The podcast industry is a booming one. A decade ago, podcasts were a niche addition to your audio library on your mobile device. However, the number of people who regularly listen to podcasts has increased dramatically, especially in the past five years.
According to Edison Research, an estimated 36 percent (98 million) of Americans more than 12 years of age said they have listened to a podcast before in 2016. Additionally, the same report added that an estimated 21 percent (57 million) of Americans over 12 listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis.
Listeners can choose from a wide variety of podcasts, many of which are oriented around business, social media and marketing. These shows often invite and feature guests on episodes to discuss a particular topic. This press opportunity is a great way to expand your brand awareness and reach potential new customers. [Read related article: Best Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs]
So how do you become featured as a podcast guest? Business News Daily talked to two podcast hosts about how they select guests for their shows.
1. Have a story to tell.
Whether the podcast is conversation-driven or not, there is always some type of story arc. For business-oriented podcasts in particular, it's important to think about what entrepreneurs from all walks of life can learn from you.
Estelle Erasmus, host and curator of the American Society of Journalists and Authors podcast, AJSA Direct: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well, says it all begins with a compelling story that's specific to a niche audience.
"Have a fascinating publishing-related story that has made you a top name in publishing," she said on how she chooses guests for her podcast. "If an article you wrote went viral and an agent from a well-known firm contacted you and signed you, or if Steven Spielberg wants your movie rights – it just happened to writer Judy Batalion – then I'm interested in talking to you."
2. Do your research.
It's common for hosts to receive pitches from people wanting to be featured on an episode of their podcast. However, many of these pitches to Joblogues – a conversational podcast about careers, money and life – aren't particularly relevant to the show.
"Honestly, the majority of pitches that we receive, we don't consider for the show,” said Joymarie Parker, co-host of Joblogues. "It's evident that most people don't take the time to think through the mission of our platform – which is around empowering and inspiring the next generation of working professionals – but not just the mission, but the tone of how we deliver it."
For example, it's easy to know when someone pitching to the show hasn't actually listened to an episode. Don't fall into that trap: Research the podcast by reading its website entirely as well as listening to a few episodes.
"How can you ask a guest, 'Add to that dialogue, that narrative, and how can you empower our community?'" said Parker.
3. Cater your pitch to the show's format.
During your background research, pay attention to how the podcast episodes are structured. After all, the hosts and editors of the show have worked to develop that structure.
"We take pride in a fun format," said Parker.
In addition to guest interviews, Joblogues features updates on what's going on in the professional realm as well as the rest of the world, product reviews, and advice segments.
"If you're not forming our pitch around our format, our tone, or linking it back in a very tangible way to a theme that will empower the listener, it makes it difficult for me to see that guest on the show," Parker added.
4. Reach out to your network.
Inquire about any podcast connections in your professional network. Podcast hosts are often open to recommendations on who to feature, if a colleague can verify they are a good candidate for an interview.
"I find editors, authors, agents, and screenwriters through my personal network and through recommendations from trusted colleagues," said Erasmus.
Since she has worked in the publishing industry for the past 20 years, Erasmus' network is wide, but she is still constantly looking for fresh talent. "ASJA members are the top of their field in publishing and go through rigorous review before they are approved, so the organization has high standards, which are expressed in the podcast guests I select," she added.
Podcasts are an excellent way to promote your brand in an organic way. However, finding a podcast you'd be a good fit for takes time and patience. To make a genuine connection with a podcast, you need not only a compelling narrative, but to spend time researching the right fit and crafting a unique pitch. Of course, reaching out to your professional network doesn't hurt either.
"Podcasting is a wonderful way to continue to establish a brand and bring a voice to the mission of an organization," Erasmus said.