By Catharine Bramkamp (@cbramkamp)
You are a stud! You have your own podcast show, but you have nothing to say this week!
After all the work and effort to create your podcast, it may come as a shock that into the tenth or eleventh show we run out of things to say, information to impart or just plain get bored with the sound of our own voices. No matter how clever you are, sometimes you need another voice, another human on whom to bounce ideas and jokes. A podcast guest is the logical next step.
Need more to say? Book a guest. Need a different perspective? Book a guest. Admire someone? Contact them and ask them to be your guest. It is surprisingly easy to ask people to be on your show, and they are very generous with their time—as long as you make their experience a pleasure and not a pain.
After two and half years and over 100 shows, my partner and I have learned a few things about podcasting. Here are three quick tips for better bookings so your guests will truly enhance your podcast and your reputation.
Tip #1: Stick with your theme
I produce a podcast for Newbie Writers. We are a writing podcast (www.NewbieWriters.com) , so every guest needs to address our theme. Stick with who you are and what your podcast is about. Like the constraints of a sonnet, you must be creative within your own category. This also means you get to say no. Leo Laporte (http://twit.tv/) keeps the video, chat and commentary to tech, it’s all about tech. It makes it easy then, for him to say no to a cookbook author. If you want to be successful, keep to your main theme, it’s the best way to get noticed and succeed.
Tip #2: Keep track of your people
Once you incorporate guests, you must also incorporate that most complex of organizational systems known to man: the calendar. Keep track of your guests. And while you’re at it, keep track of their information and emails.
Newbie Writers Podcast uses a Google Calendar (https://www.google.com/calendar).
so my partner, Damien, can see what I’ve scheduled without asking. This is a great system for the weeks I remember to update the calendar.
I have more success with a simple, weekly hard copy calendar to keep track of guests. I also start the show notes as soon as I confirm a guest. I upload their emails, what they agreed to discuss, and make notes on why we all should care. I save the individual word docs in a guest file. Simple right? I also save notes even after they’ve been posted. You never know when you’ll need to reference what you said and when you said it.
Tip #3: Be helpful
Send a confirmation to your guests a few days ahead of the podcast. It helps them remember and helps you remember who’s calling into the podcast. Ask for their links and their material at this time so you get the most recent information. (I say this because I book guests three months in advance, which is the equivalent of 5 years in new media time).
That said, have a few back up shows you can implement in case the guest bails. If you have an alternative show at the ready, you will be able to be gracious if a guest has an unexpected emergency. When you say, “Hey, no problem.” You really need to mean it, because they can tell if you don’t.
There is nothing better than a lively, engaging guest. You will sound smart for finding them, and brilliant for sharing their expertise with your listeners. And we all want to sound brilliant.
About the Author
Catharine Bramkamp is the co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast that focuses on newer writers and their concerns. She is a successful writing coach and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, Future Girls (Eternal Press) and the poetry chapbook Ammonia Sunrise (Finishing Line Press). She holds two degrees in English, and is an adjunct professor of writing for two Universities. Check out the free book offers this May – http://www.yourbookstartshere.com