Finding Podcast Guests: 3 Simple Secrets to a Scalable Podcast Guest Strategy

This guide is part of an ongoing series on How To Market Your Podcast. Read our comprehensive podcast marketing tutorial, featuring 14 actionable marketing tactics and advice from real Captivate podcasters, for free now!

Great podcasts make us want to debate, engage and, most importantly, recommend them to everyone we know. That’s exactly how Serial became the most downloaded podcast in history.

What most podcasters don’t know is that if your goal is sustained, successful podcast audience growth, you have to think of your podcast as your product. What’s the most powerful and accessible way to market your product? 

Word of mouth recommendation, of course!

By inviting guests onto your podcast, or being a guest yourself, you generate positive, valuable word of mouth recommendations for your podcast and/or your brand. You build authority for your voice, create relationships within your niche and, crucially, introduce your podcast to a new audience of already receptive listeners.

Guest opportunities are one of the best ways for any podcaster looking to market their show to new audiences. Leveraging podcast guests – whether it’s through interviews, bonus episodes, curated podcast episode collections or otherwise – is the best way to give your listeners more of the content they want whilst maximising marketing, growth and monetization opportunities for yourself. Win win!

So how do you find and pitch to podcast guests? How do you get booked as a podcast guest yourself? How can podcast guests help you grow your audience? 

In this guide we’ll be taking you through exactly how to create and implement an effective, achievable guest strategy to help you to market and grow your podcast. 

A headshot of Jessica Rhodes. Jessica Rhodes is the founder of Interview Connections, the first and leading podcast booking agency and is the leading expert on how to leverage podcast guesting for increased brand awareness.

We’ve even spoken to leading podcast guest expert Jessica Rhodes from Interview Connections to bring you lots of practical tips on how to pitch yourself as a podcast guest and make the most from every opportunity. 

Jessica is the leading expert on how to leverage podcast guesting for brand awareness, lead generation and podcast monetization and is co-host of Rock The Podcast, a show dedicated to teaching podcasters how to get booked as guests and make the most of every guesting opportunity. 

How To Find Great Podcast Guests: What To Do Before You Start

As with any form of podcast marketing, it’s important to start with a plan of attack. This means:

  • Identifying potential guests and podcasts to collaborate with
  • Proactively reaching out to other podcasts or individuals to pitch your podcast
  • Pitching yourself as a podcast guest or proposing a guest exchange
  • Deciding on what content you and your guest will create, such as bonus episodes, cross-promotions, interviews, roundtable discussions or segments

Why Are Podcast Guests Great for Podcast Growth?

Having a guest strategy is really helpful when it comes to marketing and growing your podcast audience for three main reasons:

  1. Featuring as a guest on other podcasts helps to grow your brand and expand your influence in your chosen niche. 
  2. Inviting guests onto your podcast is a great way to increase your authority and expose your content to a related and receptive audience. 
  3. Both tactics provide you (and your guests) with easy marketing content as well as solid social proof to show to potential sponsors. 
Infographic: Grow your audience, raise your brand profile and build relationships with other podcasters through inviting guests onto your podcast or featuring as a guest yourself.
Grow your audience, raise your brand profile and build relationships with other podcasters through inviting guests onto your podcast or featuring as a guest yourself.

3 Secrets For Maximising Your Podcast Guest Opportunities

Growing your audience, brand and network sounds really great, doesn’t it? And it can all be achieved easily, organically and quickly result in tangible growth (in other words, the Holy Podcast Marketing Grail).

Here are 3 of our secrets to building your own effective guest strategy for podcast growth!

1. Know Where To Find Podcast Guest Opportunities for Your Audience

Your first step before pitching your podcast to guests is knowing where to find them and identifying who will work best for your brand and audience.

How Do You Find Podcast Guests or Become A Guest On A Podcast? 

“The most beneficial aspect of podcasting, both as a guest and a host, is the relationships you create by doing interviews! So, the first step to finding and booking the right guests for your show is to get clarity on who YOU want to have a relationship with”, says podcast guesting expert Jessica Rhodes.

“As a business owner, this would likely be potential clients which means finding and booking guests is simple prospecting! Find people who would be an ideal client for you, and ask them to be a guest on your show and give them the spotlight.”

“The same rule applies if you want to be a guest on other podcasts. Decide who you want to build a relationship with, find the podcasts they are hosting, and pitch yourself as a guest expert for their show!”

What Tools Can You Use To Find Podcast Guests?

Use your social network of choice to identify and reach out to individuals or other podcasts within your niche who might be interested in featuring on your show or having you on theirs. 

A screenshot of Podchaser's user interface, displaying Spark of Rebellion's reviews. Use features like Podchaser Connect to find and pitch to relevant guests. Claim your profile directly from the Captivate dashboard with our handy integration!
Use features like Podchaser Connect to find and pitch to relevant guests. Claim your profile directly from the Captivate dashboard with our handy integration!

Local business networks, Facebook groups (podcast-focused or otherwise), forums, directories or sites like Podchaser or Interview Connections are fantastic resources for research, outreach and bookmarking potential guests for later or find opportunities to pitch your show to guests.

When thinking of WHO to invite on your podcast, think about: 

  • If there are any voices or points of view you’d like to amplify
  • Timely/current topics you’d like to highlight or bring attention to

Always keep your audience and brand at the forefront of your mind – whoever you get in touch with, think about if their content and values align with yours, if it will resonate well with your listeners and if it will benefit your podcast brand in the long term. 

Let Your Listeners Guide Your Decision

Why not consult the people who already listen to your podcast and value your content? Your listeners are engaged in your niche and community already, and many will have recommendations for guest opportunities that you hadn’t considered or aren’t aware of (or may even be compelling guests themselves). 

Related:  Podcasts on Amazon Music: What You Need to Know

Ask your followers on social media, add a call-out at the end of episodes or send a newsletter asking for suggestions or contributions – before you know it, you’ll have a goldmine of guest opportunities for yourself and your podcast.

Do Your Research Before You Pitch!

Pretty please, do your research before you make any moves. This will not only help you to avoid embarrassing mistakes but will also alert you to any common ground you share with your potential guest. Maybe they’re releasing a podcast of their own, maybe they’re launching a product or retweet a lot of the same content you do – these are all opportunities to get them on board or your foot through the door!

2. Maximise Your Guest Opportunity By Getting Creative With Content

So, you’ve found and booked some wicked podcast guests that both your audiences are sure to get excited about. Your next step is maximizing this massive marketing opportunity to boost those downloads!

Create Marketable Segments For Your Guests

An interview or discussion segment won’t fit the tone of every podcast. Creating shareable interactive segments, as well as being entertaining for your audience, do the hard work for you when it comes to marketing. Segments also add consistency to your format – your audience will come to expect them, suggest topics and request guests. Just a few ideas are quick-fire question rounds, asking guests to bring along their own recommendations or asking them listener-submitted questions. 

Playful, on-theme segments like Wittertainment’s ‘TV Movie of the Week: So Bad It’s Bad’, Side Stories’ ‘Hero of the Week’ and This Podcast Will Kill You’s ‘Quarantini’ invite audience engagement and debate.
Playful, on-theme segments like Wittertainment’s ‘TV Movie of the Week: So Bad It’s Bad’, Side Stories’ ‘Hero of the Week’ and This Podcast Will Kill You’s ‘Quarantini’ invite audience engagement and debate.

Provide Bonus or Exclusive Content

Guest opportunities are a great way to promote bonus content or market paid membership to your listeners. Getting an influential person or expert onto your show, hosting roundtables or AMAs, or adding your own guest interviews onto your podcast feed gives your listeners extra content and added value, as well as giving your guests extra traffic.

Be Reactive With Topics

If there’s a trending topic or discussion happening within your community, reach out to past guests, industry figures or listeners for commentary. Act fast and strike while the iron’s hot: even a 5-minute clip from a popular figure is enough to create a hook, catch people’s attention and contribute to the conversation. 

At the same time, offering your own commentary is a good way to position yourself as an expert and build your reputation as a trusted, legitimate figure within your niche. 

3. Make It Easy For Guests To Share Your Podcast Content

You’ll see little return from guesting or having guests on your podcast if the material you product isn’t easy to share and engage with.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Once you’ve recorded new content as or with a guest, be ready to market it. You’ve effectively doubled your audience and have a massive opportunity to expose your podcast brand and content to new listeners, so use it! 

If you’re guesting on another podcast, be ready with some clear calls to action (or even a custom incentive) to let that audience know exactly where to find you and your content. If you’re featuring guests, give them dedicated time at the end of their spot to plug their own content and include links in your show notes.

A screenshot of Captivate's single subscription link. Use your Captivate single-subscription page link to give new listeners tons of options for how to try out your podcast.
Use your Captivate single-subscription page link to give new listeners tons of options for how to try out your podcast.

Use audio/video clips, animated graphics or live stream teasers to promote your new content, and remember to tag in people you think might be interested. Ask for shares, ask for feedback, encourage interaction – whatever you can do to generate buzz around this opportunity, do it!

It’s also a very good idea to give your guest a package of links, images, clips and pre-written copy to use when promoting your collaboration. That way, as soon as your episode goes live, you’re both ready to market it with a consistent message, recognisable visuals and (crucially) time to engage with all that new traffic coming your way. 

Don’t Underestimate FOMO

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is everyone’s Achilles’ heel. It’s also a powerful tool that you can use to get your audience excited about what’s coming up and ready to hit download on release day. Here are a few FOMO-inducing tactics to try with your guest on your next podcast release:

  • Put out a simple ‘Guess Who’ teaser or a call-out at the end of the previous episode.
  • Ask your guest to tease their appearance to their networks.
  • Tease just the topic of the interview and get your listeners to guess who it is.
  • Share behind-the-scenes content on your Instagram or Facebook stories.

Repurpose Your Audio For YouTube

With every new podcast release comes a new SEO opportunity. Repurposing your podcast audio is a great way to increase traffic and get your content ranking on search engines like YouTube. When a guest interview or feature comes along, creating video as well as audio gives you both another marketing opportunity, more shareable material as well as giving your listeners another way to consume your content. 

It’s important to realize that a good chunk of your potential audience might not listen to podcasts or know what a podcast is at all – so making your content available on other mediums such as YouTube is a good way to get your material in front of more people on their chosen format as well as increase your chances of getting noticed by Google!

A screenshot of TubeBuddy's Keyword Explorer tool. We are big fans of TubeBuddy, which has tools such as split testing, keyword research tools and features that speed up our workflow.
We are big fans of TubeBuddy, which has tools such as split testing, keyword research tools and features that speed up our workflow.

Make sure to optimize your YouTube video title and description for search by including important things like your guest’s name, phrases like ‘Interview With…’ and adding in targeted keywords so your video will have the best chance at appearing in searches. A quick Google will do, but at Rebel Base Media we use the massively helpful TubeBuddy to drill down into YouTube-centric search terms and see what’s performing best in real time. 

So, What Next?

You’re now equipped with a winning podcast guest strategy to help you identify new opportunities and market them for optimal podcast growth! We hope you can put some of our secrets to good use on your own podcast. If you have a podcast marketing tip that really works for you, tweet us @CaptivateAudio – we’d love to share it!

More Podcast Marketing Advice

On the lookout for more podcast marketing and podcast guest resources? We’ve got your back. Check out our comprehensive tutorial, featuring 14 actionable podcast marketing tactics and advice from real Captivate podcasters, for free right now

We’ve also put together 9 Unconventional Ways to Grow Your Podcast, a free downloadable handbook that will teach you exactly how to design marketable podcast segments, create a podcast trailer that converts and 7 more easy, unique marketing tricks used by our own CEO Mark Asquith. Grab your copy for free below!

Rachel

Rachel is Captivate's Marketing Coordinator and works closely with podcasters to ensure that the content that Captivate creates is genuinely helpful and easy to understand.