Finding The Right Guest For Your Podcast
Podcasting has exploded in recent years. Indicative of this skyrocketing growth, there are over 47 million podcast episodes as of March of 2021. Most business owners might take that as a sign that the space is over-saturated and may not be worth their time.
Podcasts are only a waste of time and resources if you don't understand how to build a successful show. The fact that podcasting is so prevalent means that there is a market for this medium of content dissemination. In this week's episode, podcasting expert Jessica Rhodes stops by to share her in-depth knowledge on how you can grow a successful podcast.
How Do You Find a Great Guest?
An effective podcast is only as good as its guests. Each episode is a product of the host's interaction with the visitor of the day. That's why it's important to find guests that stimulate your audience's interest and positions you as an authority in your niche.
When searching for the best guests for your podcast, look for people that have experience speaking. People that have been guests before are ideal. People with public speaking experience or with time in front of a camera or microphone should be able to hold an engaging conversation.
One way to hone your guest-finding skills is to look for podcasts that do interviews and look through their guests. Listen to episodes and take note of any guest that you like. Keep an eye out for their contact information and book them for an interview. It's as simple as that.
Qualifying Your Guests
Qualifying your guests starts with internalizing the reason behind your podcast's existence. Why are you doing the show? Is it for you and for networking purposes? If so, you have to look at how the guests can offer value to you. However, you have to communicate what's in it for them. You shouldn't expect guests to come to your podcast without any benefit for them.
If, on the other hand, you're doing your podcast for your audience and to provide value to your community, you have to be clear on what your target audience needs and wants. What topics do they want to learn about? Book guests that your audience members will benefit from.
If your podcast centers around story-telling, invite guests that are good at telling stories. Experts that can break down technical topics are ideal for podcasts that require in-depth analysis.
What Tools Should You Use for Qualifying Guests?
The more prepared you are for qualifying your guest, the less room for error you will leave. In your attempt to make sure your guest will be relevant for your audience, you'll want to cover all bases.
Have a specific criteria list when you're speaking with your guest. Your list can contain specific stats or other prerequisites that qualify your guest as a value proposition for your audience. A list of questions or a checklist that pertains to the episode topic will help you understand whether or not the guest will be a good fit for your followers.
Why You Should Be Authentic
Podcasts are a hot trend and many people are jumping on the bandwagon. However, it's important not to emulate other creators as a modus operandi. Many podcasts are trying to be the poor man's Joe Rogan. It's ok to be inspired by others but you need to channel your creativity and stand out.
It's ok to try different things in order to arrive at your style. Inexperienced podcasters often aren't aware that they are closely imitating other creators. It's easy for inspiration to cross the line into copying.
If you're not a celebrity, it's hard to make a show that is for everyone and that interviews a wide range of guests. If you're a business owner, it's best to start a podcast that revolves around your niche rather than try to make it a variety show.
Find what you want your show to be and don't just focus on interviewing spectacular guests. As Jessica Rhodes suggests, there's room for getting big-name guests, but be specific about the solution you're offering. Find the best solution to a real problem and your audience will flock to your podcast.
What if the Interview Didn't Go Well?
Sometimes interviews don't meet your standards. Start by trying to prevent that. You need to take responsibility for your role as a host and maximize the chances of success.. If you do your homework, you drastically reduce the chances of a bad show.
Do a prep call with your guest so that you are on the same page. This acts as a preventative measure and ensures the show will likely go well. Sometimes, even if you take the proper steps, an episode will still not be up to your standards. Make sure to publish a disclaimer that states you have the right to not publish the episode based on your discretion if it doesn't meet certain standards.
This also serves to place your guests in a mentality where they will put their best foot forward. Your guests want the episode to air because they want the exposure. Make it known to them indirectly that when they show up to perform, your guests will maximize their return on time invested.
Alternatively, you can offer to rerecord the episode if it doesn't turn out well. The guest might be someone you really want to have a show with but the first attempt didn't turn out as planned. Be open with your guest about this. As long as they understand that you have their best interest at heart, it's unlikely that your guest will object.
People are going to take time out of their day to listen to your podcast. Reward them by taking all the steps and measures to ensure that you provide the best quality.
Jessica Rhode's Final Thoughts
Jessica urges podcasters to internalize that podcasting is a relationship-building strategy. By providing value to your guests and making them look good, you, your guest, and your audience will benefit.
Interview Connections is Jessica's site where she provides services for booking guests and help with running a podcast. Her award-winning agency was first to market and has the best reputation in the space.