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Does interviewing famous folks make your podcast downloads grow?

Amber Daines | 26 July, 2023


The short answer is… sometimes.

If, like most podcasters, you’re looking for ways to grow your podcast audience, having interviews with a range of high-profile guests can feel like an instant download fix you’ve been waiting for. Having a podcast with famous names is excellent for promoting your show; there’s no guarantee, though, that the people who love them will come and check out your podcast.

If a high-profile guest has a huge social following, it’s easy to assume one tweet will have all those people flooding into your show. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.

What makes my guest a podcast drawcard?

How effective a guest is at growing your podcast audience will depend on many factors that are entirely not in your control. Many well-established people have a highly engaged audience that will follow them and watch and listen to everything they post and do. Others have followers interested in looking at their Instagram feed but won’t jump into a podcast. The impact each guest has on your downloads depends on the relationship they’ve built with their audience, and that’s something you can’t influence.

So why chase the fame game?

We can get to the positives now that we’ve reached the reality check. They introduce your show to a new audience. Discovery is a massive issue in podcasting, especially when starting from scratch. So, if a guest shares your show, it can help expose your content to new ears and eyes that might never have found it or you otherwise. This increased visibility is critical when you’re growing your audience.

Build your profile because of the guest’s name

If your guest has a community of followers who trust them, you’ll get some of that goodwill by association. If they’re saying, “I trust this podcast enough to be featured on it,” their audience will be more likely to trust it’s worth checking out too. That’s extremely powerful, but so is the credibility and authority you get from having successful people on your show.

When potential listeners find your podcast, whether via a guest’s recommendation or otherwise, seeing names they recognise in previous episodes will help build your show’s credibility. This, in turn, increases the chances people will check it out. The more interest in your podcast, the more potential to grow your audience.

A big name helps, but the topic matters WAY more

Want my intel on my show and its downloads? So, the most downloaded episode of all The Politics of Everything is, in fact, someone excellent and well-versed in the angle chosen, but not world famous (quite yet) with Cathy Ngo’s show at 310,000 listeners to date. The second is former Socceroo and human rights campaigner Craig Foster’s episode (over 280,000 downloads).

If your guest has a high profile, promoting the fact they’re on your show can get people excited about the episode, even if they haven’t listened to your podcast before. Getting someone interested in hearing from someone they already know is much easier.

Having household-name guests can be a way to spark people’s interest in your show and its content, even if they don’t know who you are or what your podcast is about. You can do very few things to grow your podcast audience overnight, so you must remember you’re playing the long game and know that more than one strategy brings up the download numbers.

For my free podcast guide and to keep informed, go to