(photo credit: Gavin Whitner via https://musicoomph.com/)
Getting in front of your target audience can be difficult. Sometimes the standard methods (blog, newsletter, social) can come up short despite your best efforts. When faced with a scenario like this, you have to think outside the box.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways to expand your audience reach is by relying on the built-in audiences of others. Guest blogging, pitching articles to trade publications and appearing on popular podcasts are great ways to tap into a new audience or prove your expertise within your industry to existing targets. Think of it as a stamp of approval from an outside source.
Today, we’re going to take a look at how you can identify podcasts that align with your business objectives and talk you through the pitching process.
Let’s start at the beginning — why should you guest on a podcast? A few key reasons include:
- Podcasting is a growing medium with listeners increasing year after year, with 67 million listeners in 2017 compared to 57 million in 2016. According to Podcast Insights, 51% of the US population in 2019 has listened to a podcast and 16 million listeners consider themselves "avid podcast fans."
- Podcasts give you an opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your field
- They allow you to essentially have a conversation with thousands of prospects at once in a very organic way
Even if you’re not the most natural public speaker, podcasts aren’t broadcast live, which means if you make a mistake you can immediately correct it and no one will be the wiser thanks to the magic of editing.
Furthermore, unlike appearing on a radio program where you know thousands could be listening as you’re speaking, with a podcast you’ll just be having a natural conversation with the host (or hosts). This should alleviate some stress and allow you to naturally share your expertise.
One important thing to note before going much further is you’ll greatly increase your odds of successfully pitching a podcast if you have a microphone handy, as it means you’ll be able to record your segment for the podcast with reliable sound quality. Otherwise, the producers would have to mail you a mic — not likely — or look into a different option, which takes time they may not have to spend. The mic doesn’t have to be top of the line — a USB connected mic like this is good enough.
Which Podcast Should You Target?
If you’ve gotten this far and you’re on board with the idea of appearing on a podcast, the next step is to figure out what shows you should target. Obviously, you want the subject matter of the show to be a natural match with your area of expertise. You’ll also want to make sure the podcast has enough average listeners to make your appearance worthwhile.
Unfortunately, podcast metrics haven’t really caught up with other forms of digital media, making this task more difficult than it should be. One simple step is to check iTunes and see where a potential podcast is ranked. While you won’t get any audience numbers here, being ranked at all generally means each episode of a show garners several thousand listeners.
Another option is to check the social media pages of the podcasts you’re interested in. See a lot of activity or a couple thousand followers? That’s a good sign that the podcast has an active listener base. An empty profile likely means this podcast isn’t worth your attention.
To give you a head start, we’ve compiled some notable podcasts, broken down by industry, that accept pitches.
- MakerCast – A weekly podcast focusing on people who make things in all industries. This show focuses heavily on what drives the interviewee to specialize in their chosen field and has a heavy listener base.
- Advanced Manufacturing Podcast – A monthly to bimonthly podcast which profiles “the biggest rock stars in manufacturing and related fields.”
- Making Chips – This show interviews manufacturing leaders on a weekly basis and touches on a variety of subjects, including marketing needs, how to communicate better, HR, skill training and more.
- This Week in Enterprise Tech – A weekly podcast relying heavily on outside IT professionals to discuss the technological challenges and needs facing enterprise businesses.
- RunAsRadio – A podcast specifically about working with Microsoft products geared toward both IT professionals and anyone facing challenges with the operating system.
- MSP Radio — Provides tips for how IT managed service providers (MSPs) can strengthen their business and what end users expect from MSPs.
- Small Business Unstuck — Focusing on concerns of small businesses in all industries with topics that vary from episode to episode, this show regularly features outside expert guests who come in and discuss how their field of expertise (cybersecurity, for example) is crucial to maintaining a healthy business.
- Accelerate Your Business Growth – Posted bimonthly, this podcast focuses on how small business owners can — as the title implies — speed up their business growth. While generally featuring more overall mentoring tips, the podcast frequently features guests who share their own stories or expertise in their given field and how it affects small business owners.
Once you’ve figured out which podcast to target, you need to put your pitch together. Before you jump right in and fire off emails, however, you need to settle on what it is about you or your business that will be of value to this particular podcast’s audience. This is the key argument that you’ll structure your entire pitch around.
Once you have that key point down, it’s time to write your pitch. Just about all pitches are conducted over email, so ready yourself to have to wait a week or two to hear back from someone. You can find most email addresses either on a podcast’s webpage or send your pitch in via a contact form on their site.
Keep your pitch short and to the point; you want to get across why you’d be a good podcast guest as quickly as possible. This makes things much easier on the host you’re contacting, as it shows you already have a clearly defined set of talking points and likely won’t need much hand-holding as a guest.
Structure your pitch in this order:
- Your area of expertise and how it will help this podcast’s audience — if you’re a regular listener to a podcast or just want to do some research, try to cite a recent topic the podcast has discussed and share what you can add
- Important bio notes (“I’ve been in the welding industry for 20 years” — for example)
- Link to content you’ve created, whether it be a blog, YouTube page or another podcast you’ve appeared on
- Thanks and how to contact you
Here’s an example of how this might look written out:
Hi (first name),
My name is (first and last name,). I’m an admirer of (podcast name) and I’m reaching out to see if you would be interested in featuring me as a guest on an upcoming episode. In a recent episode, you discussed the problems with (sample topic). My organization has faced this head on, and as the project leader I was able to navigate this tricky subject while increasing revenue and employee retention.
With over 15 years in the (blank) industry, I’ve seen it all at this point, and I’d love to share some of these insights with your listeners.
You can find my blog here (link) along with an appear I made on the (other podcast name) here.
Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you!
From there, it becomes a bit of a waiting game. Don’t freak out if you don’t hear anything right away; many of these podcasters are doing this job on the side and may not have the time to get back to you immediately. If you don’t hear anything after a couple weeks, send a polite follow-up message reiterating your interest in appearing on their show.
It might take a few tries, but once you have a podcast appearance under your belt, future appearances — or even repeat ones on the show you guested on — will be easier to come by. Whenever you do appear on a podcast, be sure to publicize it. Write a blog, send an email and post about it all over your social pages.
Hopefully your podcast appearances will introduce a wider audience to your business. No matter what, other than firing off a few emails and doing some searching, you don’t have to invest much time into this project yourself. Just let your expertise do the talking.