The question, “What’s your favorite podcast?” has become as popular of an ice breaker as “What’s your favorite TV show?” This is because podcasting awareness has exploded in recent years, so it’s a perfectly normal question to ask while making small talk.
To really bring the podcasting trend into perspective, a recent study from Statista found that, in 2006, only 22% of consumers knew what a podcast was, but by 2019 over 64% of consumers were aware of podcasting. And, by 2020, it’s estimated that podcast listening will grow to 132 million people in the United States – that’s a lot of subscribers!
As podcasts grow in popularity, so does the demand for finding engaging podcast guests that are able to share their expert opinion, thoughts and ideas. And although podcasting has become a very crowded market, you’d be surprised how few businesses are actually leveraging these opportunities. Maybe this is because we’re all so focused on trying to start a podcast of our own? I digress…
Unfortunately many people tend to think that podcast guesting is a low impact, high effort task. This can’t be any further from the truth. While it certainly involves a few hours of prep work, the benefit of being featured on a podcast that is popular amongst your target audiences is worth its weight in gold.
If you consider yourself a subject matter expert, there are three main reasons why you should be incorporating podcast guesting into your content marketing mix, along with some considerations for once you get started with this strategy.
1. You’ll extend your reach to highly engaged audiences
Podcasts have built-in audiences of active listeners. Although many of us listen to podcasts while walking our dogs, cooking and doing other tasks, this activity actually makes listeners more receptive. According to a BBC study, brand mentions in podcasts deliver an average 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding than the surround content. This is because the intimate, conversational nature of the podcast environment creates an elevated state of engagement, even for brand mentions. They’re also moments in which we’re not traditionally being advertised to and many times the host will incorporate a personal anecdote or experience using the product, so it makes the ad more memorable and personable.
While your first instinct might be to pitch podcasts that can be found on Spotify’s Top Podcasts page, I recommend reaching out to lesser-known podcasts that discuss a niche topic that’s related to a topic you’d like to discuss. This is definitely the best route if you don’t have a lot of on-air experience. But even more importantly, it’s the narrow similarities that make deeper connections. If you share a very specific interest with the producer of the podcast and their audiences, the conversation is going to be more meaningful to those participating and those who are listening.
For example, I recently had the pleasure of working with Arielle Spiegel from CoFertility. CoFertility had just launched and Arielle wanted to help spread the word about this amazing resource, so I began researching podcasts that discuss the topic of fertility and found Beat Infertility.
Beat Fertility is all about empowering those experiencing infertility and is hosted by Heather Huhman, a career and workplace expert who specializes in helping people who dream of becoming parents navigate the complicated world of fertility treatments and other paths to parenthood. The podcast has an engaged audience of listeners who, while they’re all on their own unique journey, they share a similar experience and are compassionately engaged with each episode.
Here’s the message I sent to Heather:
When pitching to be a podcast guest, I incorporate the following elements into my message:
- In the subject line, make it clear that you’re pitching a podcast guest.
- Always link to the professional page of the person you’re pitching (or your own personal page if you’re pitching yourself). This could be a personal website, LinkedIn page or author bio on an outlet or blog.
- Provide a brief bio of the podcast guest (less than 2 sentences, if possible).
- Suggest a topic to discuss. If the topic has already been discussed, that’s definitely okay! Reference the episode in which it was discussed and explain what new insights or angle you’d like to talk about. This actually proves to the host that you are a listener of their podcast and will go a long way.
- Offer to setup a time to discuss over the phone and brainstorm.
- If applicable, provide an overview of the company that the guest would be representing (a boilerplate is also fine here) and make sure to call out what makes the company or product different from its competitors.
Heather from Beat Infertility ultimately was interested in having Arielle on as a guest and you can listen to the episode here. Since airing, Heather has also introduced Arielle to others in the fertility space, including prospective clients for Arielle and her partner’s fertility-related marketing consultancy. All goes to show that the conversation doesn’t stop once the interview is over with. These are connections you’ll continue building relationships with and sometimes you might even be invited back on the show!
2. You’re creating content without actually doing any of the legwork
If you’re a great conversationalist, the best thing about being a guest on a podcast is that you’re not the one who is actually producing the content. All you have to do is show up and talk. If you do find the idea of being interviewed tricky or intimidating, I’d argue that as long as you take the time to prepare thoughtful talking points you should be okay. Jay Baer from Convince & Convert has a really useful guide and to help with nailing a podcast interview and I highly recommend the accompanying checklist! Remember that you’re the expert and have faith in yourself – you got this!
After the interview is live and published, the content doesn’t stop there. Most times, podcast hosts will share the episode with their social media following on all of their various channels that they use. If they have a blog, they’ll also produce blog content summarizing the episode and will reference everything that was discussed in the episode itself (more on the benefits of all that later!).
Once the Beat Infertility episode featuring CoFertility aired, Heather posted three separate posts on both Facebook and Twitter encouraging her followers to take a listen.
This additional content from another authority in the space helps you gain credibility with other podcasters, as well. Slowly but surely, you’ll be able to pitch yourself as a guest on podcast shows with larger audiences and eventually your reputation will grow.
3. There’s incredible value from an SEO-perspective
Beyond the endless benefits of reaching highly targeted and attentive audiences (and even potential business leads) without actually putting in the legwork of producing the content yourself, being a guest on a podcast has a number of SEO-related benefits.
Along with releasing the episode, podcast hosts will publish either a summary or the full transcript of the episode itself. So with every podcast you appear on, you’re creating more backlinks to your site. I also always remind people that, if anything you reference during the interview has an accompanying page on your website with more info, share it with the podcast host afterwards in case they’d like to reference it in these notes. In the example with CoFertility, Heather included a bullet list of what the listener will learn during the episode and linked back to CoFertility twice:
This is especially of value because Google announced in August that individual podcast episodes will surface in search results and that they’re automatically transcribing all the podcast episodes it finds. Now, if someone does a Google search for a show about a niche topic or an interview with a specific person, the results will be potential podcast episodes that match their query. Google has also stated that it will eventually take specific signals into account when determining what episodes to surface, such as how many people listened or whether the podcast is one that has a lot of authority in the space.
Along with this, the backlinks that are created via social shares also contribute to your SEO profile and builds credibility with not only new audiences but also with Google. Needless to say, as you progress on your journey of podcast guesting and continue lining up interview spots, you’ll naturally grow your backlink profile with links from relevant, quality sources.
Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you that podcast guesting is a strategy you should be incorporating into your content marketing mix. While having a recorded conversation with a stranger seems daunting, as long as you prepare accordingly it is truly an efficient and organic way to attract new audiences and build leads, all while boosting your SEO efforts. And once you’ve done a few, you’ll become a pro at podcast guesting!