Boost Your Profile and Sales with a Podcast Tour

Written by A Guest Author | September 6, 2018

By Jen Kolic 

Are you looking for new ways to expand your reach and find new fans? Even if the answer is yes, chances are you don’t have the time, money, and energy to start building an audience from scratch on a brand new platform. If that’s the case, a podcast tour may be just what you’re looking for.

Podcasts are an increasingly popular medium for thousands of Americans. Nearly half of all Americans have listened to a podcast, and 26% of Americans listen to at least one podcast a month. (For context on how large of a number that is, consider that 21% of Americans identify as Catholic.) People listen to podcasts while they commute, run errands, or do housework. Friends share podcast recommendations by word-of-mouth and on social media.

So how do you reach this audience? You don’t have to start your own show, which means learning to use new technical equipment and building up an audience from zero. Instead, you can book yourself a tour of other people’s podcasts, thereby leveraging existing audiences that are already interested in your topic.

Find Your People

To start, download a podcast app like iTunes or Stitcher on your phone. Then search for podcasts about your topic—leadership, art history, dog training—whatever! Listen to a bunch of the podcasts you find. Which shows do you like? Why? What value can you add to the conversation? Go to their web sites to find more content and more about their audience. A show’s web site will also contain contact info for the host or producer.

It’s okay to pursue a spot on some podcasts that interview authors as well, but you will have better connection with the audience and the host—and less competition with other authors—if you branch out to other topics and formats. This even works for fiction authors. If you write sci-fi/fantasy, seek out podcasts about nerd culture. Historical fiction? Go for history podcasts. If your novel involves Buddhism or cooking, look for shows about those topics. For a lot of these podcasts, it may be a novelty to have an author as a guest, which means you’ll have a great chance of standing out!

Make Your Pitch

Contact the host or producer of the show to pitch yourself as a guest. Don’t pitch your book, pitch yourself and your area of expertise. So instead of saying, “I’m John Smith, I have a new book out about a Buddhist detective,” try something like, “I’m John Smith, I’m an author and I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for 20 years. I’d love to come one your show to talk about how mindfulness practice has influenced my work and productivity.”

Include your contact info and a link to your personal web site. If they want to book you, make sure you have a press sheet with all your info, including a brief bio, a head shot, cover image of your book, and some topics you like to talk about. Consider putting together a Google Doc with all this info so that you can just send the link to any host or producer who’s interested. They, in turn, will be able to download images and text to use on their promos or other publicity for the episode.

The host or producer may ask you if you’ve been on a podcast before. It’s okay if it’s your first one, they just want to make sure they give you all the information you need. They’ll work out a date and time to record, and decide whether to do it in person (with you and the host and all the equipment in the same room) or remotely (you’ll connect with the host via Hangouts, Zoom, or Skype, and record online).

Etiquette: Be a Good Guest

Be on time, and be polite. Provide value to the podcast’s audience by delivering quality content. In other words, come prepared to talk about the podcast’s topic, and not yourself!  You’ll have done your homework beforehand, so you’ll know all about the podcast’s topic and format. You’ll have a chance to promote your book at the end of the segment. And remember, if you’re a good guest (courteous, engaging, well-prepared), you’ll get invited back!

If you’re recording remotely, buy a USB microphone to plug into your computer and test it out before you’re scheduled to record. This will ensure good audio quality on your end, and will make the host’s life (and their audio engineer’s life!) much easier. It’s almost impossible to overstate, but decent USB mics can be bought online for as little as $15, and there is almost no good fix for poorly-recorded audio. Especially if you plan to do a tour, it is well worth investing in a USB mic for your computer.

It’s also always a good idea to contact the host or producer the day before your scheduled appearance to confirm—and be mindful of time differences if the show is in another city.

After you’ve appeared on someone’s podcast, send them a thank-you note. A text or an email is fine—just let them know that you enjoyed being on the show and thank them for the opportunity to connect with their audience. Ask when the release date will be, and see if there are any links or other content that you can share on your social media to help promote the show. You can even make your own graphics in  Canva of quotes for your episode, and share them on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook. After all, you want to help this particular episode reach as many listeners as possible!

If you book a half-dozen shows like this, you’ll have put together a great tour. You won’t have to leave your hometown, and instead of a one-time event like a book signing or reading, a podcast can be listened to and shared long after the recording. So what are you waiting for? Hop over to iTunes and get started today!

Bio:
Jen Kolic is a writer, editor, and publishing coach. She co-hosts Queen City Companion, a live storytelling show, and the Mutiny Book Club podcast. Originally from Queens, NY, she now lives in Denver with her partner and two cats.