In 2017, I made a plan to be a podcast guest on as many podcasts as I could. It was also part of my intention to be a great podcast guest, and a gracious podcast guest at that. We were launching our new platform for I Am A Triangle, called Mighty Networks. We were moving from Facebook Groups to Mighty Networks and I wanted to be able to get the word out to as many new Triangles as I could. I had long been a listener and consumer of podcasts, so I was well-versed in the general flow, content and desired outcome of podcast hosts.
This article will share the lessons I learned along the way, and I will deep dive into how to be a podcast guest (don't forget to be a great and gracious one as well!), so that you best represent yourself, bring value to the podcast host and their audience, and potentially even be invited back for another episode!
This is probably the most important part of this process. It is imperative that you first do your research on the podcasts you are going to pitch to be a guest on. This means not only doing an internet search to find the lists of podcasts that may be a good fit, but also learning about the host of the podcasts, and actually listening to their show. Perhaps you are an avid listener of podcasts and so you may be well-versed in a particular podcast and are familiar with the host. If not though, you will need to do everyone a favor and listen to a few of the podcast episodes that you wish to be a guest on. This ensures that you will be pitching the host with integrity, and with some respect for the work the host puts into their podcast.
While you are researching podcasts, it is a really good idea to keep a list or spreadsheet of your findings. During my research, I created an expansive spreadsheet that tracked not only the podcast name and host name, but also their contact information, podcast link, the genre or type of podcast, and then also included columns for tracking whether I had reached out, whether I had heard from them and also to keep track of any followup. Finally, my spreadsheet had space to note whether I had been accepted as a guest, and then a final space to put the podcast episode link, once it aired. This enabled me to stay organized during my research, and also to be able to send a thank you note following the airing (see more on this at the end of this post).
Once you've done your due diligence and ample research, now it's time for the pitch. If you're not familiar with a pitch, it is basically the way you structure your request to be a guest on the podcast. This is IMPORTANT. Structure your pitch in a friendly and professional way. Let them know that you've done your research and personalize each email pitch that you send. Do NOT simply copy and paste the email text into a new email body and simply hit send.
Here's an example of the email pitch I used when soliciting guest spots:
Are you currently accepting submissions for podcast guests for Go episodes to air in August? I recently listened to your Cuba episodes and really enjoyed them (our family visited there recently). I am a successful Realtor and owner of 8th & Home, a real estate company in Northern Virginia, but my true passion is I Am A Triangle, a thriving community of over 14,000 individuals who are expats, global nomads, internationals and other folks who have lived abroad (or are exploring the idea of it).
This growing community reached 16,000 members in less than three years following the viral blog post called I Am A Triangle, and other thoughts on repatriation. The community currently “lives” on Facebook, and is moving onto an amazing new platform ON International Infinity Day, August 8th.
I am a noted speaker and published author on community building, change leadership, repatriation and life abroad and have been recognized as a thought leader in the international and global community.
Would love to join you on your wonderful podcast and can easily speak to any of the following topics:
Build It and They Will Come: Online and Face-To-Face Community Building
Community: Why they are important, how to find or create one, and how to get the most from them
Deleting the word “Expat” from our dictionaries - why it’s important to start redefining the way we identify ourselves when living abroad
Repatriation and The New Conversation (https://blogs.wsj.com/expat/2015/04/15/repatriation-blues-expats-struggle-with-the-dark-side-of-coming-home/)
Leadership with Authenticity, Kindness & Grace
We are seeking podcasters who are willing to release the podcast interviews on August 8th or in the few weeks following. We will then share the podcast interview with our entire community via our online platform, as well as directly to our email database. We will also utilize our social platforms to share out the podcast!
Currently located in Columbus, Ohio which is EDT / GMT-4, I am generally available for an interview between 8am - 6pm, Monday through Friday.
Look forward to hearing from you!
<link to social accounts>
What is important to include in a pitch, and why:
- Letting the podcast host know that you've listened to their show, and naming something specific they've published / shared.
- Giving your credentials and a bit of backstory on you, your experiences and projects. If you have been on another podcast or have been quoted in an article, feel free to link those as it shows credibility.
- This is extremely important: give them 4-5 sample topics that you can speak on. Since you've done your research, you will be able to tailor these topics to each specific podcast and host, so that you're sure it resonates with their audience and the purpose of the podcast.
- Be specific about how you'll give back to the podcast host (i.e. sharing it with your network, etc.)
- Provide contact details and your time zone so that the podcast host can be better informed about scheduling and timing.
I cannot stress enough that your research be complete before you begin pitching so that you can personalize and customize each and every pitch. Copy-and-paste email pitches will be seen right through and if you do not take the time to be authentic and unique, it will lessen your chances of being asked to participate.
There are several follow up scenarios that you're going to want to be prepared for.
- They didn't respond to your email
- They said "not now"
- They said "yes!"
If the podcast host does not respond to your email, by all means, follow up. You can best determine what language to use, but a short and simple email letting them know you are following up, and inquiring whether your email was received should do the trick.
If "not now" was the response you received, a fantastic way to follow up is to let the host know you'll continue to keep up to date on their episodes, and will follow up at a later time (if you can name the time frame that you'll be following up, even better). Typically if someone says it's not the right time, anywhere between 6-8 weeks should be a good follow up time.
If you got a "yes" response, be prepared to move quickly for the next steps!
(along the way, do not forget to update your spreadsheet or your tracking document)
Don't be an a$$, send the assets!
Your podcast host is going to need some things from you, and you are best serving everyone if you get those things (often called assets) to the host asap. What better way to get those things over right away, but to have them already prepared! Here are some of the things your host may request:
- Headshot. If you do not have a professional headshot, you can feel free to use a casual photo, but make sure it's an attractive photo (not a lot of distraction in the background, only you in the photo, you are appropriately dressed, etc.)
- Bio. (if the podcast host does not specify on length, it's always a good idea to send a short bio and a long bio, to let them choose). You bio should include 1-3 sentences about you (short bio) that allows listeners to get to know you.
- Links. Have the links prepared that will help listeners find you. This may include your website, or Facebook link, or perhaps a link to your social media account.
- Free Gift. If you have a free gift for the listeners, send this as soon as possible. This free gift might be a short ebook you've written, or a worksheet, or perhaps a template for images if you are a social media marketing guru.
Try to send all assets requested from the host in 2-3 days' time if you are able.
On the big day
* Clear your schedule for at least the 30 minutes prior to your recording and clear your schedule for at least 30 minutes after the time frame allotted. The reason for this is so you are not rushed, or distracted when it's time for the recorded interview. By clearing your schedule for at least 30 minutes afterwards, this ensures that you do not become distracted or bothered if the clock starts to creep past the allotted time. This is especially important so that you do not feel rushed to finish the podcast for your next appointment.
* Dress for success. Many podcast hosts do not record their interviews with video, however you will know the difference if you show up for your interview in your pajamas. Go through the same steps for an audio interview as you would for a video interview.
* Turn off your cell phone (all the way off, powered down!).
* Put your dogs (if you have them) in a separate part of your home, preferably with doors shut in between you and the dogs.
* If you have frequent deliveries, place a note on your door asking delivery men to not ring the doorbell.
* Pour a glass of water to have near you during the interview.
* Plan to have a set of headphones available for sound quality.
* If your host has sent you a list of questions, prepare for them!
Amplifying the reach
It make be several weeks or even months before your episode airs. Be sure to ask the host when they plan to publish the episode and add that information to your tracker. When the episode is dropped, be ready to share it out to your networks and share it far and wide! If you have an email newsletter, include a link for your readers. Share the podcast link on your Facebook or other social media accounts. When you share on social media, be sure to tag in the host or the podcast's accounts as well, so they know you are publicizing the episode. Tell your friends and family so they can take a listen! You can also ask your community to leave a review for the podcast host, as that impacts their efforts and is a nice way to say thank you as well.
Say thank you!
Speaking of saying thank you, it is important to tell the podcast hosts thank you. This can either be in email form, or via a handwritten card if you have their snail mail address. Finally, be sure to leave a review for their podcast as well!
What have I missed? If you are a podcast host, I would love to know what else you would add to this list! If you've been a guest on a podcast, I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts as well!