So, you have a podcast and you want to grow your audience but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re not having any luck finding guests for your show. Look no further. Here’s a comprehensive guide to our tried and true resources for finding podcast guests. While we can’t guarantee you’ll always have positive outcomes, we know from experience that using these tools will boost your chances of finding the perfect collaboration opportunity.
We get it, guest outreach is exhausting and being turned down time and time again can be discouraging. Below we’ve compiled a list of our most used resources for finding guests and the best tips for getting them to actually say yes. In this article we’ll cover:
Having people on your show is a great way to boost your following, especially if they already have a big audience of loyal listeners. Guests can be anyone like other podcast hosts, bloggers, successful people in a related field or people with similar expertise, YouTubers, Instagram/Facebook influencers, etc.
There’s no real limit as to who can be on your podcast but if your main goal is to grow your listenership, it’s important that the potential guest fits in with your show, can speak on the same topics, and is willing to share the episode with their audience.
When looking for guests, try to find those with higher podcast chart rankings or followers than you. If they’re willing to share your content with their crowd, it can boost your numbers. It’s also a good tactic to be a guest on their show and do cross promotional advertising that way.
In your initial contact with a potential guest you can ask that they agree to share your show’s content with their audience. We’ll cover how to draft these kinds of emails and DMs in greater depth below.
How often guests should appear on your show depends on the type of content you produce and how often you release new episodes. For example, The Joe Rogan Experience interviews a new person every episode, as this is their style.
The NoSleep Podcast doesn't do guest interviews because it’s a fictional storytelling podcast, but will sometimes feature guest voice actors to play characters instead. This is why it’s so important to pick a podcasting style and stick with it. Your audience knows what to expect and it attracts listeners who enjoy that particular style.
It all really comes down to how you want listeners to perceive your podcast. If you post once a week and focus mainly on a topic like business or finance, try having a guest on every other episode just to mix up the original content. It’s refreshing to hear different perspectives from people like industry experts or those with opposing viewpoints. Plus, the back and forth banter adds a new energy to the show that your audience is sure to love.
If your show follows a weekly storytelling narrative like survival camping stories, you can absolutely have guest interviews on every episode. The frequency is totally up to you. Just make sure to keep a pulse on your audience’s reactions to the types of guests you invite on and how often they appear.
There are tons of people out there who are good at whatever you’re podcasting about. The key to finding them is knowing what platforms they’re on, using keywords in your searches, and following news within your particular category. Here are some examples of podcast categories and guests to match:
Depending on the vibe you’re aiming for, a guest interview might sound like a living room couch conversation - friendly and casual. It can also sound like the host’s narrative story intertwined with the best clips from the guest audio. If you’re struggling with deciding what kind of interview style to go for, try listening to other podcasts in your category and pinpoint the examples you like the most. As long as the flow is coherent and the guest adds to, rather than retracts from, the energy of the show, you’ll have the audience on the hook!
In this section we’ve compiled a list of our favorite resources for finding guests with the most positive outcomes. This list includes various podcast platforms, charts, and social media sites. We use all of these tools often to find guests that fit the tone of our shows.
TIP: About three in ten messages sent will result in a yes. Don’t get discouraged! People simply don’t respond sometimes or are overbooked. When this happens, it’s completely beyond your control and best to keep trying elsewhere.
The more you do guest outreach, the quicker you’ll recognize the signs that a guest is or isn’t a good fit. Indicators like follower count, reviews, number of episodes, follower to like ratio, etc., can help you quickly determine what pages to focus your efforts. Below we cover tools such as Chartable, social media sites, how to find guest email addresses, and email formats for success.
Chartable is by far the most effective platform for finding podcast host guests through rankings by country and category. This site features the top podcasts in major and minor categories based off of daily downloads. It’s updated frequently so make sure to check the charts often for new rankings and shows!
To find a podcast guest through Chartable, click on your desired country and category under Apple Podcasts. Example: Charts > Apple Podcast Charts > United States of America > Animation & Manga. The top 250 podcasts within this category will be displayed on the screen. From there, it’s a matter of comparing each podcast’s individual rankings to yours and seeing if their style matches that of your show’s style.
Keep in mind that sometimes brand new podcasts rank highly soon after their release due to Apple’s advertising and other marketing efforts. This can be deceiving and doesn’t necessarily mean the show is more popular than yours. Take note of how many episodes a podcast has posted compared to yours so you have an idea of how mature the show is. If you’ve been in this space for a while, you want to make sure the hosts who collaborate with you share common goals and stats for better results.
If everything checks out and a potential podcast looks for a good fit, find their email in the RSS feed (link displayed on the right side navigation menu on each podcast’s Chartable page). Simply search for it by typing “email” or “@” in the command + f function.
If an RSS feed isn’t listed or the email within the feed is something super generic like firstname.lastname@example.org, try searching the web for that particular podcast. You’ll likely find a website or social media page run by their team. From there you can either find the show’s email or send them a direct message.
TIP: Chartable displays chart rankings by country. The top listed country rank on a podcast’s page is the country with the highest population that listens to that particular podcast. This is usually the USA or Canada. The countries below are listed in order from highest to lowest in population density. A show could be #1 in Malta, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it ranks highly in the United States.
Social media platforms are another fantastic resource for finding like-minded individuals with large followings. This is where a lot of influencers shine. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are untapped resources just waiting for you! In this section we’ll cover each of those platforms and give you our best tips for using them to your advantage.
Instagram is a particularly useful platform for finding guests, especially influencers. You can search for specific hashtags and look through followers of related pages. Example: if you live in Salt Lake City, Utah and have a podcast all about local art, try searching hashtags like #slcartist, #utahartist, #paintingutah, etc. Comb through the posts that pop up and if any have a substantial following and look like they fit your vibe, try sending them a DM.
Another tactic for finding guests is to go to related pages with a lot of followers. Look through their recent posts for people who comment and like. It’s likely that some of those profiles who leave comments have big followings, are interested in the same topics, and might be willing to collaborate.
Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are great resources to use, but Instagram has proven to have better success rates with cross promotion and guest opportunities. The thing about Instagram is that it’s all based on visual aesthetics which makes promoting your show on other’s pages fairly easy. If they agree to it, pairing a short audio clip from the guest episode with an aesthetically pleasing picture is sure to get their follower’s attention.
Think about it, people often follow influencers because they’re curious or envious about their lifestyle. Of course the most they know about the influencer is shown through a very filtered image on a screen. So, when an influencer gets on a podcast to talk about their life and then promotes the episode on their page, it excites followers because it humanizes the person they look up to. We’ve had a lot of success using this method through Instagram. However, it’s not always easy getting influencers to agree to collaborate. We’ll cover this more in depth below.
If you’re looking to get a YouTuber on your pod, go to the about section on their channel. Channel owners have the option to include an email address here. Youtube only lets you view a limited amount of channel emails a day so use this function sparingly.
One of the best things about using blogs to hunt down potential guests is that you have all of the writer’s work and opinion pieces in one place. This allows you to quickly determine whether or not the blog owner would be a good fit for your show.
A few glances at a page can tell you if a guest blogger will match your tone and style. For example, if your podcast is all about dark history and mysterious storytelling, a blog plastered with food pics and polka dots likely won’t make the cut.
Sometimes blogs include the amount of clicks and shares their posts receive, which is helpful for determining if a guest blogger will help your audience grow. Additionally, many blogs have affiliated Instagram pages which show follower amounts. This can also be helpful for determining potential listener reach.
It’s also a good sign if a blog has sponsored brand posts because that means their page is popular enough to get brands to notice them.
A reliable blog will have a listed email address or some way to contact the owner for collaborations.
When drafting emails for potential guests, it’s important to remember these four things:
Starting off, no one likes to open an email with an unfriendly greeting. Keep this in mind as you write the subject of your email and address the recipient. We like to do an eye catching phrase in the subject line like:
A solid subject line makes your email stand out in a sea of unread messages.
In the body of the email, introduce yourself and include a tidbit of information about you, your qualifications and why you’re contacting them. This builds rapport early on. Next, talk about your podcast and what material you cover on the show. Explain why you think they would be the perfect guest and what exactly qualifies them. At the end of the message, include a call to action that emphasizes your excitement in the opportunity to connect with and hear from them. End your email on a positive note. A call to action and a kind outro leave the door open for positive communication, should they respond.
If you don’t hear back from the potential guest for a couple months, you can try messaging them again. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t respond. Sometimes life gets in the way and possible podcast collaborations get tossed to the wayside. Maybe the email address you found for a potential guest isn’t their current email and they simply forgot to update the form.
When attempting to connect with an unresponsive guest again, try an alternative method like sending a DM on Instagram, chatting over LinkedIn, or browsing the web for other resources like a personal website.
In the formatted email example below, pretend you (the sender) have a podcast on zoology and you’re contacting another podcaster who covers biology. This podcast guest recently published research on ecotourism.
If you don’t know a lot about the potential guest’s specialty, do a little Google searching before pressing send. You don’t want to come off as the uninformed host who is desperate for any guest. Get to know your guest’s style, their position on certain topics, and what they’re known for in their chosen industry. Without this prior research and a general knowledge on the potential guest, cold messaging with zero personalization comes off like someone asking an Austrian if they have a pet kangaroo.
Subject: We want to know more about your ecotourism research!
Hey Dr. Jones,
My name is [insert name] and I host the Zoology News and Technology podcast. Our show is one of the most popular zoology shows on Apple Podcasts, ranking at #5 in the Education category.
I recently happened upon your published research about the benefits of ecotourism and had an idea of intertwining your work with some plans we have for an upcoming episode.
That being said, we’d be thrilled to have you on the show so we can pick your brain and interview you about ecotourism.
We’d also be willing to be guests on your podcast to talk about our specialty in animal cell studies. Cross promoting would be a great way to grow both of our audiences.
I know this would make for a valuable collaboration as both of our audiences will learn and benefit from these episodes.
Let me know if you’re interested! I’d love to get you scheduled ASAP. It would be our honor to have you as our distinguished guest expert.
In that email example, pay attention to how we present the podcast. It’s a good idea to include some sort of stat that boosts your pod’s credibility like where it hits on Apple’s chart rankings. Include how you came to know this person’s work and why you think they would be the perfect fit for your show and your audience. Then if you’re willing, you can absolutely include that you’d be willing to be on their show as well to boost audience metrics with a little cross promotion. Lastly, sign off and relay your excitement.
When it comes to sending guests DMs, social media platforms like Instagram only have a 1,000 character limit so it’s important you only provide necessary information.
TIP: Rather than writing the message in Instagram’s chat, we like to draft the DM on another document to avoid spelling errors or accidentally hitting send too early. Then we simply copy and paste it into the chat, read it over one last time, and hit send.
Below is an example of a DM to a potential guest. In this scenario, you’re a parenting podcast looking for an influencer mom who can speak on raising children with disabilities.
Hey Jane! My name is [insert name] and I host the Parenting Better Podcast. A fan actually suggested I reach out to you because you would be the perfect guest for our show. We have an upcoming episode on accessibility in schools and raising children with developmental disabilities. We are thrilled to invite you to be our guest because your story and advocacy is incredible! Let me know what you think. Best, [insert name].
Notice that we follow a similar format as the email, but have to do a condensed version taking limited character count into consideration.
We hope this guide helps you find and get the perfect guests for your podcast! As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have or topics you’d like to learn more about.