My 7 best tips to help you pitch yourself as a podcast guest
So…you want to be a podcast guest.
I knew you were super smart! Doing guest interviews on other people’s podcasts is a fantastic way to share your message, usually for free, while representing your authentic personality, voice and vision.
I started my podcast because I wanted to meet more compelling women who are breaking the mold at work, lifting up other women and proving we can and do support one another. I LOVE sharing those stories and thank every woman who has helped make the show what it is so far.
At the time of this post, I’ve been a podcast host for a year and a half, and I’ve been a podcast guest a few times too. And in that time, I’ve seen a few really good pitches from potential guests. And a LOT of really terrible ones.
There are plenty of articles online about this already, but its clear even those who call themselves PR experts aren’t getting the message. So I offer you “how to pitch yourself as a podcast guest” based on my experiences as a host, guest, and PR expert (yep, I went to school for, and have worked in, Public Relations).
Here we go…my Top 7 Tips For Pitching Yourself As A Podcast Guest:
#1 Know My Show!
Listen to my podcast! Listen to a few recent episodes, preferably. Know what’s important to me as the host, the topics I speak about, who my audience is likely to be, and show me you’ve taken the time to show interest in my work before asking to be a guest. This is no different from how PR professionals effectively pitch stories to journalists. The relationship you build is often more important than the pitch itself. The usual rules of human interaction apply: take an interest in me and in my work, and I’m more likely to concern myself with yours.
I can’t tell you how many pitches I’ve received that go exactly like this: “I’ve just come across your podcast and I’m sure Jane Smith, who I represent, would be a great guest for your show. She’s a coach for women. Here’s her bio and headshot. Let me know if you’re interested or if you have any questions.”
I do have one question, actually: Does your client know the money she spent on your PR expertise is sitting in the bottom of my trash can?
Most often, I don’t reply to these. I find them insulting to the PR profession overall, to me and the work you’re asking me to do to promote your client.
Remember…PR isn’t an admin function – it’s a promotions job!
#2 It’s Not Even About You
Pitching yourself as a guest for my show really isn’t about you at all. It’s about my audience. Why do they need to hear what you have to say? How will it change their business or life? How will you help them?
Think about your pitch in terms of answering those questions, and your queries will get a lot more traction.
I don’t even need your entire biography until we decide to work together. Pitch your idea and we’ll get to the rest later. Your “30 Under 30” award doesn’t mean anything to my audience. Why you won it might. But don’t waste space and time telling me these things unless they mean something valuable to my listeners.
#3 How Can You Make My Job Easy?
Simply put, start with how you’ll help me put together a fabulous episode. Why is what you have to say important to my audience? Suggest a story idea – or a compelling perspective for the conversation that we could have on the show. What is a topic I haven’t yet covered that you think my audience needs to hear about?
This should be the rule of everything work-related, as far as I’m concerned. If you’re employed it’s called “managing up”. If you’re self-employed it’s about surprising and delighting your customer. If you want to be a podcast guest, make the host’s job as easy as you can.
Think about it this way…if you can’t come up with an interesting angle on your work, what makes you think I can or should?
#4 How Will You Promote Your Episode?
Show me how you’ll help promote your potential episode. Tell me about your following and your audience so I can easily decide whether those people will be a good fit for me, and my audience. This is a dance, between us. We are here to help one another so please don’t ignore this step. Make it about more than just your numbers and provide your social handles. Don’t assume I already know you, especially if your social handles aren’t easy to spell or figure out.
When I get a pitch that I think might be compelling, one of the first things I do is search for the person on social media. If they’ve mentioned other podcasts they’ve been guests on, I look to see how they promoted those episodes. You might be surprised to learn how little work most guests do to promote their own episodes. Again, if you’re asking me to do the all the work to promote you, your request isn’t very fair.
One of my guests (no, I will not say who – it has only happened once and the rest of my guests have been absolute SUPERSTARS) completely ghosted me the minute her episode went live. This, after promising to promote the episode in her online space, and asking me to complete a lengthy questionnaire and provide her with photos. She has never even once promoted or mentioned her episode, which is a shame because it’s one I’m particularly proud of and it gets a lot of downloads. Don’t be this person.
If you’ve been featured on other podcasts, or had your writing featured somewhere, please provide links in your pitch. This is a really helpful way for me to discover what kind of guest you’d be on my show, and I’ll be more likely to say yes.
The best interview episodes are a two-way street. If you come on my show, you get the long-tail marketing benefit of a growing audience of listeners who may hear your episode many months (even years) after it originally aired. The size of a podcaster’s audience only matters in the short term if you have something to promote that requires an immediate response, but don’t discount the longer-term impact of your interview being constantly available! I have some episodes from a year ago that are still downloaded as often as current ones. Either because the guest does a good job of promoting it, or because they helped create a compelling conversation to begin with.
#5 Give me the background info I need
If you’re an author, and are pitching your book, please send it to me – even online galleys, if possible. Don’t expect me to seek it out, or purchase it. I actually read my guest authors’ books (many podcast hosts do not) because I don’t believe in promoting what I haven’t used or read myself. I can see right through an episode with an author where the host clearly hasn’t read the book. I respect my listeners enough to know they’ll see through that too. If they’re taking time out of their day to listen to us, I want them to hear an informed conversation. So yes, if you’re an author, know that I do my homework but please don’t make me do my homework AND chase down your book.
#6 Don’t assume I need you more than you need me
This is a terrible way to start a relationship, first of all.
But, there’s lots of advice floating around out there in cyberspace telling potential podcast guests to target smaller shows at first because you’re more likely to get featured by hungry, growing shows that don’t get as many pitches. There is a certain amount of truth to this. But since the third episode of my show, I’ve been getting pitches from PR reps and individuals who want to be guests on She Breaks The Mold. I’ve said no to the vast majority of them, even though my show would be considered in the “small, still growing” category, because the potential guest wasn’t a fit for my audience, the pitch was completely unhelpful, or because I just didn’t have time left in my schedule.
I tend to stick very tightly to my brand and value proposition for my audience and I’m unlikely to be swayed from that because of your big numbers or well-known name alone. If you have a story that would be compelling to my listeners, that’s much more important to me than if you’re a best-selling author of 10 books and can get on any podcast you like. This probably means you’re also on every other podcast my audience is listening to, and they might actually be LESS likely to listen to my show because they’ve already heard what you have to say. Remember…tell me how you’d make your story compelling for MY listeners.
And finally, if you get booked as a guest on a podcast…
#7 Consider technology and prepare!
Consider my desire to create a professional show and help me do just that – it’ll make you look better too!
Let me know if you have a professional (or close!) microphone, or at least show up for the interview with earphones or earbuds with a microphone that will be near your face for the interview. Sitting in front of your computer, or in a noisy, public space, doesn’t make for good sound quality.
Technical glitches happen (on the host’s end too!) and often, there’s nothing that can be done in the moment to predict or prevent them. But if you receive instructions from your host, please follow them on interview day. And if the host has sent you an overview for the interview, or a list of potential questions, please assume they’ll be part of the interview and prepare your answers. It makes everyone concerned look so much more professional!
How to be a guest on She Breaks The Mold
Now that you have the tips, if I haven’t scared you away (!), here’s how to pitch me to be a guest on She Breaks The Mold.
I’m a business coach and consultant for ambitious, entrepreneurial women. My audience tends to be 60/40 Canada/US right now with a smattering of listeners in Australia and the UK (please tell more of your friends!).
I believe financially empowered women will change the world and will invest in solutions to our biggest problems once we realize the power of our combined wealth. Because of this, I do a lot of money mindset, leadership voice, courage, presence and business model development work with my clients.
I do a combination of solo and interview episodes on issues that interest women entrepreneurs. You might offer a service or product that women business owners require, or you might want to share your trials and tribulations (along with helpful suggestions) as a woman business owner. One caveat: being a woman with a business isn’t enough. You need to be prepared to discuss societal issues that concern or affect you as a woman entrepreneur, and how you’ve tried to manage them. There needs to be something behind your story that makes it compelling beyond just identifying as a woman and running a business.
As a business coach for women myself, I’m more likely to interview you if your coaching practice offers something mine does not. Otherwise, I’ve probably talked about your topic, or plan to in an upcoming episode.
If the work you do serves to lift up other women, support disadvantaged women in an interesting way, or highlights societal inequities like the pay gap, sexual harassment or other issue still facing women today, I especially want to hear from you.
Email me at janet @ beambitiousforher.com with your story idea, short background, and other links I would find helpful (see above or CLICK HERE to get my free checklist) and we’ll go from there. I look forward to meeting you.
Thanks for coming to my TED talk 🙂