Steps to find compelling podcast guests
- Understand who your audience loves already
- Find experts to solve problems
- Tap into your audience more directly
- Ask previous guests to recommend other guests
- Use a specialized service
The podcast industry is massive — there are more than 5 million podcasts around the world, and podcasters have produced approximately 70 million episodes. Obviously, there’s a lot of competition in this vast $23.56 billion market. Podcast hosts must deliver engaging and interesting episodes that provide value to their listeners. One way to do this is by booking the right podcast guests.
That, unfortunately, is easier said than done.
Whether you’re an experienced podcaster or just starting out, it’s not easy to find high-quality guests who will compel audiences to continue choosing your show over your competition.
It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. In this article, we’ve pulled together five expert tips on how to find podcast guests from Sayata Gabriel, CEO of Grow Mighty Leaders, an experienced podcast host and frequent podcast guest. “It’s not just about how you can get more guests,” says Gabriel, “but how you can get better guests for your podcast.”
How to find compelling podcast guests
1. Understand who your audience loves already
According to Gabriel, one of the best resources for finding new and engaging podcast guests is your audience.
“You might have untapped resources right under your nose, and that’s what is going to get you traction most quickly.” Determine who else your audience listens to — what other podcasts do they like that are related to yours? The hosts for these podcasts may make great guests for your own show, as they already appeal to your audience.
Whether you’re building up an audience for a new podcast or you have an established audience already, this kind of research is important and valuable. If you don’t have a large audience yet, create an audience avatar depicting your ideal listener. And if you have an established audience, ask them about their favorite podcasts through an audience survey.
“People who host other podcasts and shows are very excited to do an exchange where you star on each others’ shows,” says Gabriel. This creates a win-win for you, as you get a great guest for your show and more visibility through another podcast.
2. Find experts to solve problems
Your podcast listeners are typically looking for answers to questions or solutions to problems, Gabriel explains. “Take the time to understand where the gaps are for your audience and find guests to fill those gaps.”
For example, “someone recently asked me to be a guest on their podcast, and in our introductory call we discussed neurodivergence and how it’s part of the conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion.” The podcast host and her audience were experiencing the problem of effectively leading neurodivergent people or leading people who may not know they’re neurodivergent. The solution was to find an expert on this topic to talk on her podcast. “Thus, she came to me,” notes Gabriel.
Once you’ve determined the issues your audience wants to solve, you have to look in the right places for your podcast guests. Gabriel says, “People are solving problems on YouTube. Just type in the problem and see who comes up. Take a look at whether they’re an expert in the area, whether they have their own podcast or channel, and if they could be a potential guest. It’s a great way to find podcast guests.”
Another idea is to scour your local bookstore or library. “Look at people who have written newly released books on the topic of your problem,” says Gabriel. “They’re going to be looking for publicity opportunities, so it’s a win-win.”
3. Tap into your audience more directly
We’ve already talked about the importance of using your audience as a resource, but Gabriel doubles down on this suggestion from a different angle. “Straight up ask them who they want to see on the podcast and if there’s anyone in your audience who would make a great guest,” she says. “This is an often overlooked tactic, but there may be some really awesome people in your audience who are resonating with the material because they work in the field.”
Your podcast audience may also have someone in their own networks who could make a great guest. Consider what a potential guest could offer the audience and go back to the idea of filling in the gap or solving a problem. “For example, if your podcast audience is people in B2B tech organizations of a certain size, someone in your audience may be an accountant who serves the same audience,” says Gabriel. “There may be a lot of opportunities there for an interesting guest.”
4. Ask previous guests to recommend other guests
The guests you’ve already had on your podcast may be another untapped resource. “The same person who asked me to be on their podcast has a question on her podcast intake form that asks for guest recommendations,” says Gabriel. This is a highly effective way to get suggestions.
“You can also reserve five minutes after the interview block to debrief and take that opportunity to ask your guest about their suggestions for future interviewees,” says Gabriel. “Now that they have a feel for the show, check to see if there’s someone they think you should absolutely interview who will resonate with your audience.”
Often, podcast guests are content creators in their own right — they may have their own podcast or write a blog, for example — so they frequently have a large network of other content creators. “Most often, they will have at least one suggestion, and there’s a lot of value there,” says Gabriel.
5. Use a specialized service
There are many dedicated services that help podcast hosts find guests. “Often, these are for people who are new to hosting, but you’ll also find podcasters there who have been doing it a long time and are running out of new guests and are looking for opportunities,” says Gabriel. “We’ve used MatchMaker.fm ourselves.”
Another option is to use a virtual assistant service that specializes in podcasting guest opportunities. “They find potential guests and send the invitations for you,” says Gabriel.
However, this tip comes with a caveat: “They tend to focus on quantity over quality, so you do have to refine the list and make sure you’re getting high-quality guests who will appeal to your audience and help them solve their problems,” says Gabriel. “This is how you’re going to get a loyal following.”
To be successful, you really only need a small fraction of listeners with whom your content really resonates, says Gabriel. “If they identify with your values, your approach, your voice, that’s what matters.”
How Jotform can support your podcast, one form at a time
When you’re ready to start looking for podcast guests, Jotform is here to support you with podcast-specific forms and tables.
From podcast guest releases to intro forms, you can use Jotform to collect the information you need to make your podcast a success, such as background information, availability, expertise, talking points, and so much more.
If you want to know more about your audience, Jotform is a great way to create surveys, questionnaires, and polls to gather public opinion and better serve your audience. You can track all form responses in Jotform Tables and look for trends, ideas, and anomalies.
All Jotform forms are easy to customize — just use the drag-and-drop editor to tailor the content and design. You can share the forms via email, link, or QR code with your podcast guests and audience — or even embed them on your website.
There are 464.7 million podcast listeners globally, so you have a lot of audience members to engage! With the right podcast guests, you can grow your market share and gain a loyal following.
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