Happy International Podcast Day! Today is a very special day for me personally: it’s the anniversary of my first ever personal podcast.
Since I launched that show, the International Podcast Day team (Dave & Steve, thank you) and podcasting community overall has let me become one weird part of the industry at large.
Every year I’m grateful, but this year I wanted to do something here with Captivate to give back to our podcasters.
So, we’ve just released our completely free, completely integrated interview management and guest booking platform for all Captivate podcasters!
This is a complete platform for booking & managing your guest bookings and interviews. It comes complete with a public booking link, total availability control and direct SquadCast integration!
In this article...
Why We Made a Free Guest Booking & Interview Management Platform for Podcasters
When I started my podcasting journey in 2011 I was bitten by the bug and since then, it has never left me.
Back then I was running a geek show with Garry (Captivate’s Head of Design) talking about pop culture but as I started to look at moving out of running a design and digital agency and exploring what I might do next, I started a podcast called Excellence Expected that interviewed people who were excelling in their field and ran for 150 episodes before I pivoted to a solo show.
I devised a really specific format and began using a paid for, third-party platform to automate my interview scheduling – and I really liked it.
But something irked me and has been irking me since. In fact, it’s the same irk that made me start Podcast Websites, our managed WordPress platform for podcasters and that birthed the initial podcast hosting platform back in 2014 that went on to become Captivate.
That irk was:
Why do I have to always put up with glueing together platforms that don’t talk very well to each other just to produce my podcast? There must be a better way!
My workflow was a bit of a pain because I’d have to manually transfer data like guest biographies, images and links to my episode show notes and there was no way to automate this. Plus, I wanted to really be able to see how any given guest would affect my podcast downloads in a way that didn’t involve CSV files and hours in Excel (back in the day!).
Compounding that podcasting progressed as an industry, I began to see more and more businesses setting up to make $10 per month recurring revenue from podcasters by trying to solve a problem with a solution that wasn’t that much better than the older platforms I used.
It’s to be expected in a growing industry, but as a serious independent creator it can hurt – costs rise and mount up month-on-month and it seems like there’s always something new that you “need”.
When we created Captivate we did so with one goal: help podcasters to grow – and we do that by either releasing features that proactively help their audience growth & monetisation or by building things that will save podcasters time or save podcasters money by reducing friction, integrating directly with your podcasting workflow and one-by-one removing the need for $10 here, $10 there on extra software.
If we hit all three of these marks with Captivate, you have the tools that you need to grow and profit plus extra time and extra money to invest in your podcast marketing.
That’s the Captivate mission.
Cost Saving, Time Saving, Connected Data and Automation
By building this free, fully integrated guest booking and interview management system into Captivate we’re helping you to reduce costs on extra software, save time by managing everything in one place and as we move forward to connect your guest data to Podchaser, the Podcasting 2.0 initiative we can begin to overlay the efficacy of your guests on your audience growth and also give you pretty automated episode show notes using variables/mergefields within Captivate’s snippets tool.
Why is the Guest Booking and Interview Management System Free?
Other than supporting the system, it doesn’t really cost Captivate anything on an ongoing basis to give it to you.
Even though we could put it on one of the higher tiers as an upsell as most other hosts would do, we really don’t want to.
We’ve spent months building this system for you and have built it with as much depth, care and attention as every other part of Captivate but when we scheduled this project into the team roadmap, we made that decision to give it to you for free right away.
We’re here to help the serious independent podcast creator to grow and the more that we can do to help with that, the better it is for you and for us. We’re all just here to do good work for each other so whatever we can do to make things easier, we will.
How Does the Guest Booking System Work?
I’ve put together a short overview video for you and we’ve also created a number of help articles over on the Captivate help portal. Plus, the Captivate team and I are around to help at any time via the support chat.
Guest Booking & Interview Management System Features
The system is a fully rounded platform for booking & managing guests and interviews.
- Fully customisable public booking page for your guests to choose their interview time and submit the information that you require
- Guest booking process for you, the podcast host, to proactively book or re-book guests
- Complete timezone support for you and your guests
- Complete guest management
- Built-in reschedule and cancellation processes for both you and your guests
- Fully granular availability control
- Date blocking for specifically unavailable dates
- Podcast creator availability overrides
- Custom interview duration and hourly start schedules
- Control over how far out guests can book
- Custom domain support for your booking page
- Custom booking page information & instructions for your guests
- Custom interview information for your guests
- Set default interview locations that can be overridden on individual bookings
- Automated guest calendar files and Google integration
- SquadCast direct integration at launch for automated remote recording scheduling (with more to come!)
Take a look at the gallery to view some screens from the guest booking system. Just click an image to enlarge it.
When is the guest booking and interview management system available?
We released the upgrade during our reveal live stream on YouTube and all Captivate users have access to this amazing feature set for free, right now!