Podcasting has become an incredible way to distribute and gain knowledge. Individuals and businesses are creating podcasts to market their businesses, explore interesting topics, and speak to experts and thought leaders in a variety of topics. Anyone with the drive and a microphone can get started, build an audience, and provide value, knowledge, inspiration, and entertainment to the world!

One of the best ways to add value and legitimacy to your podcast is to have top notch guests come on your show to speak to the audience. By bringing in thought leaders and experts you add even more value to your audience, and the right guests can lead to downloads rising like a rocket ship to the moon! But how do we get these guests to come on our show?

Luckily, we live in a world today where it’s possible to get in touch with pretty much anyone. The trick is getting their attention and enticing them to come on your show. Most experts and thought leaders and extremely busy, so you need to make your shot count. Here’s how to structure your ask and land those busy, hard to reach guests.

#1 Start on a Personal Note

At the end of the day, you’re asking someone to share their work and insights with your audience because you think they are valuable. It’s important that you lead with a personal touch and let them know that.

What projects are they working on that you’ve been following? Did you enjoy their last book? What about the book really hit home for you? Everyone likes to be flattered—in a genuine way—and know that his or her work is—sincerely—appreciated. If all you know about them is that they have a big audience you want to tap, the chances of them carving out some of their valuable time for you are slim to none.

#2 What’s in It for Them?

After your personal touch, you have to get down to business. Why should they come on your show? How big is your audience? Have your listeners been requesting them? Do they have a new book or project they are working on that you can help them promote?

Give them a reason to be excited to come on your show. Include your total download number and general audience size in each ask. Also, be sure to list any recognitions, awards, or positive features you’ve received. Things such as iTunes New and Noteworthy, “What’s Hot”, and where you currently rank on iTunes and sites such as Podcast Chart. Be sure to check your standings frequently and update them in each ask you make!

#3 Tell Them About Yourself and Your Usual Guests

So your audience is sizeable, you’ve gotten some great recognition, but is it a good fit for them? Give a quick 2-3-sentence run down of the general topics you cover, the interview style, and types of questions you will ask. Let them know if they can expect a hard-nosed interview or more of a relaxed conversational style.

Also, include some of your notable past guests. If your podcast is about startup businesses, let them know a few founders you’ve interviewed. There’s a good chance that a potential guest will have heard of other successful people within their niche and this name drop acts as a referral for your show. Once you become a recognized show for thought leaders in a niche, guests will reach out to YOU to come on your show and promote their work.

#4 What Are We Talking About?

Even experts like to be prepared. Include a few talking points you’d like to touch on and the material you’d like to cover. This gives them time to prepare should they need it, which in the end leads to a better-finished product. This could be something new they are working on, a previous project, a story you heard about, anything you think your listeners would find interesting.

As an added bonus, ask them if they have anything they would like to talk about as well. Giving the potential guest some say in the subject matter can only help your chances.

#5 Who Am I Speaking To?

As you begin to close, give them a quick peek at your usual listener demographic. This is less a selling point and more a guide to tailoring how they will speak and potential topics they may want to cover in the time you have together.

#6 Close The Right Way

Always end with a direct ask. “Would you do us the honor of coming on and speaking to our audience?” Outline the total time commitment and how the interview will be conducted, phone, Skype, etc.

Finally, show some gratitude. Thank them for taking the time to consider your offer and for the work they have done. Even if they say no, you never know what may happen down the road. Trust us, following up and maintaining good rapport is key. You never know when the timing will be just right, the stars will align, and that rock star guest you never thought you’d book will decide to make the time.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Producer of the Science of Success Podcast, with over 1 million downloads in 12 months, as well as the Development Manager at Fresh Hospitality. Named a top 30 under 30 in Nashville, TN, one of the countries fastest growing cities. I enjoy staying active and giving back to the community driving results for local causes.

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