Continuing our series on reader outreach strategies, in this post we're going to look at the benefit of guest podcast interviews.
As an author do you sometimes feel you have no words or energy left to write more content as part of your book marketing? If you resist blogging, writing email newsletters and posting lengthy social media posts because you only want to write books, you'll want to investigate podcasting.
In my last post, I revealed how to use guest blogging as a way to get in front of more readers to let them know you and your books exist. I explained that this is more effective than posting on your own blog if you don’t have much traffic.
Podcasting is exactly the same. While you can start your own podcast, it can be much quicker and easier to be a guest on other people’s podcasts that already have engaged audiences.
In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to find and land guest podcast interview opportunities so you can reach more readers.
Quick note: Even if you know you’d prefer to guest podcast than to guest blog, do check out the guest blogging post because there is plenty of relevant information in it that I didn’t want to double up here.
Brainstorm Interview Topics
To find the podcasts that will be a good fit for you, you can follow the same strategy I suggested for finding blogs.
First, think about who your target reader is and the types of podcasts they may be listening to. Also, think about what you would feel comfortable talking about for 30-60 minutes. You don’t need to be the world’s leading expert on a topic, but you do need to know enough to be able to hold a conversation for a reasonable length of time.
Come up with 3-5 topics that you are interested in, can talk about comfortably and that your ideal readers share an interest in. As with blogs, not everyone listening to the podcast will be your target reader, but if you have good reason to believe a number of them will be, then it’s worth pitching.
If you are a fiction author, you may pitch writing-related podcasts or ones that have nothing to do with writing. Perhaps you are also a keen gardener, rock climber or have had an interesting experience or life story. People listening to podcasts on these nonfiction topics may still be interested in your fiction. You simply need to let them know it’s available at some point in the interview—more on that later.
If you are a nonfiction author, you will want to look for podcasts that cover the same or related topics.
How to Find Relevant Podcasts
With your topics in mind, you can start searching for relevant podcasts.
Run a Google search, plugging [Your Topic] + [Podcast] into the search box. This should bring up a few podcast suggestions, plus some curated lists that may help.
In addition to Google, you should search for podcasts iTunes. In the iTunes Store (on your computer, rather than your phone), click the Podcasts tab at the top of the page. Popular podcasts will be displayed, but you can search different categories from the drop-down menu under the Podcasts tab on the right. You can also use search for a person or topic by putting a name or keyword in the Search box.
Ideally, you want to look for podcasts in the Top 200—a lesser known podcast with a small but engaged following can be very effective. Make sure the podcast features guests, as there’s no point pitching a show that isn’t interview-based.
By putting a name into the search box, you can see all the shows someone has been on. It's certainly worth plugging each of your comp authors' names into the iTunes search box to see if they have been a guest on any podcasts—if they have, those shows could be a good place to start.
If your comp is very well known and managed to land a top podcast, you may not be able to follow in their footsteps right away. But look at what other podcasts they have been on. Perhaps they started out with much smaller ones, which would be perfect for you to pitch to.
Try to come up with a list of 10-30 podcasts that are a good fit.
[Additional Resources: Podcast Your Way to Greater Author Brand Recognition]
How to Pitch Podcasts
You have your list of podcasts to reach out to and know the topics you’re comfortable talking about, so what next?
It’s time to pitch those podcasts!
You don’t need to overcomplicate this, just send a simple email that explains who you are and why you think you’d be a good fit for the show. Remember to say something that builds a connection, such as a recent episode you enjoyed or something you have in common with the host. This shows you have done your research and are genuinely interested in the host and their show, rather than sending blanket pitches.
Sample Guest Podcast Pitch
Most importantly, it’s not all about you and your book, it’s what you can offer the audience.
So you could say something like:
Hi [Podcast host’s name],
My name is [Your name] and I’m the author of [your book]. [If your book has several 5-star reviews or a great testimonial from someone noteworthy, include that here as social proof].
I’ve been listening to your podcast for a while now and particularly enjoyed your recent episode[s] about [include something from your research here].
I noticed you usually have guests for your podcast and I think I would be a
good fit for your listeners. [Say why you would be a good fit and list two or three of your topic ideas].
Let me know what you think.
As with guest blog pitches, you want to follow up once or twice if you don’t get a response straight away.
Recording the Podcast
Podcast interviews have an advantage over blog posts as you can usually get them recorded much faster than writing an article. The downside is that you can’t get all your ideas straight beforehand.
You should prepare a few key points that you want to get across that will let people know you have published books and create curiosity for them. Most podcast hosts will also ask where people can find you, so prepare a short script that summarises where you can be found online and give a link to a free gift you have prepared—your reader magnet.
If you are a fiction author and speaking on a seemingly unrelated podcast, such as the aforementioned gardening or rock climbing, you will want to prepare a segue into talking about your books. Perhaps you include gardening or rock climbing somehow in your books, or perhaps these are hobbies you take up when you have writer’s block. Whether there is a clear link or not, you need to prepare a way of mentioning that you are a fiction author, with an author website, which can be found at www.rockclimbingauthor.com, for example.
Preparing this statement will ensure you don’t forget anything or find yourself mumbling awkwardly. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading it from a script, though, so practice with a friend or even out loud on your own until you are familiar with it.
You can mention your book titles and where people can buy them, but if you are trying to grow a mailing list, the most important thing to share is your reader magnet.
Leverage Your Guest Podcast
After recording a guest podcast, remember to thank the host. When you send your thank you email, you can ask for suggestions of other podcasts they recommend you reach out to—they may even offer to make an introduction.
Just as with guest blogs, one podcast interview will not work miracles for your book marketing; you need to be reaching out consistently to make a real impact. So always be on the lookout for new opportunities.
Once your guest podcast episode goes live, remember to help promote it by sharing it with your social media followers and your email list.
[Additional Resources: Amplify Your Author Media Interview]
Speaking of promoting on social media, next time I’ll be exploring how authors can best use social media as part of their book marketing strategy with a few handy Do's and Don’ts.
Until then, let me know in the comments below if you fancy giving guest podcasting a try.
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