Appearing on podcasts can easily become one of the single most effective efforts in your book marketing plan. With over 200,000 podcasts being recorded in the United States alone, the medium is a relatively new marketing platform that easily enables authors (or any other professional) to reach a wider audience than they ever would on their own digital channels. Many authors report seeing an instant spike in their Amazon sales after being interviewed by a podcast host, made possible especially by the fact that hosts select their guests based on whether or not the discussion would be of benefit to their audiences. In short, podcast hosts have already done the extra legwork of exploring a niche, building an audience and figuring out what they do and don’t respond to. All you have to do is show up, talk about your book and engage them!
While the concept seems easy enough on its own, the tricky part lies in being invited to interview on podcast shows in the first place. The process becomes increasingly difficult as a first-time author, with no previous work or content available to convince the podcast host why you’d be a great fit for their show. While established authors will be able to let their older books speak for themselves and gather podcast invites that way, you’ll have to put in some elbow grease to get the ball rolling as a newbie.
So between finalizing your manuscript, ramping up your marketing efforts and putting together a master plan to get the news of your book out there – where do you start?
In spite of being a first time author when I self-published Job Escape Plan, I managed to secure 12 invites to interview on established podcasts by following a trusty three step plan. Those interviews ultimately resulted in noticeably increased book sales, boosted credibility among my peers and the opportunity to reach a wide net of potential readers and/or business partners. Ramping up your multi-media efforts and allowing people to associate a voice to your name is the quickest way to build your brand as an author while cementing your public image.
Here’s how I did it.
Step 1: Make a list of the relevant podcasts within your niche
Your first step is to browse the iTunes store by category. Look out for podcasts in the new and noteworthy section – the hosts of these ones will likely be easier to approach as they too are looking for new guests and will be heavily promoting their podcast during its initial launch phase. Once you’ve approached these hosts, check out your competitors’ websites and those of the influencers within your industry and find out which podcasts they’ve been interviewed for. Make a list, then slowly work through it using the methods we’ll get to below. Remember – rejection isn’t a reason to give up!
You’re almost guaranteed to be told no at some point, but don’t let it deter you.
Step 2: Find a way to contact the podcast host
A personalized e-mail here is the ideal method, as it gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain your work in further detail. Podcast hosts’ e-mail addresses can typically be found on the “Contact Us” section of the podcast page. Alternatively, if you’re very crafty, you could go hunting on Google by using the podcast host’s full name. Chances are, you’ll find a way to contact them directly.
If finding their e-mail address fails, consider using the contact form on the show’s website. You likely won’t be able to add too much information to the form, but you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that the host is more than likely to receive your submission.
If you still can’t get ahold of the host – send them a direct message on Twitter, tweet at them or message them on Facebook! Showing a bit of initiative goes a long way.
Step 3: Give them a reason to have you on their show
This step is probably the most important one in the process. Your ultimate challenge in arranging a podcast tour to promote your book lies in convincing the hosts that what you have to say will be of value to their audiences! Once you’ve managed to contact the host and open the grounds for a conversation, start off by telling them what you like about their show. Mention the name of the person who referred you or discuss an episode that particularly resonated with you. This builds instant rapport and trust.
From there, mention what kind of value you can deliver to their listeners. Prepare an inspiring story or a unique anecdote to get them interested in you and what you have to say. Talk about your upcoming or latest book to boost your credibility and attach a PDF sample of its contents so the host will have a clear idea of what you’ll be discussing. If this is your first book, talk about what you’ve done throughout your life or career in the past to deliver maximum impact when pitching.
If you’ve been featured in other podcasts, provide those links to the host. Having them hear your voice and your interview style will immediately break the ice and let them envision exactly what you’ll be like as a guest.
Finally, offer to promote their podcast on your own channels! A little bit of free advertising never hurt anybody and while this likely won’t be what seals the deal, it never hurts to add it into the mix.
Tips for being the best podcast guest your host has ever interviewed
Your first few interviews will more than likely be a little scary. You’ll be nervous, constantly trying to rehearse what to say and hyper conscious of the sound of your own voice. Try to get past all of that!
We all get uncomfortable when we hear recordings of ourselves or see ourselves on video. Yes – even the most beautiful people or those with the nicest voices. The best way to succeed in your interview is by simply being yourself. Let your personality shine through. Second guessing everything you say is going to make you seem awkward or nervous, and will diminish the quality of what you’re trying to say. Prepare a general guideline of content to follow, but don’t stick to it too rigidly or your flow of speech will seem rehearsed.
Think of your interview as a natural conversation between two old friends, and let yourself respond accordingly. Try to smile through your voice and keep your tone light and friendly to keep audiences engaged. Remember that listeners won’t be able to see you, so you’ll need to convey emotion through your voice. Most of all, give yourself some leeway – it’s uncomfortable for everybody at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it!
Try not to focus on the same point throughout the entire interview, but also be conscious of communicating your ideas clearly and articulately. Much like how you wouldn’t be interested in listening to somebody speak about one thing monotonously, you’d soon lose interest if a podcast guest was referencing 15 different topics erratically.
The bottom line
Remember – humans connect with each other through their senses. Having an audience get to know you through your voice can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. In order to get the best results from your multi-media book marketing efforts, we can’t recommend the benefits of a podcast tour highly enough. Now get pitching and let us know how it goes!
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