Finding Guests for a Podcast Takes Hustle

Jared VanderMeer — Edmonton’s Top Business and Marketing Podcast

If you’re a podcaster, you’ve probably had some challenges with getting great guests out to your how. I’ve recently been working on finding people for my #TalktoJV podcast. It’s not always easy to get podcast guests out to speak, but over the past year, I’ve had some excellent local entrepreneurs, podcasters, and digital marketers out for great conversations on the podcast. It takes hustle to get those people in the studio to share their stories, but if you put in the time, you’ll find them. Here are a few of the strategies I’ve been using:

Send Out Emails to Get People to Reach Out

One of the first things I did to find guests for the podcast was sending out a mass email to my connections to let them know about the podcast. I told everyone I was actively looking for guests and asked people to get in touch if they wanted to be on the show or knew someone who would be interested.

I did this after I’d already released the first six months of content, which allowed people to go and check it out for themselves. You can do it sooner, but chances are you already have the first 10–20 guests lined up, so this is usually better reserved for later down the road (after you’ve gone through your initial guest list).

Reaching Out to Connections on LinkedIn and Facebook

Once my initial guest list was dwindling, I knew I had to get more active and direct to get more guests in the door. So, with this in mind, I started reaching out personally to people I knew on Facebook and LinkedIn. These were mostly people I knew directly or indirectly, and many of them were connections I hadn’t spoken to in a while.

I sent out about 20 direct messages on Facebook and 60 messages on LinkedIn and got some solid responses, booking at least a few guests from this (plus, it was a great opportunity to check in on what people are up to and get some networking in). I’ll have to follow up with some of them again in the coming months, and I expect to book more people in once I do.

Ask People if Others in Their Sphere Want to Be on the Podcast

Although a lot of the people I interview on #TalktoJV are people in my own contact sphere, some guests are people I only know through others. I booked these guests by letting everyone know that I was interested in interviewing their friends and contacts.

I opened up this channel on purpose, knowing that some people might not want to be interviewed themselves, but could know others who did. This is a great way to meet new people and get some unique voices on your podcast.

Find Other Podcasters and Digital Marketers

Since #TalktoJV focuses on digital marketing and business, I started looking through my contacts specifically for people who had their own digital content (like a podcast) or who were in digital marketing or a closely related field. I knew these would be the people who could add the most value for my audience, and I wanted to bring some value back to the guests and people in their audience or sphere as well.

Make Some Phone Calls

Direct messaging people on social media platforms was great, but there’s nothing like a personal phone call to get someone booked in as a podcast guest. I made about ten phone calls in one day to see who was interested. I snuck this in-between filming videos for TikTok and my other platforms, so it wasn’t a huge interruption to my day. Another advantage of calling someone directly is that you can book them in on the spot, saving yourself time on communications and scheduling down the road.

Create a Community Group in WhatsApp

I know Gary Vee has his own community text message group (his podcast), so I created something similar on WhatsApp to share the content, get feedback from people, and book new guests. This is a great way to reach out to people and let them know you’re actively booking new guests.

Reach Out to Influencers

When you’re trying to create valuable content, you have to take some risks. I did that by reaching out directly to Gary Vee to see if he would be a guest (or, more likely, if I could be a guest). The chances of hearing back were slim, but in the end, the pay-off for that off-chance was too huge to pass up.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers (local or global). Other people who are trying to build up their own following are likely to want to get their personal or business brands out there, so there’s a good chance that if you reach out to a few influencers, you’ll start booking more influential guests. That could mean someone with a few thousand followers or a million. Either way, reach out and ask!

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I recently published If You Sell, You Lose, my first marketing book designed for businesses, brands, and marketers. Videos and marketing tips on YouTube.