‘Just go for it’ – Sound Media Showcase with Liam Wilson of How AI Built This

Approaching potential guests for a podcast can be pretty daunting, especially when you’re just getting started.

It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious about inviting someone on, or feeling a bit lost about how best to go about it.

In fact this subject has come up a few times recently at podcast meet-ups I’ve been at, or in Facebook groups. It’s nothing new – it comes up time and time again.

And it’s something that Liam Wilson, host of How AI Built This, addressed in our latest Sound Media Showcase (see the full video at the bottom of this post)

“I think I was quite nervous at the start about messaging people saying ‘hey I’ve got this podcast, you don’t know who I am, but do you fancy being on it?’

“The responses I’ve had have been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve messaged people from huge companies that I never dreamed of getting a response, and even if they don’t have the time to do it, they’ve been really nice about the idea.

“On the whole, I’ve had so many people who’ve been keen to be involved and give their time and I’ve been hugely appreciative of that.

“If you’re going to start [a podcast], I would just go for it and ask as many people as you can to be on it, no matter what you think of their stature.”

Liam is right here – so much of this is down to mindset. It’s our own hurdle to get over. That’s so easy to say, isn’t it? But when it comes to actually doing it, that hurdle seems to grow a little bit bigger.

Here are a few simple tips from me about how I think you can make the whole process a bit easier and get on with sending those invites out

People love to talk

Yep, simple as that. People like to talk, especially about themselves. I don’t mean in some kind of ego trip way, but when someone is interested in our story and how it might be able to help others, we respond to that. You think you’re asking for a favour from someone by agreeing to come on your podcast, but actually you’re giving them an opportunity. Your podcast is a platform that gives them a chance to talk in a way they might not anywhere else.

Flattery will get you everywhere

We all respond to a bit of flattery. ‘That shirt looks lovely on you’ or something as simple as that can really make someone’s day. So if you’re approaching Joe Bloggs, who is the managing director of a clothing company, flatter them. Don’t go in all ‘if you have the time, please would you consider coming on’ – that’s apologetic and quite negative. Go in saying you’re doing a podcast episode about clothing and they’re the absolute expert on that subject, so you want them on it. No one else – you want them. Put a smile on their face, and I’m sure they’ll be emailing you back with a big yes in no time at all

Make it easy

This is a slightly different tip, as it’s not about mindset. This is more of a practical thing. Usually if a guest turns you down, it’s not because they don’t want to do it, it’s because of time restraints. Good guests are likely to be busy people. So make things simple for them. Include a line or two about how you record, emphasising that it’s easy. (Worth noting here that if you tend to ask guests to record their end of the conversation, that will put them off. Use something like Squadcast or Riverside instead). I’d also set up an online booking system through something like Calendly so they can easily book in a slot which works for them, rather than the inevitable back and forth for days and days trying to find a convenient date and time.

There is lots more good practice when it comes to approaching potential guests, and they’re just three ideas to help get you thinking.

Check out Liam’s full Showcase below and find his podcast on Spotify here. If you’d like to chat about Sound Media and the services we offer to help podcasters create amazing content, book in a quick chat here or just drop me a line using the form and I’ll get back in touch.