Every B2B founder, marketer, executive, or coach understands that people do business with those whom they know, like, and trust.
This is such a simple statement, but many people often struggle to earn this type of relationship. Oftentimes, we are guilty of just hitting our numbers and focusing on the results, when really we should be focusing on curating relationships.
On top of this, sales and the buyer’s journey have changed drastically in recent years.
The buyer now has a wide range of resources at their disposal to research and make decisions before they even reach out to a company.
In fact, B2B buyers are typically 57% of the way to a buying decision before actively engaging with sales.
Those individuals and organizations that are aware of these changes, and have shifted their marketing efforts accordingly, will thrive.
The key is to offer value upfront to solve the challenges that your audience faces.
At Speak On Podcasts, we’ve always followed the mantra of “leading with value,” and have openly shared our tips and playbooks with thousands of people worldwide. This has helped us to earn the respect, awareness and trust of potential customers.
Having this “give first” mentality has allowed us to increase buyers’ awareness of the brands we work for (as well as our personal brands) and ultimately close more deals.
Since 2020, we’ve worked with 150+ B2B customers such as Gong, Canva, and Paddle, to help them spread their message, increase brand awareness, and attract 100s of new customers. You can read some of the case studies here.
And in this article, you’ll learn how you can replicate their success in your own business.
Lead generation strategies
Lead generation describes the process that organizations use to generate interest from people who were previously unaware of them, and educate these people on the solution that their company has to offer.
A lead can be any person who indicates interest in a company’s product or service in some way, shape or form.
Lead generation is one of the early steps in a typical marketing funnel or sales process, and it often involves collecting potential customers’ information (such as their name, email, job title, etc.).
It’s important to note that not all leads are created equal. Different people will be at different stages of the buyer’s journey at any given time.
While there are hundreds of lead generation strategies to choose from, you should not simply base your decision on what other companies are doing.
Instead, you should consider these three questions:
- Who benefits from the solution that I’ve built and why would they care about solving the challenges it addresses?
- What does a typical customer look like? What characteristics are common among the people that I’m targeting?
- Where can I find these people online? Think about the places they spend time online and where they might go to seek answers to their questions (hint: these are your channels).
In some industries, leads are easier to identify. For example, it may be harder to identify a lead who’s responsible for evaluating the different options for their ERP software than to identify a Shopify store owner who needs help with social media marketing.
Before selecting a lead generation strategy, you also need to understand the audience awareness funnel.
The different stages are:
- Completely unaware: The individuals in question may have opinions, beliefs and ideas about themselves and their identities, but they don’t know anything else.
- Problem-aware: They know they have a problem but they don’t know how to solve it.
- Solution-aware: They understand that there are solutions that could solve their problem.
- Product-aware: They understand that your product exists to solve their problem, but they’re not sure if yours is the best option.
- Most aware: They understand the problem, the solution and your company, but are seeking more information about the exact deal.
The messaging and approach to completely unaware audiences will be vastly different from the approach to product-aware audiences. And as a rule of thumb, it’s easier to market to those who are problem-solution- and product-aware.
While we might be a little biased here, you can see that podcast guesting appears in all three stages. However, the message changes slightly for each one.
Next, we’ll dive into podcasts in more detail, and demonstrate how they can help you reach more people, build relationships, generate leads and close deals more quickly.
Why appear on podcasts as a guest?
Appearing on podcasts as a guest, aka “Podcast guesting” is a new strategy that allows you to reach relevant customers by speaking on podcasts they already know, like, and trust.
As of December 2023, there are over 4 million podcasts with over 50 million episodes available to 464.7 million listeners. The number of listeners is estimated to increase to 504.9 million by the end of 2024.
This means that appearing on podcasts presents a huge opportunity to get your message heard by millions of people.
You could also create your own podcast, of course. If you want to explore this option, you can either do it yourself or work with a company like Sweet Fish Media, Content Allies, or Fame.so which manages the whole process for you.
We compared podcast guesting vs. podcast hosting in this webinar:
Another benefit of podcasts, which isn’t mentioned much online, is that they capitalize on the fact that humans are biologically wired to listen to stories.
“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” – Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
Scientifically speaking, when we hear a story that resonates with us, our levels of a hormone called oxytocin increase—and this is a “feel good” hormone.
Oxytocin boosts feelings like trust, compassion and empathy; it motivates us to work with others and it positively influences our social behavior.
Because of this, stories have a unique ability to build connections. For years, successful brands have been tapping into this power to build a base of engaged fans.
Now, in 2022, you have the opportunity to tap into this psychological human desire too. You can tell your story and connect with millions of people all over the world—in just 30–45 minutes at a time.
The benefits of appearing on podcasts as a guest include:
- Increase awareness of your personal and professional brand
- Generate leads from interested individuals
- Establish relationships with podcast hosts which can lead to partnerships and referrals
- Connect with listeners on a much deeper level
- Build high authority backlinks (SEO)
- Create content that you can repurpose later
Personally, I’ve been listening to podcasts for years. In fact, the first podcast episodes that I listened to had to be downloaded as mp3 files and then moved over to my Sony mp3 player.
This might qualify as oversharing, but I often listen to podcasts while:
- Working out
I even bought waterproof wireless headphones so that I could swim and listen to podcasts when I was living in Southeast Asia.
Finally, podcasts have a magical compounding effect. The episodes in which you are interviewed receive an initial push when they’re published. But beyond that, more and more people continue to discover them in the future— which results in your message being heard by an ever-increasing audience.
I receive several messages like this on a weekly basis:
Conversations like this one often lead directly to discovery calls for our services.
Is podcast guesting for you?
There are three main requirements that you must match.
First, you need to set the right goal. This means having realistic expectations about what and when can be achieved with podcast guesting.
For example, you won’t be able to generate 100s of leads with each episode. However, you can easily use your podcast interviews to increase brand awareness or generate content.
Second, your offer should be on point.So ideally, you need to have proven messaging and an offer that resonates with your target audience.
And lastly, your audience must be broad enough, so there are enough podcasts but also niche-targeted ones. More about this is in the section below.
How to appear on podcasts as an expert guest
If you’re sold on the idea of appearing on podcasts as a guest and also match the requirements above, it’s time to discuss how to actually do so. You can follow this step-by-step process to make the most of each opportunity.
- Identify your target audience
- Craft your topics, offer, and CTA
- Research and prepare
- Connect and secure
Identify your target audience
First, you must understand who you want to reach.
On one hand, your audience shouldn’t be too broad (“We can talk to everyone!”) nor it shouldn’t be too narrow (VPs of Demand Gen in Brooklyn). The first would result in millions of potential podcasts, the second would result in none.
There’s a balance you must find.
The right audience definition examples:
- VPs of Sales
- Sales podcasts
- Executive coaches
- Leaders in B2B organizations
- Data engineers
- Cybersecurity podcasts
Ideally, you should end up with a list of 50-200 podcasts. More about this in the research part of this article.
Craft your topics, offer, and CTA
Before researching or pitching to podcasts, you must first focus on your message (i.e. what you want to talk about), and identify what value you can offer to listeners.
At Speak On Podcasts, we craft landing pages for all our customers. You can get inspired here:
We recommend that you stick to one, maximum of two areas of expertise (topics). Even if you can talk at length about multiple topics, it’s much better to stay focused. This will make your message more likely to resonate with the podcast’s audience.
You can also think about the common problems that your target audience faces, and then share advice to help them overcome these issues.
A quick exercise to build out these topics is to consider the common questions that your audience often has. What are the questions that people are always asking you?
Don’t shy away from sharing your opinion or point of view. Oftentimes, this opinion may be shared by the podcast audience. It will also help you stand out from other guests that have appeared on the podcast before.
Now that you’ve established your message and topics to focus on, you need to think about the offer and call to action (CTA).
Offers come in many forms and usually link to further resources. It’s important to ensure that your offer is valuable for the audience, to make it worth their time.
Your CTA is the sentence that you say to direct people to the offer. It’s a good idea to explain the benefits of the offer, in order to encourage listeners to take the time to visit the resource.
Examples of common offers include:
- A link to a downloadable checklist or framework
- A phone number people can text.
- A link to a course or community, such as a Facebook group
- A link to a book (either on your website or directly on Amazon)
- A link to a website or blog post
- A link to your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter profile
- A link to a free trial or demo of the software
Remember to make the link short and easy to remember. This is covered in more detail in the section on “setting up a system for success” below.
In most cases, the host will include these links in the show notes of the podcast, which makes it easier for listeners to access the offer.
Here’s a real-life CTA example from our customer which resulted in 50+ new inbound leads:
“Thanks for asking! I’d love to connect with anyone who is currently struggling to build their sales stack. Maybe you feel overwhelmed and have no idea which tool to use. If that’s the case, please stop everything for 15 seconds and send me the word “STACK” to 1-111-222-333 to get a LEAD MAGNET*. Once you send the text message, the bot will ask you a couple of questions and then you’ll receive *LEAD MAGNET*.
You can also check out this article about crafting an irresistible podcast call to action.
Research and prepare
Now that you have a clear message and offer, you’re ready to find podcasts to speak on. Unless you’re using a service that secures podcast interviews for you, this process involves manual research.
But the fastest way to do it yourself is the Keyword Method.
Let’s say that you want to target B2B marketers. To find the most relevant podcasts, write down the industry terms, influencers, and competitors.
We recommend using “quotation marks”, so when you search that keyword later, you get the exact phrase match. Find at least 10 relevant keywords.
Then, search for the keywords on ListenNotes.com to find the most relevant podcasts and save the URLs.
Spend some time exploring the categories and adding podcasts with episodes related to your chosen topic.
We do not recommend pitching to the most popular podcasts when starting out. It’s a good idea to build up some social proof by appearing on smaller podcasts first.
What are the signs of a good podcast?
- They have interviewed guests before (not all podcasts interview external sources)
- They have positive reviews or ratings (see Apple Podcasts)
- They have at least 10 episodes and the most recent episode was published in the last 30 days
Don’t be put off by the idea of reaching out to a newer or lesser-known podcast.
They might have a smaller audience, but if they serve a niche that relates to your topic, there’s a higher chance that your message will be heard by the right people.
Remember, for most B2B speakers, it’s better to speak to 100 super-relevant people than 100,000 people who don’t care.
Relevancy over size.
What information do you need to research?
When researching podcasts, there are several data points that you should collect. Some of these can also be helpful for outreach.
Here are some of the data points that we collect during our research at Speak On Podcasts:
- Podcast name
- Podcast URL
- Podcast focus
- Podcast social media links
- The most recent episode title and link
- Date of most recent episode
- Host’s first name
- Host’s last name
- Host’s LinkedIn and email
- Other contact links
You’ll need to find the balance between too little research and too much, but the above data points are a good place to start.
- Browse the website and look for their contact details. Most podcasts have this information freely available, which makes life easier.
- If you’ve found the host’s LinkedIn profile, you can use a Chrome extension like seamless.AI to locate their email address. Here’s how:
- Install the extension
- Visit the host’s LinkedIn profile
- Click on the “Find” button
- Click on “View”
Now you’re almost ready to connect and reach out to these podcasts. But first, make sure you listen to an episode or two of each.
This helps familiarize you with the style of the host and the structure of the podcast. You should also read the “About” page on the podcast’s website, if they have one.
It’s important to not contact podcasts just for the sake of it; you should have a clear idea of what each podcast is about, what kind of value you can provide to their audience and what you might gain from reaching out to them.
Connect and secure
When it comes to pitching, don’t overthink things.
You’re reaching out to these hosts because you have valuable information to share that would benefit their audience. The key to pitching is to make sure your message is personalized, relevant and concise. This isn’t the time to write an essay or tell your life story.
You’ll also need to to craft a subject line that’s short, specific, clear, and compelling.
Bad podcast pitch example
Here’s a breakdown of a podcast pitch by Jakub Zajicek (Speak On Podcasts co-founder):
Good podcast pitch example
Here’s how Jakub rewrote it with the reasoning of why this approach would work.
To make your podcast outreach work, keep in mind the following:
- Podcast hosts want to record awesome episodes – your emails must communicate this.
- Friction kills reply rates. Keep your email concise, write for small screens.
- Suggest 1, maximum 2 topics that are the most suitable for this podcast.
- Mention something specific from the episode to show that you’ve done your homework.
- Connect something from their podcast (description, previous episodes, etc.) to your expertise.
- Lead with relevancy (why you’ll deliver value), then with credibility.
- Keep the CTA soft. Don’t ask for a commitment in the first email.
- Add a human touch by including a PS line.
Do these things and you’ll separate yourself from 90% of people who reach out to podcast hosts.
Don’t be afraid to follow up with the host. Many established podcast hosts receive several pitches a day, and they might have missed your first email.
If the host responds positively and agrees to have you on the show, there are a few details you need to find out. Some hosts may also suggest a short call to discuss the topic and logistics.
Here are some logistical aspects to consider:
- What date and time will the interview take place? (Be mindful of time zones when scheduling this.)
- Will the interview take place via Skype, Zoom or a specific software they suggest?
- How long will the interview take?
- When will the episode air after being recorded?
A favorite question we like to ask at this stage is:
“What should I include in my interview to make this episode as valuable as possible for your audience?”
You can check a detailed guide on how to prepare for your podcast interview here.
Now that you’ve secured an interview in your calendar, it’s time to put a system in place to ensure that you make the most of this opportunity.
Setting up a system for success
Before you do anything else, you want to make sure to deliver as much value as you can during the interview, so that the audience is left wanting more.
Designing a system for post-interview success may sound a little daunting, but the following outline should simplify the process.
The ideal system is composed of three parts:
- A landing page where people submit their information in exchange for your offer
- An offer and lead capture process through which you collect people’s contact details and then send them the valuable resource
- A series of nurture emails, which you can use to nurture these leads with the goal of converting them into customers
Ideally, you would create a dedicated landing page for each podcast interview. However, in reality, you may not have the necessary resources or time for this. If you have a marketing team or contractor, they can help you do so.
Regardless, your landing page should reference the fact that the person viewing it has listened to your podcast interview (if you’re using the same landing page for multiple interviews, you can keep this language generic).
If you’re creating a dedicated landing page for each interview, then you can include the podcast name, artwork from it and the name of the host. If you’re just starting out and setting up a general landing page, you can skip this.
There are a number of low-cost solutions out there for creating landing pages. Here at Speak On Podcasts, we recommend MailerLite. It has a very simple landing page builder and autoresponder, which are free to use if you have less than 1000 subscribers.
You can watch a video walkthrough of setting up a landing page in MailerLite here.
The offer and lead capture process
Your offer can come in many forms. Here are a few examples:
- A downloadable guide
- A checklist
- A consultation with you
- A contest to win a prize
- A quiz
It really depends on what internal resources you have available. However, I do recommend that you create something that you can use over and over again.
An alternative option would be to create a blog post that features the resource you can offer, which you can then leverage as a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is an incentive that you can offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address or other contact information.
The research template and pitch emails offered in this guide are examples of lead magnets. Here’s a handy link to 17 lead magnet ideas from Pat Flynn.
There are a few ways to create lead magnets. You can design a PDF or presentation, and share a link to that file when someone completes the form.
How you choose to do this depends on your resources and how much time you have, but whatever the method, your lead magnet must have authentic value.
According to our customers’ experience, it is certainly worth spending the time to produce professional lead magnets and resources in order to make the most out of each podcast episode.
The goal is to impress the lead with your content and knowledge, and motivate them to find out more about working with you.
Mention your landing page
When appearing on a podcast, you’ll need to direct listeners to your landing page.
Depending on the host’s process and style, they might tell the audience about your offer and CTA, or you might have the opportunity to mention it during the interview.
The majority of podcasts have show notes. These often contain a summary of the key talking points in each episode. You can also include a link to the landing page here; make sure you send the link to the host so that they can add it.
Sending nurture emails
For years, marketers have been sharing the advice to “build your list.” A quality email list can become one of the most powerful assets for your business.
Once you’ve created a resource and someone has opted in for it, you have the opportunity to send follow-up emails. These are also known as nurture emails or a nurture sequence.
Nurture emails are meant to educate and nurture prospects or leads. They often convey the value of a company or teach recipients about subjects that they’ve signaled an interest in.
You can use nurture emails to help leads move through the different stages of the awareness funnel.
One of the main challenges in building nurture campaigns is knowing what to actually say in each email.
Our advice is to:
- Offer value
- Keep it simple
Your nurture emails can be plain text without any fancy HTML work. In fact, I recommend that you keep them basic, as this makes them more authentic.
As for content, think about what additional value you can provide to these leads. This could include sharing:
- Insights about the industry
- Case studies or customer stories
- Additional resources
- Links to blog posts or other content you’ve previously created
- An invitation to book a strategy session with you
I also suggest that you send three to four follow-up emails over the course of three weeks. The exact number of emails and timings will depend on your industry and audience—but if you’re delivering value, don’t be afraid to send them.
Tip: If you don’t want to send nurture emails, you can send the listeners to follow you on social media instead.
Promoting your interview
Once you’ve been interviewed on a podcast, you have the opportunity to repurpose that interview into other forms of content. You can then share this content across social media and other communities you belong to.
You can promote your interview through:
- Audiograms: Use the Headliner app to create short audio snippets from each interview.
- Images: Convert key takeaways and quotes into images using Canva.
- Transcriptions: Upload the mp3 file to Otter.ai, which will help you turn the interview into text for you to publish as a blog post.
- Links: Share a link to the episode in your newsletter, and send it to prospects in your pipeline.
We talked about this extensively in this webinar:
Once you’ve found your ideal podcasts, pitched to the hosts, secured interviews on them, and directed people to your CTA, the system is complete.
Now you just need to repeat the cycle of speaking on podcasts and promoting your interviews, and let your offer and nurture emails do the legwork for you.
From our experience, our customers see dozens of leads come through each month from the various podcast interviews they’ve completed months previously.
Now, let’s say one podcast generates five leads per month. If you appear on four podcasts every month, that’s 20 inbound leads per month.
This won’t happen overnight, but if you put in the work it pays off.
The beauty of this strategy is that you don’t necessarily need a lot of traffic, and you don’t have to create new content each month to succeed. All you need to do is speak on podcasts and provide authentic value.