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 is it so hard to grow your podcast audience? 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. Your podcast audience growth is mostly a grassroots effort. It depends on the recommendations of a few listeners.
If you have guests, you can have an advantage over the rest. Your guests can share your podcast their listeners. First, you must 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 this happens is to make an impression.
You have to be different from everyone else.
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.
This will not only help you create a better podcast but will also make it more likely that they will refer other guests to you and do you a favor by sharing the episode.
This simple gesture can make a big impact on your guests.
Here are some ways to get to know your podcast guest before you spend any time with them.
Use Twitter advanced search to research your podcast guest
Dave Gerhardt knows a thing or two about podcasts. He’s behind the hit podcasts Tech In Boston, Seeking Wisdom, Ecommerce Marketing School, and B2B Marketing Leaders. Here’s a peek at how he uses Twitter for interesting content.
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 allows you to search for content written 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 will find a detailed timeline of their careers and participations in various 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 you might find some great ideas for questions. You can see their responses and get a sense of what they might say.
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.
This will let your guest know that you are well-prepared and can deliver high quality content for you.
You might send your guest an email like this one a few days before recording:
Hello NAME, looking forward to having a conversation.
I wanted to send you this list of likely topics.
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.
“People believe that your first reaction is honest. But, I disagree. It’s usually outdated. It could be an answer that you have already thought of, or it could be a reaction to something from your past He has found that the best answers are those that he has had time to consider it. He writes from many perspectives before settling on the most interesting one. After the recording starts, he attempts to make his answers seem spontaneous.
Allowing your guests to think about questions and other topics will impress. It’s also a great way for them to be more interesting 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. You can find SavvyCal on Zapier, choose “New Meeting”, connect your account and send the guest a pre-email to the email address they used to book the meeting.
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 so, scheduling links are now so common that there is an unwritten ban on them. Some people find it offensive to receive a generic booking link.
If you want to impress guests and avoid offending them, personalize 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 fill in your guest’s name, email address and book a time by just two clicks.
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 needs to do is overlay his calendar and select the slot that suits his schedule best.
4. Create a guest page on your podcast website
You want to make the guest experience as seamless as possible. Guests should not feel lost. It’s their fault if they feel confused.
Providing a “Guest page” with all the details you need, including contact information and recording information, can transform your guest booking process.
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. After booking a recording time, scheduling tools such as SavvyCal allow you to send guests to a page.
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 can be large, and not everyone has access to a reliable cloud storage solution. Although asking your guest to share their Dropbox or Drive link with you is fine, it can prove difficult. You can make it simple for them by giving them an easy way to upload directly to your computer.
Once you have scheduled the episode for publication, let your guest know when they can expect it. You will increase your chances of having another message sent day-of with shareable hyperlinks. This will make it easier for them to amplify the message and 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.