Roughly 68 million people over the age of 12 listen to podcasts weekly, according to Edison Research, which surveys this data annually. That means podcasts offer millions of opportunities to their guests to attract more customers and clients, sell high-ticket offers or at the very least boost their online following. So how do you get a seat at the microphone table?
I caught up with public relations expert Kelsey Chapman, owner of Radiant Media, for tips on landing a guest spot. In addition to regularly landing media placements for the entrepreneurs she works with, she once got 65 placements for a client during their book launch and nabbed more than 50 placements for herself during her own virtual book tour. “Most people make opportunity-ending mistakes when they attempt to pitch themselves for a podcast,” says Chapman. “I’ve heard of hosts turning people down for being way too generic—for example, not even including the host’s name in the pitch.”
Increase your chances of getting a “yes” the next time you pitch yourself by following these three tips from Chapman. They’ll work whether you’re a podcast veteran or an underdog trying to make your way up to the microphone.
1. Think Big And Small
It can be easy when you’re starting out to only look to the big name podcastors to invite you on their shows. But some of your best conversations and networking moments may come from sharing your message on podcasts with smaller, dedicated audiences. “I landed a two thousand dollar client on a podcast that probably had about two hundred listeners,” reveals Chapman.
You can spot smaller podcasts by looking at the number of episodes that have gone live, the number of reviews that have been listed for the podcast or the size of the host’s social media following. Smaller following doesn’t necessarily mean smaller impact. “Smaller podcasts are often more excited about their guests and tend to share the episode more than hosts of larger podcasts,” says Chapman. So size could work to your advantage in a surprising way.
2. Do Your Research
Spending just a few minutes on the iTunes page of the podcast you’re pitching can be the key to impressing a host. “They tell you almost everything you need to know right there,” says Chapman. “You’ll find the podcast’s target audience, the format of the show, the host’s interests and more.” All of this prevents you from, say, pitching a podcast whose audience is predominantly male when you only coach women. Or asking to be a guest on a solocast. “We’re not there to just use someone for their platform, we’re there to serve them,” says Chapman.
“When developing your pitch, it is beneficial to weave in details about the show you are pitching to: the topics they focus on, types of information they provide their listeners,” says Chapman. “By acknowledging the specific elements that make their podcast unique, you can better position yourself as an informed, qualified guest, who is prepared to serve their specific audience in an aligned and meaningful way.”
A little digging also gets you valuable information you can use to create a connection with the host. “In my pitches, I often repeat back the words that the host uses in their bio when describing their show or what they do,” says Chapman. “When they read that, they think, ‘Wow! She really gets me!’”
3. Craft Killer Talking Points
Think about your areas of expertise and come up with a list of talking points that you’re qualified and comfortable discussing on an episode. Consider them mini-topics or diving boards for discussion. Then, select three of these (based on the podcast you’re addressing) to include in your pitch.
“By creating a list, you make it easier to tailor your pitches and provide show hosts with specific information about your areas of expertise,” says Chapman. “The goal is to make them realize you’re the guest their podcast has always been missing—just like a pinch of salt in a good recipe. Not to mention, by doing this, you are creating vision for your potential podcast host on what your episode would entail.”
If you’re struggling to come up with talking points, there’s an easy solution. “When I don’t remember my magic, I call a friend, open up a Google doc and ask them to pull that gold out of me,” says Chapman, who takes on the role of the friend when she’s working with her clients. Try asking your friend what they love asking you questions about, the top problems they know you solve or what sets you apart from other people in your field. “For me, my talking points might sound like: how to be the best podcast guest a host has ever had or how to leverage podcasts after appearing on an episode,” says Chapman. “That host might be getting fifty pitches in a day, so this is your chance to set yourself apart from the crowd and skyrocket your chances of hearing back.”