It’s hard to believe that the first podcast was recorded close to two decades ago. Especially in the past five years, podcasts have become a key part of our media outreach efforts to promote authors and books. There are currently 850,000 active podcasts, 30,000,000 episodes, and over half of the population of the United States over the age of 12 listens.
Why do people like podcasts so much? Podcasts are convenient, free, cover pretty much every niche imaginable, and the conversational format feels like talking with an old friend while learning something new at the same time!
With so many devoted fans, it’s no wonder podcasts have become a top target for book marketing campaigns and authors looking to take their personal brands to the next level. As book publicists, we continue to see the value that securing podcast interviews adds to authors’ platforms and routinely include and prioritize them as part of our media outreach. For example, authors in the business and lifestyle spaces find podcast interviews to be crucial when promoting their books.
With their skyrocketing popularity, though, comes increased competition to be interviewed on podcasts – especially top-tier ones. Below we compile some further insight on podcasts and what it takes to secure an interview, as well as ideas for positioning yourself as a “must-have” guest. There are also tips for acing the interview once you have it – and maybe even being invited back in the future!
Top Podcasts Are Looking for Guests With Large Followings
This should come as no surprise, but top-tier podcasts will rarely consider booking an author (or any other guest!) who does not have an established platform and sizable following. The desired number for a guest’s social media following varies from podcast to podcast, but 10,000 seems to be a number we see time and time again in terms of an author’s audience size. The most coveted shows often expect an even higher number.
Keep track of your following, checking on updated numbers as often as possible. Don’t forget to combine all of your social media numbers, as well as your email list, for the most comprehensive picture of what size audience you bring to the table.
If Your Numbers Aren’t Big, Don’t Be Afraid to Start Smaller
Of course, everyone wants that “big get,” and we, as publicists, want it just as much. If your following isn’t as large or your platform not as polished as it ideally should be to reach those big fish quite yet, don’t get discouraged. The great thing about podcasts is that they can be very niche, which makes it likely that there are at least several that would be a great fit – reaching listeners who will be truly invested in your book’s topic and area of expertise.
You might already have some shows in mind, and your publicist can help guide you to find the podcasts that will be the best fit for you. The more appearances you get under your belt, the more likely your own following will grow, and you might find yourself ready to reach back out to those top-tier podcasts sooner than you think.
Expect a More Casual, Conversational Tone and Prepare Accordingly
As opposed to traditional radio interviews, which can sometimes feel like a Q&A, the appeal of most podcasts is that they are more casual and conversational in nature. You will probably have worked out a few key talking points with your publicist and the podcast host before the appearance, which is great as far as staying mostly on the topic goes; but welcoming and embracing a bit of spontaneity and being flexible can make an interview more interesting, and fun for you!
Promote, Promote, Promote
The podcast you appear on is helping you promote your book and your brand, so give them the courtesy of doing the same. Once your appearance is booked, let your network know when you’ll be appearing on the show, what you’ll be talking about, and how they can tune in. Make sure to tag the podcast on social media! Share a couple of reminders leading up to and on the day of the interview, and once your episode has aired, be sure to share it as widely as possible. Think of it as a formal “thank you note” to your podcast host – although an actual thank you note is never a bad idea, either.
Virtually all publicity professionals believe that in 2021 and beyond, podcasts will continue to grow and become even more valuable in book marketing. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, and get on the pod!