Learn how to find guests for your podcast episodes that will amplify your message and grow your audience.
It’s no secret that an engaging guest can make or break your podcast episode. As the former director of agency marketing at 5by5, Grant Jenkins has learned how to identify what makes a person the right fit for a podcast and how they can work to grow your audience.
“The challenge is to give enough where it’s accessible, its executable and its relatable,” said Jenkins. “Because you want to engage the audience with that, but you also want to attract new listeners and take some risks in that space.”
In this episode of Brandcasting, Jenkins guides us through choosing guests that connect with the audience, how to pitch your branded podcast and the many ways to prepare for the interview.
Building on your network
When selecting your guest, you certainly want to look for someone engaging, entertaining, and knowledgeable about the topic you’re pursuing. But, Jenkins says you also should look at how the guest can grow your audience and expand your reach.
“Part of it is about reach and you do want guests that bring an audience. Because part of the goal is not just to speak to your natural audience and who you already have on board,” said Jenkins. “But who does that person bring to the table that can be a part of the larger conversation that you’re wanting to create?”
Believe it or not, the first place to look is your own address book. By inviting guests with whom you already have an established relationship, your podcast conversations will feel connected and comfortable.
“That dynamic that is created on a podcast with someone you already have an existing relationship with, that’s going to be very different than someone you’re just engaging with for the first time, so that’s going to add a layer.”
That’s not to say you can’t reach out to those dream guests who are experts in what you’re discussing. In fact, Jenkins recommends finding a healthy combination of experts and everyday people.
Finding this balance will allow your podcast episodes to deliver content that’s both authoritative and aspirational, but also practical and relatable, says Jenkins.
“Give me something I can aspire to and dream for, but also give me something I can walk away and do right now.”
Pitching your podcast
So, you find the perfect guest, but how do you pop the question? Each invite you send should be well-researched, persuasive and intentional, says Jenkins.
The first step is providing your potential guest with context. A successful pitch gives guests a good sense of who you are, what your podcast is about and some statistical information on your audience.
“Any stats on the reach and who you know is listening,” said Jenkins. “If it’s a brand new show, obviously you’re not going to have that data, but you can give some sort of historical data: give social media numbers, give information on ‘Has there been a book? ‘Has there been a show?’ ‘Has there been coverage in the media?’”
Once you provide clarity on your podcast content, begin to establish your expectations for the guest. Give them a sense of exactly what you’re asking of them.
“What will you be talking about? How long will the interview take? Is it going to be on the phone? Over Skype? Zencastr?” said Jenkins. “Create those parameters so they know what to expect.”
Perhaps most importantly, you should let them know why they’re a great fit for the show. No pitch is complete without explaining what value you see in the potential guest and why you want them.
“Help them connect those dots between their voice and your audience. And why it’s really important that they come on your show.”
Preparing for the interview
Before you sit down for the interview with your guest, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to value their time.
That means making sure your questions are well-researched and informed, so you can have a worthwhile and engaged conversation.
“Do some homework. Don’t just ask super surface questions,” said Jenkins. “What is an angle I can take with this guest that can really give me some unique content?”
You’ll also want to provide your guest with some basic information on how to best execute the interview. Jenkins recommends giving a bullet point list with reminders to find a quiet place, silence their phone and your contact information in case they run into any issues.
“Give them the tools to be successful. Set your guest up to win.”
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