In this guest article, James Deeney from Podcast.co runs through his top tips for booking yourself into podcast guest slots and how to make a good impression on listeners once the mics are on.
Whether you’re a podcaster yourself, or promoting a business, being a guest on podcasts is a great way to get in front of your target audience for free. And it takes way less effort than guest blogging. No-brainer really.
But as a marketing strategy, it only really works if you’re able to make a genuine impact on the listening audience. If they come away from the interview thinking “meh”, it’s not going to do much to help build your brand.
Keep in mind that most regular podcast listeners consume a lot of content (more than 7 hours a week on average). So all that competition makes it harder to stand out.
But you don’t need to be a comedian or professional entertainer to get listeners to remember your name. It just needs to be extremely clear you’re passionate about what you do and you know exactly what you’re talking about.
An Easier Way to Book Podcast Guest Slots
The traditional approach to booking guest slots involves researching shows in your niche, tracking down email addresses for hosts and producers, writing pitch emails, and keeping tabs on all your outreach in a spreadsheet.
That process still works for some. But here at Podcasts.co, we know that it eats up a lot of time, especially during the research phase. So we created a new platform to speed it all up. MatchMaker.fm is a free online booking service that matches podcasters with ideal guests. You can find lists of relevant speaking opportunities with a few clicks.
After creating a profile by filling in some basic details about your background and experience, you can start browsing the database of podcasts. There are thousands on there, and you can quickly filter shows by category, location, language spoken, and more.
You then add any podcasts that look like a good fit for you to your favorites list.
Writing Your Podcast Guest Pitch
You can quickly pitch to podcast hosts through MatchMaker’s instant messaging feature. This will help you line up guest slots much quicker. But most producers and hosts tend to be picky about who they’ll have on their show. They only want guests who they think their listeners will enjoy. And the more popular a podcast is, the more guest pitches they’ll receive. So if yours doesn’t stand out, it’s going to get buried with all the rest.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when crafting your initial MatchMaker message:
- Understand who you are pitching to by listening to an episode of the show
- Personalise your pitch, avoid generic copy-paste templates. They’re easy to spot
- Keep it clear and concise (it’s a pitch, not your life story)
- Suggest a few topics you could discuss on the show
- Proofread for typos and mistakes before hitting ‘send’
How to be a Great Podcast Guest
And now you’re booked as a podcast guest! But the process isn’t finished yet. During the interview, you need to wow listeners. And that takes preparation. So here are a few things you can do to get the most value out of each podcast appearance.
Do Your Research
Before appearing on a show, we advise listening to at least two episodes beforehand. Knowing the answers to the questions below will help you feel more relaxed before the interview, and it’ll prevent anything from catching you off guard
- How long are the episodes on average?
- Is it a standard interview show? Or are the conversations edited?
- Are there any recurring segments in the episodes?
- What are the main talking points or themes that usually come up?
- Are the intros pre-recorded or done live at the beginning of the episode?
- Is there an opportunity for guests to pitch their product or service at the end of the interview?
Rehearse Key Answers & Prepare Anecdotes
Think about the kinds of questions the host is likely to ask you and write them down. Then practice your answers so they’re tight, crisp, and deliver your message clearly.
Also try to think of any relevant stories or anecdotes you could use to illustrate your points. People tend to remember information much better when it’s presented in a relatable narrative format. But it can be hard to think of the perfect story when you’re put on the spot! So having a few anecdotes stashed in your back pocket can be a big help.
When the host asks you a question, keep your response focused and on track. A few tangents here and there are fine and generally help to give the interview a more natural feel. But you should always aim to guide your answers back towards the host’s original question. Repeatedly going off-topic can be quite frustrating for both the host and listeners.
Don’t let all your preparation go to waste by failing to consider sound quality. To be blunt, your internal laptop or phone mic aren’t quite good enough. If you’re going to be doing a lot of podcasting, you need to invest in a dedicated microphone. Fortunately there are loads of great plug-and-go USB microphones on the market that won’t break the bank.
Think about where you are recording as well. You don’t need to soundproof entire rooms. But make sure you choose a nice quiet space where you’re unlikely to be interrupted or pick up pesky background noises. If possible, move fans or other things that make a lot of noise into another room. Recording in a room that’s carpeted can also help as it dampens echoes.
Avoid Filler Language
We all tend to have our own unique filler language – things like “umm’s” , “ahh’s”, “you know’s” or other words and phrases you say out of habit. Filler words aren’t a major issue, but they can be distracting and may take away from the message you’re trying to get across. Make note of any you use often and work on cutting them out when you’re talking. This takes practice, but it’s worth being mindful of.
Promote Your Episode
If you’ve gone to the trouble of doing the interview, then it only makes sense to promote it as best you can. Most hosts will be keen for you to help them amplify their voice by sharing the interview across your own channels. Some hosts may even send you unique graphics or audiograms you can use to advertise the episode on social media – if they do, use them! And also make sure you tag the host where possible for added visibility.
Ready to Start Booking Interviews?
By following these tips, it should boost the quality of each interview you do – which will ultimately help to establish your authority in your field and win some new fans in the process.
If you impress the audience enough, a percentage of the listeners will want to learn more about you. Of those who make their way to your website, some may be convinced enough to start checking out all the other things you’re involved in. And this kind of interest compounds over time. Every interview you do makes a small contribution to the growth of your brand.
James Deeney is the Head of Content at Podcast.co. He’s been into podcasting since the pioneering days of The Ricky Gervais Show back in 2006! James graduated in Science Communication at the University of Manchester after writing his masters thesis on how podcasts are influencing the way people learn new information. James also hosts his own show, which you can find by typing ‘meet the podcasters` into Google.
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