10 Tips: How to Book Celebrity Guests for Video Interviews [Creator's Tip #62]

Having guest appearances from time to time in your videos is a great way to add unique content to your channel and introduce your existing audience to new ideas and concepts.  Special Guests can provide expertise that you may not have and/or content that you might not have previously thought of exploring.  Additionally, having a guest that's a popular personality or celebrity can help drive massive views and exposure to new audiences.

But, how do you go about reaching out to a special guest for your video and capturing their interest for a booking, especially if the guest is a popular personality that's in demand?  On this week's Creator's Tip episode, Tim gives some advice as to how we've obtained popular guest experts for our videos and provides 10 tips for how you can actually get them to agree to an interview with you.

10 Tips for Reaching Out & Booking Special Guest Interviews

As you have seen on our channel we've had a variety of guests on our shows including Benny Luo from New Media Rockstars, Mystery Guitar Man and tons of videos with Nalts.  In addition we've received many requests for interviews from other people.  Below are some of the tips we've learned on how to get a special guest to agree to be on your YouTube channel.

  1. Be knowledgeable about your guests.  Why are they the perfect person for you to contact to talk about whatever it is that you want to talk with them about?  Familiarize yourself as much as you can ahead of time with this person.  Know what message they’re trying to communicate and how they’re doing that.  Make sure that they feel like you already have a connection with them.
  2. Be very clear about what you’d like to discuss.  It's usually a good idea to provide your guest speaker with some sample questions via email or talking points to ensure they won't be blindsided by things you ask them.  Most likely the interview will flow naturally and lead to additional follow up questions, but at least give them a heads up what you'd like to focus on.
  3. Keep your correspondence very brief.  You want to make it long enough so that people feel like you’re invested into this.  You want them to see that you know what you’re talking about as far as where they stand on certain issues you want to talk about, but don’t make it so long that it’s going to be just long sentences one after the other.
  4. Don’t make the request open ended.  Bad idea to just say, “Would you like to do an interview sometime?”  Suggest something, probably about a week out.  Don’t put it so far off that they’ll forget it, but don’t make it tomorrow either.  Generally, about a week out works well.  Suggest maybe two or three dates and times that could work well for you to conduct an interview and ask if any of those times would work well for them.
  5. Include past interviews in your email correspondence.  If you have some other interviews that you’ve done in the past, included a link to one or two of those in your e-mail.  This way they can kind of get an idea of what your style of interview looks like and how it goes.  It will give them a little bit more of an idea of what to expect.
  6. Always close out your e-mail requiring a yes or no answer.  Just ask very politely if they would do that for you.  Most of the time people do.
  7. Follow up.  If you haven't heard from someone after a few days, feel free to re-initiate contact with them.  You can say, “I’m still interested in doing this.  Would love to know if you got my previous message, and if this is something we could work out or not.”  Often times it’s not like they’re purposely ignoring you, your request likely got put on the backburner.  Often, when they see that initiative, people are more likely to respond the second time.
  8. Never discount yourself or make excuses.  Don’t say things like, “Oh, I know my audience is small, but you know...or I’m not really good at interviews.  I haven’t done one.”  It is important that you don’t discount yourself at all.  That’s a major red flag.  Be confident about yourself and say, “I would really like to do this because…”  If you have a small audience and you don’t really have much value that you feel like you can pitch to them, just don’t say anything at all.
  9. Know your equipment and setup in advance.  Make the interview as easy as possible for them by knowing your equipment and your technological set up ahead of time.  Don’t try to figure it out while you’re getting ready for the interview.  You don’t want them on the phone waiting or you’re just getting on Skype trying to figure out your software for the first time or figure out your cameras.
  10. Just go do it!  It can be a little intimidating sometimes to contact big star celebrity YouTubers, however a lot of these people probably are not inundated with as much email as a lot of us might think they are, so just initiate.  The worst case is they say no or you don't hear back from them.

QUESTION:  What are some tips you've used to get people to be a guest on your show?

View The Full Video Transcript:

On this week’s Creator’s Tip, I wanna share with you guys some of the tips that I’ve learned over the past couple of years about how to obtain guests for interviews for your YouTube channels and for other things. How do you get them to say yes and actually set a time to do those things and all those things? I’m going to share with you some of that this week on Creator’s Tip.

Hey, guys! My name is Tim Schmoyer, and welcome to another week of Creator’s Tip, where every week we just help you guys who are making online video content know how to make that stuff stand out the best on the web. And thank you guys for your patience over the past couple of weeks as I’ve been out of the country. It’s great to be back, and I wanna kick off this week’s Creator’s Tip by answering a question that a couple of you guys have asked me before. You say, Tim, how do you get in touch with some of these more high level people on YouTube and get them to agree to do interviews with you for your channel? Especially that came up when we were talking with Benny Luo from New Media Rockstars. And we’ve talked with Mystery Guitar Man. We’ve done a lot of videos with Nalts, and how do we get those? Being on both the end that is trying to get people to come do interviews with us here at Reel SEO and having been on the receiving end of people who have tried to get me to come do interviews with them, I’ve learned a lot about this. I’m not an expert, by any means, but I’ll share with you guys 10 tips that I came up with that might help you attain special guests and things for your YouTube channel and the content you would like to make.

None of these are in any particular order. So starting with the first one, you have to be knowledgeable about your guests. Why are they the perfect person for you to contact to talk about whatever it is that you want to talk with them about? Familiarize yourself as much as you can ahead of time with this person. Be very knowledgeable about what message they’re trying to communicate and how they’re doing that. If they’re a blogger, be up to date on the recent events that are happening in their life. If you come across someone that doesn’t really know the person that you’re trying to interview and you’re just kind of looking for content in general, that’s not going to work. Why are they special and why do you want to connect with them? And make sure that they feel like you already have a connection with them.

Number two, be very clear on what you’d like to discuss with them, maybe even include a couple of sample questions right there in your e-mail. Say, hey, I’d love to talk with you about this because I’ve seen you say this and this, and I really agree with that. And I’d love to hear you talk more about this point or that point. Here’s a couple of questions. And let’s maybe have two or three of those, not all the questions. The interview will probably flow kind of naturally as you talk with them. But maybe a couple to kind of get them started, like, oh, I see what direction they want to go in. It also gives you a little bit of a foundation so that when there’s that kind of pause or break in the interview, you know exactly what you’re going to next.

Number three, keep your correspondence very brief and skimmable. I mean, you want to make it long enough so that people feel like you’re invested into this and that you know what you’re talking about as far as where they stand on certain issues you want to talk about, but don’t make it so long that it’s gonna be just long sentences, like one after the other, just text, text, text, text. Make it skimmable.

Number four, just don’t make it open ended, like, hey! Would you like to do an interview sometime? Suggest something, probably like about a week out. Don’t put it too far off that they’ll forget it, but don’t make it like tomorrow either. Maybe about a week out works well. Suggest maybe two or three dates and times that could work well for you to conduct an interview and if any of those times would work well.

Number five, if you have some other interviews that you’ve done in the past, maybe include a link to one or two of those in your e-mail so they can kind of get an idea of what your style of interview looks like and how it goes, and just so they have a little bit more of an idea of what to expect.

Number six, always close out your e-mail asking them to respond either way. Like, even if they can’t do it, just like a yes or no. Just ask very politely if they would do that for you. Most of the time people do.

Number seven, if you haven’t heard back from them after a few days, feel free to e-mail them again or contact, whether you’re tweeting each other or Facebook or whatever the platform might be, reinitiate the contact with them a couple of days later if you haven’t heard back, just saying hey. I’m still interested in doing this. Would love to know if you got my previous message and if this is something we could work out or not. Often times it’s not like they’re purposely ignoring you, it’s just kind of like it got pushed on a backburner. So just kind of remind them that you’re still there. Bring it off the backburner. A lot of times, like, when they see that initiative, you know, people are more likely to respond the second time as well.

Number eight, and this is really important, never discount yourself or make excuses for like, oh, I know my audience is small, but you know. Or I’m not really good at interviews. I haven’t done one. You know, just don’t discount yourself at all. That’s a major red flag. As soon as I see someone do that, like, I just am like, don’t worry about it. I’m not doing that interview. Be confident about yourself and say I would really like to do this because. And if you have a small audience and you don’t really have much value that you feel like you can pitch to them, just don’t say anything at all. Just don’t discount yourself or make excuses for anything.

Number nine, make the interview as easy as possible for them by knowing your equipment and your technological set up ahead of time. Don’t try to figure it out while you’re getting ready for the interview, like they’re on the phone waiting or you’re just getting on Skype trying to figure out your software for the first time or figure out your cameras.

Number ten, just go do it! I know it can be a little intimidating sometimes to contact big star celebrity YouTubers, or send them an e-mail, or contact them on Facebook or Twitter or whatever the case may be, but I think a lot of these people probably aren’t inundated with as much e-mail as a lot of us might think they are. So, just initiate. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no. You never hear back in the first place. Sometimes you might run into them at like Vid Con or another conference somewhere, and they’re like oh yeah! I remember you! I remember you e-mailed. Sorry I didn’t get back to you. And sometimes that’s true, and then just having that prior connection ahead of time, they’ll be like, oh, let’s do the interview now instead, and you can do that in person. So there’s other benefits, even if you don’t hear back. Just try it and see what happens.

And guys, I would love to hear from you. What are some tips that you guys have learned from the past of doing your own interviews and getting people to be a guest on your show and obtaining those and scheduling that? And even if you’re maybe on the receiving end and people are trying to get interviews with you, what tips and ideas do you have that you could share with the rest of us? Comments below, please, or video responses would be even more awesomer. I would love to see you guys and hear from you. So make sure you leave those below. And thanks for hanging out with us, guys. Make sure you check us out at ReelSEO.com for awesome stuff we’re posting like this all the time, all throughout the week, just to help you guys out with your video content. And I will see you guys on Tuesday for a look at the Reel Web, and then again next week for another Creator’s Tip video. So make sure you subscribe to get those. And I will see you guys then. Thanks for hanging out! Bye.

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Posted in Videos About Video
About the Author -
Tim Schmoyer is the host of ReelSEO's Creator's Tip and the author of "30 Days to a Better YouTube Channel". You can see some of his personal videos on his Family Vlog Channel. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://twitter.com/nalts Kevin Nalts Nalty

    THis is brilliant. It's also powerful information for people trying to "seed" videos or get coverage on a blog. It's amazing to me how often people e-mail me about videos or willvideoforfood and provide no indication that they actually know who I am or what I care about... it's basic email spam but has my name on it.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      "Dear Mr. WillVideoFood Webmaster.... I would very much like to interview Mr. Nalts for our weekly fart newletter as he is clearly an expert farter...."

    • http://timschmoyer.com/ Tim Schmoyer

      Thanks, Kevin! I get a lot of those generic emails, too. I don't even bother to respond to them anymore.

  • Michael Ellis

    Tim, great video tips (as usual). I am planning an interview series so your tips are helpful.