This article shares exactly how to get on podcasts as a guest – the tactics, strategies, and tools I use to get appearances. These are my learnings from months of trial and error; my wins and my losses.
What I learned, and share below, worked so well that I went on over 30 podcasts in only 3 months.
Initially, I thought about cold emailing different shows but quickly speculated there had to be tools for finding podcasts looking for guests. This hunch was right.
There are established podcast-matching platforms that make it easy to go on different shows remotely in a short amount of time.
Most of this article will focus on the platforms I use to go on 90% of my podcasts as well as give advice on how to use them. Then I’ll share what to expect when you go on your first podcasts and how to make the most of your guest appearances. Let’s dive in.
How going on podcasts benefits you
First, here’s a quick rundown of how going on podcasts as a guest will benefit your career.
- It’s a solid way to get distribution and build top-of-mind awareness for your brand.
- You become friends with sought-after people (podcast hosts) who connect you with more sought-after people.
- You get an essentially never-ending stream of content to repurpose for social media.
- Podcast appearances give you backlinks, which benefits your SEO (search engine optimization).
- Podcasts wanting you as a guest validates your authority. Sharing your appearances on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok lets people know your brand is in demand.
PodMatch is the most reliable and efficient tool I’ve used to go on podcasts. I appear on about 70% of my podcasts through this platform and constantly recommend it.
- Algorithmically connects you to hosts looking for guests based on similar interests.
- There are a lot of very active hosts on the platform.
- Connects you with several hosts a day who may be a good fit for you.
- You can message hosts and hosts message you.
- Has a leaderboard that refreshes monthly, giving everybody a fair chance.
- Most hosts prefer remote guests.
- No free trial or free tier.
MatchMaker.fm is my second most used podcast-matching platform, and I go on about 20% of my shows through here.
- Free tier – you get ten cold messages to primed hosts monthly.
- Similar to PodMatch, it has thorough filters for finding shows to go on.
- There are some very legitimate shows on MatchMaker.fm with large audiences.
- Hosts are likelier to cold message you on here if you are an interesting guest.
- Solicit hosts by posting in the forum and see who viewed your profile.
- Just like PodMatch, most hosts prefer remote.
- Fewer hosts than PodMatch.
- I encountered some hosts who attempted to charge me for an appearance. You should never accept this!
Bonus: word of mouth
The remaining 10% of my podcast appearances come through word of mouth.
It turns out that getting on podcasts is like many other things in life: it becomes easier with repetition.
The podcast community is amazing and intertwined. Hosts are guests on others’ shows, and everybody is making recommendations for guests who they feel will add value.
It’s a lot like sales. You create relationships, people like you, and you become top-of-mind for a particular niche. As you become more dominant in this niche, people begin to make warm intros to hosts eager to have you on.
Finally, as you go on more and more podcasts, you get access to better shows with bigger audiences. You encounter a host who knows a more successful host who you would be perfect for – and the cycle repeats.
Cold emailing: not an easy way
I would absolutely not recommend cold emailing hosts.
This is the standard piece of advice for people who want to go on podcasts, and it is not good advice.
Compared to the podcast-matching platforms mentioned here, it is time-consuming and wildly unreliable.
If you spend days messaging hosts on these podcast-matching platforms, you’ll likely get a couple, or even a ton, of appearances booked.
If you spend days cold emailing podcast hosts, you will very possibly have nothing to show for it.
The only way to go on the most competitive podcasts is with word of mouth. You can get that word of mouth by going on many shows using podcast-matching platforms.
Should you use more podcast-matching platforms?
There are other podcast-matching platforms out there, but it’s a better use of time to double down on the platforms mentioned in this article.
Instead of going on extra podcast-matching platforms, you should do these activities:
- Improve your profile on the two platforms mentioned here:
- Record a better introductory video.
- Think more deeply about your niche.
- Look through the top-performing guests on PodMatch and see how they position themselves.
- Spend more time looking for hosts who are highly matched to you.
- Message more hosts on these platforms.
- Practice your story-telling abilities if you’re nervous about doing your first shows. Put in headphones. Pretend you’re on a call. Say one of your favorite stories out loud.
I went on 30 podcasts in 3 months using PodMatch and MatchMaker.fm. I easily could have gone on more if I had put more time in. Using other podcast-matching platforms would have been completely unnecessary.
Work on your profile!
Most of your success appearing on podcasts through these platforms will not be determined by how great your message to hosts is.
The ability for you to land podcast appearances is based on your profile and niche.
PodMatch has the most thorough profile options – I filled out everything. If you work on having a great PodMatch profile, you can simply copy and paste all your relevant details to MatchMaker.fm.
PodMatch gives you so many matches it’s essential to put some effort into your profile.
Most people don’t record an introductory video. You should absolutely do this. Put in the time to make it right, so it is as easy as possible for hosts to choose you. Here’s my introductory video. I spent an hour doing multiple takes.
Here are the rest of the things you should do for your profiles.
Put in guest tags so the algorithms can best match you to hosts.
Make your about section brief but sweet – two paragraphs, maximum.
Make your biography section long and interesting. Keep paragraphs no more than two sentences.
Write questions for hosts to ask you – many podcast-matching platforms require this.
Work on an engaging headline. My current one is “Self-development addict and entrepreneur traveling around the world.”
Put in some good high-quality images hosts can use for your show’s thumbnails.
How to message hosts
When you message a host on a podcast-matching platform, the rule of thumb is to keep it short and sweet.
Your profile – tagline, introductory video, and about sections – are going to do the talking for you.
Say why you like the host’s podcast and why you think you will be a good guest. Your host will then look at your profile and see that you’re a good fit. Below is an example.
Deciding which podcasts to go on
A lot of guests who are starting out don’t realize there are podcast ranking tools out there like Listen Notes, which give an idea of a podcast’s popularity.
Through these tools, you can see which podcasts are most popular and choose to spend your time on the top ones over the ones that don’t have large audiences.
However, my philosophy on this is beggars can’t be choosers. Not everybody can land Joe Rogan as their first booking. If you aren’t very notable, you can still go on podcasts as somebody who is charismatic, but you may not be able to get the top gigs at first.
For me, going on any podcast is fun. I enjoy it, and for that reason I say yes to everybody. When I go on a show, it’s a party. I love it.
As I wrote earlier, I also firmly believe that good appearances on small shows will lead to opportunities to appear on bigger shows. The podcast community is smaller than people realize and hosts talk. If you consistently give good appearances, you’ll be recommended to bigger and bigger shows.
Do you need a professional podcast microphone?
You absolutely do not need a professional podcast microphone. Many hosts care far more about the quality of a guest’s conversations and stories than they do the quality of the guest’s sound.
I went on nearly all my podcasts using this $13 pair of headphones. After going on a few podcasts, I tried buying a professional microphone for $25 (the one in my video). This more expensive microphone didn’t sound great compared to my headphones, so I returned to them.
But I can say from experience hosts are way more concerned with the quality of your stories, knowledge, adventures, and engagement than they are with the crispness of your voice.
What to expect when you land your first podcast guest bookings
When I did my first podcast appearance, I was nervous. I was a tadpole and I had no idea what to expect. Now I know.
The vetting interview
Expect for hosts to interview you in advance to make sure you’re a good fit for their shows.
Hosts will use this interview to flesh out topics for the show and to ensure they can vibe with you.
I’ve never not passed one of these interview sessions. I try to have genuine conversations with the hosts and enjoy my time talking to them. I often hear, “Wow, okay, it’s clear we could keep talking for hours. This show is going to be great.”
If you enjoy talking and meeting people, you’ll do very well.
My secret: Don’t look at this as a job interview. Instead look at it as an opportunity to have an enjoyable conversation with somebody you may end up becoming friends with.
Hosts are busy
It’s very common for hosts to be booked for weeks or months in advance. Once you have the vetting interview, you may wait another couple of weeks before doing the podcast.
If there is no vetting interview, you still may wait weeks or months before doing a podcast.
Record in a good place
I learned this the hard way. You’ll want to record in a quiet place with decent lighting.
A hack for lighting is just to have a bright light in your face. With this said, lighting isn’t super important as not many shows are video-heavy. However, recording in a quiet place is critical.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a stable Internet connection.
The pre-show chat
Hosts will usually warm themselves and their guests up before the recording with a preshow chat.
This chat is used to get the conversation flowing and to reduce any tension.
These chats can last anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
Expect for hosts to introduce you and/or for you to have introduce yourself. I introduce myself on a lot of shows; it has become second nature at this point.
Anything is a conversation path, so your introduction can also kickstart the conversation.
Some hosts may have planned questions that they want to ask you. Go with the flow, enjoy speaking, and enjoy the company of the host.
The typical podcast is 50 minutes in length, but this is highly variable. I’ve gone on shows that were 30 minutes, and I’ve gone on shows that were 2 hours. The average is 50 minutes but there’s no one size fits all.
An example showing one of my podcast appearances.
The post-show chat
I’ll often continue talking to hosts when the show ends. Sometimes I’ll even talk with a host for up to an hour after the show ends.
These times are the winding down of a great conversation and the tying up of any loose ends of production. Hosts will ask questions about how they should refer to you in the written podcast description and double check they have the right links for you.
I’ll even take hosts’ phone numbers during this period because we have such an engaging chat that hosts want to stay in touch.
Shows can take a while to be released
While the release time of a show is often much shorter than the wait time to appear on one, expect for there to be a bit of a delay between the recording and the release.
Hosts will want to edit shows and write in timestamps for different points in the podcast.
How to get the most from your podcast appearances.
Leveraging your podcast appearances is arguably the most important part of going on them. You don’t want your recordings to go to waste, and each appearance has a lot of potential for how it can be used.
Here’s a checklist for how to make the most of your podcast guest appearances:
- Share your podcast appearances on LinkedIn and Twitter. You want your community to feel the momentum you’re building. This will lead to opportunities to go on more podcasts and general opportunities for your brand and your business.
- Repurpose your content into short-form videos for mobile. These include YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok. You can use tools like Descript to save tons of time with editing.
- If there is a brand you’re doing SEO for, or think you’ll want to do SEO for, have the podcast link to your brand. Podcasts are great for building SEO domain authority and can help a lot with getting relevant search traffic. Don’t neglect this.
- Stay in touch with the hosts! Podcast hosts are very connected people. Check in from time to time to stay top-of-mind with them and see how they’re doing. On any given day, they may come across somebody who would find your brand useful or informative.
You should not be cold emailing podcast hosts. Instead, you should be using podcast-matching platforms.
PodMatch is the number one platform I’ve used.
MatchMaker.fm is the runner-up.
These two platforms alone will get you all the appearances you need, and I’ve appeared on dozens of shows in a short amount of time through them.
Make a thorough profile and enjoy sharing your life on some podcasts! As you grow in popularity, don’t forget to track each appearance and leverage it upon release.
Have any questions or comments? Reach out or share your thoughts in the comments section below.