How to use podcasts for link building: a step-by-step guide

Posted by Daniel Daines-Hutt on 4 Nov, 2019
View comments SEO
From finding the right podcasts and writing a winning pitch, through to being a perfect guest on and after the show. It's all here in this easy-to-follow guide.

Podcasting for linkbuilding.

Struggling with link building?

Doing outreach but not getting the results you want?

Sometimes asking for the link isn’t enough, especially in competitive industries. You need to find an edge to get ahead; some way to get those extra links and move up the rankings

So what can you do?

You go out and build links instead.

Today I’m going to show you how my brand new blog went from DA zero to DA 40 with a single article.

How?

Simply by chatting about the article on top tier podcasts.

Better still, we’ll show you the exact step-by-step process so you can follow along and build links for your own content.

Even if you’ve never tried this method before...

So what is podcast link building? (And how does it work)

It’s as simple as it sounds. You get on shows, talk about your article topic, and build links back to it.

Easy right?

But unlike other link building methods, the benefits keep stacking up:

  • It helps you promote your content to brand new, large audiences
  • It takes around 30-60 minutes to record an episode, but it builds trust, authority and creates powerful contextual links
  • It's a great way of clustering content around a topic - you're going out and talking about your article, but tweaking the conversation to meet the level of the audience

This means you can get in front of brand new cold audiences - people who might not have keyword intent yet - and drive them to your content in advance.

So it's not just links but actual traffic! Pretty good right?

Let me break down our results and what we did, and then show you how to do this for yourself...

Earlier this year I started a brand new blog all about content promotion. It’s a competitive space so I needed to stand out, if I was going to get people’s attention and backlinks.

The plan?

A 30,000 word guide to paid content promotion, to get our name out there.  It took 4 weeks to write, and so I wanted to go that extra mile and double down on SEO.

That’s when I started podcast link building.

We started to write custom pitches to different shows in our industry to come on and talk about our guide. And these were not small podcasts either...

We're talking companies like Co-Schedule, Active Campaign, Copy Chief and more.

Coschedule.

Why care?

Because these podcasts have an average DR of 50+

Heck, some were even higher than that…

High domain authority.

That's a DR 84 link for an hour of effort.

Within 90 days we had recorded around 50+ shows and gone from a DA zero to DA 40 site

Domain authority.

Better still?

The process is super simple:

Step 1: Find potential podcasts
Step 2: Pitch the show
Step 3: Record the episode

This works even if you're a brand new blog, in a super competitive industry

Pretty cool right?

Now that you've seen the results this can get, let's walk you through each step...

Step 1: Find podcasts to guest on

Start off by creating a list of potential podcasts that you could guest on.

Go ahead and open up a new spreadsheet. As you go through the searches below, start adding the podcast URL's that you find.

Pocast list.

We recommend that you make a list of around 150 or so.

Why?

Because the more you can find, the better your chances at finding a good fit, and getting that link.

So let's walk through how to find them...

Search iTunes

Head on over to iTunes and search for podcasts in your industry.

iTunes.

Simply enter your industry keyword, then go through the shows.

(Be sure to check the new and noteworthy also, as they can be easier to get on, and are sometimes part of larger websites).

Add them to your spreadsheet, and let's look for some more...

Search podcast search strings

Another easy way to find podcasts?

Head over to Google and search for:

"podcast + industry keyword"

Google search.

Feel free to search for a few keyword ideas.

Not only will you find podcasts, but you'll usually also find blog posts that are reviewing the top shows in your industry.

Simply go through them and add them to your list...

Reverse engineer competitors who guest on podcasts

Here's a sneaky way to find podcasts you might not have heard of.

Go back into Google and search for:

"podcast + competitor site" OR "podcast + influencer name"

Google search.

This will help you find shows you might never have thought of, or that might not match certain keyword searches.

(It’s amazing how many marketing shows don’t have the word marketing in the name or description).

Easy right?

Go ahead and add them to your list.

Once you're done, it's time to filter those results...

Filter your results

When we did this, we ended up pitching around 90 shows, and getting on 60+ of them.

That’s a pretty crazy conversion rate right? (Especially when link building).

Want to know how we get such a high success rate when pitching podcasts?

Simple

We filter them so that we only pitch the right people.

Open up your spreadsheet, and start working through each of the podcasts that you've found.

You're going to work through each filter one by one…

Do they meet criteria?

The first thing to check?

It's if the podcast is still running! (It's pointless to pitch it if they don't even record anymore right?)

There are 2 ways to find this out:

You can either go to the podcast page and look for when it last published an episode…

Episode date.

Easy right?

But the thing is, not every site will show their publish date.

If that's the case, simply head across to iTunes and enter the podcast in the search bar…

Episodes on iTunes.

This will bring up the publish date of their most recent episodes

As long as the show is up and running, then it's time for the next filter...

Is the link worth the effort?

Now this is more of a quality control check.

As a rule of thumb, I try to only go on podcasts where the DR is above 20.

We found this by using the Ahrefs Domain Rank toolbar.

Ahrefs toolbar.

Simply plug in the URL, and it'll show the DR rating of the site.

Important:

If the DR is less than 20, don't immediately rule them out.

Why?

Because some podcasts are pretty bad at link building.

We've seen shows with a DR 5 website but 50,000 monthly listeners.

Crazy eh?

Other shows might be brand new with no audience or rankings BUT from looking at their work,they might have the potential to grow huge one day.

So it’s dealer's choice here:

If you think it's worth the effort, then carry on and perform the next check...

Do they have your audience?

This is incredibly important.

Why?

Because it’s pointless going on a show where you can't drive traffic from it.

A simple way to check if they have your audience is to:

  • Look at their previous content and episodes/guests
  • Look at their blog content
  • Check their home page and about page

From this you should get an idea of who their audience is.

Audience.

Important:

They don't have to be your exact audience, but there does have to be some overlap i.e. they might be a content marketing show and you have an article on SEO for example.

Episodes.

As long as they pass all these criteria, then it's time for the next step...

Step 2: Pitch the podcast

Here's the most important thing I can teach you about sales, persuasion and conversion.

It's not about you, it's ALL about them.

It doesn't matter if you have the best product or service in the world, or even if it's free.

You have to make it all about the end user.

That one person alone.

Which is why when it comes to your pitch, you need to take the time to find out what matters to that other person.

To find some way of connecting and benefiting them.

Great outreach.

Because if you can do that?

Then they'll almost always say yes...

Find the angle

Research time!

Go through their content and About page, and try to think of an angle.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How would you being a guest, help them?
  • How could it help their users?
  • How could you make them look good?
  • How would it affect them?
  • How simple will it be for them to have you on?

Look for some kind of connection if possible.

Even if it's as simple as you agreeing with a similar belief or idea.

Outreach connection.

If you can show that you pay attention, it'll really help you stand out.

So now that you have an angle, it's time to apply...

How do you apply?

A super quick check that most people miss.

Some shows will have specific methods of how to apply. Maybe a contact form etc.

It’s vital that you check for this BEFORE you send them an email.

Why?

Because some of these guys get thousands of emails a month:

Email overload.

This means you might get lost in the noise of cold emails, or worse?

It can look like you couldn't be bothered to put in any effort...

Not great for a first impression right?

You can usually find the application form on the podcast page, or on the 'Contact Us' page

Application process.

If they have one, then jump to the next step below.

If not, then don’t worry!

All you need to do is find their email, and you can do that with a free tool called Hunter.io

It's another toolbar extension.

Once it's installed, simply give it a click, and it'll show you what emails it finds for that particular website

Hunter io.

Easy right?

Once you have their email, it's time to write your pitch...

Pitch the show

Now you could just email them from your regular email account, but let's show you a better way.

We use Mailshake for all our cold email pitch.

Why?

Simply because it helps improve your outreach results...

Mailshake.

How?

  • It keeps track of emails previously sent, so you don't email the same person by accident
  • It runs an AI smart filter to let you know if your email seems spammy, and offers improvements
  • It allows you to set follow up automations, based on whether they read your email or not

Pretty cool right?

Go ahead and create a new campaign by clicking the pink button in the corner.

Mailshake campaign.

A new page will load up.

Give the outreach email a name so that you remember it, and check the 'from' email is correct.

Then click the next button.

Creat campaign.

A new page will load asking for the email address.

Simply paste the email you found earlier into the box, and then click the import button.

Select email.

Important:

You could in theory, copy and paste the email of every podcast you find in here, and just mass email everyone.

DON'T DO THIS!

Why?

Because taking the time to personalize each email will get you far better results.

Trust me on this.

Emailing 150 podcasts and getting on 50 of them, is far better than emailing 1500, getting on 50 and annoying 1,450 other people in your industry...

Make sense?

All right, so once you click the import button, it'll load up the campaign builder, which looks like this:

Campaign builder.

So let's write your email...

Write the headline

Keep the headline nice and simple.

Email headline.

Customize it if you found a connection or angle, otherwise just get right to the point and let them know that you are interested in being a guest on their show.

The introduction and angle

The start of the email is super important.

Why?

Because you'll either get them interested, or lose them.

Stick to the following:

  • Say hello
  • Use the host's name
  • Bring up the connection angle
  • Let them know you want to be on the show

Email elements.

(You would be surprised how many people do cold email outreach and don't even bother to get the host’s name right!)

Now that you have their attention, you need to keep it.

And to do that, you add some social proof...

Why should they pay attention to you?

These guys get pitched all the time, and so it's vital you make an impression fast.

How?

All you need to do is simply:

  • Tell them who you are, and then
  • Give some social proof that connects with what you both do

Social proof.

Remember:

It’s not about bragging.

It’s about building trust with the host and showing that you are worth their time.

It doesn't need to be epic either- it just needs to be enough that they take you seriously.

Now that they trust you, they're ready for your episode pitch...

Make it easy to say yes

What's one of the biggest problems with creating content?

It’s thinking WHAT to create.

In this section, you're going to pitch a few different episode ideas.

This then:

  • Removes the effort of them having to come up with a show idea
  • Gives them a few ideas to choose from
  • Helps you to direct the conversation towards your content ;)

Pitch.Try and tie each idea to your angle, or to ways that the topic could benefit them.

This makes it real easy for them to say yes.

Remember:

The easier it is for some to do something, the more likely they are to do it.

Especially if you remove any objections they might have in advance...

Remove objections and stack benefits

At this point, I like to remove any potential objections, as well add on a few extra benefits.

It’s real easy:

  • I remove any topic objections
  • I remove any tech worries
  • And I give some additional benefits of how well the show will do

Remove objections.

Easy right?

By now it's a no brainer not to have you on their show.

So there's just one more thing to do...

The call to action

Ask to go on the show!

Call to action.

So many marketers miss this that it’s crazy!

If you don't ask someone for something, then they won’t do the thing!

So simply ask to be on the show!

(Or at least to reply to you)

Congratulations, you now have an awesome cold pitch- now it's time to make sure it doesn't get missed...

Automate the followup

OK so these podcasters get a LOT of pitches.

This means their days can be a little hectic, and sometimes your message gets lost

Or worse?...

They LOVE your pitch but then they get distracted and forget to write back to you.

So what can you do?

Easy!

Set up an automated follow up email in Mailshake

Scroll down below the campaign builder, and click on the 'add follow up' button.

Follow up.

This will open up a mini campaign builder.

Start off by adjusting the timer to 5 days.

(This means that this follow up email will only be sent, if they don't reply before 5 days have passed)

Pretty cool right?

Now you just need to write the email:

  • Say hello
  • Use the host’s name
  • Ask them if they are interested in having you on the show
  • Sign off

Set follow up.

Because the initial pitch was good, you don't need to write anything else.

More often than not, they love your pitch and were too busy to reply at the time.

Easy right?

Click the pink send button and you're all done.

Now?

Now you just need to record the episode!...

Step 3: Record the show

Alright, so here are my top podcasting tips.

Not only will they help the recording go smoother, but it helps the episode to do better with the audience.

(And gets you invited onto other shows for more links and traffic!)

Prepare in advance - research

The mark of a great podcast guest is when they know their content AND the audience that they're talking to.

Why?

Because then they can tailor the conversation to best suit the listener.

Make sense?

It’s real simple to do this.

Go ahead and listen to a few other episodes of the show, before you record.

(Especially episodes that might talk about your upcoming topic)

This will help you to understand the audience’s level of awareness of your topic, as well as the interviewer’s style of questions.

Why care?

Because then you can adjust how nerdy or deep you get with your content.

Better still?

You can reference previous episodes and guests.

This makes the podcast host look good, and it also adds more value to the episode...

Prepare in advance - content

Another way to stand out?

Have notes of WHAT you want to talk about, and how it ties into your article.

Why?

Because if you can reference the content in the episode, then you can build links to it ;)

Also?

It helps introduce the audience to your content and drive them to it!

There's one more piece of prep that's vital to your success…

Don't let the show fail

The worst thing that can happen after recording a podcast?

It’s when the audio dies, breaks or gets lost...

Now some podcasters are pretty cool and will re-record the show.

(It's not great, but it does means you can still try and get that link)

But others?

Some are so busy they just don't have time, and that sucks.

So what can you do?

Simply record a copy of the audio for yourself!

There are a whole bunch of tools you can use for this.

On a Mac, you can record for free with QuickTime,

QuickTime.

(Just be sure to turn the internal mic on!)

If you use a PC, you can use a tool called Camtasia.

Camtasia.

Once you have one set up, check it all works, and that it records the audio correctly.

(And check again the day of recording in case there's a software update)

Then?

Just hit record before the call!

Be a standout guest

OK so the show is recorded, you referenced content and other episodes AND you recorded a backup.

Great job!

By now you're already looking good in the host’’ eyes.

Want to stand out further and GUARANTEE you get your backlink?...

Of course you do!

So all you need to do now, is make the host’s job easier.

How?

Easy...

Edit and save your audio

Go ahead and remove the before and after conversations, and then save the audio to Google drive.

Save a recording.

This means that if the host has to use your copy, they don't have to cut out all the filler pre-show audio, and they'll love you for it :D

Then?...

Send them those assets

The worst thing about podcasting?

All the work AFTER the recording is finished!

The host has to edit, upload, find assets etc.

Stand out and make sure you get the links to the right content, by simply sending all those assets to the host.

Send assets.

Makes sense right?

By making their job easier, you stand out and get those links.

So simply:

  • Email the host and say thanks
  • Add a link to the Google drive audio saved
  • Add links to all the content and resources you mentioned (so you get the link to your article)
  • Thank them for their time

Flick them the email and then wait for the show to go live!

Now it’s your turn...

So there you have it:

A step-by-step process for pitching podcasts to build your backlink profile and build your audience.

Can you see how powerful this is?

Podcast link building is one of the fastest ways to build links and grow your domain rankings.

Tell us in the comments below how you're going to use this to promote your own content!

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