I didn’t think it was a big deal. We assumed these were typical results for those who focused and did the work.
The gaping mouths and the bulging eyes were our first clues. My next clue should have been when one podcaster told me he gets 50 to 100 pitches a week and he chose ours. Finally, reality set in like a bolt of lightning striking fifty feet in front of me. The words still rumble in my head like fading thunder echoing through the sky:
“I’ve never known anyone who booked 53 podcasts in two months.” – Ryan Deiss
When Ryan said that from the stage at the M3 Mastermind, I finally realized my wife had done something extraordinary. This was no surprise.
She is an amazing woman. Anyone who read her CaringBridge journal in 2021 already knows that. TLDR: The doctors gave up on me and told her to “pull the plug.” She didn’t. She prevailed. I’m alive.
So, in March of 2023 I asked her to come to my rescue again. This time it was much lower stakes. I asked her to get me booked on podcasts.
Why Pursue Being a Podcast Guest?
Guesting on podcasts is a way to expand your own audience. According to ListenNotes, there are more than three million podcasts. The podcast hosts did the time consuming work of building their audience. And as a podcast guest, you get nearly effortless access to that audience.
Guest interviews are a great way to build your authority. Almost every host launches the podcast episode talking about how awesome you are. Their audience trusts them… and now their audience – the podcast listeners – trust you.
Your guest podcast interview will drive business and opportunities. Our 90-day rolling pipeline report tells that story best. “FTO Deals”, our discovery call metric, is up 700% compared to the prior 90-days when we weren’t guesting on podcasts.
“FTOs Sold” means we closed a new client. That’s up 400% compared to the prior 90-days. And we expect that to rise further because most of the discovery calls haven’t happened yet.
Our podcast focus started within this 90-day view. Most of the podcast episodes are scheduled to go live in the next couple of months. And yet we’re seeing triple-digit 90-on-90 growth on our most important metrics.
Look closer and you’ll see another hidden nugget. Double-digit lead growth drove triple-digit opportunity and sales growth. That’s what authority does for you.
If you’re running out of ways to unleash an instant triple-digit firehose on your business, then read on. I’ll show you how we did it.
How to Get on a Podcast: How it Started
Be careful when you curse adversity in your life. If you let adversity be your mentor, it will rip the scales off your eyes and a world of new opportunities becomes crystal clear. And that’s what happened here.
It began in November 2022 when NCR laid off my wife, Karen. We’re not upset with NCR. They’ve been wonderful to Karen. For the three months I was in the hospital, they let her work half-time while paying her full-time. But the layoff was a shock.
While Karen was trying to figure out her “next thing,” I asked her if she could get me booked on podcasts. She clearly knocked the cover off the ball and accidentally found her “next thing.”
Her first step was research. Why would a podcast host want me on their podcast? Podcast hosts receive tens or hundreds of pitches each week. They’re looking for their ideal podcast guests. So, the outreach email is key.
Create a Personalized Outreach Email for Each of the Podcast Hosts
Sorry, there are no shortcuts here. Automated mass outreach won’t get you guest appearances on any of the relevant podcasts.
I’ll break down one of Karen’s emails step-by-step so you can see the key elements.
[graphic: conceptual image of a structured step-by-step email]
The Intro: Praise the Podcast Host for Their Mission
Praise the host for their mission. Connect with their “Why.” Go to their podcast page. They’ll almost certainly make their mission clear there. They’ll also help you identify their target audience. Make sure their target audience aligns with your target audience. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time.
Here’s an example of Karen’s intro:
My name is Karen and I work on behalf of Craig Andrews. We have been listening to your podcast and love what you are doing!
Make sure you get their name right!! Ryan Deiss said he gets outreach emails every week praising him for his interviews on the DigitalMarketer podcast. The problem is Ryan doesn’t do the podcast. Getting the host’s name wrong is the first clue that you’re doing spammy outreach.
Next, praise their mission. We could improve this outreach by being specific in praising the mission we see them fulfilling. That would probably boost our results further. But even this generic simplicity has been working. But that’s because of the next paragraph.
The Intro: Reference a Specific Podcast Episode and What Your Learned
This is the most time-consuming part of the process. And no, you can’t automate this.
A leading podcast host achieved their vaulted position by being selective in their podcast guests. So, your window of opportunity is through a few scarce words that communicate you’ll be a great podcast guest. And great podcast guests speak to their audience by knowing their audience.
So, you need to listen to an episode. Make your outreach email reference:
- A specific episode.
- A specific guest.
- A specific insight you got from that episode.
Here’s what that looks like in Karen’s outreach:
We recently listened to your podcast with Tom Sharp about Strategy Patterns for Business Growth. We really appreciated his idea that you need to know yourself, your boundaries and your goals and doing the work to understand those goals.
BOOM! Do that and you just distinguished yourself as a podcast guest that cared enough to actually listen to their podcast. You don’t have to listen to all the podcast interviews. One is enough.
Now you have their attention. Next you must prove you’ll bring the goods to serve their audience.
The Meat: Bring the Heat and Add Value to the Podcast Listeners
Bring something new to the table. You’re not going to get booked by pitching “How to Grow Your Business Using Facebook Ads.” That was fresh and relevant about a decade ago. But you may get booked with something more current like:
How you can overcome Facebook’s recent trend of reduced targeting with four carefully selected headline elements.
In our case, we specialize in accelerating high-ticket sales. So, we wanted to find podcasts that had a podcast audience with people that fit that description.
In 2023, high-ticket businesses are struggling closing deals. So, our guest podcasting is focused on building irresistible First-Time Offers to overcome the tough economic conditions. This is a great message for podcast audiences that are struggling with sales. Here’s what that looks like in Karen’s email:
Craig has some fresh thoughts for our currently tough economy that he thought would benefit your audience.
He specializes in First-Time Offers that serve as a “coffee date” to begin an engagement with a potential customer. Help before you sell!
Again, our goal isn’t to be on all the podcasts – just the ones with our ideal customers. So, we want the message to enchant our perfect podcast hosts while repelling other podcasts that aren’t ideal.
Once you have them enchanted, next deal with their fear.
The Promise: Convince the Podcast Hosts You’re Not a Greedy Bastard
The podcast world is about giving – not taking. So, don’t be a greedy bastard.
Unfortunately, the world is oversupplied with shysters and takers. Your outreach email needs to quickly communicate that your guest appearance will focus on giving. Promise a free gift for the podcast host’s audience.
Here’s what that looks like in Karen’s outreach:
He would love to offer a free gift to your audience as an additional way of adding value.
When you do that, you quickly communicate that you understand the unwritten agreement. It demonstrates your giving nature in action. It also communicates you’ve done this for other podcasts – so you’re an expert guest and a giver. Win-win-win…
But that’s not enough. You’ve got to bring more to the table.
The Sizzle: Promise to be an Interesting Podcast Guest
Beuller… Beuller… Beuller…
Ben Stein brought humor to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by being the most boring economics teacher on the planet. But let’s be honest… you’re no Ben Stein.
Unlike Ben Stein, you have not mastered the craft of being entertaining by being boring. The only way you’ll land on someone else’s podcast is by being interesting. Promise to tell a story. Look through your life and find interesting stories that tie into your core message.
Here’s what that looks like in Karen’s outreach:
A few interesting things about Craig:
He spent 6 years in the Marines.
He lived and studied in Japan.
He received a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and later figured out he loved marketing.
In 2021, he spent 3 months in the hospital and woke up from a coma only able to wiggle a finger and a toe. His recovery has been a miracle.
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Life gifted me with a white-knuckled story of narrowly escaping death. So, yes, I pimp the heck out of that story. But I’ve discovered that some podcast hosts really don’t care about my near early departure from this world.
Karen offers a variety of interesting life events so the podcast host can pick one that interests them most. Look through your life and find interesting stories that you can use to illustrate core elements of your message.
The Close: Bring the Social Proof
Top hosts want to know that you’ve been on other podcasts. Nobody wants to train you on being a great podcast guest. It may feel like podcast access is limited to those who’ve already been on a bunch of podcasts.
But every podcast guest started with their first podcast. Then they went on more podcasts and built social proof. That’s been the case with me. Here’s how Karen handles that:
Craig has presented at Conversion Conference, various Vistage groups and other podcasts.
Karen used what we had in our arsenal. Yes, I have been on two or three podcasts. In one case I was episode #3 on a podcast that shut down after the 4th episode. But that’s still social proof.
If you’re just starting out, get a testimonial from your mom. Hopefully she thinks you’re awesome. Figure out what group she’s involved in… like her neighborhood gardening group. Speak to them about something that interests them. Here’s what that review looks like:
Craig brought an amazing message to the East Peoria Gardening Club. Everyone was captivated by his stories of how rosemary represents the essential spice that should be a part of everyone’s garden of life.” – Mary Andrews, President of the East Peoria Gardening Club.
Get on one podcast and use that as social proof to get on bigger podcasts. Remember, you’re not alone. If you’re trying to break into the guest podcasting space, there are also many new podcast hosts trying to break into the space as well. You’re perfect for each other.
The Close: Give a Call-to-Action to be Their Next Podcast Guest
It’s easy to forget the Call-to-Action (CTA). Don’t let it be implicit. Actively call the host to action. We steal some wisdom from Chris Voss and structure our CTA to be a natural “No.”
Would it be a ridiculous idea to set up a call to see how he can meet the unique needs of your listeners?
Notice how the CTA brings the focus back on their audience instead of you. That reinforces the idea that you’ll bring value to their audience.
Other Things Podcast Guests Need to Consider
Of course there are other things you need to consider in addition to the outreach email. Maximize use of the podcast directories. I recommend you create a speaker page that includes speaking examples, your bio, head shots and other assets.
Those are each a subject of their own. So, we’ll talk about those in other articles. But that doesn’t mean you should wait. Today is the time to begin your journey as a podcast guest.
Stop reading. Set your timer. Use the next 15-minutes to write your first draft of your podcast outreach email. You can perfect it later.
Put it to Work – Get Booked as a Guest
This journey began because I heard Lauren Petrullo proclaim her goal. She set out to get on 100 podcasts before the end of the year. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Neither did Karen. So, we set the same goal.
One of my favorite quotes is by General George S. Patton:
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
General Patton was the only allied commander that Field Marshal Rommel feared. Patton’s philosophy allowed him to make the impossible possible.
If there’s any genius in what we’ve done it’s that we set a crazy goal and aggressively pursued it. We were so ignorant of podcasting that we didn’t realize how exceptional our results were until several folks told us. Now it’s your turn. Go and do the same.