How to Pitch to be a Podcast Guest
One of the fastest growing new media is undoubtedly podcasting. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that 57 million people listen to podcasts on a regular basis.
Approximately 20% of Americans over 11 have listened to a podcast in the last month. (That’s the same number that use Twitter!)
Depending on what source you believe, there are anywhere between 150,000 and 200,000 active English podcasters worldwide.
This last number is far more interesting to me because of what it means: There are a LOT of podcasters out there that need to fill time. They need an ongoing source of interesting speakers and fresh material. That need is the same that traditional media, such as television, radio, magazines and newspapers face. Their challenge that needs to be solved is how to find those sources in the most efficient way possible.
That’s why I created a “Heads Up” pitch – an email that tells a media outlet about your expertise and that you’re available for an interview or possibly to write a column if needed.
This same “Heads Up” pitch can be used, with slight modification, to pitch podcasters on having you on their shows.
So here are the main elements:
1. Clear information about contact. Often overlooked, you should indicate if the phone number you’re putting in the email is a cell phone or office phone. As a news writer, I would always go to the person with the cell phone first as there’s more chance I’ll get an answer.
2. Who you are. Your specialty, service or product. This is just a three-sentence introduction, but you need a credibility builder here – how many years have you been in business, the number of clients you have – something that quickly establishes you as the expert.
3. Potential titles for your talk, indicating that you’ve listened to the podcast and can speak to what the podcaster’s audience will get from it.
4. Why you would be a great interview? (Passion / knowledge / entertainment?)
5. What about your own audience? Can you bring listeners to the podcasters site from your contacts?
6. Links to examples – audio or video – to demonstrate your speaking skills and knowledge. If you have nothing yet, do a quick live hit on Facebook or record a short YouTube video.
Here are some other issues to keep in mind:
First, you HAVE to listen to the podcast you’re pitching to. You want to get an idea if you actually fit into the content well and be able to speak to this in your pitch. You need to see what kind of questions the host asks, how long do they give for answers? Do they let the guest talk or do you need to be succinct in your answers? If you can provide “good clip,” you’ll be asked back.
Second, keep in mind podcasts are a lot more chatty, natural, and certainly longer than traditional interviews with radio or television. A TV interview might be two to five minutes; a podcast 30-60 minutes, so there are a lot more personal questions asked in a podcast – about you personally, how you started your business, your challenges, etc.
Finally, while podcasts are more chatty, you don’t want to drone on. When you listen to a host’s previous podcasts, mark down a few of the questions that are asked and practise a few answers. This will enable you to come across more confidently on air, but also will give you a chance to make some notes on the relevant information that you want include.