Only 21% of podcasts on Apple are considered active as of December 2021.

It’s a big indicator that a lot of people create podcasts but fail to execute them successfully for the long term. I became a creator and host of a podcast for Exeter University BusinessWeek (EUBW), a student-led finance initiative at university. 

The podcast has been active for 28 episodes, featuring guests such as Warwick Hunt, COO of PwC; David Scowsill, board advisor for Airbnb; and Raoul Pal, CEO of Real Vision. My goal is to educate a million people about macroeconomics, equities, debt, infrastructure, venture capital, crypto, and all things finance. I’m, so far, 20% of the way there.

Podcaster Max Shannon is 20% there to his goal to educate 1M people about macroeconomics, venture capital, crypto, etc. He offers tips on how to do a guest-focused podcast. #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Launching a guest-focused podcast

One afternoon, I decided to stop fearing and start doing. I set up accounts on Spotify and Anchor (the platform I use to upload my podcasts.) It didn’t take long. 

As the podcast is designed as an interview-based creation, I reached out to potential guests. Using LinkedIn, I first drafted a connection request message to fire across to senior professionals I thought would be good on my podcast.

I refined my requests until I came up with a successful template, which explains who I am, the time their participation will take, and the topic of the interview. You can customize it for your podcast interview requests:

Hi (NAME),

I am the YOUR NAME of YOUR BUSINESS or PODCAST NAME and would love to have you on my podcast. It would last around NUMBER of minutes, and we would talk about SPECIFIC TOPIC or ANGLE.

Find the podcast here: LINK TO PODCAST.

Looking forward to hearing back from you.

Thanks, and best wishes,


It’s within the maximum word count allowed in LinkedIn connection requests and to the point.

And, finally, I coded a website for the podcast on Google Sites, which I did not find user-friendly. If you don’t know how to code, it is probably best to create one using Wix or similar templated website tools.

Here are four lessons I’ve learned about guest outreach:

1. Make your ask during traditional downtimes. I reached out to the executives on the weekend, especially Sundays. It led to a higher response rate because they weren’t stressed with their weekday work.

2. Do the easier asks first. As you start your podcast, don’t worry about getting the most high-profile or difficult-to-get guests right away. 

3. Develop a track record. Many potential guests want to see the podcast has a track record and isn’t going inactive before their interview is published. They need to know you won’t waste their time and their presence will be on par with your previous guests.

Guests also need to know you won’t manipulate edits to make them sound bad. 

4. Always follow up.  When you don’t get a response from a potential interview subject, ask again. It once took four follow-up messages to the ex-CEO of Monzo Bank to get a reply. Although I felt awkward about the repeated outreach, he loved the persistence.

Podcasters seeking guests? Make your ask during your prospects' downtime. It can lead to a higher response rate, says Max Shannon. #ContentEntrepreneur #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Producing the podcast

The power of editing is your best friend. I use four shortcuts in iMovie to edit the podcast – cutting out the “ums,” “ahs,” and silence, raising the volume, speeding up voices, and importing exciting intro and our music. (Harry Stebbings, host of The Twenty Minute VC podcast, does this well.)

Picking an upload time depends on your audience. In my business-focused podcast, I’ve found Friday afternoons never work. Mid-day Wednesdays often get a large hit of listeners, perhaps as people put on their headphones and go for lunch. Monday evening also is good as people leave work at the start of the week and feel productive.

Bringing in help

Once you get to a certain point, you’ll want to involve outside assistance. For me, around the 15th episode, I brought in editing help. 

Once you've made #podcast progress, you'll want outside assistance. For Max Shannon, host of @ExeterBusinessW podcast, that came in the form of editing help around the 15th episode. #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Teaching your editor structure, style, music, content, volume, speed, shortcuts will take time at first. However, from my own experience, delegating that most time-consuming part of creating a podcast has allowed me to concentrate on producing better content for my audience – reaching out to guests more efficiently, researching potential guests, and creating interesting questions that the audience would like to hear. And results have paid off.

Get some more podcasting advice from This Old Marketing’s creators who have published over 300 episodes.

About the author

Max is the co-founder and president of Exeter University BusinessWeek.  Max is the main host for the X BusinessWeek podcast, interviewing different business leaders across multiple sectors. A student at Exeter, he has interned at Triple Point Investment Management to learn more about the industry.