“What time works for you?” is the beginning of some of the most tedious conversations we’ll ever take part in. This question kicks off a laborious back-and-forth that just seems archaic. “How about Monday at 2?” “No, sorry. How about Thursday at 11?” “Nope, can’t. How about…”
Podcasters who regularly invite guests to join their show experience this pain all the time. Imagine going through this nonsense multiple times a week to coordinate scheduling.
The problem only gets harder as a podcast becomes more popular. Hosts are often stuck in the back-and-forth with multiple parties at the same time. This task is so frustrating that it’s the first job podcasters outsource to an assistant. But that’s expensive.
At Castos, we’re all-in on automation. We understand the value of implementing a system to automate the booking process so you can avoid the back-and-forth dance of scheduling guests. Removing tedious steps in your workflow means more time for creating amazing content.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through the process to automate your podcast booking. First we’ll explain how to open and configure your SavvyCal account. Then we’ll help you craft an outreach email for potential guests.
SavvyCal is a scheduling tool that helps you find optimal times to meet with potential podcast guests. It’s a pleasant collaborative experience that eliminates the friction of finding a time to meet.
First, sign up for a SavvyCal account. This is free for two months, then it costs $12/month. In our experience, $12 to save a massive amount of time is absolutely worth it.
After signing up, SavvyCal will walk you through a simple setup wizard. Here you’ll choose a URL, connect your personal calendar (to automatically block out busy times and create new events), and connect your video conferencing app (SquadCast, Zoom, Whereby, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams).
Once the wizard is complete, SavvyCal will create your first scheduling link and take you to your dashboard.
Scheduling links allow you to share your availability with others to find a time to meet. When you open the link editor, you’ll see two columns. The left column offers several configurations for the link.
To automate your podcast booking, set the link like so:
(Podcasters will love our new integration with SquadCast. SquadCast is a remote recording studio that allows you to create high-quality audio and video recordings using only in-browser software. It’s simple to use for you and your guests. In SavvyCal, you can set your meeting location as a SquadCast room to create a streamlined experience for your guests.)
The right side is a preview of your own calendar events and the ranges of time when you are available. Unavailable times are grayed out. This includes any blocks where you already have an event and times you marked unavailable in your availability settings.
Click the “preview” button to see what your outreach recipients will see.
Your recipients can select any time that is available. A popup will ask for their name and email address.
One great SavvyCal feature is the ability for recipients to overlay their own calendars on top of your calendar to help them identify a good time to meet. This means your potential guests don’t need to tab back and forth to their own calendar.
When your link is ready to send to potential guests, enable it by clicking the toggle switch at the top of the editor. When recipients click the “schedule” button, SavvyCal will automatically create an event on your calendar and email the details to all attendees.
Once your SavvyCal account is set up, the next step is to create the template for an outreach email. This is the email you’ll send to potential guests. The goal of this email is to convince them to schedule a meeting.
This email is a bit tricky. On one hand, you want to give them as much information as they need to agree to join you for an episode. On the other hand, you want to keep your email succinct so as not to waste their time. If you send potential guests a big wall of text, there’s not much chance they will dedicate the time to read it.
This means that your copywriting needs to be excellent. You have to deliver a lot of value in as few words as possible. Understanding how to craft a good pitch is a key part of starting a podcast.
Your subject line is arguably the most important part of your message. It’s the one piece of information potential guests have to decide whether to open your email. If your subject line is bad, the quality of the rest of your email is irrelevant because the recipient will never get that far.
A good subject line is direct, yet intriguing. It’s important to find a way to connect with the potential guests, ideally by aligning your values and/or needs.
Here’s a bad subject line: Please come on my podcast.
That’s not exciting at all. In fact, it’s downright boring. This subject line is asking a favor without offering anything in return. Why would a potential guest - who doesn’t know you - agree to help? They have no idea how it will help them.
Here’s a better subject line: Let’s help moms with families start their own businesses
This subject line is relevant, interesting, and engaging. If the recipient is someone who has an interest in helping entrepreneur moms succeed, it aligns with their work nicely. It signifies a shared mission and something they might find valuable.
Your next step is the body of your outreach email. Some influential people get dozens of pitches every day, so yours needs to be unique, exciting, and engaging in order to be effective. This is especially true for popular influencers who are in high demand. You’ll need to find a way to cut through the clutter of their inboxes and convince them to join your show.
It’s tempting to pack a lot of information into your pitches, but that’s rarely helpful. Focus on these key facts:
The first thing the recipient will wonder is what’s in it for them. So it’s important to make this benefit clear from the beginning of your email.
How would the potential host benefit from appearing on your podcast? Do your audiences overlap? Do you have exposure to an interested group of people? Have you invited other guests on the show who later saw book sales, course memberships, or audience growth?
This is also a good place to include some numbers, such as the size of your email list, the size and engagement of your social media following, and, naturally, the number of people who listen to each episode. These metrics indicate your popularity and help the potential guests understand what kind of exposure they’ll get.
This email is a great example. We like it because it uses an engaging subject line that aligns with the recipient’s mission, opens with body text that connects with the recipient, uses data to exhibit the show’s success, and even suggests a possible episode topic. The only thing it’s missing is a calendar link call-to-action (but more on that in a moment).
It would be easy if you could blast the same email to every potential guest, but guests can spot generic messages right away. These don’t make anyone feel good about receiving an invite because they know you’re sending dozens - or possibly hundreds - of pitches.
It takes a bit of work, but we strongly recommend customizing your emails just a bit for each guest. But don’t rewrite everything (because that defeats the purpose of automation). Much of the email will remain the same, but you’ll want to tweak a few lines at the beginning to help the guest understand why you really want them on your show.
For instance, if the recipient just released a book, congratulate them on the successful release and tell them briefly why you liked it. If the recipient recently hosted a Twitter chat, say something that indicates you explored the event.
The last piece of your email is the call-to-action. This is where you ask potential guests to take the next step and where your automation comes in.
Your SavvyCal link is the perfect call-to-action. It’s simple, requires little commitment, and lets your potential guest schedule a time without that painful back-and-forth conversation. You can copy the URL text from your scheduling link.
Then add your link to the end of your email (before your salutation) using clear and direct language. Here are some options:
Now, some podcasters don’t like to jump right into the recording with a new guest. They like to schedule a 10 to 15 minute “feeler” meeting to make sure the guest is the right fit. What if the guest overstated their expertise or can’t hold a conversation? You might want to vet them before committing to a 45 minute or one hour recording session.
If that’s how you like to operate, invite them to a quick get-to-know-each-other chat before the recording. This is an even lower commitment that many guests enjoy.
The last part of this process is to identify potential guests, find their email addresses, and send them your outreach email. Some podcasters like to spend a few hours trolling for potential guests and sending out their outreach emails in bulk. Other podcasters like to keep their outreach email template nearby and send it out whenever they come across a good potential guest.
Once you find a guest, automate your podcast booking process with steps we outlined above. Don’t waste your time with the back-and-forth tedium of traditional scheduling. Automate your podcast booking to boost your podcasting productivity and use the time savings to create incredible content.
Got some podcast meetings in the pipeline? Before you hit record, check out our guide on running effective one-on-one meetings and our resource on virtual meeting etiquette. You should also know how to conduct podcast interviews and how to impress your guests.