Being interviewed on iTunes Top 100 podcasts was a HUGE, HUGE level up for my business. It attracted many, many new customers for my products. After a big publicity win I noticed people started seeing me differently. I also noticed these opportunities often seemed to spiral out into something even bigger.
A podcast might lead to a teaching opportunity, which would lead to a speaking gig, or an invitation to create a bonus for someone’s program. And it always, always led to sales.
What I love about publicity and visibility work is that it keeps building upon itself year after year. Being a guest on podcasts is one of the most valuable chances for media exposure right now. AND IT’S FREE!
Guesting on podcasts and showing up on people’s podcasts allowed me to build an audience, which is the foundation of any online business. It allowed me to build a super successful business without jumping on the hamster wheel of free weekly content. Eventually I probably will, but I’m proud of how much I’ve done WITHOUT creating my own podcast or YouTube channel.
Because I don't have a large audience, I’ve always gotten in front of other people's audiences. And being on podcasts? It's one of the biggest ways I've been able to get in front of other people's audiences, including:
I’m going to take you through some of your biggest questions about getting booked on podcasts, and share a few stories I learned from speaking on 25 podcasts last year!
How I Got Interviewed (Twice!) On Rick Mulready’s Podcast, The Art Of Online Business
Rick's been in business for years. He's been building his audience that whole time. Painstakingly working on his business, running ads and paying to get leads, just like every single person that he puts me in front of. He’s worked hard to earn their attention. And I get to swoop in, show up on the podcast, be my brilliant self and say, “Here, go get my link and join my email list!”
“We have to recognize it is a huge privilege to show up in front of someone else’s audience”
This is the MOST IMPORTANT THING to think about when you're pitching podcasts. It is an opportunity to be in front of someone else's audience that they worked so hard to build. So how can you give back? How can you make it a win for them?
Remember, you’re going to get something just by showing up.
A few weeks ago I recorded my second podcast episode with Rick Mulready. With many podcasts, it can be anywhere from 4-8 weeks from the time the podcast is recorded until the time it goes live. As we’ve seen this month with all the changes happening due to Coronavirus, a lot can change in that time.
Before recording I asked him, “Hey, do you want to address what's going on? When is this going to air?” He said, “Well, we'll air it next week. We're talking about messaging. Let's get right down to business.” So that was great. By making it timely, the podcast episode got bumped up even closer in the queue, which is awesome.
The reason he invited me back to be a second time podcast guest was because the first time I showed up, I fully showed up. How? By sharing with my list. Talking about it. Sending him listener traffic. That's why podcast hosts have guests – it’s so we can bring each other people.
I'm always looking for a way to make it a win for the host. He had me back because one of my episodes last year was popular with his listeners. It was one of the best episodes because I promoted it. That part is really important.
In your pitch I always recommend that you say how you are going to promote it. In this case when I pitched to Rick for this appearance I was super specific. I said, “Hey, I'll create some Instagram Stories for you, I will do an email take over and write your weekly email, plus I’ll email my list at least twice about this episode.” I made it so clear exactly what I would do to promote it, and also how I could help him with his promotion.
This is a great way to go into a pitch. Most people, whether they're pitching a podcast, TV show or to be a guest blogger, are coming at it from a place of, “I need to get in front of this person's audience.” Instead, come at it from a place of what you can give.
What do I need to get started pitching podcasts?
Start with a list of prospects, keeping in mind:
- Who do you follow and who have you learned from?
- Who are your peers in the industry? Open your podcast app on your phone and search their names.
- What podcasts have they been on? That would be a great place to start.
- Do you have clients or mastermind buddies who have a podcast?
Next, look at what category some of your target podcasts are in, pull up the top 50 podcasts in that category and start pitching those.
Know that it takes time to book an interview. There’s back and forth with pitching, then you have to book a recording time, then you’ll record it and it’ll take time to come out.
There's often 6 to 8 weeks lead time at a minimum. This is great to keep in mind because if while you're being interviewed you make up a custom link on the fly, you don’t have to have your audience freebie all ready to go right away. (Listen to my interview on The Goal Digger Podcast and see how I put together a freebie on the fly!)
Should I offer a freebie to listeners?
The best free offers from a podcast are actionable, and they’re directly tied to what you're talking about on the podcast. It's a missed opportunity if you don't ask the audience to go download your free thing. Sometimes you don't have a free thing that's relevant, and that's okay, too.
Remember, just being in front of someone else’s audience that they put blood, sweat and tears into building is a great gift. If people like what you’re saying, they will find you.
What can I expect to get out of a podcast interview?
I did 25 podcast interviews last year and probably pitched to be featured on at least half of them. I sent MANY, MANY pitches that I never heard back about.
Now people come to me, which is really great. It’s usually smaller podcasts, but I know small is powerful so I’m fine with that. Volume helps. One thing I really want to stress is that in order for this to be effective, one is not enough.
I’ve had people tell me, “I tried talking on a podcast once. It didn't work.” Well, that's because it has to be consistent. This is not a one time deal. You have to keep showing up. This is not a short game strategy.
Visibility on podcasts is not something that necessarily comes back to you within 24 hours. It takes a bit of time. Remember it’s the entrepreneurs who have a long game that are the ones who’ll be in business 10 years from today.
Why podcasts versus guest blogging, speaking or getting interviewed by Forbes?
Podcasts offer a unique type of visibility that others don't. Social media posts have a shelf life that in some cases is measured in minutes. You start watching a Facebook live, get interrupted and never come back to it. Blog posts can be hit and miss.
With a podcast, you spend one hour with your listener. Podcasts are not something that you jump on and listen to for five minutes. It's something you put on when you're going to walk the dog or you're going for a long drive.
When somebody has spent one hour or even half an hour hanging out with you, listening to you talk, it is incredibly impactful. That's a lot of time to invest in someone in this world where there's constantly stuff coming at us. So I think podcasts are a unique opportunity. For that reason, if you don't like video, start with podcasts.
It's usually a much more targeted audience. You can get really granular with the type of person you're trying to attract. If you know that your ideal clients listen to certain podcasts, take certain programs, and follow certain types of people, you can get very specific in who you’re going to pitch. It’ll be very powerful even if that person doesn’t have a large audience.
What I love about podcasts is when you give a great interview with some unique tips and memorable stories, it will get referred back to again and again. This was my experience with episode 269 of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast when I taught about The Color-Coded Copy System For Writing Emails That Sell.
What if my topic has already been talked about?
I’ve heard this objection so many times. So many business podcasts are covering the same topics. You’ve probably heard the same advice repeated many times. But then, when person number five said it, it suddenly clicked for you, right?
Think about it. You don’t want to hear just any advice from any person. You want to hear it from people you already know, like and trust. Listeners want that too.
Maybe you feel like it's already been said before. But it hasn't been said in your special way. Some people need to hear it in your voice, with the energy that only you can bring to the conversation.
Let's say your subject has been tackled before on this show. Go over those episodes, really listen and think about where the gaps are. That's actually something that's really compelling to add in your pitches.
I’m totally new to podcasts. Is this even for me?
Ok, here’s a strategy that can help.
1. Make a list of people you follow on other channels
Check out what podcasts they've been on, then make a list of podcasts that are relevant to your business. From your target list of podcasts, what categories are these in?
Skip the top 100 when you’re starting out. You can come back to those later. Instead go after ones that rank 100 to 200 to get your sea legs with pitching, and then move on to the bigger fish when you’ve shown your capable of giving a great interview and being a good podcast guest.
2. Next, do you have clients who have podcasts?
Any past client that you've worked with that has a podcast is the easiest possible win. They know you. They know you're reliable. They know you're smart, so that's a great place to start.
How I got on Jenna Kutcher’s podcast last summer
(and locked in 1287 new subscribers)
I joined Selena Soo’s Impacting Millions program (not an affiliate link) when it opened in April 2019. I’d started working on visibility about a month earlier and I was just starting to get tactical.
I kind of had a plan. But not much of one.
When I joined Impacting Millions, I refined my system and got way more targeted. One of my big takeaways was just to hire help with it. I thought that wasn't something I was allowed to do, because everyone says you have to send the pitches yourself, and that it's better that it comes from you. That's true. But just being told you could get some help with it was an eye opener for me.
Because I believe in Selena (and also the value of my time!), I hired some help. Her name is Olivia and she quickly became my new best friend. Even though she’s not a full time employee, she has a company email and is clearly a team member. (She’s my only contractor that does. Before you ask, she’s no longer taking clients for this type of work.) She's helped me secure many podcast opportunities. Great quality podcast episodes, one of the first of which was Jenna Kutcher’s The Goal Digger podcast.
How this came about was really interesting. She sent this pitch and I didn't even see it, and then came back to me and she said, “Okay, here’s the podcast that I've got booked. The Goal Digger Podcast”.
Immediately I said, “Oh, my God, that's so exciting! I actually listen to that podcast. I love it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I'm so excited!”
She said, “Well, it's not locked in yet. It's a tentative yes.” I took over the pitching immediately.
This is something that we do. We have a process, but also, things work a bit organically. When I see that she's got a really good lead and I want to lock it in, I will step in because my pitches are always going to be stronger if they come from me and have my name on it.
I followed up with something that was a lot more specific than Olivia’s original pitch and it got booked right away. I loved how that happened. There was so much ease around it. But there's a couple reasons why that actually happened.
For one thing, I followed up. If Olivia had just said,”Hey, I got this tentative yes”, and I didn't step in, I don't know if that would have worked out. Rarely have I gotten on a top podcast without having to send at least three emails. With Online Marketing Made Easy, I sent five pitches. Follow up is important, which means you need to have a system. Who did I pitch last week? Who do I have to follow up with this week?
It can be really simple. We keep everything in Asana. This was the reason I started using Asana, actually!
My team wasn’t using it yet, but I knew I had to track who I wanted to pitch, who I had already pitched, who I had to follow up with, who had given me a tentative yes, but didn’t schedule an interview yet. Opportunities can get lost really easily! Even after getting the date, you need to follow up until you get a firm yes on the topic.
There's so many stages when it comes to pitching:
- Figuring out who to pitch
- Finding an email or form to fill out
- Writing the pitch
- Following up to ask if they’re interested
- Sending another pitch if not
- Booking the link
- Following up to get the booking link if it hasn’t been sent yet
- Getting back to all the people who said, “This sounds good but we’re not booking guests until X date.”
Even once you have a date booked, there are a lot of steps along the way, and a lot of places in the process where things can get lost. Especially for a Top 100 podcast like The Goal Digger podcast, which is number one in Marketing. She gets piles of pitches all the time, so it's really easy for something to get lost.
I was so excited about that podcast. So many great things came out of it. I tried something I’d never tried before: I created a freebie on the fly as I was talking to Jenna.
This is not a strategy for a smaller podcast but I know Jenna has a really wide audience, and a lot of people are gonna listen to this. It's really worth it for me to put the time in.
As I was talking to her, I was letting the conversation guide my offers to her audience. We talked about a recent promotion, I offered a swipe of the promotional calendar and said “I'm gonna put that somewhere where your subscribers can get it.” I did that kind of offer three or four times throughout the podcast. All the while I was writing it down on my notebook as I went.
That was very successful. In fact it’s done so well that I even run ads, too. We call it The Launch Toolkit. You can grab The Launch Toolkit here for free.
By the time I got to the end of the episode, I told listeners to go to tarzankay.com/jenna (always give a super memorable link). It’s basically a directory of my best launch resources.
Next time I get a big opportunity like that, I would strive to do the same thing. Even though it wasn't planned, it worked out really well.
To this day I see people in those Google docs all the time. When we created The Launch Toolkit, we made a beautiful designed PDF. I don't know about you, but I don't really look at beautiful PDFs. I find the Google doc version more useful, actually. Don’t sweat it if that’s all you have time to create.
If you have a Google doc template or some sort of spreadsheet that I could just add to my Google drive, that is completely effective, and may even be much more useful. (Something that we're thinking about a lot lately is, “How can we deliver this in a format that people can use so they actually get really quick wins?”)
What if I’m not allowed to offer a lead magnet?
In some cases it does happen that you're not allowed to offer lead magnet. Not all podcasts let you do this. For people that have spent so much time and money building their audience, they want a freebie that grows their audience, not yours.
For example, when I pitched Online Marketing Made Easy I noticed that none of the guests offer freebies. So I knew I wouldn’t be able to offer a lead magnet. Knowing this, I offered to create a freebie for Amy Porterfield’s audience and in one of my pitches said, “Here's an idea for the episode and here's a really cool freebie that your audience could download.”
I turned it into a list building opportunity for Amy, because it will be a list building opportunity for me, no matter what.
Ask yourself, “How can I make this a huge win for the person that says yes to me.” That one question will set you apart from all the other pitches in that person's inbox.
“I don’t know any influencers, Tarzan!”
Neither did I when I was just starting out.
Make a list of your top five dream podcasts and just start engaging with those people. You can engage on social media in Instagram DMS, where a lot of influencers hang out. You could engage by hitting reply to the email they send out that links to the podcast. Just start the conversation.
Let’s face it, most of us don't know a whole bunch of influencers we can just reach out to and say, “Hey, can I be on your podcast?” But if you do, please do that!! You have a huge advantage. Become familiar with the people you want to have interview you so that when you send in your pitch, it’s coming from someone who they are already familiar with and talking to.
Influencers have never been more available than they are today, don’t forget that.
ALWAYS TELL THEM WHAT YOU’RE BRINGING TO THE TABLE.
I put all that right into the initial pitch. The format is usually like this:
- A strong hook
- Title suggestions
- A couple of bullet points about the topic we're going to address
- A couple of bullet points about what I would do for the marketing of that episode, including:
- Social media posts and stories (how many and when)
- The # of times I’ll email my list, and size of list (just skip the size if you don’t have at least 500 subscribers)
- Marketing materials I’ll create for the host like an IG or email takeover, for example
WOULD YOU GENERALLY RECOMMEND USING A BOOKING AGENT OR PITCHING YOURSELF?
If you're just getting started and you've never done it before, I would do the pitching yourself. Handing it off to someone else is a little bit advanced. What I have seen is when people hand off their pitching too early, it doesn't work as well.
When you're just starting out with pitching podcasts, TV shows, or guest posts on blogs, you're still figuring out your stories, hooks, messaging and core teachings.
In my case, once I got in the groove of that I was able to hand the pitching off to Olivia and say, “Here's what I've already done. Can you work with that?” If you give it to someone from zero and just say, “Here is what you should do. Can you get me on podcasts?”, It just will not work.
Get a running head start, and then you can hand it off.
You’ve got to be careful who you use. Some publicity agencies are good, but for the most part it's a lot of money for subpar work. Agencies rely on volume, so they’ll often reach out to a lot of people with the same pitch. Those pitches often come off as stale. This approach just doesn’t work at all for most niche podcasts.
Rather than use a booking agent, instead use someone you trust to work as a team member in your business. Give them a company email.
Visibility is on of the most important things you can do to grow your business
I truly believe it is more important than ever that you step up and talk about your message, even in uncertain times. We have to be sensitive to what's happening in the world right now. At the same time, being sensitive does not mean being quiet, because if we don't speak up, the dominant narrative is the one that gets clicks and comments and sells a lot of advertising dollars.
We need to be the pattern interrupt.
It is more important than ever that we show up right now. Especially those of us who feel we can be a voice of hope, a voice of calm, and who are here to help. We're here for this conversation.
If you step back and go dark, that could be a bigger mistake than showing up. You might get it wrong, and that's okay. If you get it wrong, you're going to say, “Hey, I'm sorry. I'm trying to be here for the conversation. I hear you. I'll do better next time.”
This is not the time to shrink.
This is the time to be more vocal than ever.