Podcasts have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Podcastinsights.com reports there are over 750,000 shows, and as of June 2019, there are 30 million episodes. With 62 million people listening to podcasts weekly, the medium is a significant source where people get their entertainment, commentary on current events, and information on everything from physics to mixed martial arts.
I cohost the Naked Diner Podcast. It’s classified as a comedy podcast, but we cover a lot of topics. The Diner is a show where guests come on and talk about their field of specialty as well as any worthwhile tangents that come up in conversation. We just put out episode 163. Yes, the show has been going on for a few years. And I’m not surprised if you haven’t heard of us. In a sea of 30 million episodes and 750,000 shows, it’s not too surprising.
Though you may not have heard of the Naked Diner Podcast, you have probably heard of one or more of our guests. Here is a small list:
· W Kamau Bell — comedian and host of CNN’s United Shades of America
· Professor Allan Lichtman — creator of a system that accurately predicts presidential elections since 1984 and author of The Keys to the White House — A Surefire Guide to Predicting the Next President
· Lucien Greaves — co-founder of The Satanic Temple
· Professor Phil Zuckerman — author of What it Means to be Moral
· Liberal Redneck Trae Crowder — comedian, podcaster, and leader of the WellRED Comedy Tour
· Brian Gordon — creator and illustrator of Fowl Language Comics
If you are producing/hosting a podcast, there are a few tips I’d like to share on how to get guests your audience can’t wait to listen to.
Don’t have an account on Twitter? You need to have one. Twitter may have a lot of issues, but the people you want on your podcast are on it. Once you have an account, then there are a few steps you should follow to contact potential guests:
1. Follow the accounts of potential guests.
2. Make lists. You will probably follow more people than just potential guests. Lists help you organize your time on Twitter. The Naked Diner Podcast focuses on academics, activists, and comedians. I have a separate list for each category.
3. Keep an eye on trending hashtags. Oftentimes people “hang out” on hashtags. Potential guests may make their own hashtags (and you’ll know that because you’re keeping an eye on them with your Twitter lists). If you actively participate on commenting and tweeting on popular hashtags, it increases your chances of attracting attention.
4. When you chat with a potential guest on Twitter, I have found it best not to immediately ask for them to come on the podcast. Have something intelligent to say about their work. Or at least give an honest compliment. After that, it may be the right time to ask.
Many of the people you want on your podcast will have a way to contact them on their site. Academics have pages at the school they teach at. You can email them directly using the email provided on that page. Celebrities will have their own sites. In those circumstances, you will probably have to go through their management. You can also access people via Facebook pages. Many of your guests will have a Facebook page, and it may be possible to shoot them a message through that method.
My emails are short and to the point.
Hello Professor Zuckerman,
My name is Andrew Hall, and I’m one of the hosts of the Naked Diner Podcast. We’re a secular podcast that leans politically to the left. We’ve had notable notables as guests like Hemant Mehta (Friendly Atheist), Dale McGowan, and Professor Allan Lichtman (author of The Keys to the White House).
I just read your new book about morality. You would be a great guest to have on the show.
We do our chats on Skype (audio only), and they run about an hour.
Are you interested?
Thank you for your time,
Breaking down that email you will notice:
· I identify myself and my podcast.
· Inform them the podcast aligns with their interests. Naked Diner leans left of center politically speaking as do our guests.
· Let them know other high profile guests have been on the show. This offers societal proof that we’re worth their time.
· I read the books our guests write. It shows them I’m invested in them and their work. If I’m a fan, I tell them I’m a fan.
· Go over basic mechanics on how the podcast works.
· I thank them for their time.
Just as you engage a community you are interested in on Twitter, going to events increases the chances of getting someone who’d be a great guest.
Here are just a few ideas:
· Go to a convention. I attended a comic book convention a few years ago. It wasn’t Comic-Con. Rather, the event featured comic books and their creators from the New England area. It was free. After attending one of the panels, I asked one of the speakers if they’d be on the podcast, and they said yes.
· Attend an event at your local college/library. If you live near a university, then it’s likely they have free events featuring people you’d love to have on your podcast. Occasionally, your local library may host a meet and greet with an author who is promoting a new book.
· JUST GET OUT THERE. Is there a film premiere at that funky movie theater down the street? Is there a political rally close by? Are you going to a comedy show? Those places are full of potential guests.
Some of you may be introverts and have a difficult time socializing with people. I understand. I have social anxiety. What helps me is to follow the three-second rule — if there is someone I want to talk to, I need to initiate a conversation in three seconds (as long as they’re not talking to someone already). It keeps me from procrastinating. Keep in mind just talking to potential guests will develop your pitch and make you better at it over time.
OK, now we’ll talk about the positive and the negative aspects of getting great guests for your podcast.
The negative is that you will get a lot of people not replying to you. They will simply not respond to your messages or emails. Or they may initially agree to come on your podcast on Twitter (for example) and then never respond after that.
It can be quite frustrating.
The positive is that you will get great guests. And that feeling is incredible. You’ll have a fantastic sense of accomplishment preparing for the interview, conducting the interview, and listening to it afterward.
You’ll gain popularity and hopefully some sponsors.
The road to getting great guests for your podcast can be a rocky one. However, if you put the time and effort, it is well worth it!