Podcast guesting is an increasingly popular—and effective—way to gain exposure and grow your business.
Whatever the focus of your brand or business, there are thousands of podcasts out there in your niche with built-in audiences. And if you can serve those audiences by being a guest on those podcasts, you can build your own audience and brand—and have fun doing it!
Take it from Shane Sams, founder of Flipped Lifestyle, a business he runs with his wife, Jocelyn. By making an effort to guest on at least two podcasts a week, their business has blossomed from the connections they’ve made, the audience members they’ve attracted, and the opportunities they’ve found.
Shane details his strategy for how to be a guest on a podcast—and how to use guest podcasting to grow your business—in his talk at SPI’s Audience Driven Summit in October 2021.
In this post, I’ll share Shane’s three keys to help you consistently land yourself as a guest on podcasts in your niche. You'll learn the key steps to finding podcasts that match, how to ask to be on a podcast, and how to make your guest podcast interview a success.
If you're craving even more detail on being a successful podcast guest, be sure to check out Shane’s talk, as well as SPI 547 with Ray Blakney of Podcast Hawk.
Table of Contents
- Step 1: Find Some Podcasts to Be a Guest On
- Meet people
- Make your “80/20 list” of podcast targets
- Explore other places to find podcasts that fit
- Look outside your niche (but not too far)
- Step 2: Get Your Outreach Emails Ready
- Build rapport
- Make the ask
- Suggest some topic ideas
- Show your value
- Offer to promote it
- Ask about the next step
- Say thanks (and offer to return the favor)
- Step 3: Be a Great Podcast Guest
- Be entertaining
- Give the host what they're asking for
- Be on time
- Don’t be a stranger
- Bonus Step: Ask for a Referral
- Unlock the Possibilities of Podcast Guesting
Step 1: Find Some Podcasts to Be a Guest On
There are a lot of podcasts out there to be a guest on—and several ways to find the best ones for you.
Internet research is a great way to find podcasters to connect with—and we'll get to that in a second.
But the best way to get on other people's shows is to make a personal connection—in person if possible. Because if you can meet someone in real life, shake their hands, and have a conversation, it's a lot easier to get on their show and start to build a lasting relationship.
Your best bet for that is to check out in-person conferences, especially ones geared toward podcasters, like Podcast Movement and Podfest. And other conferences like Fincon and Social Media Marketing World are places where dozens if not hundreds of podcasters hang out.
Now, things are obviously still tricky with COVID, and traveling isn’t always easy, so keep an eye out for virtual events for podcasters too.
Thankfully, events aren't the only way to find guest podcasting opportunities. Let’s explore a few research strategies you can put to work from the comfort of your home office!
Make your “80/20 list” of podcast targets
The first step is to make a list of all the podcasts you want to be on. These should be divided up in 80/20 fashion: 80 percent should be smaller podcasts that may not have access to the bigger guests but still have a substantial audience.
The other 20 percent should be your dream podcasts, the ones that make you think, I don't know if I could ever get on that podcast… but it sure would be cool.
How do you start filling out your 80/20 list? The first place to go is Apple Podcasts and other podcast directories like Spotify and Google Podcasts. Look at your show’s category, and write down the top 100 podcasts in that category.
Explore other places to find podcasts that fit
Another cool trick to find podcasts to be a guest on: In your podcast app, go to your podcast and scroll down to the section at the bottom that tells you which podcasts other people also listen to. Those shows can be great targets as well.
Look outside your niche (but not too far)
When you’re looking for podcasts to guest on, you don’t have to stick to just one category of shows—look at adjacent audiences too. If your business is about email marketing, but it’s also focused on work-life balance and parenting, look in those podcasting categories too.
Just make sure that the podcasts you’re thinking of targeting have audiences that are similar enough—you don't want to just reach out to any old podcast. If your brand is all about outer space, a podcast about pet care might not be the best fit.
The podcasts you target don’t have to be a perfect match. But they should be in the ballpark.
Do all of the above, and you should have a list of a few hundred podcasts with similar (enough) audiences to start reaching out to!
Step 2: Get Your Outreach Emails Ready
Once you’ve got your list of podcasts to target, you need to start reaching out—and email is the best way to do that.
This is where you’ve got to gin up a little courage and not be shy. If you don't ask, you don't get, so you’re going to have to reach out to tell people who you are, why you want to be on their show, and what you can do for them and their audience.
Your outreach email needs to show them that you’re a worthwhile guest who’s going to bring their audience a ton of value.
Here’s how to write that email.
The first line of your podcast guest outreach email should state a point of connection you may have with the person. Maybe you listen to their podcast, maybe you've retweeted them, maybe you have a mutual friend.
Start your email with that, so you can build rapport right away.
Make the ask
The next line of your email should explain why you’re writing it in the first place. Ask if you can be on their show!
This can be as simple as, “I was wondering, are you looking for podcast guests? I would love to serve your audience.”
Suggest some topic ideas
Then, tell them what you can talk about and the value you’ll bring. Suggest three or four topics—and this is super important—that are aligned with the content they produce. You might have to do a little research here, so listen to one or two of their episodes to see what they're creating.
Show your value
Next, don’t be afraid to brag about yourself a little bit (without making it all about you). Tell them why it’ll be valuable to them to have you on the podcast. If you've already done a few guest podcast appearances, or you have some other media appearances, go ahead and list them.
Offer to promote it
Then, tell them how you can support the success of the podcast episode, and of their podcast in general. Do you have a big Facebook following? A large email list? A great Twitter account? Show that you're willing to help make the episode be as successful as it can be.
Ask about the next step
Next, ask how to book your appearance. Do you need to fill out a form? Is there a booking calendar you can use? Doing this will demonstrate that you’re serious and excited to take the next step.
Say thanks (and offer to return the favor)
Finally, thank them and sign off. And this is key—finish with a PS that says, “I'd love to have you on my show.” If you have one, of course. If their podcast aligns with yours, then you should be happy to introduce them to your audience just like you're asking them to introduce you to theirs.
Step 3: Be a Great Podcast Guest
Nice job! You’ve applied the above advice for how to be a guest on a podcast, and landed an interview on a great show. Now you need to make the most of the opportunity. If you’re wondering how to be a good podcast guest, put these tips By being an awesome guest.
Be on time
It goes without saying, but don't be late to the recording session. Be on time (or a little early), so you can relax into the episode and create something great. Your host will appreciate your punctuality, and the content you create will be all the better for it.
Have fun with it. Bring some energy to the interview. Don’t rush or feel like you have to prove everything you know in a forty-five-minute interview. But whatever you do, talk about it in a great story. Being an awesome storyteller is one of the best ways to be remembered and get shared.
Give the host what they're asking for
Remember, it's not about you—you’re going on this show to make the host look great. You want the host to love that episode and share it wide and far.
So go in with some humility. Remember that someone is allowing you to go in front of their audience. That's incredible.
Answer their questions. Tell them what they want to know. If the host asks you a question about your biggest failure, don't turn it around into your biggest success. Tell them how you fell on your face. It’s their show, so honor and respect the opportunity they’ve created for you.
Don’t be a stranger
Last but not least, keep in touch! Don't just go on a show and leave and never talk to that person again. Stay in contact with them and build the relationship. And do what you promised, so if you said you’d share the episode on social media and your email list, do it.
Bonus Step: Ask for a Referral
One last tip for you—and granted, this is one that will benefit you at least as much as it will your host.
After your guest appearance, ask them, “Have you been on any great shows yourself lately? One that might be looking for more guests? Or do you have any friends in the podcast world you could connect me with? I'd love to go out and be on some other shows.”
Most people will be happy to connect you with somebody else who could be the host of your next podcast guest appearance.
Unlock the Possibilities of Podcast Guesting
It bears repeating, but the more you focus on making connections and building relationships—whether IRL or online—the better your chances of getting on someone’s show.
If you’re excited about the possibilities of podcasting guesting, be sure to watch Shane’s full talk from Audience Driven over on the Team SPI YouTube channel.
Shane has also graciously offered a full nuts-and-bolts breakdown of his entire strategy for finding shows and booking yourself as a podcast guest. Just visit Flipped Lifestyle and grab those resources for free.
I also mentioned SPI 547 with Ray Blakney, founder of Podcast Hawk, a great paid solution that takes a lot of the work out of getting booked as a guest on podcasts.
Pat’s interview with Ray has a ton of great advice for succeeding with guest podcasting, including customizing and optimizing your email campaign, more prep tips for your guest appearance, pitfalls to be aware of as a podcast guest, tech tips for getting great audio quality, and more.
You can put Podcast Hawk through its paces using our affiliate link at PodcastHawk.com/spi.