A few stats for you:
- Around 17% of the population (48 million) listen to podcasts weekly – up from 15% in 2017
- Podcast listeners listen to an average of 7 different shows per week, up from 5 in 2017
- Podcast listeners are much more active on every social media channel (94% are active on at least one – vs 81% for the entire population)
- Podcast listeners are more likely to follow companies and brands on social media
So if you want to promote your business or brand, you need to think beyond traditional PR i.e. coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. You should also be pitching yourself as a podcast guest on shows that are popular with the people you want to do business with.
But most podcast hosts - particularly on well-known shows - get dozens of pitches each week. So how do you write a pitch that stands out? Read on and find out...
And why not check out my YouTube video about pitching yourself as a podcast guest as well:-
1.Focus on how you can help them (not yourself)
As a podcast host, this is what I’m looking for in a guest (and I think I’m pretty typical):
- Someone who can provide great content for my audience. In my case, this is practical ‘how to’ advice listeners can apply in their business. On another podcast, great content might simply be entertainment or providing information about a specific topic
- Someone who has an established online presence in the form of a blog, vlog, podcast and/or has written a book. Not only does this mean they have an audience they can share our podcast interview with (which is good ‘PR’ for me), it also means I can serve my listeners by directing them towards more useful content
Sadly, most of the pitches I get are focused on what the 'pitcher' hopes to get out of the interview rather than how they can help my audience.
In many cases, it’s clear they haven’t even listened to the show (or even scrolled through previous episode titles) to get a feel for the kind of content I generally run. In one memorable example, the ‘pitcher’ was offering an interview with her CEO on the topic of whether you need an MBA to work in the tech industry (I mean, you don’t need an MBA to work out that’s probably not a good fit for the Soulful PR podcast, do you?).
2. Label the subject header of your email
Most podcast hosts are actively looking for great content, so label the subject line of your email and they’re far more likely to pay attention.
3.Use the subject header to summarise your idea
A concise email subject header that summarises your story (ideally in ten words or less) is far more likely to get attention. Resist the temptation to use puns or clever wordplay though; an obscure headline that doesn’t mean anything may get ignored.
Let's take my 'pet' topic - how to do your own PR - as an example. While it might be tempting to put something like ‘how to hit the headlines’ or ‘making the news’ in your email subject header, this may mean nothing to a busy podcast host. The more specific you can be, the better.
4. Keep your introduction brief
If you’re pitching cold, it’s a good idea to 'introduce' yourself (a slightly different approach than when you’re pitching to journalists) but keep it brief - or you could lose the podcast host’s attention before you’ve even got started.
4. Show you've actually listened to the podcast
Most of the pitches I get are from people who either haven’t listened to my podcast and/or haven’t given any thought to the kind of content I generally run. Say something that shows you’ve taken the time and trouble to actually listen to the podcast, and you’ll stand out immediately.
6. Show you can add value for their audience
Many podcast pitches I see are quite vague. The more specific you can be about the content you could cover - and if it’s a business podcast - the practical takeaways for listeners, the better your chances of getting a ‘yes.’
7. Show the podcast host how you can help them grow their audience
If you want to increase your chances of getting a ‘yes’, you need to show how you can help them grow their audience - by promoting the podcast interview to yours. So do include any relevant stats, like the size of your email list and numbers of social media followers.
But don’t let not having a big email list or social media following put you off; personally I’d rather get in front of 500 people who are exactly the kind of people I love to work than 50,000 people who ‘sort of’ fit. So if you target the right kind of content at the right kind of people, you can usually make a strong case – as long as you’re focused on how you can help the podcast host rather than yourself.
Although I have a decent-sized email list (around 15k at the time of writing) it's tiny compared to some of the big podcast hosts I've pitched to. But that's still a significant number of people - and I have specialist knowledge and experience - which makes me a valuable podcast guest. 'Selling' this in my pitches has helped me get on some pretty Big Deal podcasts.
If you’re just starting out and your email list is small (or non-existent), focus on the value of the content you can offer.
8. Show that other people value your content
If you’ve contributed guest content elsewhere, do mention it in your pitch. Seeing that others value your content - particularly well-established podcasters - should provide reassurance that you know what you’re talking about.
9.Make it as easy as possible for the podcast host to say 'yes'
For most podcast hosts, the interview is the enjoyable bit. Chasing people up for photos, biogs and social media handles can be a pain. So make it as easy for them as possible by providing all of that info in your pitch.
10.Don't forget to follow up
Getting half an hour or longer on a call with someone you admire - or would love to work with in the future - is a great opportunity to start building a business relationship. I’ve kept in contact with many of the people I’ve interviewed for my podcast - and many who’ve interviewed me for theirs, including Chris Ducker, Natalie Sisson and Amanda Cook.
So when your interview goes live, don’t forget to email the host to thank them for the interview...and get out there and promote it. Email your list, share it on all your social media networks and keep on doing it (I’m still sharing podcast interviews I did years ago on social media now).
Remember you haven’t just given a podcast interview - you’ve co-created a piece of evergreen content - which is hugely valuable.
You might also enjoy: how to use guest content to grow your audience.