PodSchool Podcast | How to attract high-profile guests to your podcast


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How to attract high-profile guests to your podcast

Are you chasing them for the right reasons?

Most people think if they get a few high-profile guests on their podcast their audience numbers will go through the roof.

Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.

Not only do guests with big profiles not guarantee a spike in listeners they’re often difficult to get on if you don’t have existing relationships to tap into.

So, if this type of podcast guest is something you desperately want on your show.  And you know it’s right for your content (not just something you’re doing for more listeners) here are some things you should think about…

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Give yourself plenty of time

The one thing all high-profile people have in common is they’re busy.  So make sure there’s a long lead time between when you’re contacting them and when your podcast episode goes live.

There might be some people you reach out to who you don’t hear back from for months.

Alternatively, you might have a wishlist of 20 names and get 18 emails saying “Thanks but no thanks” before someone says yes.

You need to factor this in and make sure you’ve got plenty of time to book people in before you need to record those episodes.

How long does it take to put together a podcast episode?


Be prepared to fit in with them

If you want high-profile guests on your podcast, unfortunately, you’re the one who’s going to need to be flexible.

You can’t say to somebody “I really want you on the show but the episode comes out next week so can we do it in the next few days?”

You need to say “Hey I’m recording a podcast and I’d love to have you on as a guest. Is there any time that would be convenient for you?”

That might be in five days or it might be in three months.  So you’ve got to have the wiggle room there so you’re not desperately trying to fill the chair with anyone.

Are high-profile guests a good way to grow your podcast audience?


Batch record your episodes

Ideally, you want to record your episodes well ahead of their release date so if a podcast guest cancels or something goes wrong you’ve got a decent buffer.

With my show, You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere, I was interviewing people for 6 months before my podcast went live.

This was because I knew when that first episode rolled out and I was meeting a weekly deadline I wouldn’t be able to get people on short notice.

This not only gives you more options when scheduling guests it saves you from having a weekly stress-induced heart attack.

Why you should batch record your podcast


Make sure your concept is easy to understand

When you’re approaching busy guests for your podcast you need to be able to sell the idea for your show in one or two lines.

If you say “My show is an interview series where I chat to interesting people” that’s not a compelling enough invitation for someone with a hectic schedule.  It also gives them no idea what they’re in for.

Whatever you do, you want your podcast guests to feel as comfortable as possible and that means they need to know what the show is about and exactly what you’re asking them to do.

Why you need to define your podcast concept


Think about creating shorter seasons

It’s a lot harder to book 52 podcast guests than it is to book six so don’t get stuck in the mindset that once you start you can never stop.

Maybe book six, roll those out, then try and book another six for season two.

You’re relying on other people when you’re doing an interview show so setting a lower benchmark will help you succeed.

How to make podcasting easier with seasons


Be genuine

Start sending those emails and making connections BUT always make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Only reach out to high-profile guests if they’re the perfect fit for your podcast, not because you think you’ll be able to piggyback off their audience.

Anyone worth their salt will be able to smell that desperation a mile off and if they do it’s unlikely they’ll come on your show.

At the end of the day, high-profile guests are great but they don’t guarantee a million extra listeners so you need to make sure you’re getting them on for the right reasons and making the experience great for them.

How do you grow your podcast audience?


Consider guests with lower or no profile

People trying to build their profile are often much better podcast guests because they want to talk to you.

If you sit down with someone who has a great story but is relatively unknown, you’ll often get much stronger content than someone who doesn’t need the exposure.

How to get the most out of your podcast interviews


Remember, the first podcast guest is always the hardest

If you’re starting from scratch, the first guest will always be the most difficult to lock in but once you’ve got someone of note to invest in your concept it’ll be easier to get other people across the line.

And once that first high-profile person has said yes you can let other people know you’ve had them on the show, which can make them feel more comfortable saying “yes.”

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. This week I am answering your question from Pearcey who emailed me to ask me how he can attract high profile guests to his show. This is a tough one particularly if you don't have any connections or any relationships with people that are high profile. It's not impossible by any means but there are some things you need to do to set yourself up for the best chance of success. The first thing is you need to have a really long lead time and by that I mean a long time between where you're sitting now and your episodes being released. High profile people are going to be busy. It also might be tough to get people to say yes. So you really need as much time ahead of you as possible to try and book people because you're going to need to work in with their schedule rather than yours. You can't say to somebody "I really want you on the show but the episode comes out next week so can we do it in the next five days?" You need to say "Hey I've got a podcast coming out. Is there any time that you can lock me in?" and it might be three months until you can get them onboard.
It's really important to give yourself as much space between coming up with the idea and going live so you're not getting to the day before the episode is due every week and thinking "Oh my goodness I'm going to have to get a Tom Cruise impersonator to get on the show because I can't get the guest that I wanted.
The other thing to do is to have a really easily definable concept. You need to be able to sell your idea in a single line so that the person on the other end of that email or the phone call thinks "I totally get why this person has approached me and I totally understand what they're asking for." If it's just a general concept you're pitching that's not going to be a very compelling invitation for somebody who has a busy schedule and is obviously successful. Also it's going to be a bit dangerous for them. It will be scary to think "Gosh I'm going to sit down and have a conversation with somebody I don't know and we're going to cover topics I really can't work out what they are." If you are cold emailing someone make sure that you have as compelling a pitch as possible that it's as specific as possible and that it really relates to that guest so they know exactly what you're asking them to do.
It might also be worth thinking about having shorter seasons. It's a lot harder to book 52 guests than it is to book six guests. So maybe start out small, send those emails, start making those connections. It might take you six months to get somebody to reply to you. Start making those connections and trying to reach out and all you need is one person to say yes because as soon as you have one person that says yes, in the next email you can say "oh I've already got this person signed up" or "I've had a chat with this person" which can give the next person you approach some sense of security that you are somebody that can be trusted because you've already managed to get that guest on board.
Whatever you do make sure that you are looking for high profile guests for the right reasons. If you think that getting a high profile guest on your show every week is going to be the fastest way to grow an audience. Then cool your jets kiddo because it is no guarantee of building a giant audience and high profile guests can smell that stuff a mile off.
If you head back into the feed of this podcast you'll find an episode that talks about whether high profile guests are a good way to grow your audience and you will find that the reality of how many extra listeners a guest brings in, even if they've got 500000 Twitter followers, is not as big as you would think and often the work that it takes to get those people on your show is not worth the pay off. You're much better off thinking who could I bring on the show who has a lower profile that would be much more open to jumping on a podcast and I can create really good content that people would want to listen to rather than just trying to hitch my show to somebody who has a lot of Twitter followers. It's not a great way to build an audience and it's not as successful as you would think. So think about why you want those high profile guests on and whether you might not get better content out of people who aren't so guarded.
If you're looking at guests especially ones that have a media profile there's a lot of stuff they're not going to want to talk about there's a lot of areas they're not going to want to go into particularly with somebody they don't know but if you're talking to somebody who might be really interested in pushing a book that they've written or their website or they're just a really interesting person with a great story and zero profile you're probably going to get a much better episode out of that than you ever would with somebody who might be a bit more guarded. You really have to think about what you're going to get the best content out of because people come back time and time again for great stories and interesting tales no matter who the person telling them is so don't feel like you need to rely on high profile guests or that that's the only way you're going to build an audience because you might actually be making it much more difficult for yourself. High profile guests might not be the solution to your podcasting problems but if they are perfectly suited to your content and you really do think they're the right way to go there make sure you give yourself plenty of time have a really easily pickable concept and have patience. Thanks so much for listening. If you are enjoying the tips on this podcast please head to wherever you listen to the show and leave a review. I will send you big audio hugs. Also head to podschoolpodcast.com where all the show notes for this and other episodes are as well as a link to my online podcasting course, PodSchool.com.au. I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

1 Comment
  1. Bossman says:

    Very helpful podcast Rachel it gives you are broader understanding that being a podcast host its lot like entry level job , you work your way around until you build good audience and most Importantly start having high profile guests

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!