Very few podcasts can stand alone without guests. Monologues are fine, but having guest appearances create conversations the listener feels a part of. Especially when hosting a B2B podcast, there are always going to be people with more expertise on a certain topic. It’s important to find those people and invite them to appear on an episode.
But how exactly do you find the perfect guest?
Let Your Interests Guide You
It can be easy to search for top business professionals in your field and ask them to be a guest, but make sure they are someone you are also interested in building a relationship with and who you eventually might like to work with. Does their work excite you? Are you actually interested in what they do? You shouldn’t have to fake interest in what your guest is saying. Genuine interest results in genuine conversations, which make your podcast better.
Research Similar Podcasts
Chances are, you aren’t the only one doing what you are doing. Find similar podcasts and see who they’ve had as guests. While you don’t want to copy exactly what your competitors are doing, reaching out to one or two guests you find interesting could prove successful. If they’ve been on a show before, they’ll be more likely to say yes to doing it again. A caveat: listen to the competitor’s episode they were on to ensure you don’t repeat their interview. Find ways to set your podcast apart and keep guests and listeners engaged.
Search Media Outlets
Social media is a great place to find potential guests based on keywords and friends-of-friends. These sites often contain information about their prior work, speaking experiences, and areas of interest to help you narrow your field. Don’t forget about traditional media, though! Reporters, journalists, and radio hosts have a ton of expertise that can provide different viewpoints. Use this variety of channels to find a range of different guests, which helps keep your show fresh and engaging. Also make sure your guests are willing to promote the episode on their own social media. Their followers will likely listen to the episode in order to gain more insight about the guest’s work and, if they like what they hear, will listen to other episodes of your podcast!
Find a guest who’s in the process of promoting something. This establishes a clear expertise; they know enough about the topic to sell a valuable product. They also have an incentive to say yes to your proposal, as they have a chance to promote their work. But be careful to not turn the entire episode into an advertisement. This takes careful balancing, but if done correctly you will have provided value to both your guest and your listeners.
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of guests, make sure to connect with them before the actual interview. Test sound quality, internet strength, and most importantly, your interpersonal connection. Ask about potential talking points and see if they can carry a conversation without straying too far off-topic. Gauge if you like working with them–if something feels off in your gut, it’s okay to listen to that!