One of the most efficient ways to sell more books as a self-published author is to get yourself booked on podcasts. Podcast marketing doesn’t cost you anything, and it allows you to promote your book to dozens of new potential readers. Podcasts also give you a nice piece of content to share through your author platform channels. 

It’s true that nearly every book marketing resource out there will tell you to get booked on podcasts as a way to market yourself and sell books. But how exactly do you do that? Let’s break it down. 

How to Find Podcasts

Before you can start pitching yourself as a guest on a podcast you have to do some research to determine what podcasts are out there that would be a good fit for you. In order to do that you need to get crystal clear on who your target audience is. Who did you write the book for? Who needs the message within your book, or who should hire you for your services? 

Likely when you wrote your book you had some idea of who your preferred audience is so you can use some of those archetypes to find your podcast audience. In other words, if your book is about helping women balance their hormones your preferred audience is likely women in their 30s and 40s who are peri to post menopausal. Sub audiences might include women with infertility issues, or those with certain autoimmune diseases. 

Once you are clear on your target audience you have to start searching for podcasts that they might be listening to. 

There are a number of ways to go about this, but starting with Google is the simplest. Begin by googling “The 10 best podcasts on female hormones.” Google will deliver anywhere from 20-30 podcasts within that subject matter. Not all of these will be relevant to you and your book, but it’s a start. But before you just drop the title of every podcast into a spreadsheet of potential podcasts you need to do a bit more digging about each one. 

Start by opening up each podcast on your list in either Spotify or Apple iTunes. Take a look at when the latest episode was published. If it was recent, or a few months ago, that means they are still actively recording shows. If the last episode was more than 12 months ago then it doesn’t make the cut. 

The next thing you need to look for is whether or not they accept guests. Lots of podcasts are just the host, or hosts, discussing different issues. These aren’t for you. You want to find shows that regularly interview guests on a variety of subject matters. 

After you’ve exhausted the initial list from Google, you’re not done yet! Take some of your main keywords and plug them into Spotify to find more podcasts. Search for other authors who have written about your particular topic and see what podcasts they’ve been on. You can find this by either searching for their author website and looking at their media page, or do another google search with their name followed by “podcast.” 

When you find shows these other authors and experts have appeared on, check out the “you might also like” suggestions from Apple. Spotify likes to add a  “Listeners also like this” suggestion, which can be a great way to find similar podcasts based on the one you are listening to. 

Use all of these tools to build your database. It doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list, but you can find a lot more opportunities if you keep digging. 

Finally, once you’ve narrowed your list down to those that have guests and are actively recording episodes, start listening to a few episodes. Just because on the surface it seems like their podcast might attract your target audience doesn’t mean it will; listening to a few episodes will give you a feel for their vibe. What are they actually saying? Does it align with your values, messaging, and your audience? Take your time with this step because it will come in handy when you write your pitches. 

Before You Pitch

Before you start writing pitches to your list, you have a bit of “pre-pitch” work to do. This includes listening to these podcasts, like we already mentioned  but also follow their social media channels. If they have a newsletter, join it and read it when it comes through each week. Leave a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. Find ways to join their community as a listener before you try to pitch yourself as a guest. 

Of course, finding podcasts and becoming an active listener is just step one. You also need a way to contact the hosts and pitch yourself as a guest. 

If you’re lucky they will have a website with a contact page. They might even have a contact form specific for guest inquiries. But that isn’t always the case. I’ve had the best luck finding a website by doing a google search for the podcast host’s name, because sometimes their website isn’t the name of their podcast. Searching for their social media channels might also reveal an email address (particularly if you look at Facebook). Again, you might have to search for both  the name of the podcast and the name of the host to find what you are looking for. 

Planning Your Podcast Pitch

Now that you have your list of podcasts that you would be an excellent guest on, it’s time to craft your pitch. 

Your pitch should be somewhat templated to save time, but personalized to each podcast host. Tell them why you like their show, and be specific. Some podcasts might have a guest submission form on their website to fill out, and nearly all of them will ask which episode you’ve found the most helpful. Aren’t you glad you took our advice and started listening to the shows ahead of time?

For others you’ll have to send an email introducing yourself and why you want to be a guest. A pro tip here is not to make it about your book. Even if your goal is to market and promote your book, what a podcast host cares about is what story you have to tell. So instead of pitching them on your book, pitch them on your story. Promote yourself as an expert in your field with 

Put the most important information into the body of the email, and then attach your media kit so they can learn more about you and your book if they want to. 

It’s normal for podcast hosts not to get back to you right away. Depending on the size of their platform, they might receive dozens of guest submissions in a single day that they have to sort through. Wait a few weeks and then send a follow up email gently letting them know that you think their listeners would find your insights helpful. 

Preparing to Be on a Podcast

After you’ve landed a podcast it’s time to get to work! Many hosts will ask for a few things from you to get the ball rolling including:

  • Your on-air bio
  • A professional headshot
  • A list of sample questions they can ask you (even if they don’t use them)
  • Your website URL and any social media handles

You will also want to make sure the host has all the elements of your book that they need such as the title, price and where it is on sale. Some of that will be handled in your media kit, and it’s a good idea to keep these things in front of you when you record the podcast so you don’t stumble over them. 

When it comes to the actual recording, the host will let you know what they need from you for a high quality recording but generally it’s a good idea to invest in a nice microphone and find a quiet place to record. 

Post Podcast Wrap Up

Once the podcast has been posted, you need to promote it. In fact, the host is counting on you to help spread the word about the episode. Share it with your social media followers, post it on your author website, and send a link out to your newsletter subscribers. 

Now that you have one under your belt, it’s time to go after some more!

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