By Mike Wahmann
When we started Bacon is My Podcast, we did not expect it to become a guest-interview type show. It was just Jimmy and I bullshitting over a couple whiskeys. And yeah, we’d bring a friend in every once in a while. We had in-studio Annie Stoic from Jackknife Stiletto early on. That was actually just a byproduct of her coming to the studio to record some vocals on her feature on my cover of “Teenage Dirtbag” (Available on StrangerhoodTV.com under Will it Sound Good Heavy?). But that was a real fun episode and because we were friends already, we didn’t necessarily just go into “What is your band? Where did you get the name? How did you start playing together?” You know, the standard questions that every interviewer asks a band.
Not to say that we didn’t let her promote what she’s getting into. But it wasn’t our focus. We talked about her love of doing acrylic-pouring art, her journey into superhero movies and comics and so much more! That being said, it is still one of our most listened to episodes to date. Why’s that? We’ll, sure…Annie is awesome. But also, she was able to talk about the things that make her the person she is. And that’s not just the singer and guitarist of a punk band. That may be what you see when you see her, but she’s got more depth than that, right? I can’t speak for Jim, but I can definitely say that it got me thinking.
The weeks that followed we brainstormed…We wondered what we could do to expand the podcast’s reach. We read articles, we emailed media outlets, companies for possible sponsorships and just tried uncovering every stone to try and figure out how to make an impact. The more I read, the more I knew we were on the right track. But more than one article mentioned that having guests on your show can help grow it. So we would ask our friends, we would have our sandbox of buddies on. Which proved to be real fun. But I didn’t necessarily want to stop there.
The question I get asked the most about this podcast is: How did you book THEM as a guest? The answer is simple. I asked. Sometimes the information you’re looking for is right there. We’re in the social media age…All the links, all the contacts, are all at your fingertips. And if it’s not a direct connection, it will certainly point you in the right direction. But more people than you realize have their emails listed on their social media pages!
As a long time musician and the person who often books the shows, asks the radio stations for rotations, asks the record labels for a shot I know first hand that most people don’t even acknowledge you. A lot of the music game is “throw shit against the wall and see what sticks.” So I figured that this would be no different. I started to create a database of emails of various bands, wrestling personalities and other celebrities. Of course, I researched a bit on how to hook a guest and I ended up creating a template for a guest request with the email subject:
You + Bacon is My Podcast = Awesome!
Maybe it was the pandemic causing people to seek the interaction they lost months earlier. People looking for an outlet to connect with an audience that hadn’t been able to. But we started getting responses immediately! People started responding via their social media as well. And before I knew it, we were booked out for shows over two months!
The one that always trips me out is when I got a response from one of our first guests, Marc Mero. He messaged me back shortly after the email went back and asked for my phone number. No more than 10 minutes later, A former WWE Intercontinental Champion, a guy I watched wrestle on TBS at 6:05 Eastern for WCW as a young boy, was calling me. CALLING ME!? What is this life? I assure you, I maintained my cool…Until he texted me a follow up to thank me. At which time I nerded out to Jimmy.
Now, I assure you that not all guests are that easy to book. Some guests are closely guarded by management, some use a public relations agent as their buffer. There are some people who DO NOT want to book their clients on a lowly podcast. Or a podcast with “bacon” in the title? How could that be a good fit for their client who wants to be taken seriously? While it certainly is an adjustment, those waters are relatively easy to navigate. Some management/PR companies are a harder nut to crack than others. But you just need to keep at it, keep emailing, chip away at that shell (professionally, of course). Professional persistence pays off.
Another small tip…It's truly amazing how far being nice will get you. Why do we continue to get a steady stream of guests? Why do guests come back repeatedly? Quite simple, be nice. Be respectful. ESPECIALLY with PR agents and managers. Those people do not make their living by fielding press opportunities for one single client. They take on many clients! It has led us to some great partnerships with PR companies like WTF Publicity, Big Picture Media and Adrenaline PR. They got to know us and know that we can provide good, entertaining content for their clients.
The most important thing about booking guests is making them feel comfortable and treating every interview more like a couple friends hanging out and talking shop for a little while. At the end of the day, the most notable guest is still a person. They’re a person just like you or me. Most of the time, they’re going into a podcast recording like a chore, just make it not a chore by having them talk about things they want to talk about. What’s “the thing” you want to talk about but you can’t during interviews because you’ve gotta promote? What’s their “bacon?” You’ll usually catch a vibe and end up going overtime…We do it constantly.
Lastly, ALWAYS follow up! Thank the guest or PR agent for their time and for setting up and/or participating. Their time is valuable and they just gave it to you. Be grateful! At the end of the day, it’s all about elevating each other. You’re trying to expose a guest to a new audience and them being on your show is going to bring eyes to you as well. So make the best of it, let the audience watch the start of a new friendship and in the process…Elevate each other!
I get that there’s a lot to unpack there…And I also get that I’ve only just begun on this journey of booking and interviewing. So if you’re looking to do the same thing, here are the main takeaways:
Ask! No matter how popular the guest. You may think that they’re just not in your league…But what’s the worst that can happen? They say “no?” But what if they don’t? Doesn’t cost anything to take a chance.
BE NICE! That’s apparently not common sense nowadays and shouldn’t be an unwritten rule. It should be THE rule. You never know what opportunities will be presented as a result of that.
Talk to your guest like you talk to a friend, talk to them about what they WANT to talk about. Some people are very down to business but some are happy to talk about the things they do to get their minds off things.
Be #professional, always follow up and thank them for their time. Time is the most valuable commodity in the world. They spent theirs with you. Be appreciative.