Are you struggling to book a guest for your podcast or radio show?
Maybe, you're just getting started and you don't know if a certain famous “someone” will agree to be a guest or be interviewed by you.
You may be asking a gazillion questions!
● How can I reach out to them for the highest chance of success?
● Will the guest agree to participate in the interview for free?
● Should I call or email them?
● What are some outreach templates I can use?
We've done all the research for you and curated the best tips to help you land awesome guests that you think are beyond your league.
You're not the best negotiator! But don't worry, we'll tell you some of the skills to focus on based on what big broadcast networks look for in a segment booking producer.
Alright, let's get started.
Finding a suitable guest 101
The constant challenge of finding an awesome guest for your show is riveting! But this process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Now the basic thing is to find a guest who fits into what you do. Your mission, vision, vibe, and attitudes. Don't just have a guest for the sake of it!
You'll be surprised by the number of people who want to be guests on radio or podcasts to share their experiences, stories, or products.
An interview is something they can put on their resume or boost their image. Now, here is the step-by-step process you can start using to book a guest for your podcast or radio:
Step 1: Find the guest
Well, finding the “right guest” is going to be tedious. And several services have emerged to make this process easier and intuitive for podcast and radio station owners. Okay, some of these sources may be available to you and you're not even using them:
● Facebook - Start with a friend request, build rapport, and introduce your show
● Groups - Facebook groups bring dedicated professionals together. There are awesome groups for radio presenters, where you can simply post that you need guests for your next episode and find leads right away!
● Twitter - Follow the key influencers in your field. Send Tweets saying you need awesome guests.
● Podcast Guests - The service connects podcast owners with experts across various fields, including authors. Link: https://podcastguests.com/
● Matchmaker - It’s another dedicated website for connecting podcasters and guests. https://www.matchmaker.fm/
● Radio Guest List - The guest interview booking service has been operational since 2008. Link: https://www.radioguestlist.com/
● Book publishing sites - You can use Amazon or author interview sites. For instance, check for new books and reach out to authors. They are very experienced in topics they write about.
You can search for similar dedicated guest booking services or try other alternatives:
#Seek leads from your audience
You never know who's listening to your radio station or podcast. It could be very well your next guest. So, request that if anyone in the audience feels like they have something to say, they can consider becoming a guest on your show.
#Ask guests for recommendations
When you have a guest over, simply ask them to recommend anyone they think would make an awesome guest. Do this during the interview for a more immediate response. Trying to do it over email and after the show may not be productive.
Step 2: Once you have a name, reach out to them
Well, well, well. This will be the most challenging step for many: how to reach out for the highest chance of success. We can look into the world of cold pitching for some ideas.
The first rule is always to craft a killer subject line if you're sending someone an email. You must always find the most personal email of the target guest. For instance, if they work at XYZ company, don't send an email to help@XYZ.com. Try to find personal emails.
In the quest to make your cold emails creative, don't try to trick them by offering false promises or deceive them to open your email. Be honest and direct.
Not: Amazing Opportunity when you click
Should be: Request to appear on XYZ Radio
Rather than following a predefined template, use a flexible structure:
Paragraph 1: Tell them a bit about yourself or how you found them:
Hi, I'm the producer of Dash Podcast and I discovered your videos on YouTube about the future of science fiction.
Photograph 2: Tell them about your intention and how it fits into their broader objective
I like the segment about how predictive science fiction has been in relation to the modern world. We think it could be an awesome segment for our audience to learn more about the topic, and it may be an opportunity for you to win more tech & science fanatics who make up the biggest portion of our listeners.
Paragraph 3: Tell them about the time required and recording dates
If you're interested, we’d love to arrange a 30 minute taped video interview. To be recorded between 12th March to 15th March at a convenient time.
We will promote the episode on our social media pages and also feature guest pics. So, it will be helpful if you can supply us with any headshots.
Paragraph three: Tell them about the stipend if it’s available
Guests on our show receive a small stipend of $100 to cater for their internet connection and the nice clothes you may be wearing for the photo :-).
Paragraph four: Include all the various ways they can reach out to you.
You can call me at xxx.xxx.xxx or reply to this email. I'm also available at Skype @noname.
Step 3: Conduct a pre-interview
The pre-interview is an important step to creating an awesome show. It’s essential not to take up too much time otherwise the guest may feel uncomfortable, doubted, or consider their time wasted. Really, with the pre-interview questions, you just need to establish if the guest is a good fit and get a general feel about the interview direction.
Some great pre-interview questions include:
● What four outcomes do you want for this podcast?
● Or what are the four topics you want us to talk about?
● Do you want us to promote any product or service?
● What are the four things listeners will take away from this interview?
● Can you suggest any 3 questions you’d like us to talk about?
The goal is not to put the guest on the spot. But rather you narrow down their focus to the most important points of discussion and the outcomes you want to shoot for.
Are radio guests paid?
Now for the most interesting question: Will the guest agree to participate in the interview for free?
For most radio interviews, guests are not paid. That means that there is something more valuable they are after rather than getting paid. For that, you’re also right.
When an artist appears for a radio interview, it’s a chance to promote their new single or album. Authors regularly appear on TV shows and radio shows to promote new books.
A professional may also agree to a radio interview for a chance to promote their practice. But what if you have nothing in terms of listenership to incentivize guests to appear on your radio show or podcast?
Much of the broadcast media is obscure about the payments made to guests for their contributions or expert commentary. But at times, radio stations or TV stations offer guests some stipend for appearing on their shows. It’s usually a small payment to acknowledge the time the guest is volunteering.
But there is a grey area when it comes to groundbreaking reporting in journalism. Typically, it's not permissible to pay for news stories or sources to ensure that the stories are not adulterated or enhanced in any way.
So across the board, guests often don't receive any compensation.
Should I charge guests to be in my radio show or podcast?
In addition to asking if you should pay guests, you may reach a place where you’re generating so much exposure for your guests. You may start thinking about whether you should start charging them for appearing on your show. Well, this is also not generally accepted. And it also comes with a “BUT.” Some hosts charge guests to appear on their shows and may have good reasons for doing this.
It's perfectly ok to book a client twice
Who said that you need a fresh face for each interview? Rebooking guests is perfectly okay, especially for someone who was popular with the listeners. TV shows, radio stations, and podcasts do this all the time. And to add on top of this, don't be afraid to reach out to guests that you feel are beyond your reach.
Vital skills to become a guest segment producer
Remember when we told you that we’d inform you about the skills employers look for in a great segment producer?
At big stations, the segment producer handles all the bookings and production of live and taped guest segments. At smaller stations, the producer or presenter may handle the guest booking.
To book the right guest, they must know what the programming entails and participate in constructing the guest segments. Some of the skills that employers look out for include:
● Locating and booking sources
● Writing the program copy & teases
● Organizing the traffic logistics for guests
● Pitching episode and story ideas;
● Developing stories;
● Pre-interviewing guests and using their responses to script questions that will be used by the presenter;
● Fostering good relationships with regular contributors and sources;
● Having the skills to suggest new guests;
● Working in the post-production of the show following the taping
● Maintain awareness with trends across the internet and social media
So there you have it. These are the skills that broadcasters hold in high regard for segment booking producers.
10x your whole operation
Do you plan to place five phone calls in order to book a guest? Think of multiplying your efforts by a factor of 10 according to a famous rule coined by Grant Cardone.
It’s usually easier to think that something will take less effort than it will actually take. Only to discover that you’re not making any headway. So, you can 10X your efforts and have a better shot of success.