The Author’s Guide to Getting Booked on Podcasts
As we work with authors to customize their marketing plans, one medium almost always makes the list of top priorities:
Podcasts give authors an incredible combination of attention and depth that converts listeners to book readers better than almost any other form of content.
There are two key reasons why podcasting is a major opportunity for any author:
- The audience for podcasts is skyrocketing and shows no signs of stopping.
- Mainstream podcasts are still young enough to be accessible without a PR team.
Between 2015 and 2016, the number of Americans 12 and up who listen to podcasts on a monthly basis grew roughly 24%. Now, 21% of Americans over the age of 12 listen to podcasts each month (for comparison, only 20% of adults in America read print newspapers).
To book several guest spots in newspapers would require you to network for months, or hire a PR firm with connections. Booking an equivalent number of podcasts, however, can take as little as two weeks and require nothing more than some emailing.
Below, we’ve broken down the process we use to book our authors on podcasts. We’ve used this process successfully with dozens of authors, and if you follow our process exactly, you can start booking yourself on podcasts today.
Note: There is a lot of research involved in booking podcasts. To make this easier for you, we put together this pre-formatted spreadsheet that you can enter your data into.
Step 1. Find Relevant Podcasts
Finding relevant podcasts in your niche is actually fairly simple. There are many good search engines you can use to find relevant podcasts simply by inputting your niche’s keywords:
- iTunes: Search the “New and Noteworthy” category, as well as the “What’s Hot” section to find new, up-and-coming podcasts.
- Google: Search for “best ______ podcasts”
Enter the name of each podcast you find into your spreadsheet like so:
Now that you’ve compiled a list of podcasts, you need to evaluate whether or not they are worth pitching.
Step 2. Evaluate Your Podcast Targets
Appearing on a podcast with no listeners is useless, and pitching a podcast that isn’t looking for guests is an equal waste of your time. Before you start pitching, you have to qualify your targets.
To qualify a podcast, run it through the following checklist:
- Are they current? New episodes should still be being posted at least twice a month.
- Do they routinely feature guests? Some podcasts don’t have guest interviews.
- Do they have a large audience? This part is by far the hardest to judge.
It is notoriously difficult to collect stats about a podcasts viewership. Podcasts are often hosted on multiple platforms simultaneously, and only some platforms give you hard metrics to gauge audience size.
To complicate matters even further, a podcast might have a huge audience on one platform, but not on another.
For example, Innovation Crush is an incredible podcast that investigates creativity in business and life. If you look at their SoundCloud, you can tell they are famous by their 677,000 followers.
If you look at their iTunes, however, they seem smaller with only 14 reviews.
The only way to effectively gauge a podcast’s audience is to check each platform their podcast is listed on.
- For iTunes, reviews are the easiest way to gauge audience size. If they have over 100 reviews, they’re definitely a good size. If they’re under 25, it should probably be a no-go.
- For Stitcher, the same rules apply. Anything over 25 reviews is good to go. However, Stitcher also charts the top 100 podcasts in each category. Anything on a top 100 list is also worth appearing on.
- For SoundCloud, any podcast with over 1,000 followers is worth appearing on. However, make sure their “following” count isn’t as high as their “follower” count, as this is a sign that their audience numbers are inflated.
Once you’ve whittled your list down to roughly 50 relevant podcasts, it’s time to start crafting your pitch. The first part of this is collecting relevant data.
Step 3. Collect Data About Your Podcasts
There are 6 key pieces of data you have to collect for each podcast you pitch:
- The show’s title.
- The show’s website.
- The host’s name.
- The host’s email.
- A recent guest.
- The show’s topic.
Everything on this list except for the host’s email should be easily found on their iTunes listing (or whichever alternate platform they host on).
Finding the host’s email, however, presents its own unique challenge.
There is no standard for listing host contact information in the podcasting world. In ideal circumstances, the host’s email will be listed somewhere public—like their podcast listing or their website—or their podcast site will contain a contact form.
In situations where this is not the case, however, you hunt down the host’s email address in other ways.
Step 4. Pitch Your Podcasts
Now you have all the information you need to pitch, you just need to do it.
With podcasts, it’s important to remember that quality is more important than quantity.
There’s no need for efficiency in pitching because you are going to spend at least 30-60 minutes per episode recording the podcast. Better to be slower and more deliberate in your pitching, and ensure you get on the highest quality shows you can.
We recommend going through each of your researched podcasts, one by one. Choose one of the templates below to start your email, and then customize based on what you’ve researched about the podcast and host.
[Note: If you do decide to send bulk emails, Mailshake is by far our favorite tool.]
The Straight-Forward Pitch Template
This is a simple, no-nonsense pitch. The headline is so simple that it should pique the host’s curiosity, and allow you to deliver a to-the-point pitch:
SUBJECT LINE: Your show.
Hey Host Name,
Podcast Name is amazing. I was listening to your interview with Guest, and I realized, I know the perfect guest for you to interview.
I’m INSERT INTERESTING AND RELEVANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF.
Given your audience’s interest in Topic, I’d be an ideal guest.
Let me know some dates that work for you, and we’ll get something booked.
If you’re reading this, I assume you have written a book. If so, be sure to mention that you are an author, insert a sentence about your book and attach a digital copy for the host to read.
We’ve found that this simple tweak can increase conversions by up to 100%.
What Happens After You Appear on A Podcast?
If you follow this blueprint, you will book a lot of podcasts.
You will be interviewed by some cool people, more potential readers will know your name, your book will sell more copies, and then…
Creating attention through podcasts and selling copies of your book is great for your career if you know how to use that attention.
There are a lot of professionals out there who have dropped tens of thousands of dollars on PR agencies, gotten interviewed by reporters for The New York Times, and then had no way to convert that attention into revenue for their business.
If you want to see how the best of the best do it, we put together a guide called Five Ways Business Owners Use Books to Grow Their Business. Get your copy by entering your email to the right and we’ll send you one.
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