How to build a profitable podcast.
Let's welcome our guest writer Freya Laskowski!
The popularity of podcasting has grown considerably in recent years. Back in 2006, only 22% of the adult population in the United States stated that they were aware of podcasting as a medium; by 2021, this figure had risen to 78%. Forecasts suggest that the number of podcast listeners will surpass 160 million in 2023.
As a result of this growth, podcasts have become a powerful marketing channel, and understandably many business leaders, professionals, influencers, and other media personalities are eager to make the most of the growth of podcasting, either through starting their own podcasts or appearing on other podcasts to increase their reach, their audience and grow their brand.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps you need to take if you’re looking to get booked on podcasts in 2022.
Let’s get started.
Before diving into the process of getting booked on podcasts, it’s worth having an understanding of just how beneficial appearing on podcasts can be for your brand and business.
First of all, there’s the potential reach that a podcast episode can have. Podcasts attract millions of listeners a month, so there’s really no limit on the number of people who may hear an episode of a podcast you appear on, particularly if you’re looking to appear on podcasts with large audiences.
Even a podcast with a small number of listeners can be a great opportunity for more people to hear about your brand, particularly if you’re operating within a small niche.
Appearing on podcasts is also a fantastic way of building relationships within your niche or industry. Each podcast gives you the opportunity to speak one-on-one with certain individuals and expose you to new audiences.
Each podcast you appear on also builds your reputation within a particular niche, positions you as a thought leader, and makes it easier to get appearances on more podcasts in the future.
Depending on the industry you’re in, podcast appearances may also lead to direct business. For example, if you sell products or services, then each podcast appearance you make is an opportunity to turn listeners into customers or subscribers.
The benefits of appearing on podcasts can be summarised as:
Now that you know some of the benefits that appearing on podcasts can bring, let’s look at what you need to do to make those podcast appearances happen.
If you’re at all familiar with the steps involved in securing guest posts on different websites and blogs, then some of the steps involved in securing podcast positions will be familiar to you.
Just like featuring on different websites, the first step to getting interviewed on a podcast is identifying the podcasts you’d like to feature on. If you’re unsure how to get started, simply Googling ‘your topic of choice + top podcasts’ will show you some of the podcasts that might be of interest to you.
For example, let’s say an accountant wants to promote a new book and wants to find potential accounting podcasts to appear on; they could type in ‘top accounting podcasts’ as a search query, and they’ll find numerous links they can click on to view different podcasts they may want to try and appear on.
Conducting a general search is a great way to find podcasts on a particular topic that you might be interested in appearing on, but it’s also possible to go deeper than that, particularly if you’re looking for a more specific type of podcast or audience.
Using the example of an accountant again, the accountant may want to niche down and find podcasts that are more specific. The accountant may specialize in tax accountancy, if they did, and they conducted a search for ‘tax accounting podcasts’, they would find links leading them to lists of the top tax accounting podcasts.
An alternative way to find podcasts is to search on platforms such as Spotify or iTunes. As the image below shows, a search for ‘accounting podcast’ brings up a bunch of podcasts that could be worth looking into.
There are podcasts available for many different types of industries. So no matter how niche your interests or your specialization are, there are bound to be podcasts available on the topic that you can investigate.
To get interviewed on a podcast, a good first step would be to make a list of podcasts you'd like to appear on. Once that is out of the way, it's time to start researching each individual podcast you want to appear on and contacting each podcast host to see if they'd be willing to host you.
It's worth checking out each podcast individually to see what the best way of getting in touch with each host is. For example, some podcasts may list contact information on their website that you can use, or a link to the podcast hosts social media accounts where you can send them a message.
You can look at the previous guests who've appeared on any particular podcast. You may find that you know or have a connection to a previous guest who might be able to give you an introduction to the podcast host.
You should also check whether the host conducts interviews or has guests on their show. Some hosts prioritize sharing their own content and thoughts instead of hosting guests. If you don't see any previous guests listed on prior episodes, then it's safe to assume that the podcast host doesn't do interviews. It's worth looking at how regularly new episodes are published. If the host hasn't released any new episodes in a while, e.g. months, then the podcast may no longer be active.
For some podcasts, though, you may have to get creative with your outreach and try different methods. One outreach technique that can work well is cold email. You'll need to spend some time finding the relevant email addresses of the podcast hosts you want to reach out to. You can do this by checking their website or social media profiles to see if their email address is listed, or you can use a tool like Hunter.io to source email addresses.
To speed up your email outreach, you can use one of the various email marketing platforms on the market to send your emails and automate some of your outreach.
Once you've got their email, you can send them a personalized cold email asking them to appear on their podcast. Ideally, before contacting any podcast host or contact, you will have listened to some episodes of their podcast before reaching out to them. Doing this will give you insights into their podcast and show the podcast host that you have a legitimate interest in what they have to say.
Try to keep your email relatively short and to the point. In your email, make sure you clearly outline who you are and suggest some topics you'd like to talk about. The Harvard Business Review has a great example email template that you could base your outreach emails around:
My name is X. I really enjoyed your recent discussion with Y about [his company name], and I wanted to reach out because I also run a startup in the fintech space. [Insert 1–2 sentences of social proof, such as $ raised, who your clients or investors are, where you incubated, media plaudits, etc.]
We just [insert timely hook or angle] and I wondered if you might be interested in discussing it? I thought this might be especially relevant to your listeners because of [insert reason]. If you think it might be a fit for your podcast, I’d be honored to continue the conversation.
Please let me know and thanks for considering.
If you’re looking for some other potential email templates to use, Lemlist has some great examples here.
Whichever outreach method you use (email, social media, or using a website contact form), there are some general tips to follow that will increase the chances of you getting a response; they are:
Once you’ve heard back from a podcast host and scheduled the interview, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the necessary recording equipment at hand.
If you don’t have one already, it’s worth investing in a high-quality microphone, so the recording sounds as professional as possible. If you are appearing on video, then make sure you conduct the interview in a well-lit environment using a high-quality camera and microphone.
You will also need some simple video recording software like Loom or Vidyard that can help you record videos as well as have calls with other people.
Of course, you should follow basic courtesy as well. If you can no longer make the scheduled recording, let the podcast host with as much notice as possible, and whatever you do, don’t pull a no-show!
You may well need to follow up a couple of times to get a response. Some podcast hosts receive more interviews than others and may take a while to return your email. If you don’t hear back within seven to ten days, it’s worth sending a short follow-up to check whether they received your first email.
If your emails start getting responses, you’ll want to make sure you make it as easy as possible to schedule the podcast appearance. The podcast host may have a set time to record each of their podcasts. If this is the case, make sure you’ve researched the time that the podcast host usually records and releases an episode or asked this during your communication and cleared your calendar accordingly.
Like with most things in marketing or lead generation, getting booked on podcasts can be a bit of a numbers game. The more podcasts you contact, the more you’ll appear on.
The size and level of the podcast you’ll be able to appear upon may well depend on the current size of your audience, so if you’re just starting out in a field or starting a new venture, try and identify smaller podcasts to appear on.
If you have a larger audience, you should be able to secure guest appearances on podcasts with a similar-sized or larger audience than your own.
The benefits of appearing on podcasts can be great for your personal brand or business. If you remember to thoroughly research the podcasts you want to appear on before you begin your outreach and follow the tips laid out in this article, you’ll be well on your way to getting booked on the podcasts you desire.