The Template & Strategy That Landed Me 10+ Podcast Appearances
January 2018 is when I began to rebrand myself. I left my full-time job and began pursuing creative work. In the process, I learned to embrace new mediums, new media, and podcasts.
A podcast is an audio file, often recorded as part of a series, with a consistent host and sometimes with guests. They’re free to listen to on Apple, and other platforms, but more on that later.
Podcasts have surged in relevancy over the past few years, growing from 550,000 in 2018 to over 850,000 in the first month of 2020. This has been done quietly, but now PR Teams are taking notice and beginning to understand how to incorporate them into their strategies. If you consume podcasts, you’ve most likely seen authors making the rounds during the pre-sale phase of their book launch, artist appearances the week of an album drop, cast members during the promo months before a midnight showing, or even presidential candidates. It’s a great place to be, and grants guests and hosts a direct line of communication to share the in-depth contents of their ideas and agendas.
It’s also a great way for listeners to discover thought-leaders and figures that operate outside their current ecosystem.
What this signals, is that podcasts need to be taken seriously.
We should have noticed this when the New York Times created an audio department in 2016, but alas we are here now. Podcasts communicate legitimacy.
Being a guest on a podcast is a stamp of approval, a validation, from the host and their audience community.
Therefore, if you are an author, an artist, an entrepreneur, or a thought-leader of any kind, in any field, in addition to being featured in a well-known publication, digital or print, you now have a new opportunity to cement yourself in your field: Appear as a guest on a podcast. If you’ve ever managed a brand, for yourself or another, you have managed a media sheet. A one-pager, that doesn’t have your bio but shares your hype. It may include recent interviews, articles, or keynotes given, and its purpose is to share a digestible collection of what you’ve been up to and make the case for why you’re a person of interest.
Today, media sheets have space for podcasts under the “Appearances” section. In the same space where you’d include an appearance on Ellen or Oprah, Good Morning America or The Late Show, there are now a handful of podcasts that carry that same weight. If not more.
The same way we trust these well-known television hosts, podcasts hosts have entered that realm of authority where an invitation or appearance on a show is an endorsement or acknowledgment of your importance.
We trust those we are fans of.
So, as you scramble to finalize your 2020 PR strategy, consider skipping the conferences, and lean in on something more scalable: Podcasts.
There are two starting gates to become a guest on a podcast. The first is within the Apple podcast platform.
We will begin there.
How To Get On A Podcast
1. This link is a gold-painted threshold into the world of Apple podcasts
2. Open a google sheet to manage your effort.
3. In the link above, use keywords to identify the shows that are aligned with your work. There are 19 main categories, with nearly 100 sub-categories, each with thousands of shows. Once you have clicked into the appropriate sub-category, you will see shows are sorted alphabetically, in each letter use the Command+F function to search for your keywords, then open those links (Command + Click) 10–15 at a time in new tabs. If you’re questioning whether or not to add a show to your prospect list, understand that many hosts want great guests. It’s mutually beneficial: You are legitimized, they access your audience and attempt to hijack members of it.
4. With new tabs open, visit the podcast’s show website, find the host’s or general email address and the host's name, and enter this information into the relevant cells in your master sheet.
5. Organize and send a mail merge to all hosts using the template below.
Hi <<Host Name>>, I am reaching out first as a fan of the show, and after listening to a few recent episodes, with an idea: I’d love to explore joining an upcoming episode as a guest. I share an interest in <<Specific Category>> and recently <<What Relevant Work Have You Done?>> in addition to my complete portfolio which I’ve attached and would love to expand upon with you. I can only imagine the investment needed to turn out episodes and would be appreciative of your consideration. Are you open to having this conversation next week? With gratitude, Richie
6. If you are unable to find an email for the host or show, locate them on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, add this information to your master sheet and then send them the above message. Tweak it if need be. Often times, you won’t need this step, but on occasion, a website may not expose their email address, even though they should.
7. If you are unable to find an email for the host or connect with them via social media, submit the above message via their “Contact Us” page.
This process can be repeated using podcast platforms that are not Apple (Still more on that later). To do so, begin at Step 2 by opening a master google sheet and then skip to step 4 to begin scraping emails from shows of interest.
During this you may ask “Damn, how will I be able to listen to all the recent episodes before sending the email?” and the answer is you won’t, so you don’t need to. I include that in my copy because it’s flattering, and it gets a response. At the moment of sending it is not true, but for the hosts that do respond, it becomes true.
When I receive a positive response, I will immediately go listen to the most recent 3–4 episodes, and pull out info to bring up during a discovery call, should they ask me “So, which episode did you hear?”
I then add a column for this in my master sheet.
At this point, hopefully, you’ve booked a few episodes so a tip for when you finish recording.
Immediately after an episode ends, email the host with a thank you note and include headshots or preferred portraits of you, along with all of your social media handles and website. Then, go to LinkedIn and leave them a recommendation. (Here’s how you do that — feel free to leave me one too).
It’s all pretty simple, isn’t it?
The difference is the same with the strategy I used to write that $6,000 story, most just won’t do it. And if you don’t hear back from your first 50, there are over 850,000 podcasts, keep going. Advantage: You
*With the copy, feel free to play around with it, that’s just what is working for me.
To piggyback this strategy, I want to share why I am so bullish on podcasts right now.
There are over 31,000,000 YouTube channels, and only 850,000 podcasts.
Do I need to do the math here?
Podcasting is only going to continue rising. It is only going to become more relevant. And, by being a podcast guest now, more and more people will be introduced to you as a thought-leader.
Imagine having joined Medium in 2012?
Or Twitter in 2006? Podcasts are still in their infancy.
To add on, consider the consolidation and expansion we’ve seen in the space over the last 12 months. Spotify has publicly turned their attention to podcasts, Luminary became the first pay-walled podcast platform, launching with a $100 million investment, and there are still over 30 other hosting platforms. All of this is a clear indicator that we need to be taking podcasts seriously, and the failure to do so is reckless.
Now go on and do as you please with this information, but before you go I ask that we make a deal.
If you book yourself as a guest on a podcast you’ll say the word persimmon on that episode, and if you start your own podcast you’ll invite me on as a guest.
The difference between Seth Godin, The Morning Brew, and me? I respect your inbox, curating only one newsletter per month — Join my behind-the-words monthly newsletter to feel what it’s like to receive a respectful newsletter.