Podcasts are a great way to get any message out there. Whether you want to promote a product, improve your brand, or raise awareness around an important topic, they can help you reach new audiences.
But getting onto a podcast as a guest can seem like a pretty impossible thing to achieve, if you don’t know where to start. So here’s all you need to know to get yourself booked for appearances behind the mic.
Why Bother Guest Podcasting?
Guesting on someone else’s podcast is one of the best ways to get your content out there to a whole new batch of people, with little effort on your part.
Compared to other ways of marketing your stuff, guest podcasting quicker and easier. A bit of prep time, one thirty to sixty minute interview, and you’re done. All you have to do is have a conversation and record it, and you can count that as work! It’s way less effort than having to make your own video or audio. It’s also less stressful than going on live radio, as any mess ups can be cut out in the edit.
Whether you’re going on a top podcast with thousands of listeners, or a more niche one with a small, dedicated following, you can make great gains. Putting your message in front of a new group of people can only be a good thing. The podcast host has put in all the work creating an engaged audience, so you don’t have to. If the listeners trust the host, chances are some of that trust will rub off you too. This level of instant credibility makes your efforts so much more effective, as you don’t have to start from scratch to win people over.
So basically, getting on someone else’s podcast will get you a lot for very little effort. It’s a no-brainer really. But at this point the cats out of the bag. Everyone knows about the power of podcasts these days. So it’s becoming increasingly competitive to get booked on top shows. That’s why you’re going to need to come up with a dazzling pitch that will make hosts stop, take notice, and respond.
How to Prepare Before Writing Your Pitch
Writing a good pitch is an art. But like any art, with a bit of direction and practice, you can master it in no time. Here are some things you should think about when putting your pitch together.
Know What You Want
First thing’s first, you should figure out what you actually want from this. Are you trying to promote a new book, grow your audience for your own podcast, or get publicity for your brand? Whatever it is, something’s got to be driving you. Once you’ve pinpointed your goals, you’ll find it easier to decide what kinds of podcasts you want to guest on, and how to pitch yourself.
Do Your Research
A pitch that clearly doesn’t understand the podcast or how it works will go straight to the bin without a second thought. So you’d better do your research first. Before you even start making a pitch, listen to at least a couple of episodes. This will help you assess if you really are a good fit for the podcast. Take some notes from listening; this will help you personalise your pitch later.
What Can You Bring to the Table?
Make your pitch ideas relevant to what the podcast is about, without repeating what other guests have already said. What knowledge can you specifically bring? What do you have special insight on that other people might not have? Your goal is to show you have something to add to the conversation.
Feel free to think a bit outside the box. As long as you can bring a relevant angle, you can pitch to podcasts that might not be obviously connected to your expertise. For example, say you want to talk about fashion. You could pitch to a TV and film podcast, suggesting an episode about the styles of all the characters in your favourite show.
Get the Tone Right
The key is to get straight to the point. The host probably has dozens of pitches to wade through. A concise email that gets straight to business will be a blessing to them, and is more likely to get a response. There’s a time and a place for waffling, but this is not that time.
As for the tone, you’re going for polite, but more human than robot. They’re looking for someone who will be interesting to listen to, so injecting some of your own personality into your pitch is never a bad thing.
If You Already Have Credentials, Use Them
Any relevant experience you have helps prove you’re a reliable choice. Other podcasts you’ve guested on before show that you know what you’re doing, so link to them (if you have them). If you already have an audience, include links to your social channels too. Point out that you would promote your episode, so the host would benefit from your audience, as well as you benefitting from theirs.
If you don’t already have a huge following though, never fear. Of course having an audience helps, but don’t be put off if you don’t. As long as you persuade the host that you can create great content with them, an existing audience shouldn’t be a prerequisite for appearing on their show. But having great talking points lined up is.
Podcast hosts get pitches all the time. So if you don’t hear back straight away, don’t worry - they might not have gotten round to reading yours yet. But if it’s been a few weeks, feel free to send a polite follow up email. This will make sure your pitch hasn’t been lost forever in the clutter of cyberspace that is their email inbox.
Podcast Guest Pitch - Example Template
There is no cookie-cutter perfect pitch. The best pitches are those that stand out, and those are going to be ones that don’t follow some dry formula. They should be personal to the podcast and the ideas you have.
Having said that, it is useful to know what you might want to include in your pitch. So here’s an example of a template you could start with. But make sure you change it up a bit. The spray-and-pray approach to booking guest slots is getting less effective by the day!
This needs to be short and to the point. Don’t try to be too clever with any puns or cryptic meanings. You want the host to be able to immediately understand the point of your email from a glance at their inbox. Summarise your idea in ten words or less, and put the words ‘podcast guest pitch’ in the subject line, e.g:
Podcast Guest Pitch: Workplace Inclusivity for Disabled People
Keep this brief. Give relevant information that explains why you are best placed to talk about the topic you’re pitching, e.g:
Hi [podcast host name],
I’m [name], and I’m a [job title] at [organisation name]. I've worked on diversity and inclusion within our business for the past three years, particularly focusing on adapting workplaces for physically disabled people.
Why Do You Like Their Podcast?
This is where you show that you’ve actually listened to their podcast. Make sure you’re specific here, as it shows you’ve taken in what they talked about. Mention points from the episodes you listened to, e.g:
I really enjoyed the episode where you discussed making the workplace more inclusive for Black people. The archetype of an ‘angry black woman’ your guest talked about has made me see more stereotypes like that everywhere I look!
Ideas For Your Episode
Again, the key here is to be specific. Give two or three bullet points of talking points that you could go into depth for. Think about what you are uniquely positioned to give information on, and think about what their audience would want to hear. Give the episode title, or even a few example questions that you could answer on the podcast, e.g:
I believe there is a gap in the conversation where we don’t consider representation of disabled people. I have a few ideas of what I could talk about on your podcast to help fix this. I could make an episode on any of these, or any other ideas you have that your audience would find interesting.
- How to Make Hiring More Inclusive for Disabled People
- How Disability and Racism Intersects
- How to Adapt Your Workplace to be Disability Friendly
Relevant Credentials and Experience
This is the time to sell yourself. If you’ve got any credentials or a following already, show it here. If not, say a couple of sentences showing how excited you are about your ideas. This part should be all about proving that you’re the best person to talk about the topics you’ve suggested, e.g:
I have personal experience of the challenges of living with disability, as I was born with cerebral palsy. I have also worked with people with a variety of physical disabilities, including deafness, blindness and spinal cord injuries.
Contact Details and Links
Close the email by making it easy for the host to find out more about you and anything you want to promote. If you’ve mentioned anything like your social media accounts or your products, make sure you link out to all that stuff, e.g:
You can find me on Instagram at [link]. To find out more about the diversity schemes I’ve worked on in the past, check my LinkedIn profile, [link].
Common Pitching Mistakes
There’s a lot to think about to get your pitch right, and it’s easy to forget something. So here are four common mistakes to be mindful of:
Being Too General
If you’re not specific when talking about the podcast, the host might assume you don’t know enough about it. They might even question whether you’ve ever actually listened to it.
You should also make sure you’re not too vague when you’re talking about your own ideas for episodes. The more fleshed out your idea is already, the less work you’re leaving for the host. This is why you should always personalise your pitches. Templates are a great place to start, but if you don’t change them up enough you risk ending up on the reject pile.
Not Understanding the Podcast
There’s nothing more off-putting than someone who doesn’t know what the podcast they’re pitching to is really about. The host wants someone who can add to the conversation happening on their podcast. So you’ve got to know what that conversation is, and what people are already saying. If you don’t know this, you probably don’t really know enough to be convincing about why you’re a good fit for their next guest.
Focusing on What They Can Do For You
You’re trying to be persuasive here. So you’ve got to show that you can offer something that their audience will find useful and interesting. Going on about how you would benefit from being on their podcast isn’t going to convince them that you’re worth their time. Instead, focus on how they can benefit from you.
So simple, and yet so easy to forget. Make sure you proofread your pitch! Any spelling or grammar mistakes will make you look sloppy. Read your pitch aloud to check that your writing flows smoothly too.
MatchMaker.fm Makes Getting Bookings Easier
Getting all this pitching done can take a lot of time and effort. Finding which podcasts you want to guest on will likely take a good few hours of Googling. Then there’s the problem of not knowing exactly which hosts are currently looking for guests. Figuring out what method they use to accept pitches is a whole other step. It’s a fair bit of admin work!
Enter MatchMaker.fm. It’s like Tinder for podcasters. Instead of looking for love, hosts can find perfect guests. It streamlines the whole process. It’ll save you a lot of wasted time doing research on podcasts that turn out to be dead ends, like ones not looking for guests at the moment. MatchMaker also makes life easier for hosts too. It’s a win-win situation (and perhaps best of all it’s free to join!)
Podcast.co and MatchMaker.fm founder James Mulvany used the platform to get him booked on more than 30 podcasts in 30 days. In the video below, he outlines the process he used so you can do the same.
Ready, Set, Pitch!
There you have it, now you have all the tips and tricks you need to create an amazing podcast guest pitch.
Once you’ve got one podcast under your belt, the rest will come more easily. So it’s definitely worth it to work hard on your first pitches to get your foot in the door with your first guest appearance. Good luck!