How to attract high-profile guests to your podcast



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

Thanks to Pearcey for inspiring today’s episode with his question: “How do I get high-profile guests to appear on my show?”

If you’ve got a question you want answered on the podcast, send me an email.

Are you chasing big guests for the right reasons?

Most people think if they get a few high-profile guests on their show their numbers will go through the roof. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Check out my episode on why high-profile guests aren’t the answer to your podcasting problems…

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


Not only are they no guarantee of a spike in numbers, they’re also very difficult to get if you don’t have any existing relationships to tap into.

So, if guests with profile are 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 things all high-profile guests have in common is they’re busy people, so you want to make sure there’s a long lead time between where you’re sitting now, and when your episodes will be released.

There might be some people you get in contact with you don’t hear back from for months.  Or you might have a wishlist of 20 people and 18 of them say no so you’ve got to go back to the drawing board.

If you want this type of guest on your show 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 five 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 you can lock me in that might be convenient for you?”

That might be in five days or it might be in three months, so you’ve got to take that into account.

Batch record your episodes

Ideally, you want to be recording your episodes well ahead of their release so if anyone cancels or something goes wrong you’ve got a decent buffer.

With my show, You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere, I was interviewing guests for 6 months before I went live with the show 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 will not only give you more options when you’re scheduling guests, it’ll also save you from having a stress-induced heart attack.

Make sure your concept is easy to understand

You need to be able to sell your idea in a single line so the person on the other end of the email or phone thinks “I totally get why this person has approached me and I understand exactly what they want from me.”

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

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

Think about creating shorter seasons

It’s a lot harder to book 52 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 guests, roll those out, then try and book another six guests 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.

Remember, the first 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.

Once someone has said yes you can let other people you’re contacting know.  That will put their mind at ease and help them feel like you can be trusted.

Consider guests with lower or no profile

Guests who are trying to build their profile often provide much better content because they actually WANT to talk to you and get their name out there.

If you sit down with people who have a great story but are unknown, you’ll often get a much better interview and at the end of the day you should always care more about that than a name.

Whatever you decided to do, remember patience is the key.  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 show, 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.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Need some help getting started or setting up your home studio?  Download my free podcasting guide.

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

[00:00:00] 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.

[00:01:18] 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.

[00:01:35] 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.

[00:02:35] 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.

[00:03:17] 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.

[00:03:39] 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.

[00:04:33] 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.

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