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August 5, 2020
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Musician Tips

A Musician’s Guide to Getting on a Podcast

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know podcasts are EVERYWHERE – and more popular than ever.

You might promote your concerts through Facebook Events or market a new single using ads on Instagram Stories, but where do you turn when you want to share the story behind the music? Podcasts are the perfect place to do that.

Pitching your music and story to podcasters

How to find the right podcast

First, the obvious…what podcasts are you already listening to?

Look at your favorite indie artists; what shows have they been on? An easy way to find out is to type the artist’s name into the “search” field of your podcast app and see what pops up!

Great. Now you have a list of shows. So how do you write your “pitch”?

Getting booked on a podcast

Before hitting “send” on that email, let’s go over the basics:

  1. Find the host’s email or contact form via their website (most likely you will find the URL in the podcast description).
  2. Know the podcast and the audience before you pitch; don’t blindly pitch or write in generalities – it will be obvious if you aren’t familiar with the podcast!
  3. Know why you are a right fit for this audience, and be able to articulate it.
  4. Know how to pitch (more on that below).

Writing the pitch

You want to be clear, to the point, and compelling. Just like you don’t enjoy reading generic marketing emails, you don’t want to send one either. Speak to the host directly, tell them why their podcast interests you, why you are the right guest for them, and why now (maybe you have an album coming out, or maybe you have a fresh take on a topic this podcast covers).

I have a podcast where I speak to artists about their stories … and about 90% of the guests are ones I have sought out. So what about the other 10%? What makes me say “yes” to an unsolicited pitch from a manager, publicist, or artist? 

Here is an excerpt from a pitch that I accepted: 

“Recently listened to your episode with Allison Russell – I was extremely touched by her story, and also intrigued to hear more of your podcast.

I’m a publicist and I’m working with an artist that I think would be a great fit. She’s got an incredible story, I’d love to tell you more/get your thoughts.”

Can you see why it might have piqued my interest? She directly related her pitch to a previous episode (that my audience loved) and indicated why her artist would be the right fit.

If you get a “no” (or no response at all), onto the next! Here are a few reasons why I (or your favorite podcast host) might decline your pitch that have nothing to do with you: 

  • They are already overbooked. This happens to me all the time. If I have too many interviews lined up for a few months, I’m not likely to take on more.
  • It’s not the right fit for this particular subject/audience (which, again, is reason to do your research).
  • They are looking for more diversity. For example, if you’re a folk artist pitching a music podcast that covers a wide variety of genres, but their last five episodes were all folk artists, they might be looking to switch things up!

If it’s a “yes” – here are some tips for getting ready.

Getting the most out of your podcast appearance

Preparing for the interview:

  • Listen to at least one episode to get a sense of the host’s style and what kinds of questions they like to ask.
  • Do a little “journaling” about the points you want to get across to your audience, so that what you most want to say is already top of mind.
  • If it’s your first podcast and you’re nervous, feel free to ask the host if they could give you an idea of what kinds of questions will be asked!
  • Bonus points if you send your host your artist assets (1-2 press shots bio) before they ask!

After the podcast is recorded 

  • Know that the host will most likely launch the episode without you hearing it first. This is normal. In the 50 episodes I’ve launched, only two guests have asked to hear the recording before it goes live. That said, if there is something you really don’t want aired, you absolutely can let the host know ahead of time. Any host worth their salt will be happy to edit it out. (I’ve done this a handful of times.)
  • Promote, promote, promote! You now have great content to share with your fans, and hopefully generate some new ones too! Share on your socials (IG stories, Twitter, etc.) and throw it up on your website under “Press/Interviews.”

Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll address some of them in a future article.

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