How to Start a Podcast Guide with The Room Podcast

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Bringing Guests on Your Podcast

You have figured out your goal in starting a podcast, you have your tech stack setup, and you are ready to hit the record button. Let’s dive into the content (of both your episode and marketing) that will help you build a podcast that will ensure your listeners keep coming back for more. With The Room Podcast, we focus on bringing on a key guest to interview for each of our episodes. This may the right path for you, if so, let’s discuss the why's and how's!

Why bring on a guest?

Podcast content can take many forms. Here are a few common flavors:
Interview Podcasts.
Conversational Podcasts. A podcast where you and your co-host(s) discuss topics (i.e Acquired, Call Her Daddy, All In),
Monologue Podcasts.
Storytelling / Investigative podcasts.
And many more.
Regardless of what type of podcast you adopt, bringing on guests to your podcast is an effective way to:
Get a diversity of thought
Increase exposure/ diversify your audience
Get expert opinions
Build your personal network

How to find & reach out to a guest

In this section, we discuss effective ways to find guests and get them on your podcast. For The Room Podcast, we have had over 70 guests join us for recordings. Here are 3 of our approaches to building out your guest roster:
Leverage your network
You will be surprised when you start charting out your network and who you might be able to ask for a referral to your dream guest. When getting ready to start asking around your network to source a guest, make sure you have enough content and collateral to make your ask as effective as possible. Put together:
A wishlist of guests and who from your network you may be able to ask for an introduction (start inputting them in your guest pipeline tracker → see below)
A quick deck/press packet (or 1-pager) that helps communicate your vision, what your podcast stands for, who else has been on your podcast, who your audience is
An intro email template with a few sentences about your podcast that can easily be skimmed. Make sure this intro template is personalized for the guest and has a clear ask
Start reaching out! The worst someone can say is no...
Build a wishlist and cold reach out
Cold reach out, while daunting and time-consuming, was way more effective in our early days than expected. Don’t be afraid to shoot your shot! To reach out effectively:
Put together a list (target 25-50 potential guests as a start) of who you want on your podcast
Write up a cold outreach email template that can be personalized, but also re-used for each guest.
Start prospecting your list and reach out to the guest where they are most likely to respond. We had great success with:
Cold email
Make sure you follow up, maybe 2,3,4 times. A lot of our guests responded on the 4th follow up. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away. Make sure your pipeline tracker is updated to make your follow-ups timely and as effective as possible.
Leverage PR agencies
When we got started with The Room, we did not realize initially the power of befriending PR agents. PR agents and agencies are responsible for getting their clients on podcasts. We have booked multiple guests from just 1 agency. To start engaging with PR agencies:
Do your research and come up with a list of agencies who may represent clients you want on your podcast
Leverage your deck/press packet & intro email and start cold emailing agencies (or even setting up intro calls with them)
Be super clear on what your target guest looks like
Sell them on why being on your podcast is beneficial to their client
Build a long-term relationship. Stay in touch, schedule quarterly check-ins.

Guest Pipeline Tracker

Once you initiate your guest search, it is important that you stay organized and on-track with your guest pipeline so you can stay on top of who you reached out to, when, and at what stage of the funnel they are. Below is a coda template for what your guest pipeline tracker could look like. Copy, paste, and stay proactive!

Making sure your guests know what to expect

Congratulations! After some outreach, you have finally got a guest to agree to be on your podcast! Now what? Let’s make sure your guest knows what to expect and is aligned on all the tactical details of the recording.
Setting up time
When setting up time with your guest, ask what times they have available for the recording (we allot an hour for the recording session itself) and in supplement send over your availability via Calendly or calendar booking link. Make sure you are courteous about deferring to their preferred times, while also making it efficient to confirm and book a time. You will often be redirected to the guest’s EA to find time in many cases. Once you confirm a time, send over a calendar invite with any and all instructions about the recording. If you are using a virtual recording studio like Riverside (very highly recommended, see our tech stack section), make sure that link is in the calendar invite.
Recording studio
Use a virtual recording studio to ensure you are capturing high quality audio and visuals. Learn more about Riverside here.
Set expectations with the guest that you will be using a virtual recording studio, and align upfront on whether you are using just audio for the recording, or if you will also be capturing video. Note: if guests don’t get a warning they need to be camera ready, they often won’t want you using the video content. Not great if you are publishing your episode over youtube, or hoping to use clips for TikTok!
Sending over questions
It’s just as important your guests know how they are recording as it is what they are recording. Every guest will want to understand what is being discussed and how they should prepare. A week prior to the episode recording (at the very least 36 hours before the recording), make sure you send a google doc with your intended questions and topics for recording. Make sure the doc has comment permissions as this is a great opportunity for the guest to share feedback. Make sure their PR rep (if they have one) has access.
Reminders prior to recording
24 hours before the recording, make sure you send a reminder that the recording is happening. Be sure to include your questions/discussion topics, confirm the link of the recording, and request that the guest records in a quiet environment with headphones and ideally a microphone (if the guest has one) to ensure top notch sound quality.

Example of guest tracker
First Name
Date of last touch
Sent initial email
Sent follow-up email
Follow-up meeting
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