Before we get into the specifics of how to get on a podcast, we need to talk about the foundational thinking behind this strategy and whether or not it’s right for your business.
The goal of a podcast tour (i.e. getting booked on podcasts) is to increase the awareness of you and your brand by getting on as many podcasts as possible that target your ideal customer. The more your name appears across podcasts in your industry, the more dominant the perception of your brand becomes.
This means you need to:
Podcast guesting takes patience and a willingness to invest in the unmeasurable. It’s a strategy that compounds over time, meaning you may not see results right away but rather in months 6-12+. The key is the more trust and awareness you build over time, the more top of mind you’ll be, and the more likely the audience will be to buy from you.
It’s also important to note that podcast guesting isn’t a 30-minute pitch or webinar. Yes, you’ll undoubtedly talk about your company or product, but it’s more about the time you spend connecting with the audience by sharing vulnerable stories and by giving away as much free value as you can. What can you share that will make the audience want to take notes?
If you listen to other guest interviews in your space, and you feel you can give better, deeper, or more unique insights, then podcast guesting is the right strategy for you and your business.
You want to define what you’re best in the world at, who that benefits, and whether or not you’re the right person to tell that story. Even if you’re the CEO, if you don’t embody and reflect the exact persona you’re trying to reach, you might have a harder time getting booked on the right shows.
Hosts want to bring on guests who have been in the audience’s shoes, experienced the same struggles (or triumphs), and can share unique methodologies or insights that will help their audience level up their careers, lives, relationships, etc.
So first things first, you need to establish whether you’re the right person for the job. Could it be someone else on your team if it's not you? If you’re trying to reach marketers, consider your CMO as an option, or if you want to reach a finance-focused audience, your CFO might be the perfect fit.
Next, you want to define the topics you have complete domain expertise in along with your “spicy” POV.
Spicy doesn’t necessarily mean controversial, although controversial topics can spark some great conversations. It simply means you have a unique take or way of doing things that will help the audience approach a topic from a different perspective.
Some examples could be:
Find the topics you feel most passionate and confident about, define your unique POV within those topics, and jot down the most important takeaways the audience will walk away with after listening to your interview.
All of this will come in handy when it’s time to pitch podcast hosts.
Now that you have your topics, your audience, and your spokesperson defined, you can begin your search for the best podcasts to guest on based on your expertise and social proof (more on this in a bit.)
We like to use either Listen Notes or Rephonic to search for industry-specific shows. Both platforms allow you to filter by category and give you more in-depth show information so you know who to pitch and what types of guests they like to bring on.
You can also search directly on Apple Podcast or Spotify, but we find that platforms like Rephonic give you more information up front to make your prospecting easier.
You want to aim for a list of ~50-100 shows, which may sound overwhelming, but we promise it’s easier than you think.
There are 2 types of shows you want to look for:
Once you feel like you’ve completely saturated all the directly-related podcasts, you can use the adjacent approach to finish off your list.
It’s also important to look for shows that match your level of experience in the podcasting space.
What we mean by this is don’t try to pitch the most popular shows in your industry if this is your first time guesting on a podcast. You want to start small and build up your credibility little by little so when the time comes to interview on those big podcasts, you’ll feel more confident in your messaging.
We like to use, what we call, the Lemonpie Score to figure out the size and impact of a podcast. The score is calculated based on the following categories:
The more reviews, the more episodes, the higher caliber guests, and the more social followers they have can indicate a larger audience base and a stronger impact.
Remember, small is good. Just because a podcast has ~1,000 listeners (anything below 2,000 estimated downloads per episode is considered a “small” show) doesn’t mean it won’t have a significant impact on your reach.
If you would be willing to fly across the country to speak to a live crowd of 1,000 people, then there’s no reason not to get on a podcast with the same size audience.
Now that you have your list narrowed down based on your target audience and podcast size/impact, you can start the pitch process.
The key to a successful pitch is the amount of time and effort you put into personalizing your message to the host. In other words, this isn’t a copy-paste type of outreach. It really is something you have to dedicate your time to and go slow.
The first thing you want to do is listen to the shows you’re pitching.
The #1 mistake we see in guest pitches is people not taking the time to actually listen to a few episodes and get to know the flow of the show, the types of guests they bring on, and what the host’s personality is like.
Imagine pitching a show that doesn’t even follow an interview format. Not only will you make a bad impression with the host, but it taints your brand’s reputation.
Moral of the story: take the time to listen to a few episodes with guests who are similar to you, and mention something nice (and very specific) about an episode you enjoyed. This is a great way to start your pitch and prove to the host right away that you really care about their podcast.
Next, explain who you are and what value you bring to the audience.
Share your background (1-2 sentences max), your expertise, any brag-worthy accomplishments, and most importantly, what topics you can talk about that will bring value to their audience. We like to call these your “hooks”.
We typically recommend you share 3-5 hooks per pitch that are highly personalized for each podcast you want to guest on. You want to show there’s a variety of topics you can cover without overwhelming the host with a laundry list of hooks that may not all be relevant to their show.
Present each hook as if you’re pitching an episode idea. Give them a catchy name along with a brief description of what you’ll cover and what the audience will gain from it.
Add a 5-Minute Favor:
Think of this as any small act of kindness you can do for the host to help boost their show or promote their business.
Again, you want to show the host you really do care about their show and its success. This is another reason why it’s crucial to listen to the podcast before you pitch it. You want to get to know the host as much as possible so you know what’s important to them and how you can support them in those areas.
Finish off your pitch with a question.
Rather than ending the pitch with something generic like, “Hope to hear from you soon!”, try to end it with a question to provoke a more in-depth response from the host.
Some examples could be:
These questions will push the host to really consider the hooks you presented and provide you with feedback on whether or not you’re a good fit.
Just because a host didn’t respond to your original pitch doesn’t mean they’re not interested. You might have caught them on vacation or during a busy period of their lives. Or they might have simply forgotten to respond.
That’s why your follow-up strategy is just as important as your first pitch.
The personalization continues here too! It’s more than just swapping host and show names for each follow-up. It’s about checking in with the host on social media to see what they’re up to. Is there something important going on in their professional or personal lives you can comment on?
Did they release a new book? Did they announce they’re having a baby? Did their business secure big funding? Did they have a high-profile guest on their show?
Find something personal you can start your follow-ups with that will grab the host’s attention right away. If there’s nothing noteworthy to comment on, a relevant gif or meme could help too. Be sure to only use these if you really think the host will resonate with them.
Next, include a quick summary reminding them of why you’d be a great guest for their show. You can either go deeper on one of the hooks you pitched in your first email, or you can keep it fresh and provide a new idea that might resonate better with their audience.
If you have anything new or noteworthy to share about yourself (like a recent interview you were in, an award you won, an article you were featured in, etc.), be sure to include that in your follow-ups as well.
And most importantly, have fun with these! Don’t fall into the generic traps of, “Just bubbling this up to the top of your inbox!” Get creative. Get personal. Really give the host a reason to care about you.
We recommend you end your follow-up process after the 3rd or 4th follow-up. You don’t want to completely inundate the host’s inbox, and at that point, if you haven’t heard back, you can assume they’re not interested.
(Although, we’ve seen several hosts come back after a few months saying they want to book the guest.)
If you do hear back and get a yes, congrats! It’s time to coordinate and book your interview. The host typically sends over a Calendly link or preferred recording dates so you can pick a day/time that works best for you.
At this point, you’ll also want to share your media kit with the host so they have something to reference as they prep for the interview.
Your media kit should include:
Pro tip: Make sure you block off 30 minutes before your interview to prep and 15-30 minutes after to cool down. Creating space around your interview time will help feel more focused and present rather than having to rush from one thing to the next.
Prep. Is. Everything.
The more you prep, the more confident you’ll be, and the better interview you’ll give. This is a step you won’t want to miss. Here are 5 things we recommend you do before every interview:
The key to being a great podcast guest is being prepared and really curating your interview to each specific audience you’re speaking to. Especially if you’re on a podcast tour and are hoping to saturate the podcast market in you industry, you’ll likely have a lot of crossover listeners, which means you’ll want to differentiate your message for each show.
One final tip: Be conversational! Remember, you’re having a conversation with another human so don’t be afraid to ask the host questions or even disagree with them on points you feel really strongly about. The more authentic you are to you and your brand, the more likely the listeners are to trust you.