Pitching Podcasts - why you should do it

Podcasts are having 'a moment', blossoming the way blogs did a decade ago. And that means there are a lot of new podcasts in search of guests. This is an excellent opportunity for easy publicity. Just by being an adventurer, however modest, you tick a whole lot of boxes:

  • changing your life, journey of self-discovery, following your passion
  • self-motivation, achieving goals, overcoming obstacles
  • being self-employed, personal branding, solopreneur
  • adventure, travel

You can get two big benefits from putting  yourself forward for podcast interviews:

  1. Publicity (which can then be repurposed for a second round!) 
  2. Practise in the essential art of articulating your story

Practise in telling your story is a major benefit!

You have to be able to articulate your adventure journey in intelligible, engaging ways. It lies at the heart of pitching possible sponsors, doing media interviews, and selling talks afterwards. If you always try to hide behind the written word, you are severely limiting your options. 

Telling your story well is an art. I am sitting on an interview with an adventurer who raised a lot of money. But the transcript is a nightmare. They just vomited words. The sentences have no beginning and no end. They lurched wildly from one idea to another. It's too much work for me to turn it into a coherent post. 

I spoke recently to Sarah Williams of the Tough Girl podcast and she told me about a guest who was so monosyllabic in her answers, that Sarah had to say that she couldn't use the interview. 

Pitching yourself to podcasts is excellent training in creating a compelling pitch, and in then delivering an engaging interview. Every time you do it, you will be better at it! 


How to Make the Most of Podcast Interviews 

Being a podcast guest has three big benefits from your point of view:

  1. It's very easy to do. You agree a time with the host, and then chat away via Skype or Zoom (or whatever recording platform they are using). Done! Much less work than writing a guest post or typing answers to interview questions. 
  2. It's a very intimate connection to the listener. You are talking to them one-on-one, your voice into their ear. It's more personal than any written interview will ever be. 
  3. If you are organised, you can repurpose the content via a transcript of the interview - turn that into a blog post for your website, or a guest post for someone else. 

And it has two drawbacks:

  1. Because the audience are listening, not reading, they can't click on your social media links or even see how your name is spelled. It's hard to get them to take action to find you / follow you. It can hard to get them to remember what your name is! 
  2.  Because it is easy to do - just talk! - it is easy to do badly. You might waffle endlessly without sharing your key messages, or forget to promote your social media feeds, or fail to explain why you and your adventures are interesting, and therefore worth following. 

How to get a guest spot

You tend to get onto podcasts in one of two ways.

1. Podcasts actively looking for guests

You can find lists of podcasts looking for guests by subscribing to media services like:

  • SourceBottle - free, mostly media interviews / blogging but some podcast offers "Up to two emails a day, and you can restrict your interests via a topic list."
  • RadioGuesList - free (too many emails) or for best value, $4.97 a month for a weekly digest of podcast offers.
  • Podcast Guests - an email every Monday. 

[Related blog posts:
What Are Media Enquiry Services?
How To Use Media Enquiry Services Effectively.]

Always check out the podcast beforehand. Not every ask is a good fit for you. 

When responding, make sure your pitch of yourself as a guest shows that you've paid attention to their pitching requirements, and you've thought about how your experience fits their theme. Don't just copy and paste an identical pitch to every podcast. And make it clear you will partner with them in promoting the episode. 

Podcasts actively looking guests may well be new, with small followings. If the fit is good, don't be put off. You still get content to share on your own social media. And if the podcast catches fire in the future, listeners will investigate the backlist. 

2. Podcasts where you are cold calling

If you are trying to get interviewed on a popular podcast, do not simply send a cold-call pitch. Establish a relationship first.

  • Subscribe to the podcast and leave an enthusiastic review. 
  • Follow them on social media. Actively comment on, and share, their posts. 
  • Try to engage - get the host to know you as a person. 
  • Then send your (no longer icy cold) pitch, carefully planned out to explain why your interview would be an asset on their podcast. 

You've got the podcast interview booked! How do you make the most of the opportunity? 

How to be a Great Guest

Beforehand

  • Listen to at least one episode of the podcast
  • Follow them on social media
  • Send them a good photograph, along with a short (roughly 150 word) biography, and all the links you'd like them to share
    • the first time you do this, make a folder of the materials so you have them on hand for the next interview
    • don't send everybody the same photo - start collecting good photos of yourself looking suitably adventurous and keep them somewhere you can find them easily
  • Respect the theme of the podcast. Think through beforehand where your experience meets their area of interest. Don't trot out the same stories / taking points / conclusions in every interview, no matter who the podcast audience is. 
  • Don't expect the podcast host to have done hours of research into your background. You are probably best positioned to judge what questions about you will be interesting to the audience. Share them beforehand with the host as suggestions, or steer the interview in that direction. 

During

  • Have notes on hand of the three key things you want to say and the one key place you want the audience to go on the internet to find you. (Pay attention the social media the host uses - if they live on Instagram, share your Instagram. If they are big on Facebook, share your Facebook). 
  • Beyond that, don't be like the politicians who stick to their talking points to the point of absurdity. Let the interview be a conversation. Follow it to whatever interesting, unexpected place it takes you. 
  • If you are having to do the interview while tired / stressed / distracted, stand up while you talk and make yourself smile. The first brings energy into your voice and the second brings warmth.

Afterwards

  • Share the interview on all your social media properties (and then make yourself a reminder to re-share every few months, whether you use scheduling software or just make a note in your calendar).
    • keep a list of links to interviews you've done and the podcast producer's social media handles, for easy re-sharing
    • when sharing always include their handle, so they get to see it, and (hopefully) re-share. 
  • Have a page on your website for your media interviews, and link to the podcast episode. This proves your credibility as a guest (useful for future media opportunities) and it helps the podcast host (those backlinks are very useful). 
  • Share the love! After your interview, suggest other suitable, interesting guests to the podcast host. It keeps you in touch with the host (which might get you a second interview), it helps your acquaintances who want publicity. They in turn may suggest you for media opportunities. 

Re-purposing your podcast interview

If you are organised, you can get a second round of content from your podcast interview. This is also useful when you realise you were on fire during the interview! You were showering pearls of wisdom on the audience. But now that it is over... you can't remember what you said. 

You can check with the podcast host whether they do transcripts of the interviews. Some do, but not all. Better is to record the interview yourself. If you use Skype, Call Recorder is an easy way to do this. Then get it transcribed.

  • Do it yourself. Free, but time-consuming. 
  • Look for a freelance transcriber on a website like Upwork or Fiverr. (There are some very good transcribers available, based in countries like Indonesia.) 
  • Use a software solution, like Trint. (Less expensive, best for simple audio, more errors.)
  • Use a human solution, like Rev. (More expensive, more accurate.) 

Use the text as the starting point for an article for your blog, or a guest post for someone else. 


How Can The Business of Adventure Help You? 

  1. I subscribe to various media enquiry services and then include interesting podcast and media opportunities in the weekly newsletter. (Sign up below!)
    Ash Routen got this CLIMBTALK interview, after seeing the opportunity in a The Business of Adventure newsletter. 

  2. For people actively engaged in my community, I may reach out (normally via Twitter) and suggest they pitch a suitable podcast. 
    Love Her Wild's Bex Band got this interview on A Sustainable Mind podcast because I saw the pitch and DMed it to her. 

  3. I walk my talk! I pitch to podcasts for my own publicity, as a climber and a motivational speaker. And to promote The Business of Adventure. I then suggest other guests to the hosts.
    I have recently got podcast interviews for Caspar Craven and for Oscar Scafidi - both of whom had been featured on this website, both of whom are currently promoting books. 

For this to work, I need to know you.

  • I need to know what you do or have done. (So I can pitch you correctly.)
  • I need to know that you are professional and articulate. (Because I put my reputation on the line when I recommend you.)
  • I need to know that we have a reciprocal relationship. You support my work as I support yours. (Because reaching out to people, or recommending then, takes time.) 

Podcast interviews I have done in 2018:

Let's start the relationship! Find me on Twitter @CathyODowd and @BizOfAdventure, or on Instagram @CathyODowd. And sign up for the newsletter (below) to get weekly media opportunities - along with tips, news and adventure grants - in your inbox every Monday. 

  Cathy O'Dowd,  interviewed on Your Speaking Career podcast , about how to make your adventure experience relevant to corporate audiences.

Cathy O'Dowd, interviewed on Your Speaking Career podcast, about how to make your adventure experience relevant to corporate audiences.