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I don’t normally quote bible verses on my show because I’m not a religious man, but I know of one that applies to this topic:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

It’s been said that in basketball, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. The same is true for getting guests on your podcast or being a guest on other podcasts; if you don’t ask, it’s not going to happen.

So getting over your fear of rejection is step one, but today I want to talk about things that you can do to increase your chances of landing the guests you want, and how you can ask to be on someone else’s podcast without feeling awkward.

Highlights, Takeaways & Quick Wins:

  • Most people who want to be contacted will make it pretty easy for you to contact them.
  • It’s important to have a good reason when asking for someone’s time.
  • People make time for the things they care about, so make sure that you are offering something they want.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. You’ll never get a yes if you don’t ask.
  • Always be looking out for people who share your passion. Those are the people you should be podcasting with.

Show Notes

Finding Guests: First, Keep Your Audience In Mind

  • 2:27 When it comes to finding guests for your show, your first goal should be to provide something interesting to your audience. Put yourself in their shoes; what topics are they interested in hearing about? Try to find people who have interesting things to say about those topics.

Next, Who’s Out There Already Trying to Build an Audience?

  • 3:10 If you don’t already have someone in mind (if you’re looking for interesting new people to talk to), try to find people who are already trying to grow an audience online. These people will be actively putting out content and engaging on social media. They’re most likely to be happy for an opportunity to talk about what they’re passionate about.

You Have to Ask

  • 3:52 The next step is to reach out. There are many different ways to do this, but a safe bet is to choose the place that they seem most active. If they’re a hardcore Twitter user, reach out there. If they’re into Snapchat, hit them up there. Lots of people have a contact page on their website, often with an email address.

Most people who want to be contacted will make it pretty easy for you to contact them.

  • 4:24 If you can’t find contact info for someone, it might be because they aren’t interested in being contacted by strange people asking them to come on a podcast.

Ask Yourself: Why Do I Want to Talk to This Person?

  • 5:08 Before you reach out to these people, you need to write down why you are interested in talking to this person.
    • Did they publish a really great book or article lately?
    • Have them been consistently sharing great ideas online?
    • Is it someone you know in person who has a lot of great things to say, but they’ve never had a platform to say them on?
    • Do they work on products that you love?

It’s important to have a good reason when asking for someone’s time.

Email Template for Reaching Out to Guests

  • 5:52 1. Start by proving you’re a real human who is familiar with their work. You don’t have to know everything about them, but you should at least have listened to a few of their podcasts or read a few of their blog posts.
  • 6:25 2. Tell them which thing they did that you like and why. Don’t say “all the great shows”. Be specific.
  • 6:54 3. Tell them what you’d like to talk to them about on your podcast. It’s ok to ask them if there’s anything they’d like to talk about as well, but you should lead by explaining why you want them specifically on your show.
  • 8:02 4. Briefly give them any other important information, like the length of your podcast and what they’ll need to show up with. Don’t make them guess; tell them how much of their time you want and if they’ll need to record a local audio file (always a good idea).
  • 8:29 5. Suggest a calendar date but make sure they know you’re flexible to meet their schedule (hopefully you are).
  • 9:01 6. Don’t assume they are going to say yes. This is bad. Don’t assume people will say yes, ever.
  • 9:32 7. Thank them for their time and let them know that you’re looking forward to hearing back from them.

Overcoming Objections

  • 9:39 I do believe that when people say “No”, you should respect that, but I want to talk about some of the common objections you might hear and how you can overcome them.
  • 9:50 1. “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time.” This is something you need to look into. Are they really busy? Have they committed to a large project at work? Are they writing a book?
  • 10:04 The real problem may be that your offer wasn’t attractive enough to them. You should have something to offer that they are interested in, whether that’s exposure to your audience, a chance to promote a book or recent project, or even just an opportunity to nerd out about a topic they love for awhile.
  • 10:26 Don’t make it all about you and what you want; if you’re a small fry (as so many of us podcasters are), and you’re reaching out to someone who already has hundreds of thousands of followers, there’s probably not a good reason for them to come on your show.

People make time for the things they care about, so make sure that you are offering something they want.

  • 10:58 2. “I don’t know how to podcast” or “I’m not good at talking.” Some people may have never been on a podcast before. If that’s the case, you need to be willing to take the time to explain the whole process to them and make sure they know that you will take responsibility to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

Respect Their No

  • 12:07 If someone firmly says no, don’t get angry, don’t try to talk them into it, just thank them and move on.
  • 12:17 Charli Prangley said in the chat before the show: I’ve had a few requests from people to be on their show or be interviewed for their blog that I’ve turned down because they hadn’t actually launched them yet and I wanted to see what the quality of their output was like, and the care and attention they give to it before I gave up my time to answer their questions. Does that seem fair to you?
  • 12:39 Yeah, that’s reasonable. If you’ve never launched a podcast before and you don’t have an audience, and you’re reaching out to people who do, they may look at your email and wonder if you’re just going to waste their time. They may wonder if you’re even going to publish the episode or if you do, how good it will be. Remember, it’s ok to say no to people who are asking for your time if there’s nothing in it for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask. You’ll never get a yes if you don’t ask.

Being a Guest on Another Podcast

  • 16:14 Don’t be afraid to ask. Other podcasts need to have guests on too. If you have something valuable to share, then say so.
  • 16:51 If it’s a show that doesn’t normally have guests, it’s ok to ask, but don’t get your hopes up.
  • 17:32 Remember that “I’m a huge fan, so I’d like to ask you questions for an hour” is probably not something their audience will find interesting, unless it’s the kind of show that welcomes Q&A like that.

Find Your Community

  • 18:29 Are there other podcasts out there similar to yours? Who are the people that are making them? What are they talking about? These are the people who you should be talking to.

Always be looking out for people who share your passion. Those are the people you should be podcasting with.

Recap:

  1. Know why you want to talk to someone, why you want them to be on your show
  2. Explain your “why” clearly to them, and give them any other details they might need
  3. Respect their decision if they clearly say no
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask; don’t psyche yourself out
  5. Look for the people who are already putting themselves out there and trying to grow an audience

Q&A

  • 22:28 Charli asked: If you’re starting an interview podcast, how do you get your first guests?
  • 22:43 Start with your friends and immediate network, work outwards from there. If you want people with larger followings who don’t know you to come on your show, you need to have some kind of track record that shows you know how to produce quality content. So start publishing podcast episodes, start writing blog posts or videos, start defining your niche.
  • 26:35 I don’t want to discourage you from trying to get people who are more famous, but I would encourage you to reach out to the people who are more on your level or slightly above it, if you’re just getting started.