As one of the newer players on the media spectrum that has become a heavy hitter, podcasts can really deliver when it comes to publicity for a brand. Not surprisingly, we have had a sharp increase in clients coming to us in the last couple of years to learn about how to get on podcasts as a guest. For those who are looking for a glimpse at how the process works for securing guest spots on a podcast, we’ve broken down the key components here. But first, we’ll look at why a brand should be looking at how to get on podcasts in the first place.
For the majority of the last decade, podcasts were mostly written off, especially by larger brands, as a media platform that was still too infantile to warrant investing meaningful time and money into. Previously that could have been understandable given that a study in 2008 found that less than 10% of Americans had listened to a podcast in the past month. But for those who had the foresight to invest for the long term, building a platform back then has seriously paid off today. In 2020, a study found that nearly 40% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the past month and a whopping 24% listen to a podcast every week. In just a few short years, half of all US households are podcast fans, according to Nielsen.
Not surprisingly, the amount of podcast content being created has seen a corresponding surge, with data estimating that there are now 1,000,000 podcasts and more than 30,000,000 episodes. Naturally brands have taken notice of podcasts as an important platform where many of their target customers are spending time.
PODCASTS PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY EXPOSURE
So, besides the sheer growth of podcast audiences, what specific factors make it ripe for brands to increase their exposure and sales? Here are a few reasons to think about:
Podcasts have a more affluent audience than other media platforms. A study found that 45% of monthly podcast listeners earn more than $75,000 per year.
Listeners invest more time into consuming content: Podcasts tend to be longer form media than other platforms like social media or YouTube videos. Podcast episodes often run 30-60 minutes or longer. As a result, 82% of podcast listeners spend more than seven hours per week listening to podcasts. That a very captive audience in an era where it’s increasingly difficult to capture attention in a social media feed.
One of the benefits of the podcast format for brands is it’s longer form and allows for better storytelling. Rather than having to reduce a message down to a simple social media post or two minute video, you have a lot more storytelling capacity when you’re being interviewed on a 30 minute show.
Podcasts have highly targeted audiences. With more than 1,000,000 podcasts on the internet specializing in almost any genre and niche you can think of, it’s very easy to target your message to a specific audience.
Podcasts remain online forever, unlike fleeting television spots.
Podcasts can also provide backlinks to your website in the show notes on distribution platforms like LibSyn and Stitcher as well as the show’s own website, which provides SEO value for your brand.
HOW TO GET ON PODCASTS
The first step in any podcast outreach campaign, similar to a traditional media campaign, is identifying a list of target podcasts that you would like to guest on. Because there is such a vast number of podcasts on the internet, it requires some research to identify the ones most suited to your brand or niche. Fortunately, there are a couple of great platforms for doing your research such as iTunes, LibSyn and Stitcher. Most podcasts podcasts are broadcast on at least one of those three, if not all. Search for keywords related to your niche to find the podcasts that are most relevant.
Keep in mind that depending on your niche, there could be hundreds or even thousands of podcasts. This doesn’t mean you need to reach out to all of them (although you certainly could if you have the time and/or team). Do some additional digging on each individual show to get a feel for the exact context of the show and some of their past guests to see if you fit into their programming.
Build a Contact List
Once you have established a list of your target podcasts, whether it’s 20 shows or 200 shows, it’s now time to create a contact list for reaching out to them. This is where the work can sometimes get time consuming. There are a number of tools out there that can help you with locating contact information for a show host or producer, but oftentimes it requires using a few tools to get the information you need. Here’s how we suggest going about it:
- Identify the host. The host of a show is the easiest and most public information to find.
- Determine whether there could be a show producer. Bigger podcasts don’t rely on the host for the majority of the production and booking work. They often employ a producer (or multiple producers) who actually plan the programming. If you’re reaching out to a very large podcast with a high profile host, you’ll often get better results if you can identify a producer to contact instead. If a producer isn’t listed on the podcast’s website, try searching on LinkedIn.
- Once you have decided who your main contact will be, use a tool like LinkedIn, Twitter, Cision, MuckRack or RocketReach to locate their email address.
Repeat this process for all of the podcasts on your target list.
Develop Your Story
The key to how to get on podcasts is to have a great story. A great story is never your product’s sales pitch. A great story needs to either inspire, entertain or educate your audience (or all three). After serving hundreds of clients over more than a decade, we’ve learned that every company has a powerful story they can tell. Here are a few possible themes:
- Helping your listeners solve a specific problem. Take the biggest problem your product or service solves for your customers and turn it into a story with insight and advice you can give to help listeners who may be experiencing that same challenge. How-to pieces can be very compelling for podcasts.
- The story of how your brand was founded– obstacles your founder overcame to success and how their unique background led them to build your company.
- The story of the people within your organization. Many companies have a great culture story or something unconventional about their team which may be inspiring or educational.
- A story about your impact in your community or a cause you are involved in supporting. Be specific about a contribution you made and the effect it had, especially the human aspect of it.
- A client success story. If you’ve had outsized success with a client, the case study can often be turned into a compelling story with takeaway lessons for listeners.
Create a Pitch
Once you’ve decided on a story that will be a compelling fit for the podcasts you are targeting, it’s time to draft an email pitch that you’ll send to your contact list. Your pitch should briefly encompass the heart of your story and a call to action to get the host or producer interested in hearing more and having you on the show. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Keep your pitch short. If it’s a page long, it’s unlikely anyone will read it. Less is always more. Aim for one paragraph, maybe two at most.
- A short subject line is always better.
- Include some credibility about your brand. You enhance the strength of your pitch by including a brief sentence or two giving some key highlights about why your brand is an authority. If you have had any press mentions, industry awards or hit major growth milestones (a notable amount of revenue, venture capital raised, partnerships secured, etc) this is where to mention it.
- Include a call to action at the end of your pitch asking the host if they would be interested in connecting for more information about your story.
- Avoid attachments (producers hate opening them), all caps text, and bold and italic writing.
- Important: Make sure your pitch contains no spelling or grammatical errors.
Now that you have a pitch, it’s time to send it. The most important thing to keep in mind is that podcast outreach is an ongoing process that requires consistency and persistence. You may not always secure a guest spot after the first round of emails. So instead what you should focus on is gradually cultivating relationships with hosts and producers over time. Even if they don’t have room on their programming schedule to book you now, you’ll remain top of mind for them to circle back with you later.
Once a pitch is sent to a producer, follow-up is key. Following up once on a pitch two or three days after sending it is a great way to increase the likelihood of a response. If your follow-up does not receive a response, give the contact a break for a few weeks before pitching them again (perhaps with a new story). It is a good idea to keep in touch with your contacts at least once per month in order to remain top of mind.
That’s it! While there are aspects of this process that may need to be tweaked for your specific brand or industry, this is a proven framework that we have used with our own clients to place them as guests on hundreds of podcasts. The key to success is persistence and being consistent in your outreach while still ensuring that you are pitching high quality stories that provide value to an audience. If you continue to refine your outreach over time, the results will follow.
If you are interested in talking to our own team about doing your podcast outreach for us, feel free to drop us a note here.