MF 269 : Getting guests for your show and adding music and sound effects
Updated: Jun 23
On this episode, we take a look at best practices for getting guests for your show and adding music and sound effects to spruce things up. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Part 1: Yes, but how do I get guests for my podcast?
Last week, we talked about tools to schedule your guests for your podcast. But many of you may be pondering a more basic question: how do I get guests? Over the years, I’ve had people tell me they want to launch an interview podcast but are nervous to do so because they’re afraid they won’t get enough (or any) guests for their show. This is a common stress point and you may be wondering the same thing.
First, let me allay your fears. I launched Moving Forward in 2015 as an interview podcast. I didn’t have a big name and I had no idea what I was doing. And yet, I managed to do over 200 episodes with fantastic guests from different industries, from all parts of the world, including some famous names. If you launch a podcast and your goal is to have engaging conversations or interviews, you can get guests and great ones. Let me break down how to make this happens.
Be consistent. One of the reasons why I started this mini-series with the exit strategy (episode 262) is that it’s important for you to stick with what you start. If you have a clearly defined exit, be it 12 episodes or 1200, you will more likely stick to the weekly task of producing new content. As you create a consistent body of work, people will notice, particularly interested guests or PR people who represent people (influencers, leaders, entrepreneurs, artists) that want to get booked on podcasts.
Start with who you know. If you’re launching a podcast based on your expertise, your business, or are launching a show to gab about your favorite hobby or TV show, chances are you know people who would be great guests to speak on the subject and would be more than happy to come on your podcast. That’s where I started – with people I knew from my varied experiences practicing law, being an actor, and working in the corporate world. I even asked fellow classmates and professors I got to know from business school whose wisdom and experience would be great for the podcast. Don’t worry about whether they have a big name or whether they’ve done a podcast before. If they can speak to your topic, reach out and invite them to be on your show.
Get out of your comfort zone. At some point, you will run out of people in your contact list. For me, it was somewhere in the 20s. Go out of your network. See who you’re connected to on social media, particularly people who would be a good authority on the topic you cover. Reach out to them and ask. Keep it brief and to the point, do a little homework to find out what their preferred communication method is (Tweet, email, or third party for bookings) and be gracious. The worst that will happen is you’ll get a polite no.
Best practice: Often, a potential guest might be interested but too busy at the moment to do your show. If they say, “circle back within 3 months,” put a reminder on your calendar to follow-up. Being a little persistent and following up can make the difference between a yes and no.
Goal of Five. As you plan out your podcast, start creating a list of five people you want to book. Mix it up with people you know and at least one you don’t. The sooner you get out of your comfort zone, the better. As you continue interviewing guests, start adjusting the ratio towards more people you don’t know.
When they come to you, be choosy. Finally, at some point, you’ll get people reaching out to you. If you create consistent content, it will happen. PR people or potential guests will start contacting you. Be gracious but don’t be afraid to say no if it isn’t a good fit.
Part 2: Editing (music, intros, outros, transitions)
Let’s continue our discussion with some of the finishing touches or “frills” to an episode.
Music. First, make sure it’s royalty-free. You can hire an artist to create original music, ask a friend who’s a musician (if they do it for free, be sure to give them a shout out), or there are many stock tunes available on platforms like GarageBand that you can use that are royalty and copyright free. You can also compose a tune yourself even if you’re not a composer. GarageBand makes this easy and is what I used for the first season of Moving Forward – I simply fiddled around with it on my iPhone and composed a simple tune using tracks and beats. In subsequent seasons, I found a cool piece of stock music and used slices of it for the intro and outro.
Fades. You can have the music fade in and out of your show as needed, using programs like GarageBand or Audacity.
Copy. Often, the intro and outro will have copy – a voiceover that introduces what the show is about or has a call to action. Keep it brief. You can hire a VO artist or record it yourself.
Best practice: Create and export a track that has your intro and outro (music plus copy plus fades) and then simply plop those tracks in when creating a new episode project. This way, you’ll have a consistent intro and outro without having to recreate it every time.
Transitions. As with music, there are many royalty-free sound effects you can use to signal transitions on your show.
Editing hack. You can clip a short segment from the interview and place it before the intro rolls into the episode. This will give listeners a preview as to what the episode is about. Try to use a provocative or interesting segment: a cliffhanger, a question, or thought that piques the interest of listeners. I only did this for one episode but it’s a cool marketing tactic that a lot of podcasters use.
Don’t do any of this. This year, I decided to ditch the music, the copy, and the transition effects. I have 200+ episodes that showcase my ability to edit and splice. Since I don’t have as much time to invest in editing this year, I keep my episodes simple. You can do the same.
Remember. Your podcast should fit your schedule and time constraints, not the other way around.
Keep crafting and working on your podcast. If you’re launching an interview show, apply the rule of 5 and start book guests for interviews!
Part 3: What I’m reading
The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger (****): one of the best books on leadership I’ve read this year; detailing Iger’s career, starting as a production assistant at ABC and eventually rising to CEO of Disney. Iger details many of the ups and downs throughout his corporate career and I found his candor refreshing.
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