Want to learn how I skyrocketed my website traffic in 12 months using podcast marketing?
It didn’t happen overnight and it took time to understand the best strategy to make it work.
But with time and perseverance, my company, FreeeUp, built an amazing network of referral traffic coming into our site regularly because of our ability to interview on podcasts.
Before I get into the proven strategy behind how my business partner, Nathan Hirsch, and I have been able to be interviewed on over 500 podcasts in the past couple of years, let me explain what it is first.
What is podcast marketing?
Podcast marketing is the practice of interviewing as a guest on niche podcasts within your given industry.
On the podcast, you establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry, you talk about your business, and you discuss specific topics relevant to the podcast’s audience.
What are the benefits of podcast marketing?
Benefit #1: Builds you into a thought leader
As you consistently appear on industry relevant podcasts, more and more people come to recognize you as a thought leader within the industry and they seek out your help when they need it.
This drives traffic to your website so that they can see what your company does.
Benefit #2: Podcast host relationships
Another benefit of being a guest on podcasts is the relationship that you build with the podcast host.
Most podcast hosts are already influential within the industry and they have a following of people that listen to what they say.
If you can build a strong relationship with each podcast host and reward them for referring customers your way, you gain a consistent and high-value individual sending you leads regularly.
Not to mention that most podcast hosts know other podcast hosts which can lead to introductions to other podcasts that you could interview on.
Benefit #3: SEO backlinks and social proof
When podcasts are published, there is a specific page called the “show notes page” where the podcast hosts the audio or video component of the podcast, writes out details about the podcast, and includes links out to places that were talked about.
As the guest, you gain links back to your website and potentially even other channels like your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or Twitter account.
Over time, these links add a high level of value to the SEO ranking of your website.
As your SEO ranking goes up, your keyword rankings have the possibility of increasing, and you gain more organic traffic.
As you can see, there are high level benefits to being a guest on podcasts within your industry when it comes to brand exposure, personal branding, SEO growth, and relationship building.
It’s a marketing strategy that will continue to be popular over the next 5 to 10 years as podcasts continue to gain steam and more and more younger generations take hold of the communication channel.
If you’re not already involved in podcast marketing for your business, I highly recommend adding it to your list and starting the process.
If you craft your story correctly, implement the right process, and perform well on the actual podcasts, you too can make this marketing strategy a big part of your traffic generation playbook.
How to Use Podcast Marketing to Increase Website Traffic
As with any new marketing strategy, it takes time to test and perfect so don’t expect this to be a home run on your first try.
The process that I’ll explain below has worked wonders for me, but it’s taken plenty of tweaking to make sure that it properly presents me as a thought leader and comes off as a genuine outreach.
Podcast hosts receive tens if not hundreds of queries from potential guests every single day so you really need to make sure that you stand out.
They don’t have time to read through every single request and introduction that comes through so its your goal to hook them early on with your story and personality.
Let’s dive into it.
Step 1: Craft your story and content
The first step to podcast marketing is knowing your story and being able to present it to the podcast host.
Podcasts thrive on stories and personalities. If you lack both, it’s going to be difficult to land yourself on any shows.
But we all have our own unique story and personality…you just need to understand what your personal brand and story is so that you can confidently share it with the podcast hosts and then eventually with the podcast’s audience.
To create your personal story, I recommend using an activity called Life Mapping.
Life Mapping is when you sit down, open a new page in your notebook or a new Google Doc, and you list out the 10 most influential events in your life.
How did they help you get to where you are today?
How did those 10 pivotal events change you and make you look at things differently?
When Life Mapping specific to preparing your story for podcast marketing, think of:
What events led you to where you are today in your current profession or business?
What events in the past 5-10 years have defined who you’ve become and how did they shape your expertise?
After you complete this activity, you want to take the 5-10 events that you outlined and turn it into your story.
Aim to condense it down so that it really packs a punch and gets to the heart of who you are so that the podcast host quickly knows why they should have you on their show.
And don’t be afraid to brag a little 😉
I personally like to change how I write out my story very often so that it doesn’t get stale and it really shows my personality as much as possible.
Here’s 5 of the most influential events throughout my past 10 years of being an entrepreneur.
- I scaled my first eCommerce company to over $25 million in total sales with a team of over 60 people located all around the world.
- I traveled and lived in South Africa for 2 summers studying and building social businesses with people there.
- I started my second company, FreeeUp, in 2015, became obsessed with digital marketing, and scaled it to $12 million in yearly sales.
- I’ve been working with the same business partner for close to 10 years. We are complete opposites, but have 100% trust and respect.
- I’ve been through ups and downs. Business isn’t always a hockey curve upwards. The down times have taught me to be a better business owner.
It’s been quite a ride and I’ve loved every moment of it.
The 5 events above are what’s important to include in your story, but HOW you tell it makes all the difference.
If you were just to send that list of things, you may get a response here and there, but most podcast hosts aren’t going to take the time to actually read through it.
We’ll get into how to craft your outreach to the podcast hosts down below, but first let’s talk about targeting the podcasts you want to be interviewed on.
Step 2: Create a list of 100+ podcasts in your industry
The second step to getting your podcast marketing off the ground is researching the podcasts that fit within your niche.
This is your HIT LIST.
Russell Brunson would call this your Podcast Dream 100.
Sales teams have hit lists of potential clients that they want to land.
You’re going to have a hit list of podcasts that you want to get in touch with so you can be interviewed on their show.
When starting to create your podcast hit list, make sure that you’re as targeted as possible.
For example, my company, FreeeUp, worked with a lot of eCommerce companies and digital agencies.
My first business was an eCommerce company and for years, I’ve been studying and practicing digital marketing.
So, I tend to go after eCommerce and marketing podcasts.
I can add value with the strategies I’ve utilized in the past and I can share stories from my experiences as an entrepreneur within those industries.
It would be really hard for me to go out and target the health care industry…my knowledge and background just doesn’t jive with the audience there.
Make sure that you niche down into an industry that makes the most sense for your story and for your business.
When putting together your list, here are a few ways that you can find podcasts within your niche:
Finding Podcasts Strategy #1: Google
Go to Google and search for “(your niche) podcast list”.
For example, “ecommerce podcast list” or “digital marketing podcast list” or “selling online podcast list”.
This will return a lot of articles that have lists of podcasts within that specific niche. You can go into them, click through to the podcast website, and see if it’s a good fit for your hit list.
Finding Podcasts Strategy #2: Itunes
Itunes is one of the largest libraries of podcasts available on the Internet.
Head over to Itunes and browse the categories until you find one that is most relevant to your niche.
Open the link and start going through all of the podcasts that are on Itunes.
Make sure to check when the last time the podcast published an episode.
If it wasn’t in the last 2 months, move onto the next option. That means that the podcast most likely isn’t producing episodes any longer so reaching out won’t do anything for you.
Finding Podcasts Strategy #3: Stitcher
Stitcher is another massive directory of podcasts that allows you to niche down into different podcast topics.
Similar to Itunes, niche down into your most relevant category and go through all of the options looking for the best fits for your story and content.
As you find podcasts that fit within your niche and which you think your story would resonate with their audience, add them into a Google Sheet.
Make the first column header, “Podcast Name.”
Once you’ve built out your podcast hit list of around 100 podcasts, it’s time to move onto the next step: researching the contact information for the podcast.
Step 3: Research the contact information for each podcast on your list
Now, like I said, podcast hosts receive tons of inquiries every single day of people asking to be interviewed on their podcast.
Because they receive so many queries, they can quickly tell if your outreach is sincere or not.
Many people half ass their podcast marketing by using a very general template that they send to every podcast host.
That’s not how you’re going to land new podcast interviews.
The key to attracting the attention of the podcast host is making your outreach extremely customized…to the point where they can tell you actually did some research into their podcast.
So, how do you do that?
First, remember that Google Sheet that you created to list out your 100 podcasts that you want to get on?
Of course you do. Go ahead and open that up.
At the top, insert the following header titles going across the first row.
Podcast name, Podcast Website, Podcast Host Name, Podcast Email or Contact Link, Podcast Niche, Status, Notes.
It will look something like this…
For each podcast that you targeted in your top 100 hit list, search for it on Google, find the podcast website, and research the site for all of the information I just outlined.
For the Podcast Host Name, look at the About section on the website.
For the Podcast Email or Contact Link, go to the Contact section of the website.
And in the Notes column of your Google Sheet, add anything that stands out. Maybe you notice a particular guest that you really like. Jot that down.
Maybe you really like the design of their website or how casual their podcasts are.
Jot down something that stands out to you. You’re going to use this when you craft your outreach to the podcast host.
Go through all 100 podcasts on your hit list and fill out all of the details so that you have what you need to contact the podcast and pitch your story.
If you don’t have the time to do all of this research, hire a freelancer and have them fill it all out for you.
Once you have all of the podcasts filled out with the information I outlined above, get ready to start contacting 🙂
This is when it gets fun and you can start to get creative.
Step 4: Send a custom email to each podcast host explaining why you’d be a good fit
We’re now at the 4th quarter of the podcast marketing process…it’s time to step up and really show what we’re all about. No more playing around.
Here’s how you go about it.
Open the website of the first podcast that you have on your hit list, get familiar with who the host is again, and then open a new email or go to the contact form URL that you found on their site.
When crafting your pitch to the podcast host, you want to hit on a few pieces of information.
First, show that you actually know who you’re pitching. Use their first name in the subject and in the body of the email. Be personal and make it seem like you’re talking to them on the street.
Second, tell them how you found their podcast and why you’re reaching out. This gives them context and shows you actually did your research.
Third, share your story. Be brief and make sure to hit the most provoking parts so that it really engages the host and makes your story stand out.
Fourth, propose the type of content that you’d be interested in talking about on the podcast. Podcast hosts need to know what you can bring to the table so they can see if your content fits into their content mix.
Fifth, thank them for their time and consideration.
Sixth, give them a call to action. Make sure that you close by asking if you can be a guest or if they would consider it, etc. Your goal is for them to respond so why not ask them to?
Now, you may be thinking, “how am I going to fit this all into a short enough email that they don’t immediately roll their eyes and click the back button?”
LOL. Great question. I’m here to show you how. It takes a little bit of creativity, but it can totally be done.
Here’s an example that you can build off of.
This pitch will be for an eCommerce specific podcast. The hosts name is Oliver.
Subject: Hey Oliver, I’d love to apply to be a guest on your podcast
Hey Oliver, hope this email finds you well. I recently found your podcast while searching for eCommerce resources online and it inspired me to reach out.
My name is Connor Gillivan. I’m a fellow eCommerce entrepreneur. I got my start in 2009 while still in college selling products on Amazon. In 5 years, my business partner and I scaled it to over $25 million in total sales with a team of over 60 people. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.
In 2015, I started FreeeUp.com, a marketplace that connects pre-vetted eCommerce and marketing freelancers with eCom companies. To date, we’ve signed up over 30,000 businesses and have over 2,500 freelancers on the platform.
I’m a super ambitious and passionate entrepreneur that loves learning, building strong relationships with others, and sharing the knowledge that I’ve learned from my years as an entrepreneur.
Here’s what I’d love to talk to your audience about:
- Scaling an eCommerce business with a remote team
- A hiring process for eCommerce business owners
- My entrepreneur productivity hacks that I’ve learned over the years
I love what you’ve built with this podcast and I’d love to be a guest on your show.
Is there any way to apply to be a guest?
Do you see how that email hits on all of the points that I outlined above?
Podcast hosts like when they see that you really looked into the podcast, their story, and you are ready to propose what you can talk about.
Their time is valuable so getting all of the information that they need upfront makes it easier for them to make a decision.
Once you feel good about the email, click Send and change the status in your Google Sheet to “Email 1 sent.” This will help you track your progress as you double back to reach out again.
Follow this same process for all of the 100 podcasts that you have on your hit list.
As you go through each one, slightly change your template each time.
Sometimes, start completely from scratch so that it gets a new feel to it.
Show your personality in what you write and just be honest in your outreach.
The more personal you come across, the more likely the podcast host will see a genuine connection and want to reply to your email.
Step 5: Follow up if you don’t get a response
Now, after sending off your carefully crafted email to the podcast host, your job is not done.
In fact, it’s not even close to done.
As a general rule of thumb, assume that you’ll get 10% response rate for the initial email pitch that you send to podcast hosts.
So, thinking back to that top 100 hit list that you created, think that you’ll get a response from at least 10 of them.
And remember, that’s only if you take the time to research and really create a custom pitch directly for them.
So, what about the other 90 on your hit list?
Great question! With the other 90, you need to create a follow up process so that you don’t only send one email and they never hear from you again.
Consistency can win you new opportunities on podcasts and that goes for lots of other things in life and business as well.
So, for the podcast hosts that you don’t hear back from, schedule a reminder to reach out to them 1 week after you send the initial email.
Your follow up can be simple and can happen across different channels.
For example, you may send a quick follow up email on the email chain of the first email you sent.
It may look something like this…
Connor here again. Hope that your day is going well. I know you’re super busy, but I just wanted to follow up on this again to see if you’d be open to having me on your podcast.
If it’s simply not a fit, I completely understand, but just wanted to follow up on my initial outreach.
Thanks for your time.
But you may also go and find the podcast host on LinkedIn and personal message them say something along the lines of,
“Hey Oliver, hope your day is going well. I recently sent you an email asking if you’re taking new guests for your podcast and didn’t hear back. Just wanted to reach out here as well. Thanks!”
The more touch points you hit, the more effort you’re showing that you really care about the opportunity and are not going to take no for an answer until you actually hear it directly from them.
Again, persistency can and will lead to new opportunities.
If you don’t hear back after this first follow up, continue to reach out 1x per week and find different channels where you can get in front of them.
If 4 follow ups go by and you can’t get a response at all, give it a break and come back to it some time down the road.
You’re not giving up, but you’re putting your energy into other podcasts where you may have a better chance of getting a response.
Step 6: Schedule the podcast with the host
In the case that you hear back from the podcast host and they are interested in having you on their show, congrats!
The likely next step from the podcast host will be one of the following:
Option 1: Set up a pre-interview call
Some podcast hosts prefer to meet and speak with their guests before having them on the actual show.
This is a great opportunity to get to know the host better, share your story and expertise, and built a rapport together so that when time comes for the show, you’re ready to rock and you feel comfortable talking with the host.
In these calls, be friendly, be yourself, ask questions, and make sure to do your research before the call.
Last thing you want is for the podcast host to ask, “Cool. So have you listened to any of the episodes?” and you’re left there staring back without an answer.
Even if it’s for 10 minutes, toss an episode on in the background, look through the topics, and know what the podcast is all about so you can have a well informed discussion with the host.
Option 2: Schedule the interview
In other responses, the podcast host may simply compliment you on your email outreach and give you directions to schedule a time for the podcast interview.
Some hosts will have a document that they send that you can read through to better understand the flow of the podcast and directions on scheduling your interview.
For the most part, the scheduling portion will be very simple.
They’ll send you a scheduling link, like this one here: https://calendly.com/connor-gillivan, and you’ll go in and find a time that works best for you.
Important: Make sure that after you book the time on their calendar, you add it to your own calendar.
Sometimes, the schedulers send you reminders and put it directly on your calendar, but other times, they don’t.
Be smart and put it on yourself so that you don’t run into any situations where you’re missing podcasts.
That won’t bode well for you.
Step 7: Prepare for the podcast as asked to
Once you’ve scheduled the podcast interview with the host, you’ll likely be sent some information about the podcast so you can best prepare for the interview.
This can come in the form of a Word doc, Google doc, or a website page where all of the information is outlined for you.
Some common things you’ll see in these packets are:
- The recording program: This could be Zoom, GoToWebinar, Skype, etc. You’ll want to make sure that you have it downloaded and tested before the interview. We’ll talk more about this in the next step.
- A general outline of questions you may be asked: Most hosts will give you a general idea of some questions you may want to have answers prepared for. The key is to have some bullet points that you can work off of…you don’t want to sound like a robot reading something though!
- Recording best practices: This will include being in a quiet space, using headphones, using a microphone if you have one, making sure lighting is good for video interviews, etc.
Those are the three most common things that you’ll see in the pre-interview packet.
The key is to make sure that you prepare for the interview prior to actually doing it on the day of.
Find a good spot in your house or office where you can record the interview.
If you’re going to be using video, open your webcam or Facetime app on your computer and see what you and the background will look like.
When doing video interviews, you want to make sure that the light is shining on you and not just behind you. If the lighting is just behind, you are going to appear very dark and there will be more shadows.
Play around with it all a bit to make sure that you’re ready once the interview day comes.
Finally, go through the questions that the host sent over (if they did) and jot down bullet points that you can use as you’re going through the interview.
It’s better to have a few things prepared than not to have anything.
You’ll most likely have some nerves through the first 5-10 interviews that you do so the more prepared you are, the better.
Step 8: Have the right programs and gear to optimize the podcast experience
You’re almost there! Almost time that all of your podcast marketing work is going to pay off.
As I said in the previous step, you need to make sure that all of your gear works and that you have the right program downloaded on your computer.
The most common programs that a podcast host will use are Skype, Zoom, and GoToWebinar. I’ve had some hosts use others, but these are by far the most common.
Prior to the day of the interview, make sure you download the program they want to use, open it, test it with a friend, and make sure everything is working properly.
Step 9: Record the interview!
It’s interview day!
Turn off your phone notifications, turn off any notifications on your computer, and close out of any browsers that could cause noises while you’re on the interview.
Be ready 5 minutes before the scheduled time to record the interview and log into the recording program of the host’s choice a couple of minutes before the schedule time.
Most hosts will have a quick chat with you then you’ll dive right into it.
Remember the following:
- Be yourself, be natural
- Try to avoid “ums” while talking
- Talk slow and share your thoughts intelligently
- Don’t be afraid if you make a mistake…simply restart your answer. The host will edit it out in post production.
- Ask the host for their thoughts on questions too where it makes senes
- Think of the interview more as a conversation of two people in a coffee shop
- The more natural you are, the better the content will come across
One of the last questions most hosts will ask you is, “So, where can we find you online?”
Just be ready to answer that at the end 🙂
If you follow all of these tips, your podcast marketing efforts should come to an amazing conclusion.
Step 10: Send the podcast host show notes details after the interview
Alright! You finished the podcast interview and you’re chatting with the host closing things out.
One thing that I love doing and that I think goes a long way with podcast hosts is to let them know you’ll be sending over your info, bio, and links so that they have it easily accessible all in one place as they produce the podcast episode.
This can be super simple and it will only take 2 minutes after each show once you’ve created a template for it.
It will make you look organized and also save the podcast host time as they are producing the episode.
Here’s a template that you can work off of…
Post Interview Email Template
Hey Adrian, thanks again for having me on the show today. Was awesome to chat and dive deeper into the freelance economy and CX. Love that topic and really see it impacting businesses around the world over the next decade.
As you can see, I personalized the top so that it speaks directly to the interview we just had.
I then include headshot and relevant links that may be helpful for them when creating the show notes.
When you include the links in a follow up email like this, it also increases the chances that you’ll get a link to each once you sent them. If you don’t send an email like this, they may only link out to the main websites you have. Smart hack with podcast marketing to get more backlinks.
You’ll also see that I then invite them to join our referral/affiliate program.
This is a part of establishing that relationship with the host and trying to get them more involved in promoting your business.
Always worth a shot if there is something relevant that will further benefit the host.
Once you send this email off, your podcast marketing is completed for that particular podcast.
Step 11: Reach back out 12 months later pitching a new angle for you to be a guest
Your podcast will eventually be published by the podcast host and they’ll most likely email you about it so that you can share it with your social media channels.
Be active on social, share what they send, and tag them on the posts so that they see you did it to help promote the episode.
If you want and you’re continuing to use podcast marketing to grow your business, reach back out to the podcast host 12 months after your first interview aired and see if they’d be willing to have you back on the show for another interview.
If they say “yes”, be ready with new topics and stories that you can share and want to talk about.
At that point, it’s up to you to pitch them and intrigue them to have you back on the show.
Remember, with podcast marketing, you’re always trying to add real value to the listeners.
Make it clear in your pitch what value you’ll be adding and you’ll most likely be invited back for another interview.
Podcast Marketing Conclusion
Driving more traffic to your website is a constant battle and can take lots of testing before you find the right recipe.
Podcast marketing is a marketing strategy that significantly increased my website traffic and SEO ranking over the past 7 years.
I’ve built amazing relationships with the podcast hosts that I’ve connected with the most and it helped FreeeUp grow into a platform catering to over 25,000 businesses around the world. Likewise, it helped Outsource School and EcomBalance become leading brands within their industries.
If you’re serious about growing your business and want to get the word out about it to the masses, being a guest on podcasts and podcast marketing is an amazing way to get started.
After gaining traction and popularity among podcast audiences, you can work to transition it to mass media, guest article writing for publications, or speaking on stage at conferences.
Podcast marketing is an amazing first step towards building your personal brand and also getting more coverage on your business as it grows and caters to new customers.
Take these steps and start implementing them into your business as soon as you can.
Aim to go on 1 podcast each week for a 3 month period.
Measure your increase in traffic using Google Analytics in the Referral traffic section.
After 3 months, see if it’s driving more traffic to your business and if you’ve gotten any good customers out of it.
If it is, continue on and do it for another 3 months trying to work your way onto larger podcasts.
If it isn’t working, pause it for a bit and try a different marketing strategy.
As I’ve said many times before, every business’s traffic generation playbook is going to be slightly different.
While podcast marketing worked for me and my businesses, it’s not guaranteed to work for you as well.