How much would it help your podcast if you had the opportunity to interview Dwayne Johnson? What about Mike Rowe or Gwyneth Paltrow?
This may sound like a too-good-to-be-true fantasy, but the truth is it’s a lot more realistic than you might think.
Podcasters just like you are able to land their dream interviews on a consistent basis, elevating the quality of their show and providing unbelievable value to their listeners. Here are 7 tips you can execute to land your dream podcast interview.
1. Write down your top 20 dream interview guests
Before you start firing off emails to every famous person you’ve heard of, take the time to consider who would be a great fit for your show. Who do you think would provide the most value to your listeners? Who has a unique perspective that would bring something new to the table?
If you want some help identifying potential guests for you show, read this article on how to find great guests for your podcast.
Once you’ve thought through the kind of guests you want to land, start making a list of the people you want to reach out to. Once you’ve got at least 20 names written down on a piece of paper, organize them into the following 3 categories: Probable, Possible, Long Shots
Ask yourself, “What are the chances this person will agree to doing a podcast interview?” This will help you place each potential guest in the proper section.
As you implement the other tips in this article, start pursuing the people that you placed in the “Probable” category. You want quick and easy wins to help you gain confidence and believe that you can eventually land the big fish.
2. Do your research
As you consider who you want to interview for your podcast, take the time to do some digging into what they’re currently up to.
Are they promoting something? Did they just release a new book? Are they going on tour?
If you offer to help them promote what they’re currently working on during the interview, it’ll be considerably easier for them to say “yes” to sitting down with you.
If you discover that you have some common personal connections—a mutual friend, you both went to a certain conference, you lived in the same city, etc—use that to your advantage.
3. Serve their community
People appreciate when you offer something of value to them without the expectation that a favor must be returned.
Share their social media posts and tag them. Contribute and participate in their community by replying to comments and bringing value to their followers. Attend events you know they will be at and hand deliver something personal and memorable. Post reviews of their products, services, classes, and books on your website or social media and send them the link.
Become a presence in their online community so that when you eventually reach out to them it just feels like an extension of the interactions you’ve already had.
4. Engage your audience/community
Your followers are one of the greatest assets that you have. Passionate listeners who look forward to hearing your show week in and week out.
Here’s the cool thing about being a podcaster—you have no idea who might be listening to your podcast.
You may have individuals with incredible influence and connection consuming every episode you create, and they’re just waiting for you to tell them how they can help.
Ask your audience to help you connect with your dream guest. You may discover that this person’s assistant, coworker, or childhood friend is an avid listener and you’ve just given them a clear path to saying “Thank you.”
You could do this in the course of your podcast by incorporating it into your show, posting a video on social media, or sending an email to your subscribers. By engaging your community you not only increase the likelihood of landing your dream guest, but your listeners feel like they’re an integral part of helping the show succeed.
Anything that can help your listeners become more loyal to you and your podcast is a win.
5. Contact them directly
If you never ask your dream guest to interview for your podcast, your chances of getting them to sit down with you are 0%. If you ask them, your chances increase to >0%.
No matter how “big time” they may seem or how busy you think they are, you’ll miss every shot you choose not to take. At some point, you have to go in for the ask.
Do you have their email address? Send them a personalized email.
Are they on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram? Send them a direct message.
Do they have a contact form on their website? Fill it out.
You may never hear from them. They might never respond. But it feels incredible to get that ping in your inbox from their assistant asking to put something on the calendar.
Make sure to use the next tip to take full advantage of your opportunity.
6. Craft a pitch
You’ve identified your dream guest, you’ve done your research, and have found a way to get in touch with them. Now it’s time to convince them to interview for your podcast. A well-crafted pitch will have 3 components:
How do you know of them? Why are you a fan of them? What can you tell them that demonstrates that you’re not just waisting their time? In one sentence, communicate why you’re trustworthy and why they should read the rest of your email/message.
Get to the point
Everyone is busy. Even if they aren’t uber famous they still have their job, family, social life, and other responsibilities. They aren’t looking to peruse fan mail to fill in the gaps in their schedule.
Very clearly explain to them why you are reaching out.
“I’m sending you this email because I would love to have you as a guest on my podcast, (Name of your podcast).”
If you’re guest can only do an interview on Tuesdays at 2pm, schedule it then.
If they are only available for a phone call on their way to the airport, take what they can give you.
If they offer to have you come by the office or their place of business and give you a 15 minute window, take the day off from work and drive to their office.
Don't ask your dream guest to accommodate your schedule. It’s up to you to be flexible and available if you want to make the interview happen.
Here’s an example of an email I submitted that incorporates each of these strategies. This person, someone who was on my “long shots” list, agreed to the interview later that same week.
“I’m a huge fan of your writings and videos, making high-level theology accessible and practical for every day Christians. I would love to have you as a guest on my podcast, The Practical Christian Podcast, to pick your brain on theology, the modern Christian landscape, popular false doctrine, and being self-supported in ministry. I’m pretty flexible so if there’s a time or day that works best for you I can typically work around it. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have.”
That’s it. Concise, specific, and to the point. Feel free to use this as a template to make your own emails and messages that will grab their attention.
7. Follow up
After you take the time to research your dream guest, invest in their community, and reach out to them, continue to follow up until you get an answer.
If they don’t say “no” after your first pitch that doesn’t mean the answer is “no.” It’s possible that your message got caught up in a whirlwind of other things that happened simultaneously. It’s possible that they need to carve out time with their assistant to make sure they can get it on the calendar. It’s possible that they meant to reply but something distracted them and they never got back to it.
If you find other ways to contact them, use those channels as well. Continue to reach out in a respectful and personable way until you get some kind of response. Often it’s the steady drip of opportunity that strikes them at just the right moment when they can pull the trigger and say “yes.”
Be persistent. Don’t take it personally when they don’t respond the first time. Continue to pursue the interview until you get a “yes” or “no” from your dream guest.
Bonus! What not to do.
As you implement these strategies, here are some things you definitely want to stay away from:
- Don’t try to impress them with your play count
- Don’t oversell the value you will bring to them
- Don’t pay anyone to be on your show
- Don’t gush over them during the interview
Once you land your first dream interview, take a moment to celebrate your accomplishment. Someone you thought would never be interested is going to come on your podcast and deliver value to you and your listeners. Woo hoo!
Now that you have them on the calendar, it’s time to knock your interview out of the park! Check out this article on how to ask great interview questions.