Oct 16, 2017 | Sales Best Practices

Customer Post: How We Use Outreach to Recruit Podcast Guests

Liston Witherill, SalesDNA's Avatar

Liston Witherill, SalesDNA

Tier 1 Accounts are hard to come by. I recently interviewed Mark Kosoglow, VP of Sales at Outreach, and he shared an anecdote of what it took to land a big client recently:

  • 72 Contacts
  • 624 Phone Calls
  • 125 Emails

That’s no small feat! Obviously persistence is absolutely essential to execute well. The same is true for getting podcast guests. We podcast for two reasons: learn and teach about the industry, and make connections with smart people in our industry (like Mark).

One of the biggest, most time-consuming parts of podcasting is finding great guests every single week. It’s not easy to find them, make contact, or to schedule them to come on the show. Then there’s show prep, follow up, and promotion that goes along with each episode.

When we signed up for Outreach, we didn’t even have a podcast. Now that we have one, there’s no way we could run it without Outreach.

We break down our podcast into the 4Ps (of Podcasting, not marketing):

  • Prep
  • Produce
  • Publish
  • Promote

We rely on Outreach considerably to help us with the Prep and Promote steps. Like sales, the key is discipline and follow up. Great people will be on your podcast, but they're busy - otherwise, would you really want them?

Here’s a quick overview of the steps we take in communicating with potential and actual guests:

podcast-1.GIF#asset:5331

As you can see, it’s fairly complicated, but totally manageable with Outreach.io. The tool allows me to be in touch for a full month, and mostly automatically. It streamlines the experience for each guest, by giving me the templates I need to communicate with them before and after the show. And it allows me to see what’s working and what’s not.

Here’s how we use Outreach.io for our podcast outreach.

Recruiting Guests

Getting guests to be on the show is typically A) a little easier than most people assume, and B) still pretty time intensive. That’s why we use an email sequence to keep the guests rolling in.

Our email sequence is about a month long and has 8 contact touches that span email and LinkedIn. Quick note: I’m personally inept at Twitter, but maybe that’d work well for some. Certainly it’s a channel people use regularly, but I don’t.

Here’s how we reach out to guests using Outreach:

  1. Manual Email
  2. Add on LinkedIn
  3. Auto Email
  4. LinkedIn Message
  5. Auto Email
  6. Auto Email
  7. Auto Email
  8. Auto Email
  9. “What’s Next” Task


In the first email, I manually fill out information in the email that is personal to my prospective guest. I don’t completely automate this step because my list of prospective guests is handpicked anyway, and I want to do some research and send an email that reflects it. I typically incorporate company news, departmental growth, funding rounds, or personal information into these emails. Bonus points if I have a friend or colleague in common, or if we live (or have lived) in the same place.

I include LinkedIn in all of my prospecting for one simple reason: the only purpose for being on LinkedIn is business. It’s not to talk politics, share cat memes (which I love, btw), or discover a new band. It’s to do business, with other people who also do business. That’s why I build in two LinkedIn steps.

The rest of the emails are automated, but they include information that I already grabbed when my prospective guest entered the sequence. This way, I can let the sequence run and get some additional commitments after the first manual email.

Most emails include a scheduling link so that guests can schedule themselves on the podcast, or hit reply and start a conversation with me directly. Surprisingly, I find that only about 50% of my guests book themselves, and the other half start a conversation with me and book manually.

Finally, if someone doesn’t respond to the sequence, I have a 9th and final step that’s a task that just asks “what’s next?” I add this to the sequence in case I’d like to nurture the guest after this sequence completes (in a separate sequence), or if it’s better to not communicate with them at all. Shout out to Theresa Klinger at Outreach for this idea.

Preparing the Guest for Success

After a guest has committed, I have two jobs left before we record: prepare them to successfully record, and remind them about the podcast.

For show prep, I have an email template that I use that gives them more details, as well as a few sample questions that I might ask during the podcast. This helps them prepare for the show, including tips on how to sound their best during the recording.

For reminders, I partially have them handled with my calendar, but I also like to fire off a manual email the day before recording in case they have any questions. What the guest doesn’t know is that the email is scheduled as soon as they book!

Here’s a quick look at how I handle guest prep and the email reminder:

Post Show

After the show’s recorded, I follow up with my guests so they can hear the recording, and share the episode if they’re so inclined. This follow up process is handled once again through email templates, and all I have to do is copy and paste the show’s URL.

I also have a quick 3-email sequence to reach out to anyone or any company mentioned on the show so they can share the episode if they like. This gives the show a little more mileage and establishes a few more connections along the way. Connecting with more people is one of the main reasons we’re doing this, after all!

Finally, whenever it’s appropriate I follow up with guests to see if there’s anything I can do to help them professionally. After a 30-minute conversation, I know quite a bit about them and their business, so if I’ve identified anything that might help them I’ll offer it. If not, I won’t. Simple as that. I use another short email sequence for this step.

What’s Next

Now that we have more than a dozen podcast episodes published, we’ll start increasing the pace of recording and publishing. No doubt Outreach will be even more critical to managing the communications chaos.

If you’d like to take a listen, you can check out Inside Selling Podcast. And if you’d like, grab our podcast guest communication checklist that’ll help you start or run your own podcast.