Inviting people, whether strangers or old friends, to be on your podcast is a fairly straightforward process. Here are a few ideas that may help streamline the process and avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.
This process may seem like overcommunication and effort. However, most of what I send are templated emails (with some customization of course) so they are easy to copy and paste.
I’ve also found that having a set process really leaves an impression with guests, especially the ones who have been on other podcasts. Your podcast guests become part of your network, so attention should be paid to how you interact before and after a show as much as during the recording process.
I link to the email templates I send to the guests. You are welcome to copy, edit, and reuse!
Ask if they are interested.
You can do this in person, via email and DM, or as a comment on their social media. Not everyone will be into it, but there’s no harm in asking.
My advice is to make sure the person fits with your show’s ethos and brand. You may talk yourself into a fit where there is none because the potential guest has a big following or is otherwise recognizable. If it’s too much of a stretch, it probably won’t be a great show regardless of the popularity of the guest.
I would also wait to give them all the information about the show. First see if they are interested, then give them some background about you and the podcast.
Your invitation should be thorough.
When they say they’re interested, don’t immediately jump to scheduling. Not every prospective guest will research your show, so make sure they know what they’re committing to.
Here’s my invitation email.
While I’m generally an advocate of short emails, I fall on the side of too much detail for the initial communication. I’m also trying to explain the differences between the two formats I use on my show, so you should be able to keep your email much shorter.
Here’s what I suggest:
- The name of the show and where/how it’s distributed
- Why you think they would be a good guest
This is important. If you can’t think of anything beyond “It would help my downloads,” they aren’t a great guest for you.
- The time commitment for being on the show
- Any specific expectations or pre-show prep
I feel very strongly that the guest is doing me a huge favor by coming on the show, so my list of expectations does not include promoting their appearance. It’s great if they do, and you should give them the tools to do so, but not in the first email.
- Examples of past episodes that may be relevant
I’m not great about this, but I really should put the most recent or relevant links in here. Gear it to the prospective guest as much as possible.
If you have demographic and listener data and you feel comfortable sharing it, do so. Some guests will have listener minimums before agreeing to appear, especially the ones who are more popular.
Get them on the schedule.
Wejoinin is a great tool for self-scheduling guests, and there’s a free version. Once a guest agrees to appear on the show, I send them the link to the form, and they can choose the most appropriate date.
From here, I create an event in my Google calendar and invite the guest to attend. This allows them to add it to their calendar. I also create an event on the show’s Facebook page for promotional purposes.
There are pros and cons to having a set weekly show time, and being able to be clear on show times is one of them. If you don’t have a set weekly schedule, put in your availability accordingly.
Gathering information about the guest.
I use a Google form to get some background information about the guest. They are really easy to set up and free. You could also incorporate some of this into the Wejoinin signup form, but I like it being separate.
I ask some personality questions to help get to know them better, but my main goal is to get contact information, emphasize the need for pictures, and confirm what the guest wants to plug.
This request goes out in an email, usually two to three weeks before we record.
Ask nicely for social media help.
I’m in the camp that the guest is already going out of their way to help me out, so promotion on their end is completely optional. This is also part of a larger attempt to help me become more giving without expecting anything in return.
This is another email (#sorrynotsorry), and I put in all the potential channels and links. I’ve considered writing some sample social copy for them, but it’s a lot of work, and I’m not sure guests would be receptive to that.
I typically send this out a week before the show. Again, in my case, that’s the show’s broadcast date. You can replace that with the drop date for your podcast.
Just like everyone with a podcast, I promote my show on all channels and tag the guest as appropriate. Keep in mind that some guests are not allowed or don’t want to be connected to their employer as part of this. It’s a good question to ask at this point.
Send very specific instructions about the day of the show.
My last email, a few days before the show, is mostly about expectations and instructions for the recording/broadcast itself. Where to meet, what it’s like while recording, and afterwards.
That (a lot) it! Let me know what you think, and if you have found any ways to improve upon this process.