Q&A: What Makes a Podcast Tour Successful?

Your ideal customers are already listening to their favorite shows. We share how you can go on those shows as a guest to bring them value, build trust, and grow your brand.



Podcasting is one of the hottest marketing channels around. But launching and producing a good show is a massive undertaking. Good news — you can still tap into the power of podcasting and connect with audiences without producing your own podcast.  


Podcast tours on shows your customers follow and love.  

Jonathan Barshop, Lemonpie’s Co-founder and Head of Talent Relations, joins the podcast to discuss the strategies for identifying, pitching, and participating in a successful podcast tour.  

There are lots of compelling reasons to do podcast interviews, but it all comes back to building brand awareness, Jonathan explains. “The reason why it works so effectively is because you're leveraging audiences that already have been built in.”  

But that doesn’t mean you should aim for the most popular shows around. Yes, every business leader wants to be on How I Built This with Guy Raz, but medium-sized shows — that’s a show with 2,000 to 10,000 downloads — can be very powerful.   “You might be able to land a show that has 30,000 to 50,000 listeners. But if it's not the right 30,000 to 50,000 listeners … it's just vanity metrics,” says Lemonpie Founder Erik Jacobson. “It'll make you feel cool, but it may not move the needle as much as a show that has 1,000 listeners, but they are your exact buyers.”  

In this episode, Jonathan and Erik describe how to find the “right” podcasts for your business, how to estimate a podcast’s audience size, methods for crafting a successful podcast pitch, what to expect when you get a “yes,” as well as how to adequately prepare and get the most out of your podcast guest appearance (hint: you might not see a sudden flood of traffic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working).

Top Tips From This Episode

Podcast tours as an SEO tool 👉 One of the most under-recognized benefits of a podcast guest tour is high-quality backlinks, which are super helpful for SEO. For every show you’re on, there’s a very good chance the podcast will feature show notes with a backlink to your website. Erik explains, “Backlinks are one of the most important things that can increase your domain authority, which means that when people search in Google, your content is going to appear higher … a byproduct of getting all these backlinks on these shows.”

A strong podcast tour depends on appearing on the right shows 👉 Here are some tools that can help identify shows that align with:

  • Apple Podcasts — Check out the podcast page for one show your target audience likes and scroll to the bottom of the page to find related shows; the more niche, the better
  • Listen Notes — Type in a keyword in the search bar or use the “Explorer” tool
  • SparkToro — Use this market research tool to search a topic (for example: e-commerce) to get unique and highly targeted results
  • Google — Enter “your topic” + podcast in the search bar to get some ideas from Google; important: “This is what a lot of people miss ... make sure that they're actually interview shows,” says Jonathan.

Hitting the right notes will make or break your pitch hit rate 👉 When pitching a podcast host, Jonathan recommends leading with personalization, highlighting your credibility, pointing to social proof, and noting the topics you can discuss: “You don't want to be pitching and saying, Hey, look at these things I did, and I can just talk about all the cool stuff I've done … what you'd rather want to do is talk about what you can teach the listeners.”

Episode Highlights

The power of remote connections (and being in your comfort zone).

“It's actually surprising how many people think that every podcast interview has to be in person.

Now more than ever, that's just not possible. So 99% of interviews are done either via Zoom or Skype or Zencaster. … majority of these are able to be done in the comfort of your own home, which is a huge plus. It's all pretty turnkey — like the host does all the efforts. So all you have to do is show up and obviously come prepared…”

Clues for figuring out the audience size of a podcast.

“[I]f you were trying to determine what the rough size of a show is, things to consider would be, roughly, how many episodes have they released? Is it more than 50? Is it less than 50? Have they been posting consistently over that time period? iTunes reviews — that's not the best indicator — but if they have more than 50 iTunes reviews, that's usually a good indicator that they have a bit of an audience.

The social channels of the host or the company that's hosting the show … You can go to those social channels and get a sense for the audience that they have on those channels to see if that could then be translate to their podcasts.

Personalization FTW when it comes to podcast outreach.

“The bar is so low for standing out with outreach. But the reason why the bar is so low and the reason most podcasters get so much general spam blast emails with one generic email template that people are sending to 50 people is because … this takes a lot of work … but the benefit of doing that personalization or buying their book or promoting them on social or sending them a gift … is that you’re going to win more [appearances on] podcasts than you would otherwise.”

Get to yes with follow-ups, but also know when to call it quits.

“Typically we like to follow up at least, you know, seven days in between each. You don't want to be spamming them — that's an instant no-no. You don't want to end up in someone's spam. So you’ve got to respect their inbox and you got to respect the fact that after five or six follow-ups that this might just be worth pulling the ripcord in and calling it a loss. And, there's nothing wrong with that … like any sort of like sales job … you’ve got to get used to hearing no.”

The 2 qualities of superb podcast guests.

“The key that we always talk about here is vulnerability … most hosts want to feel like you're telling them a secret. And like, if you're being vulnerable, it does feel like a secret because it feels like it's surprising that you would be open to sharing it. It's not something that would get you in trouble or make you look bad. But it's like, Hey, this bad thing happened to me, and as a result, I learned this … that makes for the best sort of content here, as well as contrarian points of view.”

Top quotes:


[18:29] “I don't think you should focus on the ‘How I Built This’ of the world, you should focus on some of these medium-sized shows that are maybe a bit of a stretch but aren't totally punching way out of your weight class.”

[22:28] “I put roughly 30 minutes into any given [pitch] email because I know how much farther that will go than just another bland email that ends up in someone's inbox saying, Hey look how cool I am or my client is.”

[28:45] “Very rarely does the initial email result in a win — it's usually a result of one, two, sometimes five follow-ups.”


[20:20] “We are in the camp of, it's better to start with these medium-sized shows but also hugely important is making sure it's the right audience.”

Talk to future customers, on podcasts they love.