Editor's note: This is a guest post by Corey Haines at SavvyCal, a real nifty scheduling solution that we use to schedule guests on our own podcasts, including The Community Experience Podcast!
Why does growing your podcast audience seem so difficult? Podcasts present a few unique challenges compared to other types of content:
- Podcasts are traditionally audio-only, which means grabbing your potential listeners’ attention straight away is paramount
- Audio is not as inherently shareable as text or video; people consume it differently
- Discovering new podcasts and podcast episodes is a slow-burn process based on personal taste and recommendations
For all these reasons, you, as a podcaster, have to be crafty and strategic about getting your show seen and heard. Growing your podcast listenership is largely a grassroots effort—among other methods, it’s dependent on word-of-mouth recommendations from a few loyal listeners.
If you have guests on your show, you have a leg up on the rest because your guests can share your podcast with their audience. But first, you have to earn it.
How can you make sure you get the best bang for your buck from every new podcast guest?
The best way to ensure that happens is to make a truly great impression.
You have to stand out from the rest.
Let’s dig into five ways you can prepare for podcast guest interviews and impress your guests when they come on your show!
Table of Contents
- Do extensive research
- Send your guest a prep email
- Personalize the scheduling link
- Create a guest page on your podcast website
- Streamline production follow-up
- Recap: When it comes to podcast guests, good impressions last!
1. Do extensive research
Since most podcasters don’t do much (if any) research on their guest ahead of time, one surefire way to impress your guest is to show that you’ve really done your homework on them.
Not only will this help you produce a better podcast, but it’ll also increase the chance that your guest will share the episode with their audience, refer you to other guests, and do you a favor in the future.
It sounds simple, but this one small gesture can go a long way to making a lasting impression.
Here are a few ways you can get to know your guest ahead of your time with them.
Use Twitter advanced search to research your podcast guest
Here’s a sneak peek into how he uses Twitter to surface interesting content from his guests that he can ask about on his podcast.
Twitter’s advanced search makes it easy to filter by the number of likes (as shown here) as well as the number of retweets and any keyword or phrase.
Use search hacks to surface your guest’s best content
Your guest might have a blog on their personal website, write on their business’s blog, or contribute to other blogs as well.
For example, the query author:”Tim Soulo” with the Content Explorer feature enables you to find content authored by Ahrefs’ CMO, Tim Soulo.
It’ll even show the popularity of each article so you can see which content struck a chord with the audience.
Research your guest’s LinkedIn profile
If the professional background of your guest is of any particular interest, their LinkedIn profile will come in handy.
Here, you can see a precise timeline of their jobs and involvements in different companies.
From their profile, you can also dig into their “Activity” to find what they’ve been posting about.
Listen to your guest’s other podcast appearances
Listen Notes describes itself as a search engine for podcasts, which makes it easy to dig up past guest appearances your guest has made on other podcasts.
Podchaser also allows you to search for someone and pull up a curated list of their guest appearances in a special tab.
It doesn’t take more than listening to 1-2 other podcast appearances they've done to get familiar and pick out other topics and questions that'd be compelling to explore on your podcast.
Quora has become one of the most popular websites in the world with its unique Q&A format.
If your guest is active on Quora, searching through their past answers might give you some good ideas for questions to ask since you can quite literally see how they would respond.
Entrepreneur and investor Jason Lemkin has answered over 3,600 questions, many of which are “off the beaten path” of what he might normally get asked about.
2. Send your guest a prep email
Once your guest has booked a time to record with you, you can send over a list of questions or topics to help them prepare, as well as a package of marketing materials they can use to promote your episode.
Not only does this show your guest that you’re well-prepared and on top of your game, it also allows your guest to be able to deliver the best content they can for you.
You might send them an email like this a few days before you record:
Hey NAME — looking forward to our conversation.
I wanted to send over this list of topics we'll likely cover.
Topics to prep for:
- Example 1
- Example 2
- Example 3
Any questions before our recording?
Derek Sivers has an article where he talks about how he asks the host to send him questions months in advance when somebody invites him on a podcast.
Here’s why: “People say that your first reaction is the most honest, but I disagree. Your first reaction is usually outdated. Either it’s an answer you came up with long ago and now use instead of thinking, or it’s a knee-jerk emotional response to something in your past.”
He’s observed that his best answers come after he’s had some time to think about it from experience. He spends hours writing from different perspectives before choosing the most interesting answer. Then, once the recording begins, he tries to make his answers sound spontaneous.
Giving your guests time to prepare thoughts on questions and topics is guaranteed to impress, but it’s also a great way to make them more impressive to your listeners.
Pro tip: Set up a Zapier automation to send guests a prep email after they book a time using your SavvyCal scheduling link. All you have to do is find SavvyCal in Zapier, select “New Meeting” as the trigger, connect your account, and send an email to the email they used to book the meeting as the Action.
3. Personalize the scheduling link
If you’re still scheduling recording sessions with guests by trading emails back and forth, it’s time to start using a scheduling tool that allows guests to book a time directly on your calendar.
But even then, scheduling links have become so ubiquitous that an unwritten taboo has developed. Like it or not, some people take offense to receiving a generic booking link.
So if you want to impress your guests (and avoid offense), get in the habit of personalizing your scheduling links.
With a scheduling tool like SavvyCal, you can generate personalized scheduling links for each and every guest with just a few clicks.
You can prefill your guest’s name and email address so that all it takes is two clicks to book a time with you.
For example, you can set up a personalized link with your guest that shows their avatar, their name in the meeting name, and even their name in the scheduling link.
If I wanted to record with Derrick, I could send him the link savvycal.com/corey/derrick and that way he knows it’s just for him.
Now, all he has to do when visiting the scheduling link is to overlay his calendar to find mutual availability and then select a slot that works best for his schedule.
4. Create a guest page on your podcast website
You want to make the guest experience as seamless as possible. A guest should never feel confused. If they do, it’s your fault.
One way to take your guest booking process from a Motel 6 experience to a Ritz Carlton experience is to provide a “Guest Page” with essential details, such as contact and recording information.
Here’s an example of how podcaster David Perell provides all the most essential information to his guests pre-recording.
This way, his guests have everything they need before going live.
Some scheduling tools like SavvyCal even allow you to automatically send guests to a guest page after booking a recording time.
5. Streamline production follow-up
If your guest has recorded any audio locally on their end, do them a favor by providing a link to your Google Drive or Dropbox so they can upload it without any problems.
Audio files are large and not everyone has a good cloud storage solution. Asking your guest to send you their Drive or Dropbox link isn’t bad by any means, but it can be inconvenient. Make it easy on them and provide an easy way for them to upload directly to you.
Once you’ve scheduled the episode to publish, send your guest a quick note about which day they can expect it to go live. This way, when you send another message day-of with shareable links, they’re much more likely to amplify it and help you grow your audience.
Recap: When it comes to podcast guests, good impressions last!
If you want to stand out and make a great impression with your podcast guests:
- Do extensive research
- Send a prep email
- Personalize the scheduling link
- Create a guest page
- Streamline production follow up
Do these five things, and there’s no way your guests won’t share your podcast, refer you to other great guests, or do you another favor in the future.
About the Author
Corey Haines is the founder of Swipe Files and the marketing lead for SavvyCal. He's also the host of the podcasts Default Alive and Everything Is Marketing. Previously he was the head of growth for Baremetrics and has consulted with over a dozen SaaS startups on marketing and growth.