Podcast Guesting – A Cure For Stalled Subscriber Growth
This episode and blog post reveal how “Podcast Guesting” is one of the best possible marketing strategies for business owners, and especially for podcasters, authors, speakers and course creators.
- What it is and why care
- Careful – best practices matter throughout
- Process overview
- How to best get started
- Using a guesting service vs the DIY approach
- A walk through demo of the DIY approach
What is “Guesting”, And What Are the Benefits?
Being a guest on other peoples podcasts is good PR – not just for podcasters.
It is a major PR strategy for both corporates, business owners as well as entrepreneurs. The podcast interview as a promotion strategy works especially well for book and course launches. And while podcasting is increasingly competitive, it is still easier to get booked on podcasts than it is to land TV interviews on major networks. This is in part why so many content marketers have embraced podcast guesting as a goto promotion tactic.
With the rise in podcast popularity, exposure and audience size that guest appearances on major podcasts represent is constantly increasing
As a result there are several programs out there that teach why this is such an effective marketing approach for start-ups, authors, speakers and entrepreneurs to create PR and promote their business.
Why is Podcast Guesting so hot?
There are a number of indications of the fact that podcast guesting is hot.
- In the last couple of years multiple guest booking services have sprung up.
- There are multiple new services that provide podcast research tools to indicate ROI and audience size for podcast booking and outreach campaigns.
- Many guest booking agencies are fully booked through next year, and getting while finding new guests for your own podcast is easy, getting booked as a guest on major shows is getting harder, presumably because it is popular.
- Some major podcasts are no longer accepting guest applications.
There are also indications as to why, at least from what we are observing as a podcast production and marketing agency:
- Podcast guesting leverages the existing audiences of your host, and does so much more effectively than social media campaigns
- Guesting on podcasts can be much more cost effective than paid ads, when done right
- Podcast listeners love the credibility of host recommendations, and also love hearing from guest experts
“Podcast Research Tools” are improving
Steve Olsher’s Profiting from Podcasts was a program from 2018 for non-podcasters and podcasters alike to appear on other people’s shows. As part of his site he gave away a “lead magnet”, consisting of a free directory and contact information for 670 podcasters whose show you could appear on. At the time, this was a treasure trove for finding shows to be on.
Since then, a lot of great new podcast research tools have launched.
- These podcast data research platforms are intended to establish a good fit for both the host and the guest.
- They allow podcasters to identify shows to reach out to much more efficiently.
- Podcasts can be grouped into meaningful categories and sub-categories to establish a potential host and guest match.
Podchaser Pro, Listen Notes and more recently Rephonic allow podcast booking service agencies to search and view a host of download data, contact information, popularity and sub-genre information that used to be painfully time intensive to find out.
Podcasters have a built-in advantage
Podcast guesting is a good opportunity for people who do not podcast themselves. But it is an even better opportunity for those of us who do have a podcast and want to promote it. This is because as a podcaster you will have a decided advantage:
- You are used to podcasting and fluent “on air”
- Great sound quality is part of your own mission
- Furthermore you are empathetic with the needs of a podcast host, and able to create value for the show you will appear on
Benefits of Podcast Guesting
The tactical benefits are too many to count, and are bi-directional for both the host and the guest. As a guest you get to add value to the host’s show, by offering not only your passion, insights and expertise, but you also get to talk about your products and services.
- Great for your SEO: Guest appearances on podcasts usually result in a backlinks to your business website. This is a big deal because links to your site are one of the most important ranking signal Google uses. So if you are podcasting as content strategy and want your show to appear in search results more easily, you’ve got to have links to your site. Each time you appear on someone else’s show, this is a likely outcome.
- It’s evergreen: while you are likely to get an initial boost, the episode you appear on will continue to exist. And will allow people to discover your own business or podcast.
- Above all, you can attract your ideal audience: people who listen to podcasts already. If listeners like you as a guest, they will check out your own show. We have seen this countless times. A great appearance on a popular show can skyrocket your own podcast subscriber base overnight, especially if your podcasting website is designed for conversion.
If you can take your own message, mission and values and match it with that of your host’s podcast, you are attracting a super engaged audience. Your brand’s awareness increases in the process.
Careful: Best Practice Matters
I mentioned Steve Olsher’s list of 600+ podcasts with contact info. Whatever you do, don’t abuse this list – for example by sending an impersonal mass email asking to be on 600 shows. Certainly your name will be dirt in the podcasting community if you do that!
And this is true for generating a DIY list as well: There are ways you yourself can get contact info to outreach to people. But you will want to follow best practices and do your research ahead of time. So throughout this episode, we’ll point out best practices to follow to increase your success rate.
How Best To Get Started With A “Podcast Guesting” Strategy
Steve’s Olsher’s list features big podcasts with established audiences, and that’s great.
However, don’t start there. Start with smaller players, if you are in a smaller niche yourself, and work your way up. To appear on the big shows, prove that you are worthy guest with a worthy message, and a large audience yourself.
Grow Big Later
So instead, start with the smaller players in your field, and get practice. Having been a guest on other shows will help to get on the big shows later.
Use a Podcast Booking Service
The fastest way is also the most expensive, but hiring a podcast booking service saves you from having to do the work yourself. Be prepared to invest several thousand dollars for this to be effective, though.
The “Guesting” Strategy Process
The podcast guesting strategy breaks down into components:
- Researching the best podcasts to appear on
- Finding Contact Info
- Outreach campaign to pitch why you would make a great guest
- The actual appearance
Researching Podcasts To Appear On
You can use iTunes to research podcasts in your niche. Do some SEO keyword searches, locate podcasts that are good candidates for your own message, and look up the podcast website in the iTunes app. I recommend entering candidates in a Google Sheet.
Use Listen Notes
Listen notes is a great research platform and allows you to filter podcast search data by many criteria. This is a huge time saver. They also offers a trial for their premium data downloads. Alternatives are Podchaser Pro and Rephonic — but these research tools come with a hefty price tag mostly meant for agencies.
Apple Podcasts (AKA iTunes) vs Google
Apple Podcasts is a rather poor discoverability and research tool. Another way to do this is with a simple Google search, by entering a term or keyword and then adding +podcast at the end. In most cases there will be write ups. For example, let’s take “positivity” as the keyword and try this:
The results reveal several listicle posts about the top positivity podcasts to listen to. Perfect! Let’s drill down to examine each.
Via Player FM
Another good platform to research podcasts to appear on is Player.fm. This is because they list the number of subscribers on their platform, and this will show you how popular each one is.
Time for a mini demo (Video at 7:30)
- searching for shows
- filtering to display results from the last year
- investigating each podcast site for Alexa Rank and Domain Authority
- make sure they are interview shows
So, build a list of about 20 podcasts you would love to be on. We have a Google Sheets template for this process, and I am sharing a link to that at the bottom of this episode. Click here for that.
Finding contact information
The next stage in the process is to identify email addresses. The tool I am using is a Chrome extension called Hunter.
Some podcast sites may only have a contact form, and that’s OK too, but the majority will reveal email addresses.
So, build a list of about 20 podcasts you would love to be on,
Setting up podcast guesting outreach campaigns
There are basically 2 ways to approach this:
Time or money
Either you handle an outreach campaign by yourself, or you hire someone to do it for you. Several companies that specialize in arranging podcast guest appearances have sprung up in the last year or two, and this can save time.
Here is are two quick start services that offers to do the hard work for you. You don’t get as much control about which podcasts you get to appear on. But I would recommend this in broader niches. For specific small niches, it might be more effective for you to start out doing research yourself.
Perfect Podcast Guest:
How would you like to have hundreds of podcast producers, hosts, and other media outlets contacting YOU to be a guest on their show? Their concept is that they will list you as a potential guest in their directory. So it is a way for podcast hosts and producers to find you.
They offer 2 plans:
This premium service does a lot of the work for you, and can get you on some great shows. But it comes at a price of $750 a month. So depending on your situation, this may jump start your guesting efforts.
Their ideal clients are book authors, business owners, marketers, digital agency owners and entrepreneurs with a record of success and a story to tell.
Their ($99)$450 per month starter plan comprises
- 2 Bookings Per Month
- Dedicated booking agent
- Find and research great shows
- Customized pitching
- Contact and follow-up
- Scheduling & confirmation
- Detailed email summary
- Replacement if show cancels
- Custom “one-sheet” for pitching
Podcasting Resources Guide Guesting Resource Category
We feature many more additional resources for podcast guest and host matching, including many more placement services and platforms that have been developed as of 2023.
The DIY Way:
Doing outreach campaigns yourself can be easy and is cost effective. But you need some time, a thick skin, and cannot have a low tolerance for rejection if you don’t want to spend a ton of money. I am assuming you are a resilient podcaster and entrepreneur here.
The good news is that you will build reusable assets the first time you run a podcast guesting campaign. Each additional podcast guesting project will take less and less time.
I would still recommend going this route. Here is why:
Because as a podcast producer we have seen tons of examples of people pitching us to be on one of our shows. 9 times out of 10 these are impersonal mass emails.
Your opportunity here is to do the opposite and to do this right: research and personalize each time you reach out to someone.
- Listen to a few recent episodes, not just one
- Jot down something you liked about their show or interview
- Write down 3 different ways in which you could add a new perspective to a topic they have covered
- Be aware about your hosts current content themes if any [xxx]
The Podcast Guesting Outreach Template
First, develop an email outreach template, and then heavily personalize it using the above research before you send it. The tone and effectiveness of your invitation to the host of a show is critical here.
- What unique information can you teach their audience?
- What is the value to their audience of having you be a great podcast guest expert?
- Are there interesting stories their audience will benefit from hearing?
- Can you think of the most relevant advice and knowledge for your podcast host’s audience?
Keep in mind that this template will need to only be created once, and has additional benefits. It could also serve for other outreach campaigns, such as guest posting and link building. We have a template for you to download in our resources section at the bottom of these show notes. Click here to access.
Next, design a standing PR kit “One-Sheeter” for your podcast and add this as an attachment or separate section. This is another on-time only effort.
This sheet should be all about you, your podcast, the topics, audience, social proof. If you are creating your podcast one-sheet, remember this won’t replace the pitch; however, it will supplement and enhance it. A sample outline of a podcast one-sheet might therefore include:
- A Short introduction
- The value or topic areas your podcast covers
- Other places you have been featured (i.e. other podcasts)
- Your environment/equipment
- Audience stats for social media
- A link to your online calendar
- Contact information
- Sign off/thanks
Your Outreach Email
Because a one-sheeter alone does not replace your outreach email, your email should include these elements (courtesy of “Podcast Bookers”)
- Step #1: An enchanting subject line that grabs attention. Your subject line makes or breaks your pitch.
- Step #2: A personal greeting that builds a connection. Greet the show owner by name.
- Step #3: A killer opening that introduces you powerfully. Your opening lines should say who you are and why you’re writing.
- Step #4: A compact body that highlights your story. In the body copy, focus on the novelty of your story. Your originality is what gets you the gig. Show the host why your story is different. Keep searching until you find a unique angle. You should also add a dash of social proof to showcase your authority. There are so many ways of demonstrating your authority. Here are some of them:
- Share some popular podcasts you’ve been featured on.
- Brag about top industry blogs you’ve been featured on.
- Mention any notable press mentions if you have any.
- Reference an industry-related book if you’ve written any.
- State any industry awards you’ve won over the years.
- Step #5: A convincing close to ram the point home. Close with a stirring conclusion that compels the host to respond positively to your request. A question makes a good call to action.2
What if no one responds?
- Don’t take it personally
- Be persistent
- Don’t re-send the same email, keep adding value: Here are some ideas for adding elements to follow up emails:
- Share links to other podcast episodes you’ve been on
- Add social proof in the form of testimonials for your speaking or writing
- Link to articles you’ve written that align with one of the topics you pitched
Here are some time saving tips:
- Use TextExpander (or your emails built-in template system) to prepare and then personalize your podcast guesting outreach emails. This works great for one-at-a-time emails.
- Use Chrome extensions like Hunter and YAMM to automate the outreach process so you can send campaigns to dozens if not hundreds podcast hosts. We demo this process in detail in the video at the top of this page, and in our downloadable guesting system at the bottom of these show notes.
- Use some sort of tracking system.
- We use a marketing automation platform called SharpSpring (think HubSpot but a fraction of the cost).
- G-Suite and Gmail allow you to send trackable links
- But even so, there are free options to track. At least you will know if your recipient opened the email or not.
Your Guest Appearance
Putting thought into the podcasts you appear on means thinking about the host on the other end of your interview. Again, you as a podcast know about this, right?
Make it easy for your host, especially if you have never met. Follow the process they outline for you, if they ask you to use their tools and forms, go along with it.
Make sure you listen to recent episodes of their show.
Look up your host on their “about” page, and learn about them as a person, something you can weave into the conversation as appropriate.
Be aware of the format and structure of the show you are appearing on.
After your interview, support your host in the way you wished your own guests would. Reach out and thank your host, and offer your support in sharing the show notes. Ask if there is anything you can do to help create these, for example links, image and other information you should have already sent to the host in the form of your one-sheeter.
Links Mentioned In This Episode
- Podcast Resources Guide – With Links To All The Tools
- Hunter – Email Capture Chrome Extension
- YAMM – Yet Another Mail Merge Outreach Campaign Tool
Downloadable Outreach System – Our Guesting Templates
As featured in our video demo (at 7m:30sec), below are the templates we use for this. Just unlock these below and you will get
- Podcast Guesting Outreach Email Template – (via Google Docs)
- Outreach Database & Personalization Template – (via Google Sheets)
- Integration ready for use with YAMM mail merge tools so you can contact 100’s of podcast hosts – in a highly personalized way.
Unlock Our Podcast Guesting System
Get The Outreach Database & Personalization Template
UNLOCKED! Thanks for joining us!
Here are the links, these are public read only documents on Google Sheets and Google Docs, just copy them to your own account to start using them.
- Outreach Email Template for you to customize for your own show
- Outreach Database & Personalization Template
- I highly recommend installing the Hunter - Email Capture Chrome Extension
- Also the YAMM - Yet Another Mail Merge Outreach Campaign Tool
- Be sure to watch the YAMM support instructions on how to set up a campaign.
To see how this all works together, be sure to click below and the video will start right at 7m:30s:
Be sure to just ask me any questions in the comments, or better even join our Facebook Discussion Group for Podcast Marketing as well!
Podcast guesting may sound like a lot of work. But believe me, it is worth it. There are SEO services out there charging $500+ for a guest post article or back link from a reputable site. And this strategy is better. You will get an evergreen audio interview about your podcast and business, with a back-link to your site. You will also be speaking to and engaging a new audience that is already listening to podcasts and ready for your message and mission.
Last Updated on March 30, 2021