Finding interview guests for your podcast almost seems like finding guests for your party. If you already know a lot of people, you don’t have much of a problem. It’s when you don’t know a lot of people that you really have a problem. And back in 2003-ish, when I first tried to do interviews, I didn’t know a lot of people. What’s worse is I didn’t know where to find these people.
Then one day we had a stroke of luck
My wife, Renuka, was looking at a marketing website and there were all of these people who were doing webinars for this company. The company was obviously trying to get clients interested in their product and were advertising all their great webinars. Which suited Renuka just fine. She simply wrote down the names, the website addresses and we systematically went about contacting everyone on the list.
If there’s one thing that does Renuka’s head in, it’s contacting strategic alliances
And having to contact people to get interviews fell into that same “I don’t want to do this” box. Which is an important point to consider if you’re finding interview guests for your podcasts. The core of the interview podcast is to find guests and suitable guests. The first thing to consider is where you’re going to find that list, then who’s going to make the contact.
Once you’ve settled that minor problem, it’s a matter of looking for places to find podcast interview guests
One of the easiest places to find interview guests is by following the trail of interview guests. I know that sounds weird, so let me explain.
Let’s say you’re in the “leadership” space and you don’t know where to start with guests. And let’s say you run into a really good “leadership” podcast. Well, subscribe to that podcast and start listening to it. Some of the interviews will be utterly boring (yes, some podcasters make the mistake of putting boring podcasts out too), so you listen, but those people don’t go on your list. Instead, you find the interviews that you love. And make a note why you loved them.
You’re getting the idea, aren’t you?
You’ve listened to this person being interviewed, you love what they’re saying and now it’s just a matter of finding their contact details. We’ll get to the contact details shortly, but once we do get those details, it’s a matter of e-mailing that person. You tell them that you heard them on the “leadership” podcast and you utterly loved (and you put a specific detail here and why you loved it).
The “specific detail and why I loved this part” is incredibly important
The detail matters. When someone says to you, “you look good today”, you smile and say thank you, but it’s a generic compliment. Instead when someone goes a bit ga-ga over a specific thing, e.g. “I love the polar bear on your t-shirt” or “that necklace you’re wearing looks so elegant”, you know they’re drilling down to something specific. Simply sending out a “I loved your podcast interview” is nice, but hey, drill down a bit. Get to the details and that is what will get the attention of the person receiving your note.
If you go through even three podcasts in your industry you should have about 28 names to contact
Within a month. Yes, it’s not such a big deal to listen to one podcast a day, or even part of one podcast and even if you skip a weekend here or there, you can still notch up 28 names. Maybe some of them will be duds because you didn’t care for their interview, or maybe they just don’t write back.
I’d follow up, but some people are just too busy for their own good (I can say this for sure, because as I said before, I’ve written to really famous and busy people like David Attenborough, Jim Collins etc. Even Sting and other rock starts write back). So yes, I consider people who are too busy to be disorganised or pompous. But that’s a side-thought. Back to the finding of people for your interview podcast.
For my podcast interview series, I decided to look up Facebook
If your Facebook friends have been restricted to just um, friends, then this tactic may not help. Even so, my Facebook page has a mix of people. Some are friends, others are connected by business/profession. So I simply look at my friends and make a list from that lot. Now, friends have friends. So if I were to find a business friend, she’d have business friends and now we’re well and truly down a wonderful rabbit hole.
No matter what you decide, it’s time to make a list
It’s fine to get all techie and store your list online or in Evernote, but Renuka and I did something really basic. We created three columns on a sheet of paper and found some Blue Tac (It’s a gooey stuff and you might have a different name in your country). Blue Tac goes on the wall, the paper follows and we write a few names every day. She’ll write some and then I feel compelled to add my bit. As we think of people we know or run into, we keep adding them to the list. When we’re done, we get in touch with people and put the list in Evernote.
You could go to Amazon or to a site like we did at the start, but I think it’s way better to just get onto a few interview podcasts and work with the connections you have on Facebook. It’s an uncomplicated way to vet your interviewees, compliment them about something specific and to get them onto your interview schedule.
Which brings us to the question: What do you send them in the e-mail? Aha, let’s find out in the next installment. Interview Podcast: What To Send Your Potential Interviewees