Get Booked as a Podcast Guest to GROW YOUR BRAND Faster with Brigitte Lyons (Transcript)
Today I’m talking with Brigitte Lyons, founder of Podcast Ally, a podcast booking agency that takes the hassle of researching and pitching podcasts off the to-do lists of their clients.
This is a transcript of Work Less, Earn More, Episode 29. Listen to the episode here.
A lot of people think that PR is something or podcast interviews specifically are something that only established experts can do. There’s this idea that I have to reach this certain stage in my business before I can actually go out and approach anyone. But PR is actually how you build that reputation and those relationships in the first place so it can be used to grow it once you have it, but it’s also a tactic to use to build it.
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Hey there, everyone and welcome back to another episode of Work Less, Earn More. Today, I’m joined by Brigitte Lyons who is the founder of a company called Podcast Alley which is a podcast booking agency that takes the hassle out of researching and pitching podcasts. Now, I am really honored to have Brigitte here and I’m really excited to dive into today’s topic, which is how to use PR in your small business to work on building your brand and getting more exposure and potentially building your audience and even getting more sales ultimately. And the reason that I am so excited to have Brigitte here is because I first heard Brigitte interviewed on a podcast probably about a year ago now and she shared so much great information about PR strategies in general and it really opened my eyes to a whole new world that I knew nothing about.
I was so impacted by that and it just sounded like such a smart strategy and something to tap into. So I immediately got to work and I started trying to implement some of the things that I had heard Brigitte talking about. But what I quickly found was that a lot of these strategies were really time consuming. And so while I saw the potential value of them and the benefit that could be had from them, I couldn’t figure out how to make them work in my business.
I asked Brigitte to come on the show today so that I could talk to her about how we as entrepreneurs with small teams could really take advantage of some of the most powerful and most leveraged PR strategies that are out there today so that we can get the biggest results with the least effort. With all that said welcome to the show, Brigitte. I’m so glad to have you here.
Thank you. I am really excited to talk to you about this and I have to admit a lot of PR is time intensive. So I’m taking this as a personal challenge to make it as easy and fast for everyone listening including you if you want to try it again. So I’m super excited to rise to that challenge.
Well, I really appreciate that. I appreciate your amazing attitude and how you’re looking at this because I was almost a little bit hesitant to send you my angle that I wanted to approach for this podcast episode, guys. I don’t know. I didn’t want to sound like I didn’t value the strategies that maybe take a little bit more time, but at the same time I’m sure that as with any sort of strategy, we could pursue or any aspect of building our business, there are some ways that we can do it that kind of utilize that 80/20 principle, the things that are the easiest that still get the biggest results.
That’s what I’m so excited to talk to you about today. Could we start by just talking a little bit about your background because I know that when I heard you interviewed maybe a little over a year ago, at that time you were doing slightly more general PR work and I heard you talk about several different strategies, but I know that since that time you’ve made a little bit of a pivot in your business and now you are focused in purely on helping your clients book podcast interviews. And so I’d love to hear about exactly why you made that transition.
Yeah. I love talking about this topic because I love talking about why I have such a passion for podcasts in general. It’s just one of my favorite things, and I will try not to go on and on and bore you too much with it. But my PR background, I have been working in public relations my entire career. When I got out of college, I did some internships. I worked for some really big PR agencies and my work was actually more concerned at that time with the kind of political side of PR and so I worked in a specialty called public affairs.
And because of that, I got this really amazing training in everything from crisis management to message building, to speech writing for CEOs to how to work with TV and newspapers and magazines. And I got this just amazing, amazing training in PR. When I left the agency world to start my own business, I knew that I wanted to bring these tools that I’ve been learning and working with big, big businesses and with government agencies and bring them to smaller more creative entrepreneurs. That was my mission at the time and it’s still my mission to this very day.
As I started doing that work, what I was really concerned with was thinking about what are the best PR tools from my experience that will work for small businesses and help them really get their message out there. And the important thing to know about PR is that public relations is a lot of things, but it has two main concerns and those are building relationships and reputation. When you start a business or a YouTube channel or a podcast or whatever events you’re doing, your business is a blank start and PR is really about asking what do I want this business to be known for and who am I trying to reach with that message.
That’s always been my concern, how do we figure out the most efficient platforms for doing that with small businesses. Okay. I’m doing this work and really focused with small businesses on doing some contribution work. We’re doing guest posts for places like entrepreneur and fast company and also blogs. This was kind of the golden age of blogging when I started. And I start dabbling in podcasts. This is six years ago now. I had to look up the date of our first podcast placement. It was so long ago.
So it was six years ago when I started dabbling with podcasts and we also really like to track and measure our results. And what I found with the podcast just totally blew me away because the clients that we were placing on podcasts were getting more traffic and they were actually making sales directly from the placements, the interviews that we were booking for them. That’s kind of unheard of with PR. Generally, you’re looking at PR like I said for relationships and reputation. If you get sales from it, it’s kind of secondary.
A lot of PR people really, they like to think that they’re like directly doing a sales effort and sometimes you might get that, but usually it’s more indirect. Podcasts were actually driving people to buy from our clients immediately after hearing the episodes. And I just started looking into it like what the heck is going on here? How do we replicate it and what is so special about podcast audiences?
That was six years ago. Over the time, the podcast market has grown. Things have shifted a little bit, but what I found is that the podcast audiences themselves are incredibly special because of the engagement rates that they have with the content that they’re listening to. There’s a stat out there that shows the average length of a podcast interview is about 40 minutes long and there’s another stat out there that shows that almost 100%, it’s something like 85% of people who start a podcast episode listen to the entire thing. It’s totally unprecedented.
There’s no other platform where you get to have the attention span of an audience for 40 minutes where they’re going to hang on every word and listen to what you’re saying. And that’s why podcasts really work better when it comes to conversions, relationship building, sales, everything you’re looking for when you’re doing PR. That’s why we decided with my small agency, so I have a small team to make that switch and really focus in on podcasts because when it comes down to what works the best for the clients we’re working with, there’s no other kind of PR out there that gets you the kind of results that podcasts do.
Wow. There’s so much there that I want to unpack and dive into. Thank you so much for kind of giving us that big picture perspective on why you made the shift from more general PR to booking podcasts specifically. First of all, I just want to point out that you clearly believe in this yourself since you’ve obviously worked in PR for a long time and yet here you are doing a podcast interview. So there must be something to what you’re saying that this is worth your time.
Right. And I’m in the process of… Maybe when this comes out, my podcast will be out too. So I’m in the past process of doing my own podcast because I’ve been spouting all of these statistics and doing webinars and why podcasts are so powerful and I’m like, “Why the heck am I not doing my own?” But honestly when it comes to efficiency and working smarter with the time you have, it’s so much better for me to go and rent someone else’s audience, borrow someone else’s audience then do the effort of creating and launching my own. Putting out a podcast is so much work. It’s so much less work to just show up and be interviewed.
Yes, it is so true. And of course there are unique advantages that come from having your own podcast, but as far as reaching new people and building your brand in that capacity, being a guest on other podcasts, I have also found like just nothing beats it. There’s no way that you can reach that many targeted listeners, targeted potential buyers aside from getting booked on podcasts. The other thing that I wanted to mention was you were just talking about how long people listen to podcasts. And that was one of the primary motivators that prompted me to start a podcast relatively recently here because while I have an amazing audience on YouTube that’s very highly engaged, the fact is that I can’t talk to them for more than 10 to 20 minutes at most without losing a lot of people just because of the way the platform is built.
There’s a lot of distracting elements on YouTube. It’s built that way on purpose and I love YouTube, but on a podcast, you really have your listeners attention in a unique way where there’s way less distractions and it’s easier for them to keep listening than to switch to listening to something else.
Yeah, totally. I’m so glad to hear you confirm all this. I get really jazzed up when I hear other people who are into the platform as well.
Yeah. Well, you want to take just a moment to tell me about your podcast that you’re starting since you’re launching it soon?
Well, my podcast is going to be named after my company, which is Podcast Ally and I’m interviewing podcasters about how they are approaching their content and audience. I’ve noticed there’s a lot of podcasts out there that are about the marketing side like how to start your podcast, how to market your podcast, but I think there’s not as much out there about actually how to use your podcast to do storytelling and how to develop your interview skills. Iit’s very meta, but I realized that there was no topic that I was more interested in asking people things about.
For years, I thought maybe I should do a PR podcast. And honestly the idea kind of bored me. And so this is something that I’ve just been really interested in and I thought I get to meet and reach out to all the different kinds of podcasters that I’m interested in. I have a bunch of episodes actually ready to go. It’s just about getting in the feed and launching at this point.
Oh, that’s really cool. That sounds really interesting to me especially as a, I’ll say, a young podcaster myself who’s still getting the feel for this and getting the hang of it. I still feel like I have so much to learn. I’ll definitely be checking that out and I’m sure it will be a really good resource for the listeners as well since we’re talking about all these amazing benefits of podcasting and what a great opportunity it is. When will your podcast be launching?
Thank you so much. It should be launching by the time this episode is live, so within the next couple of weeks from when we’re talking. And one of the cool segments too is the podcasters who have interviews we’re doing bonus segments. They’re just about five minutes long, called, how to pitch. So any podcaster who actually accepts guests is doing a little bonus mini so that’s going in the feed independently on how to pitch their podcast.
Tara McMullin who I know we both know, is one of my early guests. And there’s a how to pitch what works is one of the segments or Indie Hackers is another guest which is more for tech companies. There’s two parts to it. It’s like how do you work on your content? How does your podcast develop over time? And if somebody wants to be asking your podcast what are they looking for?
Oh, that’s really interesting. Okay. So we’ve talked a bit about how good podcasts can be for building your brand and getting exposure and reaching new people, let’s dive into talking about how to actually take advantage of this opportunity. Let’s talk about some of the best strategies for pitching podcasts and getting featured as a guest?
Yeah. I have so much to say about this. What do you think is like the number one question holding people back or that they want to know about? Where do you want me to start?
Yeah. Well, there are two questions that come to my mind immediately. One is, people wondering if they are qualified enough or have enough to share that they would be a good guest and it would be even worth their time to pitch, and then the other thing is just like the practical of like what are basic good pitching practices because I’m sure that anyone who has tried to pitch a little bit has probably felt like it didn’t work quite as well as they thought, which I would expect because most podcasts get a fair number of pitches and so consequently most of them get rejected.
But good pitches don’t and so I’d love to hear from you since you have a lot of experience with this field obviously what the best pitching practices are. But let’s start with the first question. How do we know if we’re a good enough guest?
The mindset piece is such a big one and I think this is the thing that actually holds people back because what I find the people coming to me with questions that are like “How do I find a podcast to pitch?” And they spend all their time in research or I don’t know what to say. And really those questions boil down to a hesitancy about this thing that you’re talking about which is does a podcast actually want to talk to me? Am I qualified to reach out to them? And this goes back a lot to what I was talking about like what PR is supposed to do and some of the misconceptions that people have when they start PR.
A lot of people think that PR is something or podcast interviews specifically are something that only established experts can do. It’s like there’s this idea that I have to reach this certain stage in my business before I can actually go out and approach anyone. But PR is actually how you build that reputation in those relationships in the first place. Iit can be used to grow it once you have it, but it’s also a tactic to use to build it.
No matter what stage you’re at in your business, even if you just started it yesterday, like I actually started doing PR for my business before I even had a website I was doing at the time, a little blog. It was a design blog. I talked about indie craft fairs around Chicago and I started building up a blog and a newsletter list before I even launched my PR website and approaching people and saying, “Can I write a guest post for your blog?”
Today, people can do that with podcasts where you can go and reach out to podcasters and say, “I have something of interest that I can share with your audience. Here’s what topic I would love to come to you with.” And so there’s really nothing to kind of hold you back in terms of reaching out to a podcast. Now, of course you might not want to go right to The Tim Ferriss Show out of the gate, right? You want to think about a podcast who might be around the level that you’re at.
If you are newer in business, finding other podcasters who are also newer in business, that can be a great way to build up your network and build up your audience. And I will say from personal experience, so I’ve already mentioned Tara McMullin so I’ll mention her again. When I started my business or before I even started my business, I actually reached out to Tara. She was doing a site called Scoutie Girl at the time and asked her if I could guest post on our site.
We were sort of friends on Twitter. I reached out and sent her a guest post and now we are very good friends and we’ve done a lot of business partnerships over the years together. You never know those smaller podcasters, what they’re going to kind of grow up to be as they’re in business and have a chance to establish their platform. No one is ever too small for you when you’re starting out. It’s about finding kindred spirits who have an audience who you can connect with. So I would say you are ready before you think you are.
Another thing to start thinking about is podcasts tend to look for three different kinds of interviews. And so the other piece that’ll hold you back is like I don’t know what to talk about. There’s three things that podcasters like to talk to people about. The first is sort of your story. This is where it gets more personal and a podcaster wants to interview people about the trials and tribulations in their life, what obstacles they’ve overcome. What is it about your personal story? And this can be business related, it can be about productivity. If you’re an author, it could be about your story, about how you wrote your first novel. There’s all kinds of podcasts who just really want to talk to people who have interesting stories.
The second group of podcasts are podcasts that like to talk to you about your expertise. And this is kind of the podcast interview that we’re doing right now, right? You brought me on to talk about my expertise. And pitching yourself to a podcast that wants to talk to you about expertise is actually not necessarily about being the person that is already established as an expert and that everybody is going to, although, let’s face it, that always helps.
But if you’re just starting out, what expertise is about is looking through and seeing what aren’t they talking about? What can I bring to this conversation that they haven’t heard yet? And so bringing an interesting interview topic is actually more important than having some crazy qualifications that are going to wow people. They really want to focus on the content.
And then the third podcast is sort of a hybrid, which is the podcast that like to talk to you about how I did it. So this is where you might have somebody on a podcast or you might find a podcast interview that talks to a business owner about how they’ve been building their own business, and really focused on not quite their own personal story and not quite their expertise, but things they’ve tried out in their business and things they’ve learned along the way.
That third group is really for businesses who have been around long enough that they have something to say and offer there where you’ve had enough experiments that you can talk to them, but the first two where it’s about your story, your expertise are things that people can start no matter what stage they’re at. If you can think about your own experiences, is there something that you’ve come through in your personal life or is there something you had overcome in order to launch your business? Or is there something that you can share to a podcaster’s audience that would teach them something, then you’re ready to go on a podcast.
That makes a lot of sense. And I really like how you share these three different kinds of pitches that you could make to a podcast because everyone who’s listening right now will have at least one of those things. Everyone has a story. Many people who are listening have an area of expertise and probably even a lot of people who are listening right now have really achieved something in their business and especially I think if that something they’ve achieved in their business relates to what their business does or their area of expertise then that would be such a good fit for them.
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Talk to me a little bit about how do we really find the right type of podcast or the right podcast specifically for any of these different pitch angles that we might want to be proposing?
Yeah. So I’m going to go back to the challenge that we both laid down for me which is that we’re going to talk about only things you can do quickly and easily. I’m going to give you my number one hack here which is something that we do for all of our clients. When our clients on board with us, one of the things that we ask for them in the onboarding process, are who are some of your competitors. And it’s because we want to see what competitors they’ve had that have been on podcast because it’s an amazing way to start building your list.
No matter what industry you’re in, I’m sure that you can name one or two other people who are in your line of work who are either competitors or maybe just inspiration for you, right? Those brand mentors that you have where you’re like someday my business is going to be like this one. Or let’s be honest, maybe you see a lot of press they’re doing and you feel a little jealous of it. Lean into that because the podcasts that are interviewing your competitors want to interview you too because what that is telling you is that they are interested in the kind of content that you can bring to the table.
If you want to be able to find a list of podcasts that will interview you in like 10 minutes, all you need to do is open up the Apple Podcast app and just search, keyword search.Apple Podcast just like YouTube, just like google is a search engine. You can keyword search the name of people that you think have been on podcasts who have reached that level and just look and see okay, what podcasts have interviewed them and then qualify whether or not they’re a podcast that you would want to be on.
When I say qualify that, it’s kind of going back to those kinds of story types like do they interview people on their personal story or their expertise or how they did it and does that match the kind of interview you want to have? And also does their audience match the kind of audience you want to have? How do they identify their audience? But you can very quickly do some keyword research that way and figure out what kind of podcast that you might want to be on. And so that is just the easiest quick and dirty way to get started.
I love that idea because I’ve tried to research podcasts that I could be featured on in the past actually and I always found it to be a really time consuming process and it involved a lot of guesswork because I was mostly looking up keywords to try to find shows that seemed like a good fit, but that is such a good shortcut to just look at where my competitors have already been featured as a guest. So thanks for sharing that.
Yeah. And the other thing I will say too is that I… I teach a couple of classes to help people do their own podcast outreach, and the one thing I see that happens time and time again is that people get really stuck in this research phase. And I just want to point out that your goal isn’t to build the perfect media list, it’s to pitch and book a podcast. When you’re starting, if you’ve never done it before, what I really recommend is that you take an approach that’s like pick one, pitch one.
Don’t spend hours, four hours, 10 hours, whatever building a list. When you find a podcast that looks like it would be a really good pitch for you, stop researching and sit down and write them an email suggesting yourself because that’s what you need to do. You need to get a volume of pitches out in order to book an interview. And so the more time you spend on that research phase, honestly the more time you’re giving that little voice in your head to pipe up and say, “This isn’t right for you? Who do you think you are? Your competitor was here. Why do you think they’d want you?”
The more time you spend in research, the more space you give for that imposter complex to derail you. So I think it’s important to start sending out emails as quickly as possible and get that momentum. And the other beautiful thing is that when you find one that works, Apple Podcast will give you a listing of related podcasts. They’ll give you suggestions. There’s a section when you’re looking at the search results and this is whether you’re using an app say on your phone or if you’re looking in the browser where they have a section that said something like, “Listeners, also subscribe to,” and you can start following that rabbit hole to find related podcasts.
What’ll happen is if you write a pitch for that podcast, just look down that rabbit hole until you find another podcast that you can send that same pitch to, maybe with a couple of tweaks to customize it. And that way you can make a lot of fast progress without getting derailed in that research stage which is honestly what I see happen to a lot of people.
My listeners know I’m all about taking action so I love what you’re encouraging here just with not spending too much time thinking through it because especially when you’re first getting started, I know that really just getting your feet wet with this really is key, taking those first steps, getting on your first podcasts. Something that I think that a lot of people might not realize is that the hard part isn’t necessarily getting booked but the other aspect of this that you need to master is actually becoming a good guest and figuring out how to do a really good interview and an interview that is effective for building your brand and building your business.
Could we dive into that side of things now? If we have to use some of these strategies, we’ve started pitching some podcasts and we’ve gotten featured, well, how can we really use that to its fullest advantage?
Yeah. There’s a couple of different things here. You mentioned being a good guest. While we’re talking, I’m looking at a document that has like the three things that I want to cover in this interview. And I recommend that anybody who is going to be a guest on a podcast either in a document or even on a post-it note that they can put in front of them have what are three things that you want to make sure that you convey. Because even if a podcaster doesn’t give you all the questions, you know what topic. They’re going to tell you what they want to talk to you about.
Underneath that you just write what are those three takeaways that I want people to walk away with or what are three things I want them to learn. And then in addition to coming up with those three messages, think about three stories or examples that you can tell, because that is really interview skills 101 is that people connect to stories. So you want to make sure, “Okay. I’m going to tell you a story about how you should use podcast early on in your business.” Oh, why don’t I tell my own story about how I used PR before I launched my business.
I literally sat down and thought about that before we got on this conversation. It didn’t just come out of me. So just thinking about what are those three messages you want to convey and what are three stories or examples and just practicing, “For example or let me give you an example of that,” and launching into it.
That’s the number one thing I think you can do to be a better guest and make sure that you’re staying on target. And then afterwards too, it’s really thinking about how you can leverage the interview and provide a lot of value. One of the things that we always work with our clients on is thinking through what actual call to action or resource do you want to provide to people at the interview. You’ve been talking for maybe 40 minutes and you get to the end of the interview, and every host is going to say, “Okay. So where can people find you?”
The number one mistake that people make when they actually have their interview is using that moment to rattle off their website and every single social media platform that they’re on. And it’s a real wasted opportunity because when you’re on a podcast interview, basically you’re taking a shortcut through the process of getting at the audience to know, like, and trust you. And so by the end of that, they’re really… Not everyone, but there’s a portion of people who are ready to take the next step with you. And so instead of saying, “Come to my website, connect with me on Instagram, join my Facebook group, you want to make a really clear invitation for them for a next step. You want to kind of take them by the hand and guide them back for you.
It’s especially important for podcasts because people are multitasking. Usually people are going to be listening to you with headphones on or through a speaker while they’re doing the dishes, while they’re commuting, while they’re at the gym. Sometimes while they’re at the office. And you want to make sure that there’s a strong invitation so that they put down what they’re doing and write down that web page or type it in right then.
And that’s really more about how to work it for you than how to work for the podcaster, but I think you can provide a lot of value if you put together a free resource or something that people can follow up on.
Those are some really good tips. Can we circle back to now… And this isn’t quite in order now, but to get on the podcast. You talked about how to find the right shows, and I loved that tip. Tell me a little bit about some common mistakes that people make when they’re pitching podcasts and what our listeners can do to increase their chances of getting picked?
Yeah. The number one mistake and I’ve surveyed a bunch of podcasters about what they like to see and what they don’t like to see and I get told time and time again that their biggest pet peeve is when people email them like all this information, biographical information and qualifications. “So here’s who I am. I’ve been running this company for this many years. Here’s all my accolades.” But they don’t suggest an interview topic. So what that does is you give all this information, information on a podcaster and then you’re like, “Okay, figure out what you want to talk to me about.” No one has time to figure that out for you. You have to do that work yourself.
And that to me is actually where if you’re going to spend time in this process being really thoughtful about what interview topics you could suggest to a podcaster that is so so important. And my number one tip for figuring that out is actually a bit of a shortcut. It’s not necessarily listening to a bunch of podcast episodes, but to me the best thing to do is to look at the show notes or the language the podcast uses to promote their episodes because that’s where they’re telling you what they found interesting. That’s where after the interview they go through and say, “Okay. What are the things that I think are the most important takeaways? What’s the most interesting?”
And that’s where you can start to pay attention to like are they focused on the guest story? Are they focused on pulling out how-to’s and actionable tactics? Are they interested in focusing on how the guests did something in their own business? So you can figure that all out by reading the show notes and seeing what is it that the podcast seems to care about? And then presenting to them and telling them when I come on your podcast I can specifically speak to and then you can focus it on either your story, your takeaways or something about how you did something in your own business.
And if you take a little bit of time to think that through, you will stand out from 99 of the pitches that that podcaster receives. That is something where they’ll be able to react to it. Not everyone is going to have maybe a space in their calendar to interview in that moment or an interest in that topic right then. But what I can tell you is that when you take that effort, it gets noticed and that’s how you can build relationships with people. Because podcasters are usually influencers and so it’s not always just about the interview itself, but forming a relationship with somebody. And you can always follow back with another idea.
I think that is like the number one thing is look through those show notes, try to pay attention to the kinds of things that the podcaster is interested in and then suggest one or two topics that you could speak to that would fit right into their feed.
I can tell that you did some pre-thought on what you’re sharing today, Brigitte because you really are sharing the most leveraged sort of strategies for each of these different aspects of pitching a podcast and getting featured as a guest. Thank you so much for taking the time to do that.
You are welcome. And I do a lot of training. I’m in the middle of teaching. I actually have a program teaching other PR people how to pitch podcasts. I’ve been doing all of these videos for them as well.
I also just want to collaborate on your… You said that you had surveyed a lot of podcasters about what they’d like to see in pitches or not. As I’ve been working on building up this podcast, I’m starting to see more and more pitches. And I completely relate to what you were just saying. I don’t give a second thought to people who pitch this podcast and just tell me about why they would be a good guest like just tell me about themself. They need to at least suggest an idea that sounds interesting. And even beyond that what makes me much more likely to say yes, is if they tell me why that angle that they’re proposing would matter to my audience. I need to hear what the impact would be so that I know what my audience would get out of it and then I can judge whether or not my audience would find that valuable.
Yes. I mean, your show, you have such a clear point of view, right? And so if I were to be pitching your podcast like I have a client roster and I have clients who are workaholics and have a million businesses. I wouldn’t pitch any of them to you because that wouldn’t make sense with the message you have about working less and earning more and creating boundaries around your time. And so if I were to think about clients for you, I would think of people like you know Lacy Boggs who runs a whole marketing agency only working 20 hours a week. And so that’s-
I’m interviewing her next week.
That’s where it’s like you really want to think about what are the strategies you have that are a match for this podcaster’s message and their audience? And one of the things I tell my team all the time is that if it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a no. We have a strict policy against making stretch pitches to podcasts, and that’s how we build up our reputation as an agency. If we think like, “Well, this might fit or well this is a little bit of an outlier or it almost matches so why not see?” No, that is going to hurt your reputation so much. You’re going to go straight to the spam filter. The podcaster is going to complain about you. “I’m sorry. I’m scaring people away.”
But honestly it’s also about not wasting your time because if you are making these stretch pitches, you are working harder than if you’re only reaching out to people where you’re like, “Yes, this is a great match. I can see exactly how we’d fit in. And then it’s a short email like 300 words max of explaining exactly what you have in mind.” It’s really that simple.
Yeah. Okay, that makes so much sense and I don’t want to scare people away either because I do really appreciate when people reach out and they’re interested in being featured on the show. But honestly, I have a maybe “never said yes to” pitch yet because Tara McMullin who runs the company that produces this podcast, she has a lot of connections with a lot of different podcasters and entrepreneurs and because she knows exactly what my show is about, she’s been able to suggest a lot of guests to me and then I also had a lot of guests who I was interested in having on the show for various specific reasons.
There just hasn’t even been enough time in the schedule yet to accept these more miscellaneous pitches or to even really consider them because we’ve had the schedule full of these people who we knew would be an amazing fit because they were clear with their message and we know what the show is about.
Yeah, and I think that people think that a newer podcast is going to be easier to pitch, but it’s actually the opposite because when you’ve started a podcast you probably haven’t started it without brainstorming a list of at least 20 people you want to interview, and you’re going to make your way through that. It’s when a podcast has been around for like a year or more where they’re like, “Oh God, how do I keep going?” If you’re really thinking about who wants those pitches the most, it’s often people who have been around for a while, maybe have run through their own contacts and now are more open to getting suggestions from the outside.
Okay. Good to know. Also, that reminds me of a sort of random question I have for you which is specifically about how to know how big a podcast is. Because you were saying like don’t be afraid to go too small basically. You just want to start out, get your feet wet, start getting those interviews. But you also mentioned like we don’t want to go after The Tim Ferriss Show on our first pitch. So how do you judge exactly how big a podcast is? I know we can look at the reviews on Apple Podcast and kind of just like see how many there are. That’s one way to judge. Is there any other way to judge?
Yeah. Usually what we use internally are ratings and reviews so just like you said the number of ratings and reviews is sort of a proxy for reach. I use this because ratings and reviews are so important to a podcast. And so a podcaster who is working on getting more ratings is a podcast to his marketing. I run a booking agency. I’m not spending time reaching out to podcasts who don’t care about marketing because why would I put my clients on those podcasts?
That’s sort of where I think about it. And we tend to think about them in terms of different levels and tiers. So you’ve got podcasts who are in the ratings and reviews level of like 100 and up. And honestly, even above that you might have 6,000 and up. But 100 and up is a good tier where if you are someone who already has a network, who already has a good reputation, then I think it’s okay to go out to podcasts who are in that kind of range and realm.
For example, I worked on the Being Boss. That’s a popular entrepreneurship podcast. I worked on their book launch and we were really looking at podcasts in that range like above 100. Then below that, I might break that down and think about, “Okay. So if I’m a newer business and I haven’t been on any podcast before, I don’t have any press, I’m starting to kind of put myself out there, I might look at like the 20 to 40 or 20 to 50 range.” Those are podcasts that have a little bit of a reach, they put some effort into getting their ratings and reviews, but they’re maybe more in the arena that you’re in. They’re more peers. And I think that that is kind of important at that range.
It’s also a way to maybe get in front of some podcasts who don’t have these astronomical audiences and practice your interview skills, practice your messages, practice your storytelling. And then in between that of the 50 to 100 range is kind of where we sort of fill it in. I have clients who are much bigger who are interested in podcasts at that range or smaller who we might go into that kind of mid-range from the very start. It really depends on how well of a match they are. I think those are like your kind of bread and butter podcasts at that level.
Okay. That makes sense. We are running out of time here, but before we wrap this up I have one more question related to pitching for you and that is specifically in the interest of saving time and getting the biggest results with the least amount of time and effort put into this, especially in the pitching process that can be very time consuming, is it worth it to work on building up a relationship or getting in contact with the person who you are going to pitch prior to pitching them? Will that significantly increase your odds of getting onto the show or will it be more time effective to do more cold pitches?
Gosh, that is such a great question. I feel like that is the eternal question. In my agency, we almost never spend any time on social media buttering up podcasts before we pitched them. We sent out a lot of cold pitches. One of the issues is like that takes so much time in itself. Let’s say you’re getting something like Instagram or LinkedIn to form a relationship with a podcaster. Well, that assumes that the podcaster themselves are managing their own social media accounts. So there’s no guarantee they’re ever going to see or notice you because if they’re a bigger podcaster, they probably have somebody managing that for them anyway.
And it just takes a long time to rise above the general commenters that are doing it. If it’s a smaller account, you might have more success that way. But to me it’s just a distraction. It’s like a way to put off the effort of sending out the pitches and getting the results. And I will say one of the very first podcasts that we ever pitched years and years ago was Entrepreneurs on Fire which is one of the top 10 business and marketing podcast out there. My client had no press at the time and she was on their podcast. We sent a cold pitch.
There’s really nothing preventing that from happening. If you happen to have a social media or other relationship building strategy, then absolutely put podcasts on that list, make them a focus area. But otherwise I do think that it can be something that is just going to distract you and hold you back. The thing that I would recommend instead is enlisting your own network. Most of us probably have people in our network who have been on podcasts or who can help us out. And so instead of spending all that time trying to build those relationships, think about the kinds of podcasts that you want to be on and interview topics you have and reach out to five people and ask them if there’s an introduction they can make for you.
A referral goes a really, really long way. Most podcasters trust referrals over just about anything else. I mean, you were just talking about getting referrals from Tara and her team and how you prioritize and value those. And so if you’re going to spend time on relationship building in any sort of way, I would completely recommend that you reach out to five people in your network and ask them if there’s any podcasts that they think would be a fit for you and if so, if they’d be willing to make a referral. And you’ll have much better results that way.
Such a good tip and thank you so much for sharing your take on whether or not it’s worth the time to try to warm up or butter up someone who you’re going to pitch. Exactly what you shared has been my anecdotal experience on both sides of it, both when I was pitching other podcasts and now being pitched myself but it doesn’t seem to have that much of an impact whether someone has made that prior connection with me, but like you said, referrals do go an incredibly long way.
Okay. Well, we are running out of time here so let us wrap this up. But thank you so much, Brigitte for everything that you’ve shared with us today. And before we do wrap it up, can you just share with the listeners exactly where they can go to connect further with you. And listeners, listen up, because this is how it’s done.
I know I have to make a real call to action, right?
Well, you can always visit my site at podcastally.com and get information about how we work with clients. I have blog posts there that are amazing free resources for how you can pitch and work with podcasts. And I’ve also made a resource available to your listeners. So if you check out podcastally.com/workless, you will get access to a list that we’ve made available of 50 podcasts complete with their contact information and profiles that interview CEOs and founders.
I say CEOs and founders, but this is everyone from creative entrepreneurs to tech founders, to female entrepreneurs. The list of 50 podcasts are tagged with different interest areas. If you want a shortcut that will help you actually pick a podcast and pitch one, this list is what you’re looking for. You can find somebody in that list and pitch them tomorrow.
Fantastic. That sounds great. And as I mentioned earlier we will also be sure to link your new podcast as well since clearly everyone who’s listening right now enjoys listening to podcasts, and they made it to the very end. Just like you were saying, people make it to the end of a podcast and everyone who’s listening right now made it to the end of this episode. So thank you so much, Brigitte for taking the time to be here on the show today and for everything that you’ve taught us about PR in general and specifically about pitching podcasts.
Thank you so much. I really, really enjoyed this conversation.
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