4 ways to get great podcast guests

Landon Campbell hosts a podcast called In Their 20s. He was recently on Content Is For Closers as a guest, but on his show, he interviews some of the most famous people in tech and entrepreneurship about the advice they would give themselves when they were back in their 20s.

The crazy thing is, this guy started absolutely from scratch. He and his business partner at the time had the idea during COVID and they decided they were going to go all-in and try to find the absolute best guests and the biggest names to help their show off.

Since they started the show just a year ago, they’ve had…

  • Steve Wozniak: Steve Jobs’ co-founder at Apple
  • Ev Williams: a co-founder of Twitter)
  • David Sacks: one of the PayPal mafia, now on the All-In podcast, very famous investor
  • Jason Calacanis: also on All-In, founder of This Week in Startups, another incredibly well-known investor

Every blind squirrel finds a nut. People find good guests every once in a while, but In Their 20s is solely composed of absolutely excellent guests. How? Landon said he just has to give the littlest bit of effort more than the other requests people are asking of these folks.

You have to remember, these people are getting tons of requests every single day. At this caliber, people are asking for their time, their advice, etc. probably on an hourly basis. It’s not that easy to be a little bit better than so many people, but the concept is correct.

We’ve had the same experience.

When we first started The Startup Show, we were able to attract guests like…

  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Jason Zook
  • Jocelyn Glei (a very famous author)
  • Cory Gregory (who is probably the top influencer in the fitness space)

…and a lot of other people we didn’t have any business talking to, especially at that stage. We still don’t now, but this was four and a half years ago. We were just doing it to do it and try to get attention, and these people came on our show.

The time we spent thinking and acting a little bit extra made us different from the rest of the crowd.

If you are trying to find worthwhile guests, here are four tactical things you can do to get their attention.

#1 — Design a quick but personalized landing page

Design a single but personalized landing page that explains your pitch and gives the guest some button, some hook where they can schedule their appearance on your show in real-time.

This is kind of like asking someone to prom back in high school: “Will you be on my show? Yes or no.” This may or may not work, but the idea is to show effort.

  • Make sure everything’s personalized
  • Make sure it’s not the same landing page you send over and over and over and over again
  • Have some elements that are unique to the person you’re talking to

Show that extra effort.

#2 — Do something for the guest

Broadly speaking, do something great for the guest. Do some free work. Maybe redesign something, rewrite something, make an introduction. Whatever your skillset is, use your skills in some way to improve something they already have.

Do something on their behalf with no expectation of anything in return.

Send it to them and say, “I’m doing this for you because I noticed it and I thought it could be better. By the way, I have this podcast. If you want to come on, great. If not, no problem, but I did this for you.”

#3 — Purchase the guest’s books or products

Taking that a step further, so many people who are interested in coming on podcasts have a book or product or some reason to do a media tour. That’s why they’re going on podcasts to begin with, so you can just pony up and buy.

Gary Vee does this: if you buy 30 books of his, he does something for you. He comes on your show, he has a conversation with you, whatever it is. That’s one way to do it:

Buy a bulk product they have or somehow find a way to promote their products.

Four years ago, Gary Vee had a shoe coming out with K-Swiss the same time season one of The Startup Show was airing, so our head of growth emailed his assistant and said,

“Hey, we have the show. It’s small but growing. These are the types of people that listen to it. All I want to talk about for 15 minutes is Gary’s shoe. I’m not going to ask him about anything else. I just want to talk about his shoe.”

He came on, we just talked about his shoe. Of course, if you know Gary, a million other things were discussed throughout, but the thread-line was his shoe. Then we were able to tell all these other great prospective guests, “Gary Vee came on our show.”

#4 — Record a 30-60 second video pitch

Record a video of yourself in which you are pitching to the guest on why they should come on your show. You can’t do this for every single potential guest, but it’s a worthwhile exercise.

Make sure it’s a good video. Don’t just do a half-effort job here. Maybe have an intro and outro, maybe a little bit of music. Then DM or tweet your pitch at the person you’re trying to bring on your show. I guarantee they will engage with it at the very least.

They may not respond, they may only like it, they may just laugh or say thanks, but they will engage with it. On platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn where that type of thing is not as normal, it will make a mark with them.

Maybe only 60% or 40% of potential guests will come on your show, but you get that many more great guests than you would have had otherwise.

Remember, the idea is to be as personalized as possible while remaining respectful and showing you’re willing to actually go the extra mile to serve the guest— not yourself. Good luck!