With over two million podcasts and almost 500 million listeners worldwide, being featured as a podcast guest has the potential to place you in front of a new, curated audience with every interview.
Simply by showing up and sharing your ideas, podcast guesting positions you as an expert in your topic, boosting your credibility and authority as well as differentiating yourself from your competitors by adding value for the listeners.
With all those benefits, you might wonder how guests actually land their podcast interviews. You might wonder if you already have to have a following or a big list or be a recognizable name.
But you can get these kinds of interviews no matter how small your business is.
What’s important is taking a proactive approach.
What’s holding you back?
Whether you’ve pitched yourself before or not, it can seem scary to put yourself out there. You don’t want to bother people—especially if they’re people you admire! You don’t want to seem pushy or annoying. You might worry your idea isn’t interesting enough to share. You might be frozen in fear of receiving a “no” . . . or worse, just being ignored.
But no matter the stories you tell yourself, you have value to provide. You’re offering a gift to the host and their audience—not being a bother. Your experience as a business owner means that you have insights that can be helpful to hear about. And no matter what, receiving a “no” (or the cold shoulder) from a podcast host is a learning experience, not a setback.
So it’s time to reframe your fears and create your own opportunities.
Let’s get pitching.
This P.I.T.C.H. framework helps you move beyond those fears and take the first step (one you’ll repeat with each new podcast): pitching yourself. The framework will help you see your interview offer as a service, highlighting how your insight can benefit the audience and the host.
And when you present yourself that way, a lot of good can happen.
Step 1 – Prep your message
Decide what topics you want to be known for. Stick to two or three specific ideas. “Marketing,” is too broad, for instance. It doesn’t tell us much about what you’re really an expert in. If someone did give an interview on “marketing” the audience would probably walk away with only a vague sense of what their next steps should be. Remember, most podcast interviews are only 40-50 minutes long! Instead of “marketing,” let’s look at “virtual relationship marketing.” This narrower topic would allow hosts to dive deep into your expertise, leaving listeners with clear action steps they’ll understand how to implement.
Step 2. – Identify the right podcasts for you
This is a marathon and not a sprint.
Using Apple podcasts, Listennotes, or trusty Google, make a list of 15-20 shows that (a) seem to speak to your audience and (b) have fewer than 50 episodes. As a beginner guest, you’ll start by pitching to those small podcasts and then build your way up to your “dream” shows.
Listen to several episodes of each show on your list. Make note of hosts you enjoy, topics you could expand on, and content that speaks to your audience. Follow the hosts or shows on social media and interact with their posts. That way, when you pitch them later, you have content to comment on (and they may even recognize your name)!
Step 3. – Tailor each pitch
It’s important to personalize each pitch you send. Especially as you pitch higher-level podcasts, these hosts and their teams might receive many pitches each week, and you want yours to stand out (in a good way).
Three mistakes to avoid:
#1. Misspelling the host’s name (or skipping the name altogether and starting with a generic “Hey there!” Do your research. Know who you’re writing to.
#2. Making the pitch all about you. Instead, focus on the goals of the host and how you’ll help them achieve those goals.
#3 Too many topics. Hosts aren’t going to do your homework for you. Pick one topic that you feel will work for them. Look at their existing episode titles and write a title for your interview that matches their pattern. Make their job easy.
Podcast hosts are interested in providing great content for their listeners. Depending on the show, their audience may be interested in more inspirational stories or actionable, how-to’s for them or their businesses. Nearly 3 out of every 4 podcast listeners in the US say they tune in to learn new things, so tell the host what you can teach their audience that will be new and relevant to their specific situation.
Step 4. – Create a system
Using a simple spreadsheet or your favorite project management tool, list the shows you’re pitching and all their details (host name, contact email address, favorite episodes/notes). Decide how many follow-ups you’ll send and schedule them on your calendar.
Step 5. – Hit the interview
A successful interview includes not only excellent content but also good audio quality. Secure a quiet environment and use a good mic (it doesn’t have to be very expensive, but make sure you install it properly). Be ready to share authentic and vulnerable stories. Prepare bullet points you want to touch on, including examples or statistics, to reduce rambling. Breathe.
The goal of the host is to provide the enriching content that their audience is looking for. If you help the host reach their goal, you’re helping the audience reach theirs, too. And since the listeners trust the host, you’ll receive an extension of that trust.
It’s a win-win-win.
So go on. Get pitching.