If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you may have had daydreams about achieving fame, fortune and glory through your blog. At the very least, you’ve probably been hopeful that you’d reach your target readers and maybe make some money by selling a product or service that you talk about in your blog.
While a blog is an excellent way to spread the word about your chosen topic, there is another medium that literally speaks to 57 million Americans: podcasting.
Over one-fifth of the American population over the age of 11 is listening to podcasts at least occasionally and about a quarter of Americans between the ages of 12 and 54 listens to at least one podcast per month, according to Convince & Convert. Think about how many more people you could reach if you were on a popular, relevant podcast.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to drop everything to start your own podcast. You could do that, of course, but it will probably require more work, time, money and energy than you have to expend, particularly if the idea is on a whim.
Instead, why not pitch yourself as a guest to podcasts that already have an audience?
Great idea, right? Before you run out and start firing off emails, however, it’s important that you know what you’re doing. Popular podcasters receive pitches all the time; after all, who wouldn’t want to be on a show if they had the chance to talk about themselves, their blog, or their product?
The idea is to pitch yourself in such a way that the podcaster seriously considers your request and, hopefully, says yes.
Take a look at these tips on boosting the odds in your favor.
Narrow Your Focus
Quick, name a popular podcast. Did you say This American Life, TED Radio Hour, The Way I Heard It With Mike Rowe or How I Built This? These are among the top-ranking podcasts, and for good reason. They’re general enough to appeal to a wide variety of people, and done well enough to get people to share the episodes with their friends. Sounds perfect?
Stop. Unless you are already achieving extreme success, you are probably not going to have your pitch accepted by one of the biggest and most famous podcasts. Could it happen? Sure. You could also have the Publisher’s Clearinghouse people stop by your house to drop off a check the size of a Volkswagen.
Focus on pitching to podcasts that are relevant to your topic.
Kai Davis, owner of Double Your Audience pointed out two advantages to narrowing your focus to smaller podcasts with a more defined niche.
First, you’re more likely to get a “yes.” If your pitch is one of a dozen, it will be looked at with much more consideration than if it is one of a thousand.
Secondly, you’re more likely to appeal to the audience. A huge general audience might have a small percentage of people who are interested in what you have to say. A smaller audience of people who are following a specific topic that you happen to be knowledgeable about, however, will give you a larger percentage of active listeners.
These are the listeners who are much more likely to convert into readers (or, even better, buyers).
Find Specific Shows to Pitch To
How are you going to find the perfect podcasts to pitch to? There are a lot of ways that you can locate shows that are not super famous (but who are successful and interesting). First, you need to determine what type of podcast you want.
Think about the people you are trying to reach with your blog.
Let’s say you’re a florist and you write about flower arrangements on your blog. Who is your target reader/customer? Brides-to-be? Look for a podcast centering on wedding planning. Women who want beautiful flowers for their homes? Find a podcast that talks about interior designing. Men looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day arrangement? Consider a podcast that talks about marriage, family relations, or holidays. Make a list of possibilities.
Once you have your list, now it’s time to search for podcasts that will appeal to the same people you’re trying to reach. You have some tools at your disposal:
- Just type “podcasts about weddings” into your favorite search engine and see what comes up.
- Type in your topic and take a look at the titles that are good matches.
- If you have an Android phone, Stitcher is one of the best options for finding and listening to podcasts.
- This is a search engine that focuses on, you guessed it, podcasts.
Listen to several episodes of the most promising podcasts to see if they seem like a good fit for you. This gives you yet another way to find potential podcasters to contact, too: Many times, podcasts will feature the hosts of other podcasts. These interviewees might also have a podcast that would be worth pitching to.
Make Your Pitch
Do you know those irrelevant, poorly written spam comments that you occasionally (or frequently) get on your blog? The ones you delete?
A poorly written, off-the-cuff pitch is going to get the same reaction from the podcasters you write to, so you’re going to want to take some time to come up with a good pitch and present it in a way that will pique the podcaster’s interest.
Here’s a framework we like that helps get predictable and high quality results:
- Use the subject line to make your request clear. When the podcast host glances at the inbox, you want him or her to understand that you are making a podcast pitch and the gist of what it’s about. A good subject line for the aforementioned florist pitching to a wedding podcast would be “Podcast Idea: The Perfect Flowers for a Wintertime Wedding.” Be creative, but limit yourself to 10 word or so. You want the whole subject to show up on one line.
- Introduce yourself. Be quick about it; this isn’t the time to share your life story. Just give a couple sentences of background.
- Explain why you would make a good guest. You want to show that you have listened to their podcast and that you’ve thought this through. Tell them what you can bring to the table and why you would appeal to their listeners.
- Give a short list of topics that you would be able to cover. This will be expanded upon later, so you don’t have to include everything. Just a handful of topics is fine.
- Include your links. If you’ve been on a podcast before, mention that and include a list of relevant shows you’ve appeared on. Put in a link to your blog, your website and your social media.
- Don’t forget your contact information. The recipient will have your email address, of course, but also include your phone number and your Skype ID. This boosts your social proof with the podcast host.
Before you hit “send,” be sure to proofread. You want to show the podcaster that you’re serious, so don’t be in such a hurry that you send it off with a misspelling, the wrong phone number or extra keystrokes.
All that’s left to do is cross your fingers and hope you hear back! If you follow the framework above you’ll get several hits. This can lead to a podcast tour, which allows you to string a number of podcast appearances together to promote a product, service or launch, explains Kai Davis in his book, Podcast Outreach.
Also, this can have the domino effect; once you’re on your first podcasts you can stairstep your way to bigger, higher profile shows in the future.
Getting a guest appearance on a podcast is not likely to make your dreams of fame, fortune and glory come to fruition overnight (although it might!), but it can absolutely help bring new readers to your blog and help you promote your products and services.
So build some time into your schedule to pitch podcasters to help your blog and business grow.