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?

  • Michael Ellis

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

  • 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.

    • 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...."

    • Tim Schmoyer

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