So you’ve heard podcasting is huge. And you’re convinced you should start a podcast to promote your business!
Before you plunge down the rabbit hole (which can be convoluted and time consuming), let me give you a secret:
You don’t have to have a podcast to win at podcasting.
Instead, you can pursue a different, less demanding path altogether—by becoming a great podcast guest on other people’s podcasts.
Read on for more details, including a free checklist to make the most of being a podcast guest!
The Opportunities And Advantages Of Being A Podcast Guest
According to Edison Research, Americans alone listen to approximately 21,117,000 hours of podcast audio every day. There are more than 115,000 English-language podcasts available on the Internet, which means a lot of potential guest opportunities.
Aaron Walker is an example of someone taking advantage of “podcast guesting” to promote his business and life coaching services. Walker, president of View From Top, is perfecting the art of appearing on shows aimed at business owners.
He decided to embrace the guesting strategy after realizing podcast interviews are “evergreen.”
“When thinking through conventional advertising—which is ‘one and done’—it made no sense not to pursue evergreen marketing like podcasts that have an extended runway,” Walker says.
In September 2014, his strategy paid off, when John Lee Dumas of top-rated podcast Entrepreneur On Fire featured Aaron as a guest. The show was so popular, Dumas asked him return several months later. To date, the shows featuring Walker hold the first and second place spots for “most commented on” shows in Entrepreneur On Fire’s history.
“Without question, being on podcast shows has had the most profound impact on my business compared to any other marketing efforts,” Walker says.
Matching Podcasts Hosts and Guests
Walker is one of more than 40 clients who work with Jessica Rhodes of Interview Connections, a premium match-making service for podcasters and guests. She started the business in 2013, initially to help her client Jim Palmer find and book guests for his show, Stick Like Glue.
More of her virtual-assistance business clients kept mentioning the challenges of finding great guests—or conversely, finding quality opportunities to be a guest. Rhodes recognized podcasting’s growing potential as a marketing vehicle.
“It’s one-to-many marketing,” she says. “With one-to-one marketing, you’re talking to one person at a time. Podcasts let you get your message out to many people. It’s a very targeted group of people—whether there are 10 people or 2,000 people listening.
“Everyone who listens to you on a podcast chooses to consume your content,” she continues. “You can’t say that about most other forms of marketing,” she says. “Podcast listeners are very consciously choosing to hear what you have to say.”
Because of that intentional consumption, podcasts are an intimate way for show hosts and their guests to gain credibility and rapport with their audiences, Rhodes says.
“When you have people’s captive attention, you have the chance to connect with them on a very personal level,” she says. “They can hear your voice, so they feel like they get to know and trust you. You’re able to motivate them to check you and your services out by mentioning a compelling offer or by giving them valuable content.”
Maximizing Return-On-Investment As A Podcast Guest
From a time standpoint, Rhodes has found that being a podcast guest takes a fraction of the time it takes most podcasters to plan, produce and promote their own shows. For example, guests of her clients at Interview Connections or her own show, Rhodes To Success, typically need to invest 2-4 hours per month to do four interviews, vs. 12-16 hours of work for the podcaster.
“Either way, it takes a lot of quality time—so both podcasters and their guests need to maximize their return on investment,” she says.
Tom Schwab is a digital marketing consultant who helps small businesses harness the power of the Internet and accelerate their growth. He also works with Rhodes to find guest opportunities for himself and several of his clients. Schwab carefully tracks the results of converting listeners into prospective customers.
“A typical blog will convert at 1-2 percent, meaning that 1-2 percent of the visitors will respond to a call to action—like filling out a form, asking for a download, things like that,” Schwab says. “What we’re seeing with podcasts is a conversion rate north of 25 percent, or one out of four people who come to the site and actually trade their email address for some kind of offer. That really starts the whole discussion that takes them from being a visitor to being a prospect or a lead.”
How To Be The Perfect Podcast Guest
Now that you know the benefits of reaching your potential audience through podcast guest appearances, it’s time to develop a plan to make it happen.
Becoming a great podcast guest takes a concerted amount of effort. The good news is, a lot of the hard work takes place early on. After, that it is just a matter of actively booking yourself on shows.
Here are the steps to become an outstanding podcast guest.
FIND THE RIGHT GUEST OPPORTUNITIES
Look for opportunities to be a guest on shows that align with your expertise and reach the right audience for your products and services.
- Start by searching iTunes by keywords, then find the host’s main website and contact information on Google
- You can also search Google for shows using the phrases “keyword +podcast” and “top keyword podcasts”
- Other sources to mine include industry-related groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as trade associations
- Today, many established and emerging podcasters are members of Podcasters Paradise*, the largest membership website for podcasters started by John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire. Consider joining so you can add your information to the guests requests area of the site.
- To drastically reduce your time to find and book guest appearances, consider working with Jessica Rhodes at Interview Connections
- Do your homework to determine each host’s policy on whether they use guests, and if so what their booking procedures are
* Affiliate link
BOOK YOUR APPEARANCES
- Once you have identified an opportunity, email the show’s host a brief message stating your interest in being a guest, your qualifications and why you would be a valuable guest from their listeners’ perspective. Include links to other shows you have appeared on.
- Make your pitch personal—so they can tell you have actually listened to their show and are a potential fit
- In your email, include a link to a service like Calendly, ScheduleOnce or Meet to avoid the typical back-and-forth delays in scheduling calls
- Use a tool to confirm when the person opens your email, such as Mailtracker from Hunter, Mailtrack or Streak
- Follow up within a week if you have not heard back—but don’t be a pest
SHOW PREP CHECKLIST
Download this as a free PDF checklist. Just enter your information below.
BEFORE EACH SHOW
Double-check the booking details
- Add specific details to your calendar/meeting planner, such as the exact start time for the interview and any pre-prep instructions the host would like you to review
- Add alerts and reminders about the interview date
- Ask for the host’s mobile phone number and provide yours in exchange (this can be very useful for last-minutes updates)
- Many podcasters use Skype, so ask if that will be the case; if so, send a Skype connection request
Know the show’s format
- It’s crucial to understand the format, tone and structure of each show
- Take time to listen to at least 3-4 episodes to get a feel for the host’s style. A great example is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. Flynn ensures his show is wholesome, since many young people are avid listeners. That means cursing is forbidden, and any guest who does so will make it harder for Pat and his team to have to bleep it out during the editing process…not to mention, it will make you, the guest, come across poorly in the context of his show.
- Many seasoned hosts will send you with a copy of their guest guidelines, such as these pre-show guidelines from Jay Baer of the Social Pros and Content Pros
- This is perhaps the No. 1 consideration to be a great podcast guest—you have to sound great! Audio quality is imperative for podcasting. As a guest, you need to invest in a quality microphone. Fortunately, there are some excellent low-cost choices, including:
- Test your equipment before the interview to make sure it is working properly
Send background information to the host
- Your bio – Keep this short—to a couple of sentences. Copy and paste your bio into the body of an email to the host. Veteran podcaster Daniel J. Lewis sends his bio (as a guest) in plain HTML, which is nice since most hosts (or their assistants) will need to copy the information and style it in a blog post.
- Your headshot – Send a high quality photo as a .JPG or .PNG file type. Graphic designer Ben Requena recommends 900 x 900 pixels as an optimal size (the host will have room to size it down as needed). See more of his tips on how to take a photo that stands out.
- Your contact information – include links to your website, any specific sites you are promoting (such as a new book or upcoming appearance) and your main social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest).
- Topics to be discussed — Identify 3-4 main topics you wish to cover. Write a brief paragraph or bullet points describing your expertise and points of view.
Prepare in advance
- Hone your message and delivery. “Learn the art of communicating well, and know how to give really good, concise answers,” says Jessica Rhodes. “Have stories that paint visual images related to your subject matter.”
- Make notes. List topics and specific points you will cover during the show. Bullet points are best, since you want to sound “natural” and not like you’re reading from a script.
- Practice. Ask someone to do a “mock interview” and record it so you can review and improve your delivery. Keep your responses tight and eliminate Ums and Ahs.
Send the host a reminder
- Confirm the recording date. Email your host the day before the scheduled interview time to confirm the details and your participation.
- Double-confirm they receive your email. Use Mailtrack or Streak (above) to confirm when the host receives and opens the email, or better yet ask them to email you back directly.
- Update your marketing/sales funnel and website. Make sure your website is up-to-date and your marketing funnels are set up properly.
- Provide a clear way for people to opt into your email list. Aaron Walker and others I spoke to shared the excellent idea of creating a special landing page for each guest appearance. This gives them the opportunity to mention it during the show, while tailoring a message for each podcast’s audience. Here’s an example of the custom landing page his team created for his appearance on the Go For Launch podcast.
DAY OF RECORDING
Be On Time
- Nothing is worse for a podcast host than the guest showing up late. If you are running late for any reason, text and email the host to let them know your status.
- Minimize distractions
- Turn off your mobile phone. Remember, even a “silent” phone can buzz on your desk
- Silence your computer’s notifications
- Turn off all unnecessary software programs
- Use only Skype or whatever program your host may require for the recording (i.e., Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, etc.)
- Make sure you are in a quiet place
- Put up a “Recording—Do Not Disturb” on your door
- Tell others when you will be recording
- Avoid places where interruptions are likely (such as a home office with a crying baby or barking dog, or a crowded coffee shop)
- Be alert and intentional when you speak
- Treat each recording as “live”
- Avoid awkward pauses and any “flubs” your host will have to fix
- Address the host by name
- During your conversation, mention the host by name several times
- This helps create chemistry during the show, says Jessica Rhodes
- Before you hang up
- Confirm the show’s air date. Ask the host when the final show will be go live. Many podcasters record far in advance of the actual air date.
- Mark this date on your calendar
AFTER EACH SHOW
- Thank your host. You may be surprised how many guests overlook this basic courtesy. Sending the host a thank-you email is OK, but think about going beyond that with a nicer gesture such as a small gift. This week, I received a Kindle book as a gift after I interviewed relationship expert Jason Treu for the Go For Launch podcast. It was flattering and appreciated.
- Use the host’s preferred link. Ask the host which show link or website to reference.
- Write a blog post. Describe your appearance, key points discussed and the show link.
- Prepare a Twitter message. Use ClickToTweet to create a message anyone can tweet with one click.
- Research related hashtags. Include 1-2 hashtags that will identify the subject area and drive traffic to the show.
- Promote the show. Promoting your guests appearances is an important consideration. After all, the host took the time to interview you and produce the show; it’s your turn to say thank you by spreading the word.
- Post to primary social sites, including:
- Mention the host and the show (using @)
- Include hashtags (sparingly)
- Repeat tweets with slight modifications
- Consider a longer form post
- Write several standard status updates (repeat these several times, even weeks later)
- Post a link to the show with a brief description to appropriate industry Groups
- Post to your personal page, Company page and professional pages where allowed Facebook
- Use topic-related hashtags
- Create an appropriately-sized promotional graphic using Canva; also focus on hashtags, particularly on Instagram and Pinterest
- Connect with your host on appropriate social channels
- LinkedIn and Twitter are most appropriate.
Stay in touch with the show host
- Follow their tweets. Create a special Twitter list such as Podcasts I Have Been A Guest On or Podcast Interviewers.
- Retweet them regularly. Check this list regularly for opportunities to share your host’s tweets
- Email them. Seek permission to add them to your email distribution list.
- Promote their business on Facebook. Like their Page on Facebook and engage with them there.
- Connect with them on LinkedIn. Watch for opportunities to share their status updates and posts.
- Recommend other guests. Make an introduction to anyone in your network whom you think will be a good fit for the host’s format.
Ready to Learn More?
If you are ready to dive more deeply into the topic of building your business through podcast guesting, I encourage you to check out the online course Connect: Grow Your Business Talking Directly To Your Dream Customers as a Podcast Guest (affiliate link). This was developed by Tom Schwab, featured above. The course will teach you everything you need to quickly get more visitors, leads and customers as an expert podcast guest. Topics include:
- Why this free strategy is incredibly powerful
- Why being a guest may be better than having your own podcast
- How to get invited to be a guest
- Tricks to having an impressive interview
- How to build an automated online marketing and sales machine to turn listeners into customers
A 7-video series walks you through everything:
- Identifying the dream customer you want to talk to
- Identifying the Ideal Podcasts
- Getting Booked as an Expert Guest
- Turning your appearance into a marketing event
- Setting up an Automated Marketing and Sales Engine Turning Listeners→ Visitors→ Leads→ Customers→ Advocates
- Bonus: Outsource everything but the interview
It also includes more than $500 in physical products, including:
- Demographic and Psychographic Customer Profile Worksheet
- One Page Pitch Sheet Template to get you noticed
- Landing Page Template
- 101 Content Ideas
- Sample emails for introduction, confirmation and follow up
- Social Media Action Plan
- Roadmap and checklist for every step
- List of over 500 great podcasts to share your message
- Complete marketing plan to master the strategy and get 10x results in just 90 days
It’s Your Turn
Have you pursued being a guest on other people’s podcasts as a marketing and sales strategy? What tips do you have to make the most of your guest appearances? Please leave a comment below.
Main photo credit: fr4dd/Flickr
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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Also published on Medium.