Pitching, booking, and being the perfect podcast guest takes persistence and practice. Appearing on different shows is a tried and true method to growing a following, but there’s a lot that goes into the process. This week on Audience, we sat down with Kai Davis who is an expert on how to get the most out of podcast guest opportunities.
Davis been in the industry for over a decade. Through appearing and booking podcast guests, he helps podcasters, business owners, authors, and more achieve their marketing objectives. He’s the authority on how to standout from the sea of pitch emails, why your pitches are being ignored, and how to help listeners become customers.
In this episode, Craig interviews this professional podcast guest and learns a lot along the way. Listen to the full interview above then read on for our favorite Kai-approved tips.
What’s The Biggest Pain Point Of Finding Podcast Guests?
Davis’ clients primarily come to him understanding the general pitching process but aren’t receiving any bookings. Or worse, no response at all. The time it takes to research, write an email, and find the host’s contact information is a commitment. And when that effort doesn’t bear any fruit, it is easy toss this strategy aside.
But there’s a better mindset to approaching podcast guests. Instead of a sprint, it is a marathon. Allocate a set amount of resources you can put towards booking guest appearances. Break it down by categories to keep yourself on track. Categories could include:
- Researching podcasts and finding the right contact information
- Refining and improving the pitch email
- Following up with potential podcast guest bookings
- Fielding guest requests for your own show
What’s The Most Common Mistake When Pitching Podcast Guests?
The primary way to get in touch with a host is via email. No matter if you’re pitching yourself or asking someone to appear on your podcast, the request typically follows a pitch template. This pitch is where most podcasters make the biggest mistakes.
To fix poorly worded pitches and standout from the crowd, Davis recommends approaching the process with more empathy. So what does empathy in pitch emails look like? It boils down to two main components.
The pitch angle
Being a guest requires providing value to both the host of the show and their audience. How and why you can provide that value should be the angle of the pitch. Follow these three steps to get started:
- Research the show’s back catalog to find topics or themes that are referenced often. This likely means the host enjoys talking about that subject matter and the audience likes hearing about it.
- Analyze how you can improve upon that topic and add more to the conversation. Are you an authority in a specific area or have experience overcoming a similar challenge? Figure out where you voice fits.
- Focus the pitch on the value their audience gains and why you’re the only person to deliver that value. It’s also important to relate how what you have to say relates to the overall theme of the podcast and aligns with the host’s vision.
All together, the perfect pitch has three legs. It’s composed of the thing you want to talk about, the overall theme of the podcast, and the interests, passions, or troubles of the audience. The legs need to be aligned, otherwise the guest opportunity won’t be successful. It doesn’t make sense for a guest to promote their new vegan cookbook on a podcast about barbecue
For example, you want to talk about your new vegan cookbook and found a podcast all about barbecue. While on the surface, it doesn’t appear there would be much overlap between each other’s audiences but you’ve done the research. The show’s host and audience are interested in grilling techniques and unique sauce combinations. You’ve noticed the host throws in ingredient substitution ideas throughout an episode to help listeners recreate the recipes with what’s already in their pantries.
Instead of angling the pitch around your favorite vegan dishes to directly promote the cookbook, you pitch the host on talking about popular meat substitutions and how to grill them to perfection. The audience wants doable recipes and techniques, the podcast’s theme is centered on barbecuing a range of foods, and you’re the authority on vegan eating. All three legs are aligned and the podcast guest spot is booked.
Invite the no and keep it brief
You may be reading “invite the no” and think we’ve lost it, but stay with us. Inviting the no means giving the recipient an out if you’re not the right podcast guest for them. While it may sound counter-intuitive, it actually helps the pitch stand out.
When Davis pitches podcast hosts, he always includes this one-liner: “If this isn’t a fit, let me know and I’ll hold off on following up. But if it is, please reply with [details he needs to secure the booking] and we can continue chatting.”
This line does invite recipients to respond with “this doesn’t sound like a fit”. But on the upside, this is a response many pitches don’t even receive. With a “no” comes an opportunity to improve future pitches and reduce some frustration that comes along with never hearing back. Another bonus is not wasting a follow-up email on someone who has no intention of speaking further. You’ll avoid clogging their inbox with repetitive requests and can pop back up after refining your pitch with a better angle.
The last key piece of advice to pitching with empathy is respecting the host’s time. A pitch email is meant to get to the point and isn’t the time to craft multiple paragraphs to slowly request a podcast guest spot. Instead, keep the email under 400 words and use paragraph breaks or bullet points to break up the text. Guide the reader to the most important points of the pitch and drive your value home.
How Do You Consistently Pitch Podcast Guests?
Remember Kai’s first piece of advice: shift your mentality to thinking about podcast guest pitching as a marathon, not a sprint. From there, create a more sustainable interview system using the right tools.
The key to a consistent pitch process is delegating as much of the process as possible to a tool. Trying to keep track of everything in your head is a recipe for disaster. He recommends Pipedrive, a customer relationships management tool that can manage contacts and track their journey through the pitching process. A quick review of the dashboard is quicker and easier than clicking through hundreds of old email threads to find where you left the conversation.
Booking podcast guest interviews requires lots of back and forth so finding the right CRM tool can be critical to your success.
How To Use Podcast Guest Interviews To Achieve Your Business Goals
Being a podcast guest is an opportunity to further a marketing or business objective. Davis argues this being a guest is a brand awareness play and not a strategy that will drive thousands of new customers in the short run. But how do you encourage the podcast’s audience to take the next step with your brand? The right catcher’s mitt.
Kai says it’s your job as the podcast guest to catch the audience and provide the path to interact with your business. The catcher’s mitt should be a landing page specifically set up for the interview episode. Contextually mention the interview, include show notes, and organically weave in what action you want the audience to take when they land on that page. No matter your business objective, from email acquisition, to purchasing your new book, to attending a live show, this set up will work.
Once the landing page is set up, don’t forget to mention the URL in your sign-off. Kai recommends something like, “The best thing to do after listening to this episode is to go to [URL], and [action you want the audience to take, like sign up for my newsletter].” When the audience goes to that URL, the action you asked them to do is front and center.
Set up the landing page before sitting down for the interview. This way, you’ll have the URL secured and can include it in your call-to-action.