Appearing on podcasts can increase your reach diversify your audience and give you very human exposure.  Done correctly it can be a great way to magnify your outreach. Done incorrectly it can be a frustrating affair for both you and the host.
Here are some tips from being on the other side of things that hopefully can help you not only pitch yourself to a show, but make the most out of it.  Note that some of the things mentioned are specific to the way I conduct my show and may not apply to all shows, but should be valuable none the less.
The pitch – When you pitch yourself to a show – whether it is through a LinkedIn thread like I am currently using  – or via email, phone call, etc, keep the following in mind…
Do: Tell me what you can do for them.  And by them I mean the audience.  What value, what news of the outside world, what innovative idea or experience do you bring to them when they tune in?  When people listen to a guest they want to hear something interesting.  You’re Gandalf visiting the Hobbits in the Shire, bringing news of the outside world.  What exciting information have you experienced that we can share together with the listeners?
Don’t: Tell me your elevator speech.  Don’t tell me you are “making the rounds” because that just tells me I’m on a list of schlubs that you’re going to tick off as you appear.  Don’t tell me how it will benefit you.  I know it will benefit you, see below why.
I am going to treat the appearance as a conversation.  You and I are going to talk about whatever you want – you will have that kind of freedom.  My job is to gently maneuver you within the boundaries of my show’s subject matter, but in my case it is Time, Energy and Resources which allows for quite a bit of freedom.  That freedom allows you to talk about you, your business, your passion and your origins.  My show allows you to talk about your stumbles, your failures and most importantly how you dealt with that.  Being human is important and allows the audience to make a more intimate connection with you.
I will be your biggest cheerleader, and very interested in what you have to say.  I spend almost an hour with you.  A short article is written as part of the interview, which includes references to other articles I’ve written that we touch on – sort of like a validation of your points.  The short write up includes any and all links to your products.  So rather than belaboring the point and telling people to act now and get free steak knives, they will have all of that – with a call to action in the actual podcast.  And your salient points – if related to articles I’ve previously written – will have links to your excellent points leading to said articles.  This allows people to listen to more stuff related to what we talk about and underscores your points – and your authority on the matter – even more.
Ideally this is a case of two people giving unselfishly to each other.  As altruistic and naive as that sounds it is true.   You are adding value to a podcast/broadcast and they are providing an audience that you wouldn’t have reached.
Initial engagement
My particular podcast is broadcast once a week, early on a Sunday.  It is prerecorded and not in front of a live audience (remember the olden days?).  So let’s make it a simple matter of connecting at a reasonable time and spending no more than 1.5 hours.  I use software to connect audio only.  Most people who do this use, Zoom, Skype, etc.
Again, drawing only from the work I do and the way I do it here are the expectations I think you should have for me and the expectations I have for you.
My expectations
I expect that we can come to an agreement simply and easily for this tiny slice of time.  And we are able to do it directly.  The only interaction I’ve ever had with an assistant is that it reduced your work by 50% and doubled mine.   Everyone, including fairly heavy, internationally known parties that I presume have an entourage were able to communicate directly with me with a simple email to figure out a time.  Yes it still counts if you send me to your calendar web account to pick a time, because you did so with an email/message.  One and done, or two and done.  Badabing.
Your expectations
You should expect to feel comfortable, be able to speak about what you want, and have no requirements to be on the show.  By ‘requirements’ I mean that you are not required to do anything, including rate the show.  I mention this because I was asked to be on another show and one of the first requirements was to a) rate their show five stars and b) screen shot and email this to them.   I read that, read it again, and then took a shower.  No thank you.  If you want to rate my show then I am tickled pink, because every one has been authentic.  I currently have a five star rating and none of them was forced.  One of my guests rated the show after being on and I was smiling all day.  You can be on the show and then run screaming away while I tweet and promote you; that’s fine.  It makes sense for you to cross promote it and say “Hey I’m gonna be on the AFL podcast with Mark on Sunday” or tag me when I tag you, or retweet – that’s all pretty standard stuff.  Maybe I am naive, but maybe I have integrity and assume you do too.  So no hidden deals.
If you reach out to be on the show, I do my best to get back to you.  But, if you’ve ever participated in online dating, or applied to be an extra in a movie you know that if they are going to get back to you, they will.  There’s nothing you can do to “speed up the process.”  So, include whatever you want in your pitch to them and move on.  Anything else is annoying to them.  You simply may not be a fit.  And that’s OK.
Since it is pre recorded and I may have many shows I am doing, it’s going to be a while until your show may be broadcast – think print in which they are working on the Christmas issue before Halloween.
In summary:
  • Listen to at least one episode of the show to see if it something you even want to be a part of and associated with
  • Make a good pitch as to why you are interesting, unique and what you can do for them (the audience)
  • Move on
  • If you are selected, then simply and humanly connect and set a time
  • Have a good time and relax – your passion will come out, and it will be awesome unless you make it a commercial, then it will suck
  • Look for the heads up

Thanks for reading.  Again, some of this is particular to the way I conduct my podcast.  Thanks for applying if you did.  Thanks for being on the show if you were.