, 4th of July, New year’s, or on a yearly anniversary such as Mothers Day, Veterans Day, Pride month, etc...
Other hosts will have guests on a weekly basis (every episode or every other episode), some others will have Christmas Podcast episodes specials where they have new guests for the whole month of December only.
You have to be creative with it and let your audience know in advance. It has to be planned and organized and with somewhat of a schedule for your listeners to know what to expect. Chaotic and random/last-minute guest appearances will only confuse them.
How Having Guests
Interviewing guests brings dimension and diversity to your episodes by providing diverse insights, new resources, and expert commentary or advice to your audience.
The right guest will impress your audience, offer a powerful boost to your podcast, and help you generate revenue. However, they're not volunteering on their own to be featured on your podcast (especially when you're just starting out). That's why it's crucial to know how to invite someone for an interview.
Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you:
1. Do Your Research
- You should be mindful of the potential fan base of the guest (if any). They should overlap with your audience to ensure that you produce relevant and meaningful content together. Your prospective guest needs to be confident that their brand will be expanded by appearing on your podcast.
- Take a look at your guest’s content, check his niche, and make sure that the topic you’re inviting them for is relevant to their content.
- Take note of something remarkable about your guest or their online presence. By pointing out something special, you'll gain a lot of respect from them and you will make them feel comfortable being on your podcast because you've already looked at their lives/content. For example, if your guest has an unpopular or controversial view on a given topic, mention it, and invite them to express their ideas and share their opinions.
2. Pitch Your Target via Email
- Your subject line needs to be intriguing and informative. Try to stay out of the typical form such as “invitation to appear on a podcast” etc. Make sure your subject line shows your genre while still relevant to your potential guest’s interests.
- Your pitch needs to be well-written and customized, and to the point. Even though it seems like a lot of work to do so, especially if you are a new podcaster and you’re sending a lot of emails to score as many guests as possible, it’s usually worth it and more effective. Template emails really look like it and are more likely to be ignored than customized emails.
- Your pitch needs to be brief, short sentences and contains the following details:
- Who you are: Short presentation about yourself
- Why you’re reaching out to them: Why you’re interested in this person particularly
- What you can offer them: Offer value, let them know how they will benefit from appearing on your podcast. For example, you can offer exposure and share with them your reach (statistics and numbers). You can also invite them to talk about their upcoming projects if they have any.
- What you might discuss: Potential topics you are planning to touch on.
- A few attached links to episodes (preferably short ones) to learn more about your podcast.
- How they can proceed with your request (email back, Google meets link, skype meeting, etc...)
- Always follow up: Always make sure to follow up on your email to ask for updates and what they think about your proposal. It might be helpful as well to reach out via social media to make sure they got your email.
3. Build Your Guest List
In order to be able to record your episode on time and keep an organized schedule, it is important to build your guest list and keep networking with the people you would like to have on:
- Friends and family: If you’re just starting out, it might be helpful to go through your friend list and family members for potential guests that can appear on the show. It will help you build somewhat of an online presence and they can also introduce you to some of their own connections.
- Attend events and network: This might not be the best ideas for the time being (Covid19 pandemic) but it is a great idea to attend events and social gatherings relevant to your niche (after the pandemic is over) and meet people who are interested in the same thing. Gather information and connect with them on social media, you might invite them on your podcast later on.
- Authors and brand owners: Research people that have released -or about to release- upcoming projects: books, platforms, shows. Most likely, these people are looking to do as many interviews as possible to promote their projects and be noticed by a larger audience they might not have had access to.
- Podcaster to Podcaster: This might seem against the rules to invite a competitor but your chances of getting a fellow host as a guest on your podcast are pretty high. Podcasters usually know the format, are comfortable with being on the microphone and, if they are interested in your content, they will be happy to cross-promote. Try to look for related podcasts on iTunes, Google, or Spotify and invite the hosts. Chances are you will get an invite in return!
- Bloggers and researches: If you’re talking about specific topics and you want your audience to learn more and have experts state facts, it might be handy to invite blog authors (features), researchers with recent publications/theses. They’re usually the people to go to in order to know more and they usually know what they are talking about and very passionate about their research.
- Keep an online presence and be active on social media especially Twitter and Linkedin. Make sure to connect with your potential collaborators and keep the interaction with them (reply to their posts, answer their questions, provide your perspective). If they notice you, it will be easier to get them to agree on an appearance on your podcast no matter how famous they might be.
Getting your first guests might seem like a daunting task, especially if the person you’re targeting has a much bigger audience/platform than you. However, with the right ways and the steps mentioned above, you have a greater chance of landing your first big interviewee whose names you can drop and who help you be known to more people in your niche that can be considered as potential guests.
It is important to take a risk and not be afraid of rejection. You never know what can happen!