How to Get Great Guests

Many hosts have asked us this question: What is the secret to getting great guests? image_guestsAlthough hosts go about it many different ways (this is how host Paul Lawrence Vann does it), there are steps you can take to secure guests that you can be proud of, just by doing some extra work and being yourself. Charisma and persistence will take you a long way. BlogTalkRadio hosts who snag great guests did not always have connections, most had to learn this as well.

So, what steps should you take to get quality guests? Here are some tips and we encourage hosts who have found other methods to post their advice in the comments.

First, decide what type of guest you want and do a little research to find out who represents them. If your ideal guest is an author, his or her publishing company, as well as representation information, is often listed within the book (usually in the very front or back). If you are interested in a Hollywood celebrity, your best point of contact might be their PR representative. Find their contact information by searching the name of the celeb followed by PR, or establish a premium account with the Internet Movie Database. Premium accounts have access to the most accurate information (oh, and BlogTalkRadio is in no way affiliated with IMDB).

Next, make a list with every potential guest that comes to mind, from the easily accessible to the guest that seems out of reach.

Now, make contact! If you prefer to use email, here is an example of a format that works.

Dear (potential guest’s name),

My name is (your name here) from BlogTalkRadio.

I host a live podcast on BlogTalkRadio called (your show name here), and I would like to have you on to promote your new (book, screenplay, movie, cd). You can be a guest simply by using a telephone and a computer from anywhere in the world. You will have the potential to reach millions of listeners and I will promote your new (book, CD, movie, etc..) on my show page so my listeners can just click on it to purchase. We have hosted everyone from Obama to Brad Pitt. We would love to have you on the (name of show) sometime in the next few months. Let’s discuss a time. Is daytime or evening better? You can contact me at (phone number) or email me at (email address).

(Your name)

Feel free to also use this basic approach over the phone as well. Be persistent!

And once you’ve landed that dream guest, here are some tips to get you ready for the interview:

4 thoughts on “How to Get Great Guests

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  3. Simon Applebaum

    Good tips, Christine! I have a few more for you and the BTR host/producer community in general:

    1) Do some search (Yahoo/Google, etc.) work on guests you want to get, or the projects they are involved with, so when you make contact with their public relations representatives, they are clear you’re credible.
    2) Call back as well as e-mail back PR reps for guests you want. Let them get your voice of persitence as well as words of persistence.
    3) Once you get your guests lined up, do not give them specific questions you’ll ask in the interview. If you do, chances are your guests will get locked in to those questions and say nothing about anything else, especially if breaking news happens that impacts them. Give yourself maximum flexibility. If PR reps ask for specific questions, give them basic topics instead. You want all the room necessary to offer a topical, relevant, fun interview to your listeners.
    4) Be working on more than one guest or one week’s episode at the same time. Go for booking several episodes (at least three weeks to a month) simultaneously, so you have a set of guests lined up and can move guests forward or back an episode or two in case people drop out.

    Have fun along the way as well!

    Simon Applebaum
    Producer/Host, Tomorrow Will Be Televised
    (Mondays/Fridays at 3 p.m. ET/noon, PT on BTR)


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