How to Find the Best Podcast Guests & Have Great Interviews 

two women on a podcast

As a podcast host, you want to grow your show by interviewing popular guests that your audience cares about.

So, how do you find and connect with the right guests?

Whether you’re an established podcaster or just getting started, you can follow the proven tips featured in this post to help you find guests your show needs.

Find Guests Your Audience Cares About

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think about the people you should invite to be a guest on your podcast.

Initially, you’ll want to look at your network for guests you could invite to be on your podcast. It could be people you met at a conference or those you’ve connected with on social media.

Since there’s already an existing relationship between you and that person, it’s easier to get them to agree to be a guest

With this in mind, you have to be realistic and consider less popular guests if your podcast is relatively new. 

Interviewing the “small fish” first is a great way to build your podcast from the ground up.

You can then leverage the episodes you’ve made to build your fanbase and get more established guests on your show.

To help you find “big hitter” guests for your podcast, we recommend using a tool like BuzzSumo.

Even with a free account, you’ll be able to search for people in your industry based on their number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

finding buzzsumo influencers

If you’re searching for Twitter influencers, as shown in the above screenshot, BuzzSumo shows you data like retweet and reply ratios and average retweets. These metrics will help you evaluate how active or inactive the person is on social media.

To find potential guests that are active on social, you can filter your results to people who are constantly engaging with their audience.

Start making a list of the potential guests who you want to feature in your podcast. Keep in mind that not everybody will agree to become a guest, so it’s good to have as many people on your list as possible.

🔍 Research Your Prospective Guests

Once you have a list of potential guests for your podcast, it’s time to research each of them to determine who you should prioritize.

A quick Google search of the prospective guest’s name should show you their latest articles, podcast interviews, social media accounts and more.

You can use Buzzsumo to see the types of posts they are sharing. This will help you identify their interests and may also provide a point of discussion in your outreach.

buzzsumo links shared

You can also expand your research by looking at what other people are saying about them.

Using a social listening tool like Awario, you can check out the social mentions of your prospects across different online channels. 

From here, you piece together the public perception of the potential podcast guest.  This will help you weed out any controversial guests that could harm your credibility and brand.

✏️ Crafting a Compelling Pitch

Now that you have a list of people that you believe would be great guests for your show, it’s time to start preparing your pitch.

It’s important to align their expectations with how you run your podcast.

Being upfront about your podcast format and how you interview people can increase your success rate.

This could include:

  • Who you are and what your podcast is about.
  • Who your typical audience is and why how being a guest will be mutually beneficial.
  • How you record the show. You may offer the option of conducting your interview via video. That means the guest will need to have a working camera and be comfortable being on video.
  • Tools and tips for recording the episodes. This ensures a smooth show and optimum sound quality.
  • A few days/times that you’d like to record the episode.

The Podcast Space has a good email outreach template you can use and customize based on who you’re reaching out to.

podcast interview email template

The assumption here is the majority of them don’t know who you are on a personal level, so you’ll need to make a good first impression .

Also, consider that not all guests will be responding to your first email. You may need to schedule follow-ups a few days after your initial outreach email was sent.

Sending Your Outreach Emails Using an Automation Tool

Now that you have a list of potential guests and have crafted a compelling pitch, it’s time to reach out!

Oftentimes, just connecting on social media is the most effective way to communicate.

However, you may find that someone isn’t responsive on social which means you’ll need to find another way to reach them.  The good news is that traditional email can also be very effective at reaching potential guests.

To help you work more efficiently, you can automate your outreach using a tools like Hunter and Lemlist.

Hunter, for example will help you find the best emails on your prospect’s website (assuming they have one).

hunter.io

From here, choose the emails that you want to send your podcast interview pitch to.

Compile your contacts’ personal information in a sheet, which will be important later on when you start sending them en masse.

Sending Emails Using an Automation Tool

Now it’s time to use Lemlist to automate your outreach.

Enter the outreach message you’ll be sending to your prospects and when you’d like it to send.

screenshot from lemlist

Next, you’ll need to upload your prospects’ personal information. The tool will then adding the details you’ve entered for each email.

With the click of a few buttons, you can schedule and send your custom emails to each one of your prospects. This saves you both time and effort.

Over time, you can check to see how many opened and replied to the emails. From here, you can make tweaks in your initial and follow-up emails in the hopes of getting more responses.

Websites for Finding Podcast Guests

Did you know that there are websites whose sole purpose is to connect podcast hosts with guests?

Using services like PodcastGuests.comMatchmaker.fm, PodMatch and Perfect Podcast Guest can all connect you with people who you can invite as guests.

The great thing about these services is that you can search for people within the sites who actually want to appear as guests.

Prepare Your Questions in Advance

Once you’ve secured guests, it’s time to send them a list of prepared questions that you plan on asking them during the interview.

Sharing your questions days in advance allows them to prepare their answers and provide even more value to your listeners.

It also allows them to comment and provide feedback regarding your questions. This allows you to add more relevant questions or remove irrelevant ones from the list.

Now comes the most important part: finding which questions to ask your guests.

Ideally, you don’t want to ask questions they’ve already answered in previous podcast interviewers. You want to give your listeners and the guests’ followers something new to make your podcast interview a must-listen.

This means combing through the questions asked by podcast hosts on the interviews they’ve done through the years.

To help you brainstorm for unique questions, review your guest’s answers in previous podcasts or even on articles they’ve written. Ask them to clarify their ideas or use them as jumping-off points for new questions.

Circling back to social listening, you can turn comments made and social media users’ sentiment towards the interviewee into questions.

Finally, ask your audience for questions you can ask the guest.

You can post about it on your Facebook page or group or send an email to your subscribers.

By getting them involved in the process, you can get them excited about their appearance on your show.

Finally, follow these best practices when narrowing down your interview questions:

  • Try not to ask “yes” or “no” questions; always ask “why” or “how” to get more elaborate and thoughtful answers from guests.
  • Make your questions flow organically; they should follow a natural progression that leads from one topic to another.
  • Build up to your questions, starting with the simplest before heading into more complex and complicated ones.

Write a Killer Bio for Your Guest

Asking your guests to introduce themselves to your listeners sounds ideal right? After all, who knows more about themselves than, well, themselves?

But guests can oftentimes share a long list of achievements that aren’t necessarily relevant to the interview. Or … they could provide a very light introduction which takes away from their credibility. 

We suggest taking the reins here, and making the introductions yourself to prevent either scenario from happening.

Since you know what your listeners care about, you can get them excited about your guests by tailoring your introductions. At the same time, you take some pressure off the guests’ shoulders so they can focus on giving a great interview.

☑️ Be Ready for Everything

Aside from doing your due diligence in researching your guests, you must also prepare your schedule and set up for the interview.

That means:

  • Blocking off hours of your day (if not the entire day) for the interview.
  • Silencing your phones and informing everybody about your unavailability during the time of the interview. This way, you won’t receive messages on your phone that could distract you from the podcast.
  • Ensuring that your equipment is up and running as well. It’s industry-standard to use the best microphone with a pop filter to capture the sound and software for recording and to edit the file.
  • Having contingency plans and fail-safes in place in case something goes wrong. A backup internet connection allows the interview to proceed if you’re having issues with your main one.
  • Preparing all the resources necessary for the interview within arm’s reach. For instance, have all your reference notes in a single file or place so you can look back at it during the interview without skipping a beat.

By following this list, you’ll keep your episode running smoothly.

In your journey as podcaster, make your interviews as good as they possibly can be is critical to your show’s growth.

From choosing who to interview and how the episode would come across, you have full control over how this will happen. And you can make the most out of this opportunity by following the steps above.

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