Appearing on podcasts is a smart move for just about any business – but not every podcast will be worthwhile for every business.
When embarking on a podcast tour, it’s important to make sure you’re reaching out to the right types of podcasts that will advance your business goals forward.
Every business is of course going to have different goals, and different podcasts will serve to meet your goals in different ways.
What is your goal with appearing on podcasts?
People appear on podcasts for a number of different reasons – sometimes just because they enjoy doing them. Most people though are appearing on podcasts with some sort of end goal in mind, and usually, these goals break down into a few distinct categories, sometimes with people targeting multiple goals.
Get more exposure or awareness
While exposure and awareness definitely don’t pay the bills on their own, they’re some of the best reasons to appear on podcasts. Podcasting for exposure or awareness often works best for larger companies or SaaS companies.
It can work for any type of company, but the main thing we want to see from companies podcasting for awareness is that they have a good backend marketing funnel already set up and converting new leads into customers.
If a company has a good backend funnel already, then getting on podcasts is like pouring gas on an already burning fire. If they don’t have this kind of funnel set up, there are still benefits to podcasting for awareness, but they’re losing out on a lot of leads and potential customers by not having the right systems in place to help them stay top of mind with the new audience they’re speaking to.
Get more customers directly
While it’s definitely possible to get new customers directly from a podcast, it can often happen indirectly. This means it’s often better to optimize for other goals first and let the new sales come in organically. The good news is it’s totally possible to do both.
We generally urge our customers to first select another main goal from our list here to optimize for, because in just about every episode you record, the host will actually give you an opportunity to pitch yourself at the end of every episode.
We’ve gone into a lot more detail about how to use this opportunity to win new customers in our guide here, but just keep in mind this remains an option for almost any podcast you go on. The only thing to really optimize for is whether or not the audience is directly within your target market or not.
Get more JV partners
This is one of the best ways to approach a podcast appearance – finding a good JV partner can often be more valuable than winning 10 new clients. Even better, you’re not actually selling anything to your JV partner, you’re both winning together.
The word partner often makes people envision something that’s more formal than it really needs to be. A JV partner can be something as simple as another company you swap email lists with for promotion. Or it could be a business with a complementary product or service that continually refers business to you.
The best way to get new JV partners is to focus on your successes partnering with other businesses, tell that story on the podcast and make it clear you’re always open to new JV opportunities. You’d be surprised who is listening and would love to find a way for you both to make money together.
Promote an upcoming launch
If you have a book releasing soon or an event upcoming, podcasts are a great way to promote it. Keep in mind though, most hosts won’t appreciate you heavily promoting whatever it is you have releasing – mostly because their audience won’t want to listen to a 30-minute ad.
The good news is you don’t have to actually promote it directly in order to let their audience know about it. Oftentimes the host will know about this launch (especially if you tell them prior to the recording) and will mention it for you, giving you the opportunity to discuss it with their audience. In this case, just talk excitedly about the event or launch and why you’re excited about it for the people listening. This is not so much promotion as it is the host asking you to share more about it, and you answering their question.
If the host doesn’t give you this opportunity directly, then find a way to weave a mention of it into the natural conversation you’re having, so you can talk about it without it coming off like you’re trying to advertise it.
Get better SEO rankings
This is one of the much less talked about benefits of podcasting. If you focus on podcasts who publish each episode by adding a post about it on their own website, they’ll almost always link back to your website. You don’t need to be an expert in SEO to understand the value of having a large number of sites linking to you.
Given the price most SEO’s are willing to pay simply to secure a backlink to their site with other methods, the cost to get themselves on a podcast can be the same or less as just purchasing the backlink outright – the interview and reach to the host’s audience is just an added bonus to their main goal of building out their backlink profile.
If you’re using this strategy though, don’t just phone it in because you think the only value is in the backlink. Make sure no matter your goals with podcasting, you focus on creating great content that the host can use to provide value to their audience.
How to research podcasts that will be a great fit
Now comes the most time-consuming part – researching the podcasts you intend to reach out to in order to find shows that will be a great mutual fit. Remember, it doesn’t just need to be a great fit for you – you also need to be a great fit for them.
There’s no simple or quick way around this part if you want to do it well. Sure, there are databases and SaaS apps you can find to help you locate new podcasts and they can be helpful. On our team when doing this for clients though, we always do a manual qualification process for any podcasts we’ve found from a database. Since podcasting is heavily relationship-based, you don’t want to treat this like a normal cold email campaign and risk annoying the hosts before you’ve even properly met.
For the most part, we don’t use anything particularly advanced or expensive to do our podcast research – just good ol’ fashioned elbow grease from our team who’s been trained to use the following resources:
Listen Notes – Listen Notes is one of the most comprehensive databases available on the internet for podcasts. Even better, they let you pay for your subscription just a few days at a time, instead of having to sign up for the whole month. This means you can batch your podcast research for the whole month into just a couple of days and not pay much at all for access to their data.
They give you quite a lot of data in Listen Notes, so ideally you’ll want to make a spreadsheet with columns for all the different stats and metrics that are important to you. It’s also a good idea to take note of something else you’ve noticed about the show, the host, or their content. Makes it easier later on to say something personal about them when you do reach out.
Apple Podcasts – Lots of the directories have the same shows available. Smaller shows might not be on every directory, but most shows will at least be on places like Apple and Stitcher. We don’t all too often use these directories over Listen Notes, but sometimes they can be useful for more accurate review numbers, as places like Listen Notes don’t always update right away.
Finding their email address to reach out – Lots of times podcast hosts do want to be contacted, so they publish their contact info directly on the website. This is obviously going to be the easiest way. If they don’t have it listed on the website, then you’ll need to find it yourself or have a VA help you. A full guide on how to find someone’s email address is outside the scope of this article, but this guide from Hunter.io should help you out.
Does all this sound too difficult and time-consuming? We don’t blame you, it definitely can be. If you don’t want to spend all this time figuring things out for yourself, set up a discovery call with us to see how we can save you time getting you booked on podcasts directly.
Best contact methods for reaching out hosts
There’s a number of different ways you can reach out to hosts, but we’ll add the three most common ones below, in order of how we normally prioritize things.
Email of the host – This is the best way to reach out. Even if the podcast has a dedicated application form, we always reach out to the host directly, as our first option, whenever available. Even if the podcast has a show manager, a compelling pitch to the host directly is the best way – they know their show best and can best evaluate the opportunity to have you on. This makes it even more important to put your best foot forward in your outreach and make it clear you’ve done your homework.
Role-based email of the show – This could be something like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We still think these are better than application forms because you get a chance to tell them why you’d be great for their audience in your own words. This email address might be monitored by someone on the team and not the host directly, but that’s OK.
Application forms – We often submit application forms for our clients, but it’s our least preferred way. Even when a show has an application form, we still reach out to the host first. They might just end up sending us a link to the application form – but since we’ve reached out in a personal way, the host is more likely to remember us when they do receive the application.