Are you looking to get yourself or clients interviewed on a podcast? Well, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is, according to PodcastHosting.org, there are two million (2,000,000!) podcasts out there with more than 48 million episodes available.
The bad news is, there are two million (2,000,000!) podcasts out there of varying quality and audience size.
What does that mean for you if you’re seeking a good fit for your topic that has a decent-sized audience? How do you make that podcast love connection?
I’ve podcasted off and on since 2006. Around 2018, I went from being a hobbyist podcaster to a serious producer of two shows that have quickly built an excellent niche fan base. I’ve also guested on numerous podcasts and live streams. That experience on both sides of the mic has given me a perspective on finding good shows to pitch yourself as a guest.
In this post, we’ll cover how to find and evaluate podcasts so you don’t waste your time on shows with poor quality or audiences that are a little too niche in size. (I’ve also covered how to be a good guest once you are booked on a show here and how to get yourself booked here).
So, you’re looking for good shows to pitch? Let me simplify it for you with the things I am looking for when researching for a client interview.
One of my favorite places to find guests is with MatchmakerFM. No, it’s not the dating service, though it kind of is, really — if you’re looking for that elusive love connection with a podcast.
It’s a service (available with a free “lite” option) that helps podcasts and guests find each other. I interviewed its founder, James Mulvaney, shortly after it started; it now has more than 28,000 members.
As a guest, you can create a profile (here’s mine) to showcase your expertise and introduce yourself to podcasts in your niche. I love that there’s no cold pitching — people on MatchmakerFM expect to hear from you. They also help get rid of the dreaded email chains because you manage your communications in-app.
When you search for your types of shows, you will find the profile pages (here’s mine and my other one) of podcasts. From there, you can evaluate them for yourself. I also like, as a producer, to be able to decline pitches temporarily. MatchMakerFM is so great at connecting my shows I am booked solid for the next four months. (Disclosure: I like it so much, I became a founding member.)
Another essential way to evaluate podcasts is to find out how big their audience really is. Now, as a small, niche podcast producer, I am the last person to tell you to avoid shows that don’t have Joe Rogan numbers. My shows speak to a dedicated niche who are fiercely interested in the subject matter, which to my mind, is a huge benefit. I’d rather talk about my novels with two thousand or so listeners who read and buy books. However, you should get a general idea.
Rephonic is a great tool to get an idea of the show’s downloads per episode, along with social media engagement, ratings, and reviews. You can even drill down to specific episodes and make notes, build lists, listen to episodes, and search by topic. It’s a pretty Cadillac site — and isn’t free — but if you are looking to find the right shows, it’s a monster way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
So, using these great tools (and there are plenty more out there — Google around), keep these criteria in mind as you listen and evaluate:
· The show has at least a few dozen episodes. I don’t want to serve up my clients to a show that doesn’t have its sea legs. My first couple of dozen shows were pretty rocky. So, unless it’s an established podcasting/broadcasting pro starting a new show, I pass on shows without at least a couple of dozen episodes and definitely shows that are inconsistent. Listeners lose interest in shows that fall off the earth for weeks every couple of episodes.
· They interview people regularly. Shows that don’t often do interviews usually have a few things in common: hosts unskilled in conducting interviews and little experience managing the technical side of interviewing via the internet or in-person are big concerns. It’s often pretty frustrating to get on shows that don’t have experience in the interview process, from booking to post-show promo.
· Sound. The podcast pays attention to being heard clearly. Show me a great interviewer with a lousy mic or a lack of understanding of ambient noise, and I’ll show you a podcast that people don’t listen to.
· The host. Is the host at ease on their show? Do they know how to make an interview interesting, or are they just reading questions off a sheet of paper? I prefer to book and be booked on shows with hosts who can have an actual conversation. Why? People like to listen to an interesting discussion, not a rote Q&A session, ala Dragnet. The other thing is to pay attention to how guests are treated. For example, (and oh boy, this happened to me) getting booked on a show where the co-hosts spend most of the interview time prattling at each other, leaving the guest to fend for herself.
· The show has a website. I prefer shows with an independent website that specifies its focus, links to where to listen and subscribe, and a robust show notes section. Why? I want my client’s appearance memorialized in a show notes page that has links to their website (good for SEO!), their books/products, and other info. Bonus if you can listen right there on the site so people don’t have to hunt the episode down. On my show notes pages, I provide all sorts of links, and you can listen to show audio via YouTube right there.
· The show audience will be interested in you. Don’t waste time pitching something the show won’t be interested in. Of course, there are always exceptions, but you’re going for the highest quality targets to spread your message. So, asking the guys doing a local sports roundup podcast to interview you about your horticulture webinar is probably futile and will annoy the podcasters.
· Social media and promo. Does the podcast promote its episodes on social media or via newsletter? Do they have a sizable social media following? If not, you may be “shouting into the void.” That can be okay if you need interview practice time, but remember, you are doing this to build awareness and find new fans or customers for yourself or clients — that is tougher with shows that don’t actively promote.
Finding the right show out of millions takes time. Still, if you pay attention to how a podcast sounds, looks and promotes itself, you’ll find it a more productive experience.
Be sure to read my post on how to be a good podcast guest here. I am the host and producer of the Mysterious Goings On and PR After Hours podcasts. If you would like to be a guest, please visit the websites.
Check out my new ebook “The Podcast Option” for stories, practical tips, and advice from my hundreds of hours as a podcast host, producer, and guest. The Podcast Option is mandatory reading for those new to podcasting, and welcome addition to the veteran podcaster’s library.