Going on someone’s podcast can be a great way to establish your authority and promote your work, right? Wrong. Well…it is right, but it shouldn’t be your primary motive. Much like how the intentions behind your actions get you into The Good Place (I just finished Season 2 please don’t spoil it!), your intentions for reaching out to a podcast host and coming on the show also need to be good. Otherwise, the host and the audience will see right through it. So how do you get on someone’s podcast?
Look, as someone who’s been podcasting for a long time, and someone who knows the value of getting in front of a different audience, I understand. I know that time is an important commodity.
That said, in order to people who want to know more about you, or check you out, they need to trust you. You will not establish trust with the host or the listeners if you just come out the gate hyping up how great you are. So how should you do it?You need to establish trust, with the host, and more importantly, the listeners. Click To Tweet
Be Intentional About the Shows You go on
First, don’t just email every podcast host whose info you can find. Look at shows that cover the topics on which you’re a subject matter expert. You can do this a few ways:
- Look through the categories (and secondary categories) in Apple Podcasts.
- Apple Podcasts and Google and both improved their podcast indexing lately. Do general searches for topics you provide value for.
- Search other podcast directories, like TuneIn, Stitcher, and Spotify. They might sort or surface podcasts differently, so you could discover new shows.
The most important thing to remember here is you want to find shows where you can provide value. You need to know when you ask the host to come on his or her show that you can provide value. This brings me to my second point.Pitch yourself on shows where you can actually provide value, and not just every show you find. Click To Tweet
LISTEN to the Podcasts You’re Pitching to be on
This might be second, but it’s number 1 in my book as far as people who pitch to be on my show. It’s pretty clear when someone hasn’t listened and they’re just sending a generic email pitching themselves (or their client). I know it’s work, but again, you need to know you can offer the host and the audience value.
Just sending a bio with all the things you like to talk about will pretty much always get a polite rejection from me, unless the stars align. Instead, listen to the most recent couple of episodes (or read through the transcripts) and check out the format and topic or the show. Figure out what the host is trying to do for the listeners. Scan the archives for topics that might be adjacent to your expertise.
Then you’ll be able to speak honestly about the show and how you can prove value. And that’s the important part of this whole thing.Actually listen to the shows you're pitching yourself for. That's the only way to know if you're a good fit. Click To Tweet
Talk About how You can HELP the Host and Their Audience
As a podcast host, my number one objective is providing value to my audience. If I’m going to ask for 40–45 minutes of their time, I want to make sure it’s worth it to them. So when someone reaches out to me about coming on the show, I look to see if:
- They actually listened
- Why they specifically chose my show out of the thousands that are out there
- What value they can provide my audience If I don’t get that vibe from a guest pitch, I politely decline. I have sponsorships if you want to just promote yourself to my audience.
When you pitch yourself to a guest, make sure to hit these points:
- You’ve listened to a couple of episodes
- There’s something about the format or the show, or the host, that you like.
- You feel that, based on the target audience for the show, they would benefit from some specific topic.
- Why you’re a good person to talk about that topic.
Good vs. Bad Pitches
Here are a few very close to real examples I got for guest pitches – one good, one bad.
The Bad Pitch
Jim Grandstand is CEO of Fastball, Inc. He graduated top of his class from the University of Albany, and holds 3 patents from his technology innovations.
Fastball, Inc. is the number one company improving pitching technology and taking it to the next level. Based in Santa Clarita, CA, the team lives and breathes baseball.
Would you like to have Jim on as a guest to talk about his innovative background and passion for baseball?
Even worse, when I asked why they picked my show to be a guest on, I got an equally generic answer about how great “Jim” is.
This is a bad pitch because it doesn’t mention my show or audience at all, it talk about how great the guest is, and further, the proposed topic is about him and not even some topic. This adds no value to my show, and it’s pretty clearly just to promote Jim and his company.
A couple other examples of bad pitches I’ve gotten:
- People who mistake me for the NPR podcast and want to be a guest. I’m including this because they contact me from the website, which has all of the information about me and my show – so they didn’t read any copy. They just filled out the form.
- People pitching themselves and then dictating when the episode needs to go out so it “coincides” with their launch. Again, I offer paid promotions for that.
The Good Pitch
Now take a look at what a good pitch sounds like:
Hi Joe, I recently discovered your podcast and have become a big fan. Your interviews provide a ton of value and insight into your guests and their processes. I especially liked the one you did with Stephanie Wells. Her transition from nurse to developer was a great story!
I think a guest that can add similar value is Abby Wright. Her journey is incredibly interesting and her insight will really help your audience.
Abby is the founder of a company that helps business owners find the right message for their product or service. She’s helped over 1,000 small businesses grow as a result and has launched a course to reach even more people. She can bring her knowledge to your audience and talk about some easy-to-start methods for finding their own messaging. Here’s a recent interview she did: [LINK]
Thanks so much for your time. I’d love to answer any questions you have, or if you’re interested, connecting you with Abby.
This pitch hits everything. The sender demonstrates that they listen to the show and therefore knows the topics I’m most likely to cover. They know my audience and what will help them. And they tell me about a guest without bragging too much about them.
It’s All About Value
At the end of the day, most podcast hosts are trying to do right by their audience. They want to make sure the topics they cover are providing some value to them. After all, time is precious commodity and there are lots of podcasts to choose from. When you pitch yourself or your client*, don’t make it about you. You’re not the hero – the audience is. Make it about them and how you can provide value to that audience.If you pitch yourself for a podcast, you're not the hero. The audience is. Remember that. Click To Tweet
*If you are paid to do this, it’s even more important to get it right. Make sure you put in the appropriate time to form a relationship with podcast hosts and it can really pay off.