Just like guest blogging, getting interviewed on podcasts is a great way to get in front of your target audience for free. And with the number of podcast listeners increasing every year, the time to start appearing on shows has never been better.
In the U.S., approximately one out of every five adults listens to a podcast on a regular basis. This represents more than twice as many podcast listeners as there were in 2008, with the total number of active podcasts increasing at roughly the same rate.
Since most podcasts feature interviews with expert guests, it comes as no surprise that entrepreneurs and professionals, from virtually every industry, are making the rounds on podcasts to help increase their exposure, and generate awareness for their business or cause. But with so many people trying to get interviewed, there is definitely some competition.
After reaching out to more than a dozen podcast hosts to get their input on the subject, I obtained some valuable insights on what to do (and what not to do) to increase your chances of getting booked as a podcast guest. And perhaps more importantly, how to provide a great interview once you do. Here are the seven steps I came up with, based on their feedback.
1. Search for top podcasts in your industry.
With more than one billion podcast subscriptions spread across more than 250,000 podcasts, iTunes should definitely be your first stop when podcast hunting. From the podcast section of the iTunes store, you can search for podcasts by category or sub-category, by keyword or by the name of industry experts, who have already appeared on podcasts. A Google search for podcasts related to your industry or area of expertise works well too.
2. Research each individual podcast.
Once you have a list of potential podcasts to get interviewed on, the next step is to make sure that the podcast is a good fit before you contact the host. Read the show’s description on iTunes. Listen to a few of its episodes. Visit its website or blog. In doing so, your goal is to answer the three following questions.
- Is the podcast active? Check the date of their most recent episode.
- Is the podcast relevant to your topic? Confirm they serve your target audience.
- Do they accept interviews? Check to see if any guests have been interviewed.
If you can’t answer yes to each of these three questions, contacting the host to ask for an interview will most likely be a waste of your time.
3. Pitch the host.
Most podcast hosts schedule their interviews via email, but that doesn’t mean that a cold email is the only way to reach them. If you send a podcast, host a message on social media, for example. Your goal should be to ask permission to pitch them and then move the conversation over to email.
Never send the same email to multiple podcast hosts. Every email you send should be personalized to the specific show you are contacting. Here are a few things you should include in your pitch.
- Your name, title and company/organization. Include links for credibility.
- A list of topics you are most prepared and qualified to discuss. Focus on the value you can provide to their audience.
- Any links to other interviews you have done or connections you have in common. This helps provide social proof.
- Additional links to your website, social media profiles and relevant projects or products so they can easily research you before making a decision.
4. Schedule the interview.
Once a host agrees to interview you, the next step is to schedule it in your calendar. Online scheduling programs, such as ScheduleOnce or Calendly are great for eliminating time zone confusion and sending email confirmations to both parties.
Most podcast hosts use Skype to conduct interviews, but you should still confirm how the call will be made so you can prepare accordingly. If they use Skype, make sure you provide them with your Skype ID before the interview.
5. Prepare for your interview.
Make sure you use an external microphone during your interview. Do not use the built-in microphone in your laptop, or worse, your mobile phone. Use a pair of headphones to listen to the host as they interview you so the host won’t hear their own voice echoed back to them as it gets picked up by your microphone.
Do your best to eliminate any background noise, and turn off any notifications (social media, email, phone, etc.) that could interrupt the interview. Try to show up a few minutes early so the host can do a quick sound check before starting the interview, and be ready to give them your undivided attention during your time together.
6. Give a great interview.
Most of the people, who will eventually listen to your interview, will be hearing you for the first time. And the thing about first impressions is you only get one chance to make them. Do not turn your interview into one big sales pitch for your latest product or service. Instead, focus on providing as much value, entertainment and actionable advice to the listeners as possible.
Unless you and the host agree ahead of time that the purpose of your interview is to promote something, podcast interviews are generally pitch-free zones. Be honest and generous with your responses. Use stories and examples to support your advice. Respect the time limit. Don’t hijack the conversation or ramble for too long. Let the host take the lead.
7. End with a call-to-action (CTA).
As the host wraps up the interview, thank them for having you as a guest on their podcast, and end with a CTA. Just because you don’t pitch anything on the interview doesn’t mean you can’t leverage that exposure to attract new clients for your business. Tell the listeners how they can get in touch with you, or offer a free gift or resource in exchange for joining your email list.
Bonus tip: Stay in touch with the host.
Getting interviewed on podcasts is a great first step to establishing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with influencers in your industry. Over time, these relationships can lead to a number of opportunities including introductions to other podcast hosts, referrals to prospective clients, collaborations, joint ventures, speaking engagements and more.
Remember, it takes a lot of work to prepare for, record, edit and promote a podcast interview. And every podcast host that interviews you is essentially giving you free exposure to a highly targeted and engaged audience.
After your interview is over, offer to support the host in any way that you can. Help promote your interview once it goes live. Give their podcast a positive rating and review on iTunes. Offer to introduce them to other guests for their show. Anything you do to help support their success will not go unappreciated.