The power of other people’s podcasts
by Jen Carney of MeetEdgar
In just two years, we’ve gotten over 1 million website visits from just 100 podcasts. That’s a stunning average of 10,000 visits per podcast, helping us grow our 100k+ subscriber mailing list and gain hundreds of new customers—and we don’t even have a show of our own! Here’s how MeetEdgar created a podcasting strategy that gets amazing results with literally no overhead.
Step 1: Research & Target
People who listen to podcasts weekly listen to an average of five episodes per week, and they seek out, save, and organize lists of their favorites. Podcasts are well-loved and their listeners are comparatively devoted. There are a lot of podcasts out there for any given industry or topic, and most people—including you—miss most of them. Chances are your industry has multiple popular podcasts listened to by your target audience, so doing your research is the first step in your not-actually-podcasting marketing strategy. 1. Start your search with iTunes. That’s an obvious one—it has more than 325,000 podcasts in its directory and is responsible for 60% of all podcast downloads. Then, browse smaller sites like Stitcher to get a sense of what’s out there. What names do you keep seeing over and over? Once you’ve discovered the podcasts that are relevant to you or to your industry, don’t be shy in approaching them. First and foremost, however, answer these questions to save time and narrow your focus:
- How big is their audience? (A helpful benchmark is 50,000 downloads/month, which is the typical threshold for advertiser interest.)
- How many reviews do they have?
- How long have they been producing their show?
- How consistent is their recording schedule?
- What is the domain authority for their website/blog?
Finally, “doing a podcast” can mean many different things. Be sure to research the format of the podcast you’re thinking about pitching. Solo or multi-host? Interview format or news/reviews format? Do they do video or music? You get the idea. In our case, we focus on podcasters who feature and interview entrepreneurs. Your focus may be different. Once you’ve got your short list of podcasts to contact, the next step is to get your pitch pitch-perfect!
Step 2: Prepare Your Pitch Email
An effective pitch email should be short, sweet, and to the point. In lieu of a warm introduction (which is ideal, if you can get one), a pitch should clearly explain to the podcast host(s) why you’re a good fit for the show and answer every pitch-ee’s favorite question: what’s in it for them? So, write a pitch that’s clear, organized, and personalized! Suggest topics for discussion and explain why you’re a good fit for the show. Show not only that you’ve considered their needs, but that you respect their time. Here’s an anonymized example of how we’ve pitched our founder as a guest to a SaaS-focused podcast:
This pitch is organized and well-linked (to make the podcaster’s fact-checking easier), it suggests topics, and it follows a simple and clear format of:
Organization is critical, but gratitude is seriously important! Never underestimate the effectiveness of a “thank you” in both your words and actions. All that’s left to do now is...
Step 3: Get Organized… Then Pitch!
We use a pretty basic Google Sheets spreadsheet to list and track the progress of our pitches from start to finish. We recommend noting at least the following information:
- Podcast name and link
- Contact name and host(s) name(s)
- Name of interviewee (if it isn’t you)
- Email address of contact
- Secondary form of contact (phone, Twitter handle, etc.)
- Date of first contact
- Follow-up date (with results)
- Snail mail address (to send a thank-you card or swag!)
If you have a contact at the podcast, be sure to include their name here, too (and in the pitch email, natch). A warm introduction is worth its weight in digital gold! (Would that be Bitcoin?) Once you’re organized and ready to track progress, we recommend following this timeline:
- Wait a month before following up
- Wait six months before following up one last time
That’s it! If that seems like an agonizingly long time to wait for followup, we understand. But in our experience, patience goes a long way. Podcasts are often planned months in advance, and hosts may have their own themes and promotions scheduled. While six months might as well be another geologic era compared to the pace of social media, a big reason for podcasts’ booming popularity is how well thought-out they are. If you’re willing to be patient and persistent, the results are definitely worth it.
The impact of this wickedly simple strategy on MeetEdgar has been BIG. Which isn’t to say it has always come easily! Even “internet famous” people like our founder aren’t a fit for every single show, so we cast a rather wide net. Since we started pitching podcasts in 2014, we’ve pitched 300 podcasts and were accepted and recorded by 100. We aim for 10–20 podcasts every month, so we do a LOT of pitching. Your mileage may vary, of course. Here’s how it’s paid off. Since we began our podcast pitching plan in 2014, our homepage has been seen by 1.25 million people (yes, unique pageviews). Our mailing list has grown from 50,000 to 112,000+ subscribers and counting. The bottom line: podcasting is awesome… and it works! Some of our favorite guest spots were on podcasts with strong-but-modest audiences. Even starting small goes a long way towards building mutually beneficial industry relationships and bringing your product—and perspective—to the wider world. Should you start your own podcast? Maybe. But if you follow our lead, you really won’t have to!
Make the most of your borrowed podcast traffic
Daphne here again. Jen notes that it can be hard to track the impact of podcast appearances on your business (which isn’t a huge problem if your growth metrics are on as steep a climb as MeetEdgar’s). But it’s not impossible. If you use Leadpages, you have a couple of easy options for channeling all those new podcast listeners into your marketing funnel. You just have to give listeners an incentive to continue the conversation, and then direct them to a trackable place to follow up.
Option 1: Create Simple Landing Pages Just for Podcast Listeners
If you listen to a lot of podcasts, you’ve heard ads like this: “Go to www.website.com and enter coupon code PODCASTNAME at checkout to receive 20% off your first purchase.” Big companies like Squarespace and MailChimp use these podcast-specific coupon codes so they can track exactly how many sales they get from each podcast. You can adapt this technique even if you’re not running paid ads and even if you don’t use coupon codes. Although you probably won’t be giving a sales pitch on someone else’s podcast, you or the host will commonly have a chance to direct the audience to a website to learn more about you. And that’s your chance to start tracking. First, decide on an opt-in offer that makes sense for listeners of the podcast you’re appearing on. It can be something quick and custom, like a PDF with more details on the topic you discussed on air. Or it can be a broader offer that will make sense for listeners of any podcast in your niche. Then, build a simple landing page to offer it. Use Leadpages’ built-in Lead Magnet Delivery option so that anyone joining your list will get your free bonus and be added to your list at the same time.
Tailor your headline to the podcast so visitors know they’re in the right place. Then, either publish it to your own website with a short, easy-to-remember URL or use a link-shortening service to create a shorter version of your Leadpages-hosted URL. Now you’ll be able to log into Leadpages and check out how much traffic and how many new subscribers you’re getting from your podcast appearance. From there, you can even drop these new subscribers into custom follow-up sequences, using the information you know about them as avid listeners of the podcast. If you’re following MeetEdgar’s advice above, this is just the first podcast appearance of many to come. Fortunately, it’s easy to repeat this strategy over and over again. Just click the Duplicate button in your Leadpages dashboard, update the headline, and publish your new version for the next appearance. Done!
Option 2: Set Up a Leaddigit for Podcast Appearances
Maybe you don’t care as much about tracking results from specific podcast appearances—you just want to know how much your podcast efforts as a whole are aiding your business. In that case, you may want to try something a little simpler: Leaddigits®. If you haven’t heard about Leaddigits, these are mobile shortcodes that let people opt into your email list (or get a lead-magnet email, or join your webinar) through a simple, automated text message conversation.
They’re great for lots of places where people aren’t near a computer, and they can reach podcasters listening on their mobile devices. You or the host would just say something like:
“Text PODCAST to 33444 to get an expanded PDF version of this strategy and find out more.”
Check out this case study for a closer look at how one podcast guest, attorney, and Oregon State Representative used this tactic to expand her audience. As with the landing page method, you’ll be able to see exactly how many subscribers are finding you through podcasts.
Ready to get heard and get customers?
Want to try this podcast marketing strategy for yourself? You can start seeking out podcasts in your areas of expertise right now. Then, follow MeetEdgar’s pitch-email guidance to reach out and make connections! And when you're ready to promote those appearances on social media, check out the MeetEdgar blog for even more advice. Are there any podcasts you love that feature guests? Share your favorites in the comments.