How do you grow your business if you don’t have a budget set aside for marketing? You can only get to the front page of ProductHunt or Reddit so many times with your core product or service.
One of my favorite strategies for growth is through podcasting. No, I’m not talking about launching your own podcast but instead being a guest on interview-style shows.
In 2015, when I started Oscar Hamilton, my marketing budget was nonexistent. First, I was able to leverage my own personal network and get the first clients. In less than two months, I went from 4 to 12 paying clients by appearing on other people’s podcasts.
Here are a few podcasts that I did:
Whatever niche your business is in, there are thousands of interview-style podcasts out there with massive and highly engaged audiences who would love to chat with you. By doing these podcasts interviews you’ll be able to:
- Get targeted traction to your business
- Grow your own personal brand
- Get connected with interesting and influential people
- Become the go-to expert in the industry
- A juicy backlink for SEO purposes
A friend of mine appeared on John Lee Dumas’, Entrepreneur on Fire podcast and after the episode went live, within a week, he was invited to be interviewed for 50+ other podcasts. To this day, he still gets a few a few interview requests a week because of appearing on John’s podcast.
It’s not a coincidence, that entrepreneurs like Tony Robbins, Guy Kawasaki, and Seth Godin do more podcast interviews than TV appearances.
Without further ado, here’s the 5-step process to land podcast interviews and grow your business rapidly with a $0 marketing budget.
Step #1: Put together your one-pager
A good place to start is to put together a simple document that highlights who you are and what you’ve accomplished. This is your sales pitch and ideally, you want to have some sort of narrative, that would spark the interest of podcast hosts.
If you consider yourself very modest and think that you haven’t accomplished a lot of things worth mentioning, think about the stuff that makes you unique.
Think about the experiences, challenges, and life-lessons that you’ve gone through that would interest the listener. There’s only one you, and every single person has a different story to tell.
Here are a few things you could include in your one-pager:
- Your background
- Things you’ve accomplished
- An image of you
- Suggestions for topics & questions in the interview
Once it’s ready, save it as a PDF and you’ll attach it to the pitch you’ll be sending in a second.
Step #2: Find a partner in crime
In order to land twice as many interviews, you want to find a buddy who is also in the process of building their business.
Every time you appear on a podcast, after the formal interview part, you’ll tell the host about this one friend you have that would be amazing for their show and your podcasting buddy will do the same thing for you. Since referrals are the key in the podcasting world, you’ll secure twice as many interviews with the same amount of work.
Step #3: Put together a list of potential podcasts
Now is the time to find interview-style podcasts that you’ll reach out to. Head over to iTunes podcast section and pick a category that is closest to your niche.
As you scroll down, click on “All Podcasts” and you’ll be able to filter the podcasts by “Release Date”.If you haven’t done a lot of interviews in the past, it’s a good idea to first go after “smaller” podcasts for two reasons:
- You’ll get more comfortable with doing interviews.
- You’ll get more social-proof that you can later on use for “bigger” shows.
As you are browsing through hundreds of podcasts, there are three things that you should look at to decide whether a particular podcast is a good fit for you or not:
- Amount of reviews: Since iTunes doesn’t publicly show the number of listeners for a particular show, a good indicator for active listenership is to look for the amount of reviews a podcast has. Aim for podcasts with at least 30+ reviews.
- Release date: The podcast that you are looking at should have published an episode in the past few weeks.
- Is it interview-style show? Skim through the description or sometimes even the title to make sure that the podcast features guests, and isn’t just a one person talk show.
Something to note is that there are some shows with active and high listenership with a low amount of reviews. This is an exception in most cases.
When making your hit-list, it’s a good idea to keep track of everything in a simple excel or a doc file.
Step #4: Reach out
When I was running my first podcast, I did close to 200 interviews with entrepreneurs. I would get pitched daily from people who wanted to be on the show.
The majority of the pitches looked like this:
As you see from the above, it’s hard to tell whether the script was copied & pasted to hundred other podcasters.
If you want to stand out from the mediocre pitches, your first email should show that you’ve done your homework.
Here’s an email script that is highly effective:
This pitch is concise, highly personal and it provides all the information the podcast host needs to make a decision on whether you would be a good fit for the show. Once you already have a few interviews under your belt, make sure to mention them in your pitch for social proof.
Depending on the size of the podcast, you’ll be either communicating directly with the podcast host or with an assistant. For the timeline, bigger podcasts are often booked ahead 3-12 months, while tinier ones, your interview might take place within a few weeks.
Here’s the most important piece of advice – don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back or if a podcast rejects you. Mostly, it’s numbers game.
Step #5: Crush the interview
If you have never done any podcast interviews, it can feel nerve-wracking as the scheduled day creeps closer and closer. Let’s go over important stuff, so you’ll get the most out of this strategy.
Don’t stress about buying a fancy microphone. If you are just starting out, a regular pair of Apple earphones with a built-in microphone will do a good enough job. Just remember not to tap on the table in front of you or touch the earphones during the interview.
In most cases, you’ll get an email from the podcast host about the things they would like to cover. If not, it’s always a good idea to listen to an episode or two, to get a sense of the questions that might come up and the interview-style of the host. This gives you enough time to think through the possible questions and reflect on them before the interview.
Based on my experience, the best podcast guests are:
- Don’t over-sell their products and services
- Share personal stories
I once had a guest on my podcast, who connected every single question back to a page in his latest book without actually answering the question. As you guessed, the interview was never published.
So, how do you get the most out of every interview?
Put together a valuable resource
Almost every interview-style podcast ends with the host asking the guest to share a way listeners can reach or contact them. Many guests make the mistake of sharing all of their handles for social media, bunch of different websites, personal email, etc.
A better way to do it is to provide one call to action.
Put together a resource, such as a swipe-file, checklist or some sort of pdf that you’ll share at the end of the interview.
Here’s an excellent example from Bill Widmer that appeared on Entrepreneur on Fire podcast. Bill runs a SEO business, and he put together a free SEO consultation for the listeners.
Whatever resource you end up putting together, publish it on a unique URL (www.yoursite.com/podcastname) and share it at the end of the interview.
By using this strategy, you can also assess how effective a particular podcast has been in the terms of traffic/leads to your site.
Ask for a reference
After the formal part of the interview is over, thank the host for the opportunity and ask if there are any other podcasts you should be interviewed for. Podcasters often know each other, and in most cases, you’ll get a good reference.
If the host is unsure or doesn’t have an answer on the spot, don’t forget to send a follow-up email about it.
Mention your friend
You know how I asked you to pair up with a partner of crime? After the interview, tell the host about your friend and how they would be a perfect fit for the same podcast.
Your friend will do the same thing for you, and both of you will be booking twice as many interviews.
Record the interview
This might not be for everyone, but I record all of the interviews (and sales calls) in a raw format. Why? Because then I can later listen to them and reflect on what I could’ve done better.
This simple technique has helped me be more mindful about of such as “mmm”; “like”; and “ee” and avoid them during future interviews and real-life conversations.
If an interview is taking place on Skype, you can use eCamm to record both sides. Otherwise, if Zoom/ZenCastr or any other recording service is being used, I like to put my phone down and record it that way.
Step #6: Keep in touch with the hosts
You already know the value of having a great network, but I can’t overstress the importance of staying in touch with people. It takes just a minute to send a quick check-in email and it can open up some incredible opportunities for you.
I like to block out a few hours every month to send emails to people that I haven’t talked for a while. It’s not a lot of work, but giving people attention is crucial to building a lasting relationship.
Summing it up
If you are struggling with growth and don’t have a budget set aside for marketing, I really believe that doing podcast interviews is a highly effective strategy.
The best part is that when you do a critical amount of interviews, the snowball effect kicks in and you’ll start getting invited to more and more interviews without any extra work.
Put yourself out there even if the idea of doing interviews seems to be scary and don’t forget to enjoy the process.