how to determine if a guest is right for your podcast

As podcast hosts, we probably all have the ideal guest we’d love to interview on our shows. You can probably think of a few people, or types of people, you’d love to have a conversation with on your podcast. The truth is, though, within the many podcast pitches you receive most aren’t going to be this ideal guest. In this episode, we’re breaking down how you can vet your guests, the questions to ask potential guests, how to reject the ones that don’t fit, and overall how to determine if a guest is right for your podcast.

Clocking In with Haylee Gaffin is produced and brought to you by Gaffin Creative, a podcast production company for creative entrepreneurs. Learn more about our services at Gaffincreative.com, plus you’ll also find resources, show notes, and more for the Clocking In Podcast.

Vetting Potential Podcast Guests

Hosting a guest on your show is a fun and exciting thing. Yet, is so important that you make sure every guest you host is the right fit for your show.

While the guests you have on your show don’t necessarily have a voice in your brand, you are providing them a platform with your name on it. So, it is crucial to vet your guest to ensure that they are a great fit for your brand.

Say you bring on a guest that claims to be an expert in a certain field. Yet, when you interview them you find that you completely disagree with them, or you just don’t think they are qualified to be speaking on the topic. Sharing content like this on your show causes your audience to lose trust in you and your expertise.

Additionally, making sure the guest’s topic lines up with your podcast and what your audience expects is another reason vetting is so important.

How To Know What You’re Looking For

Knowing your podcast’s purpose is going to be the first step in discovering what you’re looking for in a podcast guest. Many podcasts have a niche topic of demographic they are trying to reach.

For example, Clocking In is a podcast for entrepreneurs and professionals. But in many episodes, we dive deeper into podcast education. Often the audience of Clocking In is primarily made up of entrepreneurs and professionals but also podcast hosts.

You want to continue to serve your audience with topics related to your niche areas. Then your audience is engaged with the topic and consistently shows up to listen to the show.

Now, going int further into my specific podcast purpose-Clocking In also serves as a marketing tool for my brand while also setting me up as an expert in my industry. I know that my topics need to support my podcast purpose.

What Is Your Podcast Goal

Another important thing to highlight is your goal. You may have heard purpose and goal used to mean the same thing, for this conversation we are going to define them differently.

The purpose of your podcast is your niche. What are the defining topics of your show?

The goal of your podcast is how your podcast serves you and your business.

Big picture – Purpose

How it’s serving you – Goal

So, now that we’ve defined that, what is the goal of your podcast in addition to the purpose? How can your guest serve this goal? Bringing on a guest that can open up a conversation into a topic that relates to your goal is a great way to accomplish this.

For Clocking In, I have the goal of marketing my products and services. In many episodes, like this one, I mention a product that I’m hoping to drive my listeners to. Say that I bring on another podcast producer onto the show. It may be hard to find a way to drive listeners to my services with their conversation. But, having the right topics chosen and discussing what we can both promote ensures that the episode will support my purpose and goal.

Consider Your Audience

What does your audience want or need to hear? There are plenty of times where I’ve seen my clients receive pitches from potential guests going down a list of topic pitches not doing any research on the podcast they were pitching to. They were simply trying to get on any podcast. The topics didn’t align with the podcast or even the industry.

The process for vetting your guest can take time. Especially when you’re trying to do what’s best for your audience. Consider if the guest’s topic has relevance for your audience. If your audience is not engaged with the guest, they may skip the episode. Skipping one episode may at first seem harmless, but you could lose a listener for a long time.

Set Guidelines for Your Guest

These guidelines do not have to be absolutes, they offer a great starting point for your vetting process. Just consider what you want to see out of your guest? This could be someone who is active on social media, someone with a large follower count (don’t discount us with smaller audiences, though), do you want them to have a special offering for your audience, or maybe you want them to agree to do a podcast swap if they are also a host. Do you want your guest to be a business owner who has a certain number of years under their belt?

These are all just examples of considerations to include when looking into potential guests. There are so many more you could go off of. But, in my experience, sometimes your best episodes comefrom the most unexpected guests.

How Do You Determie Who is a Good Fit?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what to consider, ask yourself these questions before you decide on a guest.

1. Does this guest align with my brand and podcast?

2. Do we share similar values, at a glance?

Here, I’m specifically talking about being a business owner. You may receive pitches from guests who just do not have a great reputation as a business owner. You don’t want to share your platform with someone who doesn’t align in that way.

3. Have they shared the value and benefit of their topic with me?

If you don’t know where the conversation is going, you’re going to struggle in the interview, and more than likely it will turn out to be a bad interview.

4. Does my audience need to hear this?

You may have already covered this topic in the past, do you need to hear a new perspective on it?

5. Does this topic serve their audience?

You’ll want your guest’s audience to also receive something from this episode. You’re expecting your guest to share the interview on their social platforms and they are more likely to do that if their audience will benefit.

6. Can this guest educate concisely in an audio-only format?

There are many great educators who do a great job of sharing their content, with visual aids. But, in a podcast format, they are stripped of this aid. Does your potential guest have any previous interviews where they show they are able to communicate their topic effectively in this audio-only format?

While on this topic, I also really want to encourage you to provide transcriptions of your episodes. Supplying this to your listeners opens up the accessibility of your show and engages different audiences. Check out our previous blog all about transcripts here.

7. Do I believe in the offer that my guest is driving traffic to?

Your guest may be promoting a course, freebie, or any number of resources. Whatever they are offering to your audience, do you back up what they are trying to sell? If you don’t, there is no reason for you to be sharing your platform with them.

Communicate with Potential Guests

You may ultimately decide that a guest is not the right fit. If you decide this, communicate with them. I talked a lot about this in Episode 054, but it is so important that you aren’t leaving potential guests hanging. Check out Episode 054 where we go in-depth about the kinder way to reject pitches that don’t fit using my rejection email template pack you can find here.

Catch the Show Notes:

Podcast Resource Hub (1:00)

Vetting Your Guest (1:43)

Steps To Take To Know What You’re Looking For (2:30)

What is Your Podcast Goal (3:45) 

Consider Your Audience (6:00)

Set Guidelines for Your Guest (7:13)

How Do You Determine Who is a Good Fit? (8:30)

1. Does this Guest Align with my Brand and Podcast? (8:48)

2.  Do We Share Similar Values, at a Glance? (8:54)


3. Have they Shared the Value and Benefit of Their Topic with You?(9:17)

4. Does my Audience Need to Hear This Topic? (9:30)

5. Does this Topic Serve Their Audience? (9:48)

6. Can this Guest Educated Concisely in an Audio Only Format?  (9:58)

Transcripts (10:26)

7. Do you Believe in the Offer that your Guest is Driving Traffic To? (10:44)

Communicate with Potential Guests (11:23)

Rejection Emails (11:41)

Links Mentioned:

Check out the resource hub.

Rejection Email Templates

Check out Haylee’s Instagram

how to determine if a guest is right for your podcast

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