Guest interviews are a great way to obtain new listeners just by tapping into your guest’s existing audience, and they are a blast!
I feel so energized and excited each time I finish a guest interview. I love connecting with others and sharing their story and message with my audience. It’s a win-win!
But the process of reaching out to guests, scheduling them, and then preparing for the interview can be a bit overwhelming, especially when just starting out. So today I thought we would tackle this topic of Guest Interviews and break it down into three phases: Before the interview, the day of the interview, and after the interview.
I have created a checklist that you can print out and use until you get a hang of things, just a disclaimer I STILL use my checklist for my guest interviews so that I don’t miss anything.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
I keep a running list of potential guests in my notes on my phone and in my notebook. I usually compile these on my content planning days into one main list. I will also include guests from guest pitches on that list when relevant. So after you select the guests you’d like to reach out to you:
1. Send the initial reach out email. When possible reach out via email instead of DM or Messenger. In that email: introduce yourself, tell them briefly who you are and why you are writing. Tell them why you think they’d be a good fit for your audience and vice versa.
Don’t forget to tell them what to expect. Be clear but concise. You want to keep this email short and sweet. Feel free to put your personality in it but don’t over do it.
I’m sharing a copy of my initial reach out email in my Facebook Community this week. Come join us to get that copy.
2. If they say yes, follow up immediately. Thank them, use Calendly or another scheduler to send a link for them to book. Make this process easy. If they have to email you back and forth it can get tedious, streamline the process for everyone involved.
3. If they say, no thank them for their time, be gracious.
4. If you don’t hear back from them wait a week and send a follow up email. This should be a sentence or two longer, no more.
5. Send them their questions ahead of time (a week to 10 days is ideal). Take some time and taper these questions to your guest. I use a generic template that I work from to customize questions for each guest. This small step makes all the difference when interviewing your guest.
6. Send reminder email. A day or two before the scheduled interview send them a reminder (include the questions again), include any relevant links, (ie we will be chatting via Zoom here’s our link). Remind them to: wear their headphones, to pick a quiet space, and to silence their phone. Again, share that you are excited to talk to them. This is a great time to ask for their headshot and bio if you haven’t received it yet.
7. Choose your software. There are many to choose from; my best advice is to pick one and get familiar with it. (Looking for more information about software. This episode has more information.) When just starting out perform a few practice runs. I asked my Mom and Sister to help me when I was just starting out.
THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW
1. Get on early. At least ten minutes. Make sure your internet is up and running make sure your microphone is plugged in, on, and ready. Make sure you’ve got your headphones.
Silence your phone and notifications. Close extra tabs. Power off anything that might interrupt or make extra noise. (ie pets!)
2. Look over the questions. I find it helpful to look over the questions and know where I want to direct the conversation. You don’t have to have any memorized but I like to have a copy pulled up on my phone or a hardcopy on my desk that I can reference.
3. Verify that you know how to pronounce their name.
4. START THE RECORDING!!!
A few tips here for during the interview. This is the time to highlight your guest: Try not to talk over them, don’t go off on tangents about yourself, keep the focus on them.
Have some extra questions up your sleeve for those who are inexperienced with guest interviews or those who have a hard time expanding on questions. On the flip side some people are talkers and can go on and on. Have some gentle ways to prod them along or pull them back into the specific topic. Remember you can always edit.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
1. Send a quick thank you email, thanking them for their time. Use this opportunity to let them know when they can expect their episode to go live, even if it’s a ways out. Tell them you’ll follow up with them the day it goes live. (Ask again for headshot bio if they haven’t sent it.)
2. Send the link, and any graphics, when their episode goes live. Don’t expect them to go find it all. Make it super easy for them. Include it all in one place for them to reference.
3. Ask them to share their guest interview with their audience. Don’t beat around the bush or assume that they will. In the email with the links and graphics, have a direct ask: “Please share with your audience.” And of course thank them. I always like to include a personal touch, my favorite part of our episode or what I think listeners will take away from our episode. These little “touches” go a long ways. Be sure to tag them on social media.