How to Get Interviews with Your Idols for Your Podcast
In late 2020 I had a dream. I wanted to interview the incredible people who had inspired one of my biggest life changes. These people appeared on documentaries, had social media followings in the hundreds of thousands, and they were so unlikely to speak to me: someone with no following at all.
Yet, they did.
In just a few months I interviewed well-known physician Dr. Esselstyn, who featured on documentaries Forks over Knives, What the Health, and, more recently, The Game Changers. Another Game Changer from Cowspiracy, and What the Health, Dr. Klaper also said yes to an interview.
Influencers, like Alexandra Andersson from FiveSecHealth with 270,000 Instagram followers, Remy Park AKA veggiekins with 150,000 Instagram followers, and EatMoveRest who have over 100,000 Youtube subscribers, all sat down with me for an interview on my podcast, The Planty Podie.
These incredible people had, in the previous years, inspired me to switch to a healthy, plant-based diet and subsequently my health transformed.
These are just my idols, however. Your idols are likely a completely different set of people. That doesn’t matter, as the approach will be similar. Here I want to walk you through how I approached the incredible people who joined my podcast and got them to say yes.
The first and most important step: dream big. If you’re starting a podcast, like me, or interviewing someone for your blog, Youtube channel, or other platform, it’s important to have a big wish list. Think of all of the people you’d love to speak to you and make a list of them. Just because you have no followers yourself: it doesn’t mean you won’t have respect from people in your community.
Here’s the thing: most people assume those with larger followings are harder to reach and more likely to say no. In my experience, the opposite can be true. In fact, I’ve found that those with larger followings are more active online, more willing to talk about what they do, more confident in what they know, and at times, more likely to say yes!
By dreaming bigger you put yourself in a smaller category of people who are willing to reach out to their dream guests. Making the chances of your dream guest saying yes, just that little bit bigger.
Target the right inbox
Before diving in however, it’s essential to find the best way to contact your dream guest. There are many ways to do this: through social media, email, via a cold call, or through a contact.
Personally, I’ve found two effective ways of getting in touch with my idols. Email, and Instagram direct messages (DMs).
Email is by far the most effective for me personally. Why? I have the space to explain why I’m getting in touch, what I do, why I want this person to be a guest, and I can include an image of the podcast to help visually explain. While guests often have a manager policing the email, eventually, if your email is well written, it should get into the hands of the guest. Find emails by doing some digging. Look on social media accounts. Research websites. And use contact forms if you need to.
I’ve had much less success with DMs, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. While many think Instagram direct messages (DMs) are a good place to approach others, Instagram DMs are plagued with spam messages. If your target person has a lot of followers, the chances are high that they don’t read direct messages from people they don’t know. For those that do check their DMs however, it can be a great place to get an email address, giving you the option to explain more.
Know what to say
Once you’ve decided who you want to approach, and where you’re going to approach them, the next important thing to decide is: what you’re going to say.
Here are a few tips to help:
Be clear and concise: people are busy. If you’ve dreamt big, this person is probably busy. Ensure you let them know exactly what you do and what you’d like from them.
Make it personal: No one likes a generic email template. If they feel as though you’re spamming everyone in their niche, they’re not going to be very enticed. If they really are an idol of yours it should be easy for you to come up with ways in which they have helped you.
Be genuine: only say things you mean. If you’re going to be interviewing someone, it’s important you have good intentions.
Include an image: As they say, an image says a thousand words. Without imagery your email may feel a little boring. One relevant image, say of your podcast cover, Youtube, Instagram, or even a small photo of yourself in your signature, can make an email feel more personal.
Don’t take rejection personally
Some people will say no. It’s fine to receive rejection, or no response at all. In fact, if you set out on the assumption that people will say no, then you’ll be less disappointed when they do. Persistence, however, is key. And, if you’re approach is right, some people will say yes.
If you get a positive response, then ensure to follow up in a timely way. Answer any questions, providing all the information you need to, and keep the contact flowing. There’s nothing worse than leaving an email for weeks, the guest may now have moved on and forgotten about you. As the old saying goes, ‘strike while the iron is hot.’ If you can organise the interview for the near future and keep the dialog flowing.
There you have it: my tips for interviewing your idols. For me it’s meant having life-changing conversations with leaders in the plant-based space, for you it might mean something entirely different.
Have more tips for interviewing leaders? Why not add them to the comments.