Everyone benefits from some self-promotion. You should consider podcast appearances as a method of promoting yourself. I’ve been a guest on over 30 podcasts in 2016. None of them invited me to be a guest. I pitched my appearance to each one (and many more). I’ll share with you how to pitch a podcast appearance.
Podcasts are a good medium to share your message. You can build your personal and professional brand. You can raise awareness of a cause or product. You can find new opportunities and reach new people.
You shouldn’t be concerned about cold-pitching a podcast host or producer. They appreciate people reaching out. It helps reduce their effort of finding new guests for the show.
Here are some additional reasons to consider adding podcast appearances to any self-promotion/marketing effort you undertake:
Diversity - There are thousands of podcasts with varying formats, topics, and audiences.
Longevity – Your episode will be available online for years to come. You have the potential to reach new listeners at any given time.
Cost – You don’t invest time or money traveling to interview on a podcast. You can record remotely using Skype and an inexpensive headset with a microphone. I use a Logitech ClearChat headset (as recommended by Jason Ogle from the User Defenders podcast).
Reach – Podcasts have drastically different sized audiences. I’m unsure how to accurately estimate a podcast’s audience. I can tell you some podcasts appearances have driven quite a bit of traffic to my personal website, and others almost none.
Choosing a Podcast
First, you need to identify a podcast to pitch your appearance as a guest. I use iTunes to find relevant podcasts. iTunes lists podcasts in topic based categories. I select podcasts based on topics I have experience in: psychology and design, and alcohol abuse.
I often pick podcasts listed in the “New and Noteworthy” section of the categories I search. I assume these podcasts are still building their guest lineups. I read the podcast description and listen to an episode or two before pitching. It wouldn’t be good to pitch an interview appearance for a show that doesn’t have guests.
Finding Contact Information
Finding the correct contact information can be difficult. Sometimes you can find contact information listed in the podcast description on iTunes. iTunes also links to a website for each podcast. You can usually find a contact button, email address, or submission form on these sites. You can also try twitter or the Facebook page of the show. I've had no luck finding contact information for some of the podcasts I've wanted to pitch.
Your pitch should take this basic structure:
- Introduction – Pitch your topic, and then yourself as a guest. I recommend that order. Get your foot in the door with a relevant topic, and then put yourself in the equation as the expert to discuss it. You need to convince the host your pitch topic is worthy of an episode.
- Supporting information (if any) – What value do you add to the show? What experience do you bring that listeners will find insightful? How can you get the host excited you have offered them your voice?
- Brief bio – What is your relevant background, titles, and accomplishments? Hosts often read this information during your intro, and include it in the show notes. So be accurate.
- Close – Thank the person and be sure to provide your contact information.
Here’s a generic example of a pitch I would send:
Dear [Host or Producer],
I’m writing to pitch a show topic and ask to be a guest on [Podcast]. I would like to suggest having an episode on the application of principles of psychology to design. Psychology is inherent to everything we design for human use, particularly [topic of podcast e.g. web design or eLearning]. I would like to appear as a guest on this episode as well.
I am a UX research director, author, and speaker. I have recently completed a book on the topic I’m pitching, Design for the Mind, available now from Manning Publications - https://www.manning.com/books/design-for-the-mind My publisher would be willing to offer a discount code for your listeners to purchase the book.
Here is a little more info about me:
Victor frequently writes and speaks on the application of psychology to design. He has written for A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, UX Booth, User Experience Magazine (UXPA) and many more. He is the author of Design for the Mind, a book on the application of principles of psychology to design. He is giving workshops at the IA Summit and the annual UXPA conference and speaking at several design conferences in 2016.
Thank you for any consideration you give to my pitch.
Please reply to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or would like to schedule a time to chat.
The Waiting Game
This is the toughest part. Response times will vary. You might never hear anything back. Your email or submission might go to a giant black hole. This is the worst case scenario – never knowing what could have been :)
You might hear back within an hour or a few days. This is the best result. Knowing yes or no with certainty allows you to move on with your plans. If your pitch is accepted, the host will likely send you a link to schedule a time for an interview. Some shows provide preparation information and questions in advance. Others will confirm the appointment, give you the contact details, and you won’t hear anything again until the day of the interview.
I’ve had a few scenarios where I’ve hear back months later. Usually these were people stating they had been traveling or otherwise unavailable. Some were acceptances, others were not.
Dealing with Rejection
Rejection comes with the territory when you pitch ideas – books, movies, songs, podcast appearances. Doesn’t matter. Get used to it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been rejected. I don’t take it personally. In fact, I’ve often used the motivation a rejection provides to improve myself or my pitch. Don’t let a fear of rejection hold you back. Embrace it.
Go Forth and Pitch
Please let me know if this post inspires you to pitch any podcast interviews. Do you have any experience pitching ideas or interview appearances? Please share what you’ve tried and found successful or not with pitching podcast and other interview appearances.