I want to talk to you about leveraging podcasts for your marketing. No, this isn’t a pitch to get you to start a podcast, though I can certainly spell out dozens of reasons you should. I’m not here today to wax poetic about Winfluence, the podcast, nor the Marketing Podcast Network which I run.
I’m secure in the knowledge you understand that I’m deeply invested in podcasts. I think they’re a great tool for any marketing effort and I’m always happy to discuss that if you’re interested.
But what I want to go over today is leveraging the ability and opportunity to be a guest on other people’s podcasts as a business tactic. Now, we’ve covered that topic a few times on this show. I’ll refer you back to episodes with Spencer Carpenter from Outlier Audio. That was in late October of 2022. Trevor Oldham from Podcast U was a guest in December of 2021.
To get to those episodes all you do is use jasonfalls.co/ and type in the name of the guest. So the URL for Spencer Carpenter’s episode is jasonfalls.co/spencercarpenter. Trevor’s is jasonfalls.co/trevoroldham.
But I want to tackle the topic on this episode with a little of my contrarian, piss and vinegar rants. I have come across some examples of people out there in the business world whose behavior when it comes to being a guest on a podcast illustrates they not only don’t understand the value, but think they’re doing the podcast world a favor by being on one.
Now, we all know that creating content or being interviewed for someone else’s content brings with it people who have some degree of ego. There’s a diva in every crowd. And probably a little bit of one in all of us. I know, I’ve been one on occasion before. I try not to be, but I also have a short fuse when someone is just blatantly disrespectful or ignorant of what I bring to the table.
Because I’ve been on both sides of that coin, I’m not going to make this about diva bashing. My advice and cautionary tales today are not meant to attack anyone who might think they’re above others. If I kick out the frail legs of the ladder of overcompensation they stand on, it will only be by accident.
But we’re going to talk about why you should want to be a guest on podcasts, how you can be, and how you’d better behave if you know what’s good for you.
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Being a podcast guest, in my mind, is the easiest way to build awareness of you or your brand, in front of very specific audiences. For example, guests on Winfluence are getting in front of you. And what are you? Well, collectively, you are marketing professionals or business owners with a marketing mindset, that are keenly interested in influence marketing, or influencer marketing to use the tired, old label.
The guests who come on this show are people who can bring you value. If they can do so and convince you to follow them, buy their book, listen to their podcast or jump over and consider their product, then their guest spot was worthwhile for them, and probably you.
But that definition of marketing professionals keenly interested in influence marketing is very specific. Very niche. The people who pitch themselves as guests on the show have a product or service that is highly relevant to people interested in influencer marketing. Or they’re trying to establish themselves as another thought leader type to know, follow and trust.
A lot of times, I ask people to be guests on the show who didn’t or wouldn’t necessarily reach out and ask to be on it. These are people I want to mine for certain insights or information to share with you. There are more of these on Winfluence than the other, by the way. I’m pretty picky who I invite on.
But even though I invited a guest, they still reap benefits from being on the show. You are introduced to them and their ideas. You’re more apt to go find them and follow them online, seek out their book, or podcast or business. We may ask them for insights and answers, but they get value in return. They get publicity and exposure to you, my audience.
For your business, a podcast guest spot brings that exposure with it. If you own a swimming pool company and have something valuable to share on the podcast of the local business or neighborhood association … maybe a conversation about the increased home equity that comes with installing a pool … being on those shows is essentially free advertising for your business. Or at least your status as a helpful member of the community.
Drill that down to any other industry and you can create an interview tour of sorts that helps establish you and your business as trusted resources for the community.
Many of you have my book, Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand. But you didn’t likely get it at a bookstore or conference. It launched two weeks before COVID hit. That’s right. Winfluence hit shelves when people were no longer allowed to see them.
Yet the book has sold modestly well for more than two years now. Why? Because I created a list of 250 podcasts to pitch myself as a guest on. I wanted to talk about my ideas of reframing influencer marketing to think of it as influence marketing. It was a clever take that piqued the interest of a lot of podcasters in the marketing and business space.
I stopped counting at 185 successful podcast interview pitches. Other than my own social media promotions and some push campaigns from Entrepreneur Media, nothing else really supported the sales of my book, other than this … which is a podcast.
And think about podcasts in your industry like this: If you have an idea, a product, a service or simply an issue you wish to educate or advocate for, who are the best people to spread fairly in-depth information about it? The answer is podcasters in your industry who will take 20, 30, 60 minutes to discuss a topic with a guest. The more podcasts in your niche talking about your big idea, the more your idea spreads and resonates where you need it to most.
There are even podcasts out there who charge guests to be on. Why? Because they know there’s great value in accessing their audience. I would love nothing more than to be a guest on Neil Patel and Eric Siu’s Marketing School podcast to promote my book. But they charge a hefty appearance fee. I declined just because I didn’t have that kind of money.
But if I could have afforded it, I probably would have. Why? Because that podcast hits about 10,000 listeners per episode. Maybe more. I probably could have sold 1,000 or more books in one 30-minute interview and called it a month.
So, I think it’s pretty clear that trying to pitch yourself as a guest on a podcast is smart. It may not be for everyone, but everyone can benefit from doing it.
Let’s talk about the may-not-be-for-everyone folks.
Two incidents with podcast guests came to my attention recently that blew my mind. Now, before I get into details, neither of these incidents happened on my podcast. I’m not only the executive producer of a network that has almost 50 shows, but also network and have conversations regularly with hundreds of other podcasters across industries and around the world. These stories are not about me or anyone you probably know.
The first story was a guest who recorded the podcast episode with a friend of mine, supplied their head shot and necessary background information so the host could promote the episode, received a half dozen or more social media posts promoting their guest spot on the episode. At least two websites that I know of posted links to not just the episode but to that guest’s website.
So this person got in front of a nice audience, was promoted and publicized within that industry, and even earned some SEO backlinks for the effort.
And when that guest listened to the episode, he decided he didn’t like it and asked the host to take it down.
The only time this is an acceptable thing to ask is if something you talked about on the recording was protected by NDA or inflammatory to the point of libel or slander and you would suffer obvious business or financial repercussions because of it being heard. Even then, you participated in the interview. From a journalistic perspective, the podcast in question is under no obligation to cover your ass. So … it had better be for a monumental reason and you had better ask nicely. Offer to re-record or do something that makes up for the trouble the podcaster has to go through.
The other incident was even more ridiculous. The guest asked the host if he could get a custom edit of the show to share rather than the full episode. He only wanted to share the part of his interview and not the introduction, or the advertisements, or any other part of the program that wasn’t specifically focused on him.
That’s not how this works. If you’re a guest on a podcast you can decline to share it if you wish, but you’re only hurting the potential reach and effectiveness of the episode.
Besides which, you do not control the content. Especially after the fact.
The podcaster reached out to me for advice and I told them I would NEVER edit an already published podcast episode for a guest unless it was for a reasonable and specific reason and they paid me for the time. This particular guest only wanted his network to hear him talking, not the full context of the interview and show. That’s not a reasonable reason.
That’s a selfish reason.
Oh, and I loved this … the request explained that podcast listeners want to get straight to the interview and don’t want to listen to anything else.
So this obviously ignorant-to-podcasting person was explaining podcast audience behavior to someone who has hundreds of shows under his belt and actively participates in the podcast industry every day.
Some of you may not understand why this makes my skin crawl so much. Let me put it in another context.
This podcaster worked for several hours to invite, book and prepare for this interview that was ultimately of more benefit to the guest than the host. I say that because he could have easily passed on this person and interviewed any other number of experts, including direct competitors. He conducted the interview, spent hours editing and producing his final output which has served his audience quite nicely, thank you, for a few years now.
His listeners are used to his welcome to the show, the initial banter, even a commercial break before the full interview begins. The show is a packaged, polish piece of art in a way.
And once it’s published and the promotion pieces are out the door, he moves on to the rest of his work day or the next episode’s cycle. This is when you want to interject your request to have him re-do some of that work just to placate your ego or misinformed opinion of what podcast listeners want?
What if this was an interview on the nightly news? Or in Time magazine? Both are bad examples because big TV networks have production teams who save out specific segments for playback on their website. And anyone can cut the one article out of a magazine.
But to that point, anyone can also share the podcast and say, “The interview picks up at the 4-minute mark.” That leaves it up to the listener, most of whom won’t care to listen to the preamble. It might just be they like this podcast and podcaster and wind up subscribing.
I guess a better analogy would be this person calling up Stephen Spillberg and saying, “Um yeah, could you send me a re-cut of the 3-hour film with just my 15 minutes of fame? I don’t want people to see the other two hours and 45-minutes. I’m not on screen.”
What a dick.
If you ever have the opportunity … and it is an opportunity … to be invited on a podcast … and you have any similar thoughts that sharing that podcast interview with other people may require a special edit of only your part, the best thing for you to do is decline the interview. You’re not cut out for this.
And any value you can bring to the conversation is not worth the trouble for the podcaster to deal with.
Maybe it’s the small-town, middle-class, always excluded kid coming out in me here, but in the world of sharing your thoughts and ideas to help other people, holier-than-thou attitudes are the things that don’t belong.
Seize the opportunity. Be generous and kind with your knowledge and participation. Welcome the attention and the new connections and exposure. Maybe even say thank you.
Because speaking on behalf of all podcasters to interview people regularly, if you don’t … there are 10 other options waiting for us who will.
And rest assured … we’ll say thank you, too. You’re helping us inform our audience. You’re making us and our audience smarter. You’re helping us make our podcasts awesome. So we are going to be grateful and kind. We only ask for the same in return.
Got any podcast guest or even podcast host horror stories? I’d love to hear them, even just for my own amusement, but if they’re meaty, I may share them on a future episode. Shoot me an email at [email protected] or comment on the blog post or social posts about this on my channels. I’m @jasonfalls everywhere.
If you’d like to have your thoughts highlighted on a future commentary episode of Winfluence, record them on your voice memo app and email me the audio file. That address again is [email protected].
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Winfluence is a production of Falls + Partners. The technical production is by MPN Studios. It is presented by CIPIO.ai – The Community Commerce Marketing Platform. Winfluence airs along MPN … the Marketing Podcast Network.
Thanks for listening, folks. Let’s talk again soon, on Winfluence.