Like most things in life, breaking things down into doable chunks or steps is the way to get a big job done. The same applies for landing those big name podcast guests that can really catapult your podcast in front of a larger audience. Everyone wants that big name guest. Take the time to build your reputation one guest at a time, and you will have the social proof you need to land that big name guest.
Oprah and Seneca both said, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Landing that big guest could be a result of luck and serendipity, but starting small and stair stepping to bigger and bigger names will eventually get you there. To get your initial guests, look within your own network. People you already know make great first podcast guests. If your network is small, you can always widen your circle.
There are a lot of online methods to widen your circle of influence. Forums, facebook groups, and now Slack groups are all ways to connect with a wider variety of people and make some connections that may pay off when finding guests or getting those important introductions. After joining these groups, you will need to participate and get noticed. Usually, a genuine interest in helping people in the group is a good way to build a good reputation.
Join a Mastermind Group
A mastermind group is usually a more personal way to connect. Some of these groups are much smaller, and different members take turns being on the hot seat where they talk about how to take their business further or discuss problems or issues they are having. Other members of the group join in and offer advice or condolences. Masterminds are a very good way to connect with like-minded individuals.
There are also many different levels of masterminds, some are free, but many are priced according to the caliber of the members. Often times, the more expensive groups also have the more well-known members. When joining your first mastermind, it’s probably best to find a group that is at about your level or maybe one step above your level just to help you grow a bit.
Meeting someone face to face is usually more effective than a vague online introduction. Conferences, events, and meetups are great places to meet potential guests in person. If you are just starting out, local meetups can be a first step to building that guest list. When it’s time to land those bigger guests, you can approach speakers at conferences and events. Make a polite introduction and say who you are and what your show is about and see if they have any interest in possibly being a guest at some future date.
Introductions and Referrals
When researching your guests, you may discover that they know other people who you would like to have on your show. After your interview, if you have strong rapport with this person, you could ask for an introduction. Hopefully, the subject of referrals and introductions will come up naturally. You don’t want to make your guest feel like the only reason you had them on the show was to meet someone else. You can also just ask them if they know anyone else who might be a good guest to interview.
Social media can be a way to network and just reach out to potential guests. Similar to cold emailing, reaching out through a direct message can be a great way to start a conversation and connect with a potential guest. Social media takes time, and you usually need to do a bit of relationship building and reaching out before you get noticed. You don’t want to come off like you are self-serving or a stalker.
Pick a medium and put a plan in place for meeting people who you may want to connect with as a potential guest or source of referrals. Keep in mind people are busy and many social media requests go unanswered. Finding common ground and interacting with someone before reaching out to them will help get your message noticed.
If the person you want to connect with is a regular facebook user. You may want to share or like some of their posts. Once they notice you, it will be much more likely that they will read or respond to a message from you. The same thing goes for Twitter. Follows, comments, and retweets that show commonality may help to get a real response from your direct message. On Twitter you have to keep it short, so just ask if they would be willing to possibly be a guest or learn more about your show.
LinkedIn gets it’s own little section because even though it is a business social media site, it’s not always thought of when people talk social media. The things that make LinkedIn somewhat less social also make it more valuable. As a business and job social site, most of the profiles are real with real information like work history and resumes. The site has been used for everything from job hunting to finding freelancers, to more recently, dating. It is also a great site for connecting. It even has a mini version of “six degrees of separation” or a personal Bacon scale. LinkedIn will show your 1st through 3rd connections with people.
People you have already connected with are 1st-degree connections. People who are connected to your 1st-degree connections are 2nd-degree connections, allowing you to send them an invitation to connect or an InMail message. People who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections are 3rd-degree connections. Depending on their privacy settings, you can send them a message to connect. LinkedIn does some of the work for you when it comes to finding possible ways to get introductions and connect with bigger named guests.
Using the stair step method you would connect with a guest. If everything goes well, that connection will lead you to more connections and your network and guest list can grow. As your guest list grows, you can use your previous interviews and connections to guests as social proof that your show is popular enough to warrant a guest of their caliber.
Think Outside the Box
You can’t be everywhere at once. Find creative ways to leverage one or two methods that fit your desired outcome. Consistent effort one step at a time will grow your audience and your credibility. Start with people you know and continue to grow your connections and over time with conscious effort your guest list will grow. Leveraging connections is the best way to grow your audience and increase your guest options.