7 strategies for getting your podcast guests to share the episode (and does it matter?)

One thing I hear from podcasters all the time is that when they have a guest on their show, it’s radio silence after the episode has aired. Even if the guest has a large social audience or newsletter, even if the guest has promised to share the episode far and wide once it’s out, they often don’t share, or they share with lackluster enthusiasm, or they share but it does absolutely nothing.

If they share and it does absolutely nothing, you might not be alone. I often talk to podcasters who book guests with large social followings primarily because they hope that they will share and that will boost their numbers. This is not the right way to think about booking. 

Social media is not the best way to grow a podcast. Even if your guest does share on social media, it might be to a sea of people who don’t listen to podcasts. And even if they do listen to podcasts, people do not find podcasts on Twitter. When they’re on social media, they want to stay on that platform. They’re not likely to click off onto a podcast link. Finally, even if your guest shares, and even if all of those people who see the post click and listen, they might not hang around. They might just be a big fan of your guest. 

Don’t book someone on your podcast because you think they’ll share and give your numbers a bump — book someone on your podcast because they have a good story to tell or something to teach your listeners. Your listeners trust you. Value that trust and book guests with your listeners in mind. Organic and healthy growth will follow. 

But let’s pretend you have the perfect guest and they do have a large following. How do you make the most of their audience?

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1. Approach with your personality

By developing a friendship with your potential guest upfront, you’re establishing more than just a one-sided opportunity for the guest. Friendship means partnership. You two are in this together. So being genuinely interested and kind from step one will make your guest more likely to follow through with your asks. 

2. Get confirmation

After you book and before you record, ask up front how your guest likes to reach their audience. Do a little research. Do they have a LinkedIn account, a newsletter, a large Instagram following? Ask them which is their favorite place to post, and which one they are most likely to use to promote their interview. Ask if they’re willing to post. Plan for a social asset based on the platform they are most excited about. 

And ask them to send you a photo of themselves. They’ll send you the one that makes them feel good. That’s the image they’ll be excited to share. But don’t make the asset before you record. You’ll want to do that after the conversation.

3. Be organized as heck

Think about scheduling a pre-interview so that you both can be prepared. Do your homework on the guest. Each interview should show off the stuff they care about, and how it fits into your own message. Send a reminder the day before, make sure they have the links to the recording and have all the information they need. Send them questions in advance. The more effort you put into preparing then and being buttoned-up on your end, the more invested they’ll feel in their participation. 

3. Conduct a memorable interview

Listen to their previous interviews and ask questions they haven’t been asked. Dig deeper into the things that seem to have lit them up. Look at their social profiles and newsletters right before the interview to see what they’ve been up to and talking about, and fold that into the conversation. Make this interview the best interview they will ever do. 

4. Follow up

After the interview, send a thank you note, explaining how your guest’s episode brings unique value to your podcast's audience. Highlight your favorite moments or actionable advice they shared. When guests understand the impact of their contribution, they will feel more motivated to share it with their followers. Be specific about when the interview will run.

5. Make social assets — the right way

  • You don’t have to send assets for every single social platform. That’s a waste of time and overwhelming. Remember when you asked about their favorite platform? Cater to that. If they say they prefer LinkedIn, create something just for that platform. Because you asked in advance and created something for them based on that conversation, they’re more likely to engage with the ask. 
  • Think hard about the conversation. Have a “social media listening” session where you go over the interview with one thing in mind: which part of the conversation animated your guest? What did they say that stressed something important to them? If you want them to share, choose the part of the interview that you know they will want to share. Not the part that you liked the most, or the part that made you sound the best, or the part that would work best for your own audience.
  • Make them look good. Remember how you asked them to send you a headshot they like? Now’s the time to put it to use. 
  • Send them the assets when you’re done, before the episode comes out. Give specific instructions and sample language they can use to promote on the platform they requested. 

Remember: There are two kinds of social media posts. The kind that will grab the attention of your audience, and the kind that your guest will be excited to share. Sometimes they’re the same, often they’re not. 

Promo image for V Interesting with V Spehar featuring a smiling picture of climate reporter Amy Westervelt and a quote from the episode: "I know for a fact that the biggest threat to the fossil fuel companies in the last ten years was the youth climate movement."
This quote from Amy Westervelt's appearance on V Interesting with V Spehar is about something Amy cares deeply about.

6. Send a reminder and some links

So the interview is done, the episode is out, and you’ve sent them the assets.Hopefully, they’ll remember when the episode comes out and promote on their own. But they might need a reminder. 

Right after you hit publish on the episode, post to your own social channels. Then, respond to the last email you sent them (with the asset) and remind them to post. Include links to the social media posts you just made and give them the option, at the very least, to click on those links and repost or share. So if they get the email while they’re running on the treadmill or stretching for an orange soda at the tippy top shelf at the grocery store, they can share to their audience with just one hand. That’s an incredibly low lift and is a better option than them not posting anything. 

7. Engage with their content

Once they’ve posted, share on your own channels, comment, and thank them publicly. The more detailed you can be about the episode, the better. 

Conclusion

Getting your podcast guests to share their episodes is a collaborative effort that requires building strong connections, showcasing the value of their contribution, and making sharing easy and rewarding. By using these strategies and fostering a supportive podcast community, you can amplify your podcast's reach, attract new listeners, and establish lasting relationships with your guests. Remember, when guests share their episodes with enthusiasm, your podcast's growth potential becomes limitless. 

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