When my first book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, was released, I made the mistake of saying yes to too many podcast invitations. I was excited to market my book and it seemed like a great way to reach a new audience.
But I learned that some of them had very few listeners. Others had poor audio quality--you could barely hear the guest or the interviewer's questions. And some of the interviewers seemed uncomfortable on their own shows.
So when my second book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, hit the shelves, I decided to carefully consider podcast invitations. Fortunately, I've gotten a little better at deciphering which podcasts will help me reach a larger audience and which ones will be more effort than they're worth.
If you're a podcaster who hopes to land high-quality guests, avoid these five mistakes that can make you look like an amateur (and ultimately turn potential guests away):
1. Expecting your guest to work around your schedule.
If you're interviewing a thought leader with a busy schedule, don't expect that person to work around your schedule. And don't send over your calendar and request the person choose a time if all you available is two 30 minute slots to choose from in the next month.
If your podcast is your side hustle, it's understandable that you may only be available a few evenings per month or in the early morning hours before the kids get out of bed. But, it can be hard to attract popular guests if you aren't willing to work on their busy schedules.
2. Sending multiple emails.
Busy thought leaders don't have time to have an ongoing conversation via email. In fact, each email you send to a busy guest's inbox may decrease their desire to be on your show.
If you want to know the person's Skype handle or you're interested in knowing what products your guest wants to promote on your show, ask those questions in one email if possible. Of course, you may need to send a follow-up email with the questions you want to ask (if the guest wants to see them ahead of time).
But bombarding a guest with dozens of messages will likely cause your emails to go unanswered. If you look like you don't have your act together, your guest may cancel the interview altogether.
3. Forgetting to share the details.
Share the details of your interview up front (again, keep all the information in one email). Tell your guest how long the interview will last, how you plan to do the interview (phone, Skype, etc.), the type of format you use, etc.
If you're interviewing a prominent guest, there's a good chance you may have to work with that person's publicist or an assistant. Putting all your information into one simple email or document makes it simple for the information to be forwarded and referenced closer to the interview date and time.
4. Telling your guest to do extra work.
While you may think you're doing your guest a favor because being on your show means more exposure for them, they're also giving you free content. So don't make guests devote a lot of time and energy into being on your show.
A high profile guest may have a media or press page on their website that includes things like their bio and high-resolution images. Look for those first before asking your guest to email you that information.
Asking for a photo that is exactly 634 x 459 in size or a bio that is 171 words gives your guest extra work and there's a good chance it won't get done. Along the same lines, skip the lengthy pre-interview questionnaires.
Do your homework on your guest--don't ask your guest to repeat everything about themselves that you could easily find online.
5. Asking your guest to commit to sharing the episode.
Saying things like, "To make sure your episode reaches as many people as possible, please confirm that you'll be sharing our podcast with your audience on social media and in your newsletters," makes you look like an amateur. It also sounds like code for "We don't really have an audience and we're hoping to steal yours."
Instead of telling people they have to share your content, create content they'll want to share. When I appeared on Dr. Robyn Silverman's podcast she created beautiful quote cards that I couldn't wait to share with my audience.
James Altucher writes articles about his guests. When he wrote, "10 Things I Learned From Amy Morin," I had something that was easily sharable and offered gave my audience my material from a new angle.
During the interview, James also asked questions that no one had asked me before. So I was excited to share his podcast because I knew my followers would want to hear information they'd never heard before.
Thought leaders don't want to keep sharing the same old stuff. No one wants to Tweet "And now I'm on this guy's podcast and he asked me the exact same questions as everybody else." So provide something different that inspires your guests to want to share their episode with their followers.
And along the same lines--never demand a guest leave a 5-star review of your podcast. Instead, create a 5-star podcast that will make your guests naturally want to praise your show.