If you’re in the B2B marketing world, you’re probably already well aware of the benefits of podcasting and how podcasts are a great way to build an audience, increase awareness of your brand and make more sales.
While most people know about the benefits, they’re often completely in the dark about where to start actually getting themselves onto podcasts.
We’ve spent years perfecting our podcast outreach strategy and are going to completely open the kimono in this guide of how to get yourself booked on any podcast.
It’s not necessarily difficult but can be time-consuming and it’s important to treat it as personal outreach and not just a typical cold email campaign.
The first thing to understand in order to be able to perfect your pitch is exactly what hosts are looking for in a good guest.
What Podcast Hosts Look for in a Great Guest
We talk a lot about how podcast hosts are great people to know – lazy and unmotivated people don’t just start their own podcasts. Podcast hosts are just people and they all have slightly different things that make them tick.
Below we’ll break down all of the things that podcast hosts in general are looking for when agreeing to have a guest on their show.
Will you provide value to their audience?
This is the biggest thing a host is looking for when agreeing to have you on. Lots of hosts see their podcast as their baby – but their audience are the people they are really catering to and who allows them to put so much time and effort into their podcast.
Before a host will agree to have you on, they’ll want to make sure you’re the type of person who has the right experience to create something of value to the audience they’ve spent all this time building. This means not spending the whole episode pitching your product or services (duh!) but also that you make it clear to the host up-front that you have the experience or stories to share that will keep their audience captivated. You can show this by suggesting a few topics to the host directly that you plan to talk about with them if they accept you.
This not only makes their job a whole lot easier to accept (and raises your chances of being accepted too), but gives them a glimpse into what the episode will sound like, and allows them to prepare and be able to ask the right questions when you record.
Do you know their show and their audience?
You don’t need to be a raving fan of the show to be invited on as a guest – but you should at least be familiar with the show and who you’ll be speaking to while recording. Nothing will annoy a host more than someone who clearly hasn’t done their research and comes on and says things that clash with the show’s message and alienates their audience.
Spending too much time trying to show this will likely come off sounding odd – so briefly show you have an understanding of what the show is about and the audience they cater to. Often the best way to do this is to listen to a past episode with some relevance to what you do, and mention the previous guest and what you liked about the episode.
Have you done podcasts before (and how did you sound)?
Another big thing that will help you out is past experience appearing on podcasts, particularly podcasts in a similar space to the one you’re applying to be on. Both the fact that you appeared, and how your appearance went will be deciding factors in the host’s mind in terms of whether to have you on or not.
While a lot of this will be down to what you said, how well-spoken you are and how well you understand the topic you were brought on to speak about, one major factor has nothing to do with what you say – it’s how you sound. For any podcast, having high-quality audio is non-negotiable. If you’re doing a video podcast, the audience can often deal with lower-quality video – but no matter the format, no one is going to sit through bad audio. If you’re planning to record your episodes using only your Airpods, stop right now! At minimum you need a microphone that connects to your computer through USB. We have a whole guide to your ideal audio/video set-up for podcasting here if you need more info.
If you’ve never appeared on another podcast before – don’t worry! If you’ve ever done any form of public speaking before, link them to that. If you haven’t done that but you’ve presented at webinars and summits before, that can work also. If podcasting will be your first time sharing your expertise with the world, then just focus on getting on a few smaller, easier to book podcasts first so you can get some experience under your belt.
Do you have an engaged audience you can share the episode with?
When you get on someone’s podcast, you’re generally banking on the fact that you can draw upon the host’s audience for increased exposure and reach. The host is actually banking on their guests for the same exact thing.
Don’t worry if you don’t have nearly the same size audience as the host. Most hosts are happy to have people on with smaller audiences as long as they have something to say and are willing to share the show with whatever audience they do have.
Most people will have some form of an engaged audience somewhere – whether that be an email list, LinkedIn followers or an active Facebook group. Be sure to let the host know when you reach out that you’re definitely going to be sharing the episode, and if possible, let them know what the engagement rate is usually like when you communicate with your own audience.
Time to Reach Out to Hosts and Get Placed!
Once you’re familiar with all the things a podcast is looking for, it’s time to start your outreach campaign. If you still haven’t chosen the podcasts you’ll end up reaching out to, please visit our other guide for how to find the best podcasts to be on.
For the rest of this guide, we’ll assume you’ve already built out that list and found the email address of the hosts you want to contact.
This is NOT a cold email campaign
This truly can’t be stressed enough here – these sorts of campaigns are MUCH different from your typical cold email campaign. Don’t get us wrong, we have no issues with cold email (we also run a managed outreach lead generation company), but your podcast placement campaigns are different.
With cold email, all the stars need to be in alignment to receive a positive response. Not only is it important that your prospects need your solution, they need to know they need it – along with your pitch coming at the right time and them having the budget for it. Because of that, it makes more sense to cast a wide net for normal cold email campaigns, to see who puts their hand up.
With podcasting, you and your recipient (the host) are aligned from the get-go. They want to create more great content for their engaged audience, and you want to utilize the attention of their engaged audience with your content. Both sides get what they want and no money changes hands (usually).
Podcasting is also a relationship-based industry – don’t be the person who alienates great potential business connections with a poor pitch. Do some research and customize your outreach to the point that the host knows you’re serious. Even if they don’t find you to be a great fit for their podcast, they’ll appreciate you taking the time to craft a personal message, and will often be open to working together in other ways.
Craft your message
Now here comes the fun part – I always recommend people work out of a template that they can adjust as necessary. Things that can remain static in the template are primarily things about you: your past experience in the industry, links to past podcast episodes, info about your audience and willingness to share the episode. All those things can remain mostly the same and come at the end of the email.
The beginning of the email is where you should focus more attention on saying something personalized to the host. We generally will leave the entire first line blank, and fill this in by hand for each outreach message we send.
Some great intros would include things like:
“I’ve been listening to your show for a while now and really enjoyed the episode you recorded with John Smith about the most effective marketing strategies post-COVID.”
“I really like how even though it has nothing to do with your show, you’re obviously a dog-lover and talk about your dogs frequently on the show.”
“I really loved hearing Dave Johnson from episode 323 talk about the challenges of building websites for people with disabilities. As someone who works in the industry, this isn’t being discussed often enough.”
The important thing here is to be genuine and base this off of real information you either know or have discovered, and you’re not just blowing smoke by saying these things.
Avoid trying to automate the personalization too heavily here. If you’re looking into weather report API’s to try to automate messages about the weather recently in their city – take a step back and remember this is all relationship-based.
Send out your emails
We recommend getting started by reaching out to no more than 5 shows per day. It might seem low, but some of our campaigns for our clients are getting them booked on shows daily by sending only 5 emails per day – we’re pretty good at this though 😉
Limiting yourself to only 5 to begin with means you don’t need to set up an alternate domain to send form (cold email best practice – but this is NOT a cold email campaign) and also means you won’t run out of podcasts to reach out to before you’ve perfected your pitch.
Sending these 5 emails per day, in the beginning, should also be somewhat time-consuming – taking about an hour or even up to 2 until you get into a good flow for it – so don’t be tempted to increase volume at the sacrifice of quality. Even if these hosts don’t accept you on their show right away, they’re people you’ll want to stay connected to.
Have a good follow up system
Podcast hosts tend to be busy people, so even if you made the perfect pitch that speaks to every one of their wants and needs, it doesn’t mean they’ll reply back to your first email. That’s why it’s essential to have a great follow up system.
Generally we recommend to front-load all your best info in the first email – your personalizations to the host as well as all the other interesting bits of information about you. That way you can make your follow-ups a whole lot simpler and automated.
For a second follow up, it usually works best to send a quick 1-line email asking or making sure they received your previous email. I’m hesitant to provide an exact template – both for fear of it being overused and for people sending things that aren’t in their own voice. That said, if you need a template for this 1-line email – you might be overthinking it!
If they don’t respond to your first email or your follow-up then we only really suggest sending one more – too many emails annoy hosts. Try wrapping up in your third email by saying you know they’re busy, but also leave them with some more info and materials about you that you can review.
What To Expect
Using the system described above for our clients, we are generally able to achieve anywhere from a 15-25% successful booking rate for our clients.
From every 5 or so emails we send to a host, we expect it to result in a booking for our clients.
This has led to a ton of exposure, increases in traffic and audience as well as of course new sales for our customers.
Our process is not complicated – but it is time-consuming and repetitive.
If you think you need a little extra help beyond this guide getting started to get yourself booked onto podcasts, set up a discovery call below. Someone from our team will talk with you about your goals of doing a podcast tour and how we can help.