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Taking the Guesswork Out of Guest Scheduling: 8 Tech Tools to Simplify the Process

May 17, 2024 Deciphr AI
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IN A GIST

Podcasting can often feel like a juggling act, and one of the trickiest things to pin down is guest scheduling.

You've got this fantastic podcast idea, the enthusiasm to make it work, but the sheer logistics of scheduling guests feels overwhelming. 

But here's the good news: with the right strategies and tech tools, you can turn this stressful process into a smooth operation. In this article, we'll introduce you to:

  • Calendar and scheduling apps
  • Automated email platforms
  • Guest management tools

We'll also delve into practical strategies for streamlining the guest booking process, with tips on crafting professional guest invitations, strategic follow-up, and clear communication. With these tools and techniques, you'll be well equipped to manage a seamless podcast guest experience.

MAIN ARTICLE

8 Tech Tools For Scheduling Podcast Guests

When juggling multiple podcast guests and schedules, tech tools can be a lifesaver. From scheduling apps to email automation to guest management platforms, let’s explore how these resources can streamline your process.

Booking and Scheduling

Gone are the days of exchanging endless emails to find a suitable interview slot.

Here's how to take full advantage of calendar and scheduling apps.

Calendly

Scenario: You're scheduling an interview with a guest based in a different timezone.

  1. First, integrate Calendly with your existing calendar (Google, Outlook, Office 365, or iCloud) to prevent double booking.
  2. Then, set up event types for your podcast interviews and configure your availability preferences. You can even include buffer times between appointments and create secret event types specifically for VIP guests.
  3. Finally, share your Calendly link with your guest via email or through a direct message on social media. Your guest can then see your availability in their own time zone and book a time that suits them best.
  4. Remember to set up automated reminders to ensure that both you and your guest remember the appointment.

Doodle

Scenario: You're coordinating a panel discussion with multiple guests.

  1. Create a Doodle poll and propose several time slots for your guests.
  2. Share the link with your guests and have them vote on their preferred times.
  3. Doodle will then identify the best slot that works for everyone.
  4. Finally, you can automatically create a calendar event and send out invitations to all panel members from within Doodle.

Google Calendar

Scenario: You're on a tight budget and need a free, straightforward scheduling tool.

  1. First, go to Google Calendar and create a new event.
  2. Click on "Appointment slots" and set the duration for each slot.
  3. After saving, click on the appointment slot event on your calendar to get the booking link.
  4. Share this link with your potential guest, and they can book an available slot right away.
  5. Don't forget to set up email reminders for your events to ensure you and your guests stay on track.

Automating Your Outreach Process

Save time and improve your guest experience with automated email communication.

Here's how:

Mailchimp

Scenario: You want to send a series of emails to a new guest, including an invitation, a reminder, and a follow-up.

  1. Start by creating a new audience for your podcast guests in Mailchimp. You can manually add guests or import a CSV file if you have any.
  2. Then, create an automated email sequence for this audience. Start with a personalized invitation, followed by a reminder one week before the interview, and finally a follow-up thanking the guest for their time.
  3. Don't forget to customize the content of each email to reflect your brand and the individual guest.

ConvertKit

Scenario: You want to maintain an ongoing relationship with past guests and keep them updated about your podcast.

  1. Like Mailchimp, start by creating a new tag for your podcast guests in ConvertKit.
  2. Create an email sequence for these guests. This could include regular updates about your podcast, opportunities for collaboration, or invites to special events.
  3. Automate this sequence to send out at regular intervals, ensuring your guests feel valued and stay engaged with your podcast.

Managing Your Guests

Keep track of your guest information, booking status, and more with these platforms.

Podio

Scenario: You need to manage a large number of guests and want to keep track of each guest's status.

  1. In Podio, create a new workspace for your podcast.
  2. Within this workspace, you can create items for each guest, which include fields for their contact info, bio, availability, and booking status.
  3. You can also create tasks related to each guest, such as sending an invitation or doing research for the interview.

Trello

Scenario: You're a visual person and want a simple, card-based system to manage your guests.

  1. In Trello, create a new Kanban board for your podcast. Within this board, create lists for each step of your guest booking process (e.g., Prospective Guests, Invited, Scheduled, Recorded, Published).
  2. Create a new card for each guest in the 'Prospective Guests' list. Move these cards through the lists as they progress through your process. You can add details to each card, such as contact information, notes, and deadlines.

Protip:  Use this podcast workflow template to give you a headstart.

Airtable

Scenario: You want a flexible platform where you can create a database for your guests, plan your content calendar, and even store episode scripts.

  1. In Airtable, create a base for your podcast. You can add tables for your guests, episodes, and scripts.
  2. In the guests' table, create fields for all the information you need to track, such as name, contact info, area of expertise, scheduled date, and status.
  3. Link your guests to your episodes, allowing you to see at a glance who's scheduled for which episode and keep track of who you've already interviewed.

Remember to choose the tools that fit your workflow best.

Start with one, and gradually incorporate others as you become comfortable with each platform. It's about making your life easier, not more complicated.

Streamlining the Guest Booking Process

Managing a successful podcast involves a continuous cycle of reaching out to potential guests, confirming their participation, and coordinating the details. This process can be a Herculean task if not done efficiently. 

The following strategies will help streamline the process, providing maximum value to guests and ensuring a seamless booking experience.

Craft a Professional Guest Invitation

Your guest invitation is the first interaction potential guests will have with your podcast.

It sets the tone for the relationship you're about to build and is crucial for making a great first impression. Here's how to craft a compelling invitation:

  1. Develop a compelling email template: This template should introduce your podcast, its mission, and the kind of audience you serve. Try tools like BEE Free to design professional and eye-catching email templates. Or, you can use these podcast email templates.
  2. Customize each invitation: Personalization goes a long way. Show your potential guest that you've done your homework. Highlight why you believe they would be a perfect fit for your podcast. Reference their past work, their expertise, or shared connections to make the email feel personalized.
  3. Clearly state the benefits: Communicate what they will gain from being a guest on your podcast - exposure to your audience, a platform to promote their work, etc.
  4. Make the 'Ask': After setting the context, explicitly invite them to be a guest on your podcast. Be clear about the commitment required – the length of the interview, the format, and any preparation needed.

Follow Up Strategically

Not everyone will respond to your first email, and that's okay.

The key is to persist without becoming a nuisance.

  1. Implement a follow-up system: Tools like Boomerang for Gmail allow you to schedule follow-up emails if you don't get a response within a certain timeframe.
  2. Keep it gentle: In your follow-up emails, be polite and understand that your guest is probably busy. You're looking for a "Yes," but make it easy for them to say "No" if they need to.
  3. Offer alternative time slots: If a potential guest is interested but struggling to find a suitable time, offering alternative slots can show your flexibility and commitment to accommodating them.

Communicate Clearly

Once a guest has agreed to come on your podcast, it's crucial to keep them in the loop.

Clear communication can prevent misunderstandings and last-minute cancellations.

  1. Confirm interview details: After they've agreed to participate, send an email confirming the date and time of the interview, the expected length, the interview format (live, pre-recorded, video, audio-only), and any technical requirements (specific microphone or headphones, quiet room, strong internet connection).
  2. Share the interview plan: To help your guest prepare, share a rough outline of the interview. Tools like Google Docs make it easy to collaborate and allow your guest to suggest edits or additions.
  3. Provide resources: If you have any resources that could help your guest prepare, share them. It could be articles about your podcast, past successful interviews, or a guide to preparing for a podcast interview.

By implementing these steps, you can streamline the guest booking process and ensure a smooth experience for both you and your guest. By using technology to automate repetitive tasks, you can save time and energy that you can invest in creating quality content for your podcast. Remember, the key to a successful podcast is not only excellent content but also a great guest experience.

Wrapping Up

Mastering the art of scheduling guests for your podcast doesn't have to be overwhelming. By leveraging the power of tech tools like calendar and scheduling apps, automated email platforms, and guest management tools, you can simplify and optimize the guest booking process. Combine these tools with strategies for crafting professional invitations, strategic follow-ups, and clear communication, and you'll be well on your way to a seamless and successful podcasting experience. Remember, technology is your ally in creating a podcast that shines.