They say one of the best ways to grow your audience is by getting in front of other people’s audiences, and today’s guest is an expert in helping you do that. Brittney Lynn understands how to pitch the media – both established media like publications and TV, and newer media, like podcasts. Today, she gives us some fantastic advice for finding and pitching podcasts, as well as what to think about if we’re going to pitch TV and publications. In Build Something More, we chat about the time I hired Brittney to help with my PR, what worked well, and what I should have done better!
- Since podcasts are weekly, and more selective about their content, you really need to hone your pitch. Spend some time doing your research, finding good fits, and then pitching a topic that works for the show.
- Look at recent guests and their topics. If yours is too similar, wait 6 months. Most hosts don’t want to cover the same topic in multiple episodes close together.
- There are lots of places to find shows. Apple Podcasts and Listen Notes, looking at shows competitors have been on, related podcasts, and even competitor press pages.
- Brittney Lynn
- Brittney on Instagram (brittneylynn)
- Brittney on Instagram (humanconnectionagency)
- Brittney on Twitter
- Brittney Lynn Workshop
- Smart Passive Income Podcast
- Listen Notes
- National Day Calendar
- Creator Crew
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[00:00:58] <teaser sequence>
Joe Casabona: They say one of the best ways to grow your audience is by getting in front of other people’s audiences. And today’s guest is an expert and helping you do just that. Brittney Lynn understands how to pitch the media, both established media like publications and TV and newer media like podcasts.
Today, she gives us some fantastic advice for finding and pitching podcasts, as well as what to think about if you’re going to pitch TV and publications. In Build Something More we chat about the time I hired Brittney to help me with my PR, what worked well and what I should have done better.
It’s a great conversation. I love working with Brittney. In fact, we’re working on a workshop, which you’ll be able to find in the show notes over at Howibuilt.it/250. That’s right. It’s episode 250. And I couldn’t be more excited that Brittney is the guest this week.
I’m also excited about our sponsors Ahrefs, whom you’ve already heard from, TextExpander and Nexcess, who you’ll hear about later on in the show. But first, let’s get to the intro and then the interview.
[00:02:12] <intro music>
Intro: Hey everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast that helps small business owners create engaging content that drives sales. Each week I talk about how you can build good content faster to increase revenue and establish yourself as an authority. I’m your host Joe Casabona. Now let’s get to it.
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[00:03:14] <podcast begins>
Joe Casabona: Welcome, welcome to Episode 250. I hope you’re doing well. I am here with my good friend, the founder and CEO of the Human Connection Agency, Brittney Lynn. And as you heard in the cold open, we’re going to be talking about pitching the media. Brittney, how are you today?
Brittney Lynn: Joe, I’m doing fabulous. So excited to chat. We chat all the time. So I’m just excited to be on the mic. Who knows what we’re going to cover today. I might forget that we’re recording and it’ll just be a conversation of me and you, you know, just a behind the scenes.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely, how we work together. We are working together in a couple of different ways. Members will be able to hear about the first time I hired Brittney to help me with my PR stuff because I am bad at that. As a developer by trade, I was always like, “Yeah, I’ll build it and then if it’s good, people use it.” But Brittney helped me figure out that I needed to be talking to the right people.
So if you are a member of the Creator Crew, you’ll get that. If you’re not a member of the Creator Crew, you can sign up over at Howibuilt.it/250. But we’re also working on a workshop that hopefully by the time this episode comes out we’ll at least have a landing page up that I’ll link over at Howibuilt.it/250 about pitching the media and then capturing that potential audience from doing a little bit of a media tour. And so today we’re going to prime the pump a little bit, right?
Brittney Lynn: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: Brittney, you are a PR person. I found you basically from hearing you on SPI, Smart Passive Income, and hired you. So that’s like a success story for guesting on podcasts. But in your own words, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are?
Brittney Lynn: Yes. So thank you for the warm introduction. So amazing. So like Joe said, I’m Brittney Lynn. I run a boutique PR agency called the Human Connection Agency, where we help entrepreneurs, pitch them to podcast, publications, and TV.
So my background: I actually graduated with a PR degree from college, and then I kind of took the typical route. I worked in corporate America for about five years. And really during that time, I just never felt like I fit in. It just never felt like the right place for me but I didn’t know of any other options.
And so actually I had found podcasts back in 2012 and I kind of note podcast as like pre-Serial, like the podcast Serial, and like post-Serial because Serial kind of like elevated podcast to the general public. Like more people became aware of what podcasts are. So I listened to podcast before they became “cool,” quote-unquote.
Actually, one of the very first podcast that I found was Pat Flynn’s podcast, Smart Passive Income. And so I started listening to his podcast, and it just opened my world to a whole new avenue that I didn’t even know that was possible, which was running an online business. And so during that time, when I was working in corporate America, my husband and I started paying off all of our debt. And so we paid off all of our debt.
And then it just ended up that the same month of our last debt payment, my husband got a new job down in Texas. We had originally been living in Wisconsin. And so with that, I had to quit my job. And I had been listening to all these podcasts of like learning how to grow business and online business and all that kind of stuff. So I was like, “Okay, I have to quit my job. Now is the time to try this out.”
But I would say like, do as I say, not as I do. So I spent so much time just consuming so much information from podcasts of like growing an online business, all that kind of stuff. I never once thought about what I would actually offer. I didn’t think about what people would pay me to do. So once I quit my job, it was like I opened up my computer and was like, “Okay, what do I do now?”
I had no website, I lived in a brand new city, I didn’t have any connections anywhere. So really that first year was just like me testing things out and figuring it out. Many of your listeners might be in that same situation, or you’ve been in that situation before where you’re just like, “I will do anything and everything just to figure out what I like, what I don’t like.”
And then about a year in, some people approached me and asked if I would pitch them to podcasts. And I was like, “This is a dream job. Like I would love to do that.” I already listened to those podcasts, it just makes so much sense. And so really from there, that’s how I grew my expertise. I kind of became known in the industry as a PR expert. And that’s kind of how I got to where I am today.
Joe Casabona: That’s awesome. So I was also pre Serial. I think I started listening to podcasts in like 2000.
Brittney Lynn: Pre Serial piece. There we go.
Joe Casabona: Pre-Serial, yeah, that’s right. I mean, I was squarely in the tech space. And I feel like every original podcast was like two white guys talking about Apple. My first podcast was Stuff You Should Know. And then I started my first podcast in 2012. That’s where I learned what not to do.
It was like a panel show called TIL Podcast. And we did no prep. I was just like, “Let’s just make it like a barroom conversation.” And I’m a terrible Moderator. So it was not great but I did learn a lot about the tech and how to run a good show. That was the American Graffiti to Star Wars, right? That was my… So if you’re a George Lucas fan, you’ll know American… Though maybe I’m underselling American Graffiti.
Brittney Lynn: Should I reveal? I’ve never watched a Star Wars movie ever.
Joe Casabona: What?
Brittney Lynn: Are you going to kick me off of this podcast episode if I’m revealing this?
Joe Casabona: No. This is perfect, right? Because now I get to encourage you to watch “Star Wars” and then we could talk about it. I won’t say you have to.
Brittney Lynn: I’m not against it. It’s just been… I don’t know, I’ve never watched.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll make an admission here as well. I’ve only seen the “Godfather” like once, and I’ve never seen the “Godfather II.” And as a New York Italian, I feel like that’s something I’m supposed to see before I’m like 16.
Brittney Lynn: I think that’s against the law.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, right. Exactly.
Brittney Lynn: Our friend did like a Mafia Day and we just like blast through all of them. And like we made pasta, we had like drinks, all that kind of stuff. So I would just recommend just like making a day of it.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. Because they’re long movies. I mean, there’s only two. There’s definitely not three Godfather movies. So that much I know. But I think your story is a very relatable one, right? I never thought about what I’d actually offer.
When I went out on my own full time, because I freelanced all through high school and college, but when I went out on my own with like real stakes, I was like, “I’ll just keep doing my side hustle thing and it’ll be great.” And then I realized that it was not going to be great. And I had to hunker down and find a niche and actually figure out my offerings. So I think that’s an incredibly relatable story.
Now, of course, you’re known as a PR expert in the podcasting space. But like you said, you help people get on publications and television as well, is that right?
Brittney Lynn: Mm-hmm. That is correct. Those are kind of our three primary types of media that we pitch. But I will say podcast is like my firstborn. Like it’s the one that’s special to my heart.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. I suspect that… Well, actually, you know, I don’t even know anymore. So I’ll ask it this way. I assume that there are kind of different strategies for pitching podcasts versus publications versus TV. Is that accurate?
Brittney Lynn: Yeah, that is accurate. And I can kind of give some tips if that’s helpful for now.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely.
Brittney Lynn: Because podcasts are a newer media, right? So publications and TV, we write the pitches a little bit differently. Because one, journalists and TV producers, they’re constantly looking for new ideas, new pitches. So we kind of pitch them repeatedly on different topics because… you think about the publications that you read. If you read Forbes or Entrepreneur, Business Insider, any of those publications, they’re turning out dozens of articles every single day. TV they’re on every single day, they’re producing so many segments.
Whereas podcasts, most podcasts are doing one episode per week. Now, there’s obviously some that do multiple per week, there are some that are daily, but for the most part, they’re doing one episode per week. So you kind of really only have one chance at pitching. Because if they don’t accept you that first time, it’s kind of like there’s not going to be another new topic that you could pitch.
It’s kind of like you kind of lay yourself out on the floor for them, if you will, for podcast pitching. And if they decline, it’s kind of you’re not going to repeatedly want to pitch them. So with podcasts, you just want to do… you know, any type of pitching, you want to do your research. You want to make sure that you’re pitching the right places, that your topics, the things that you are an expert in is relevant to that audience.
And so I’ll just say like me and Joe, Joe has a podcast, many of the people that have been on his podcast have been our clients. And so I make sure that whenever our team is communicating to Joe, “Hey, we’ve got these new clients, I ask Joe like, “What are you looking for? What types of guests? What’s kind of missing from your roster of guests? What topics are you looking for?”
And so I make sure that I only send him clients where it makes sense. I haven’t sent him every single client that we work with because there are some clients who talk about different talking points that aren’t going to be relevant for his audience.
And so just making sure that when you’re positioning yourself, making sure that your talking points are a fit for that audience because every podcast host, every journalist, every TV producer, what are they looking for? They’re looking for more downloads. They’re looking for more clicks. They’re looking for more views. And so the content needs to be relevant for their audience for them to get more downloads, for them to get more views.
I’m a podcaster as well. Joe, we could probably have an entire other episode of like all of the terrible pitches that we have received. And so literally just like doing a little bit of research and work upfront of making sure your talking points are relevant to that audience, you will stand out among so many other pitches.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, 100%. And full disclosure, I think the next three guests after this episode are all from Human Connection Agency. Like we said, Brittney and I talk regularly. And so when I was actually planning this year’s worth of content or really the first half of the year worth of content, I told her what I thought my topic, my overarching theme for the year would be. And she was like, “I’ve got a few really good guests based on that.”
So like Jessica Freeman’s coming up next about leveraging YouTube. Really psyched about that one. Alex Rossmann with TikTok, and Christine Pittman who runs a successful cooking blog. So those are going to be the next month’s worth of content for us. And it’s going to be just really great conversations.
And this is because Brittney understands my show, understands what I’m looking for, and knows what resonates with my audience. And I think that’s so important because as you said, we’ve both gotten terrible pitches.
I’ve basically gotten pitches that are like, “Hey, my client, Jonny Baseball, is the greatest baseball player that’s ever lived, and he’s made millions of dollars off of selling baseballs. You know, and he should be on your show.” And I’m like, “Well, what does that have to do with my audience, most of whom don’t care about baseball?”
Brittney Lynn: Right. So, Christine Pittman, she is actually a client of both of ours now. And I feel like she’s a good example because she’s a food blogger. So from the outside, it’s like, “How is Christine going to make sense on your podcast? What is she going to talk about cooking tips? I don’t know.”
But I made sure whenever I positioned her to you I talked about the blogging side of her business. And she’s been a blogger for a long time. She’s a blogger in a competitive industry, in the food industry. And so she really loves talking about the business side of blogging. She loves talking about Google Analytics, repurposing her content. And so all of that information can be valuable for your audience. So it made sense even though from the outside it’s like, “She’s a food blogger, what is she going to talk about?
So it’s just looking at your talking points and fitting them around what the podcast is talking about, what their audience is talking about. And just doing that extra bit of research. Because a lot of even publicists like at traditional agencies, they don’t understand how to pitch podcasts, and they just blanket pitch podcasts just like they would pitch publications and TV. And that’s just not how it works.
Podcasters are looking for a different type of pitch than journalists and producers are. And so making those slight tweaks and just making it known that you understand the industry, which is a big reason why people wanted to work with me. Because they knew I understood podcasts because I’ve been a podcast listener. So it made it really easy for me to know: I listen to this host, I know exactly what they want.
And granted, now we’re at the point where I can’t possibly listen to every single podcast that we pitch. But there are ways that you can do research to figure out what is it that they are looking for and what are the key talking points that are missing.
I can’t possibly listen to every single podcast that we pitch because we pitch a lot of different podcasts. But just doing that extra research, and you know, our team has kind of trained and like what to look for in podcasts and looking to see like what’s missing? What have they not talked about? What is an interesting take?
Because if I’m reading a pitch of one of our clients and if I’m not leaning in, if I’m not interested, the podcast host isn’t going to be interested. So then we know as a team that we need to go back to the table to figure out how to make the pitch more interesting and more intriguing for the podcast hosts that we’re pitching.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, no, that’s a good point. I was going to ask you about that, listening to every podcast. Because I’ll recommend to people if they’re pitching themselves on a few podcasts to at least listen to an episode, but you’re pitching probably dozens of podcasts a day for dozens of clients. And it’s just untenable to listen to 144 podcasts in a day, even at 2x speed.
So when you look for a podcast to pitch, are you relying on things like the title and description, recent episodes? Kind of what’s your process for finding podcasts for clients?
Brittney Lynn: So that’s a great question. And I will say, for the much bigger podcast, that’s kind of something that we’re looking at is like, how big is the podcast. If it’s ranking in the top 200, they’re getting tons and tons of pitches every single day. So that might be a podcast where I’ll value the time of wanting to listen to a few episodes or even just the beginning just to kind of get a feel for them if I don’t already listen to those podcasts. Which I’m a huge podcast listener, so I already listened to a lot anyways.
But we’ll kind of dive in and look at those big ones. But for like the small medium-sized podcast, like I said, we can’t listen to all of them. And so we look at several things. We’re looking at their past episodes. Who have they had on as a past guest? What are the talking points that they’ve covered?
Let’s say if one of our clients has a very similar talking point and topic to a recent guest that that podcast has had on, it doesn’t make sense for us to pitch our client right then. Even if it’s a fit, it’s like they’ve already covered that topic. They’re probably not going to have that person on again.
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Joe Casabona: Most of the pitches I get are like, “Hey, I see you had this person on. My guest can also talk about that.” And I’m like, “Why would I want to talk about that twice?”
Brittney Lynn: That literally makes absolutely no sense. Again, thinking about it just from a logical human perspective, I think people think that when they’re pitching it’s like, I must become a robot and act like not a human being. And it’s like these podcast hosts are also human beings. Like, if you can relate on a personal level to a podcast host, that’s going to stand out so much more. If you can show that you’ve done your research and know that they haven’t had somebody talk about that topic, that is going to stand out to them.
So, for example, you know, one of our clients he’s a TikTok expert. Well, if we’re pitching him to marketing podcast, and that podcast just had somebody on about TikTok, I’m not going to pitch him right at that moment. I’m going to think six months out and maybe revisit that podcast then.
But whenever I do revisit it, he needs to bring different talking points. He needs to bring, hey, what’s happening now on TikTok? What’s happened in the last six months? What’s changed? Because a lot of stuff in marketing changes all the time.
And so again, it can be talking about the same topic, TikTok, but it needs to be different from the past guest. So we’re looking at past episodes, we are looking at their social media following, their website. We’re just looking at them as an entire brand and deciding whether or not our client is a fit for that.
We also get creative, right? Like the Christine example that I gave earlier. She’s a food blogger. We have pitched her to food blogging podcast, but we’ve also pitched her to small business entrepreneur-type podcast so she could talk about the business side of blogging.
One of our best pitches that worked for her actually was divorce podcasts and like women in their mid-40s, because she is divorced and she had some interesting takes on how her and her ex kind of like navigate with having kids and navigating divorce life and relating that to like cooking and meals and all that kind of stuff.
That was one of our most popular pitches with her. Which like starting in the beginning, if you would have told me that I would have been like, “What? That’s the most popular pitch?” But you just have to think about the different niche audiences that are out there, and how can you kind of like mold your topics into what those listeners will want.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s absolutely great advice. And if you run a podcast, I think if you want to get good pitches, right, then you need to make sure that the description for your show is accurate and up to date, that the titles for your episodes are not just like guests name or whatever, and that your show notes is not just a bunch of links.
I started adding the full description and top takeaways in my podcast feed. Again, on that same token, you look at recent guests, and I think that’s probably the best fit and then you can kind of gauge. I’ve had people even recently kind of pitched me like developer topics, which is like my podcast circa 2016.
So what I’m guessing is they either used to listen to the show and then stopped but decided to pitch themselves, or they just went to the technology podcast category, and just pitched all of those. But I’ve tried to streamline my process a little bit. But I don’t know if you’ve seen this link because I just tell you, you can email me directly or whatever. But I have a form-
Brittney Lynn: No, I think that I’ve gotten in. And like we shouldn’t tell our people that because-
Joe Casabona: No.
Brittney Lynn: …I somehow got like the back door.
Joe Casabona: You get that from years of working together and pitching all good guests. So you need a batting average of 1,000 to get that. But-
Brittney Lynn: There we go.
Joe Casabona: It’s howibuilt.it/apply. And right on that form, I’ve asked some leading questions to help people. And there’s a description that’s like, “My show focuses on this now, so make sure your pitch focuses on this.” And like, what’s a recent episode that made you want to reach out?
And I have transcripts. So it’s not like you have to listen if you don’t want to. Now I have the top takeaways but it’s like, a lot of people just pick the second most recent episode, and I’m like, “I see what you’ve done here.”
Brittney Lynn: Everybody else is doing this. Like, yeah, just like try a little bit. And I will say podcasts that have guest submission forms like yours. Guys, follow directions, okay? You will stand out against everybody else if you simply follow directions. So if there is a podcast where we don’t have a personal connection like we have with Joe, I’m going to follow the directions that they give. We’re going to fill out the form. That is how that podcast host wants to review guest submissions.
If I don’t see a forum, then I feel it is safe to be able to email unless of somewhere on their website they’re like, “We don’t accept pitches, don’t pitch us.” Every podcast is different and every kind of method is different. And so we just really go with what the podcast hosts dictates. And we follow those rules.
Like I didn’t try to get into the backdoor with Joe on purpose. Don’t try to jump through loopholes and try to message them on LinkedIn or all these different methods. It’s follow the rules. They have that system set up for a reason.
And I’ll say like I manage podcast guests for some of our clients’ podcast where I’m the one that like I’m reading their pitches. And the people that try to go outside of those parameters, I’m not reading at all. I just don’t have time. It’s like we’ve made it clear that this is what we want you to do. If you don’t fill out the form properly, if you put two-word answers on things, that’s just not going to cut it these days.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, because again, like you said, on Listen Notes—I don’t know how good Listen Notes scoring is—but according to Listen Notes, I’m in the top one and a half percent of podcasts. I get a bunch of pitches daily. And if they’re just reaching out, I usually say like, “Thanks for reaching out. Here’s the form, please fill that out.”
Anybody who goes to my website, and there’s like a “Why are you reaching out?”, if it’s want to be a guest, I hide the submit button and I say, “Hey, here’s the form.” If they skip that and just fill out the regular contact form, I don’t read that. I’m like, “You have very blatantly ignored my request.” So like you said-
Brittney Lynn: It’s annoying. I told you “do this,” you’re trying to do the opposite. Like, what is going on? Like, what are you thinking?
Joe Casabona: We talked about this on your podcast I think about a year ago, but I have a pretty sophisticated automation system in place. I’m a one man band more or less, besides my editor and my transcriber, who thank you both, you’re the best. But as far as evaluating guests, and scheduling and everything, that’s on me, right?
So when someone fills out my form, and then I marked them as accepted, they get an email with all the details made in the scheduling. If I mark them as rejected, they get an automated email that says like, “Hey, here’s why you were rejected. I’m sure you want to know why. I get a bunch of pitches, though. So here’s like the top three reasons why I will reject somebody.
Brittney Lynn: Which is very kind of you to do, by the way, because a lot of podcast hosts won’t. The nature of pitching yourself, you’re going to get rejected, right? Like you’re going to get nos, you’re going to get ignored, like that is part of it. So you’re not necessarily doing something wrong if that happens. Honestly, that says to me that you’re pitching yourself enough.
If you are only getting yeses, then you probably aren’t pitching yourself enough. If you are starting to implement any type of like PR strategy, just know that people are going to say no. People are going to ignore you. Like that’s just like the nature of it. But it’s a lot of times it’s like, “No, not right now.”
Like there are a lot of times whenever a podcast host will say no because their schedule is booked or whatever. We try to stay in contact with them over time because you never know, in the future they might want to bring you on. And so I’ll just say that what Joe does to like send you an email no matter what is really great and nice because a lot of people don’t do that.
But that’s really great feedback, right? Where he’s explaining why I might not accept you as a guest. It’s really great feedback for you to take and then use for any future pitching as well.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. So this has been great strategies for pitching. We talked a little bit about finding the right podcasts. I’m just kind of maybe genuinely curious about these next two topics, and then we can kind of wrap up. So first of all, where do you look to find podcasts? Is there like a super-secret PR expert directory? Are you going to Apple Podcasts?
Brittney Lynn: Unfortunately, there’s not a super-secret directory. Our first place is Apple Podcasts. I prefer to use the application on my computer because it’s much easier to look at. But of course, you can use your phone if you want. So we start there. We’ll kind of look to see where our clients’ competitors have been interviewed to just get an idea of the places of what are some options.
Apple Podcasts has a great related section where it’ll be like “Listeners of this podcast also listen to these podcasts.” I find that those are very on point for the most part. So that is a great place to look. Like you mentioned earlier, Listen Notes is another place that we look, looking at our clients’ competitors’ press pages. Like going to their websites, seeing where they have been interviewed.
And even people in adjacent industries. An example for me is like a website designer. We don’t have the same services. But if they serve entrepreneurs, I also talk to entrepreneurs, I can look to see where they have been interviewed on. Now obviously, I’m probably not going to pitch myself to website tips podcast, but maybe they have been on more general entrepreneur, business podcasts where I could pitch myself. So we look there.
We also Google around top… if they’re in the health and wellness industry, let’s just say like Top Health and Wellness podcast, there’ll will be 700 BuzzFeed articles and all those types of things of top podcast lists. We have our own internal directory that we use, because a lot of times we have podcasts where it overlaps for our clients, like we’ve had several clients on your podcast. So we kind of have a list of people that we already have connections with.
And so that’s kind of a pro of hiring an agency like ours is because we live and breathe this every single day. So we can kind of get you there in a shorter amount of time because we might already have established relationships with some of the podcasts that you would want to be on.
So that’s kind of like how we look. We also look on Instagram. We look on Twitter. It’s kind of we’re looking at anywhere and everywhere for podcasts. And then also we love podcasts, like personally. So we’re just always keeping up to date on what’s the new and noteworthy, what are new podcasts that are coming out, all that kind of stuff.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. So I want to touch on the new and noteworthy. But I will say, establish relationships for getting on podcast is super important, right? Because as a podcast host, I’m kind of putting my reputation on the line every time I publish an interview, right? That sounds really dramatic. But I’m in the content game and people are listening for a certain reason. And every guest might not be a hit with every audience member. But if I continually just put out like crappy interviews, I’m going to lose listeners.
And so I want to make sure that I’m consistently putting out good interviews with good people. And that’s either through forging a relationship with me, a lot of my guests, especially in the early days were people I knew personally whom I asked to be on the show. But then I’ve got a good network of people like you and a couple of other people who can refer guests to me, and I’m going to trust their judgment.
Brittney Lynn: Yeah, totally. And I’ll say there are times when our clients go to in-person events, and they meet people. So that’s a great way to get introduced to other people outside of your circles. I know we’re kind of still a little bit in COVID time, so maybe you’re not going to in-person things but even networking on Twitter, on Instagram. Like there are ways that you can do this both virtually and in-person to kind of get your name out there.
And just making a concerted effort of like, “Hey, I’m doing a podcast tour. I’m talking about these topics. Like if you have any openings for guests, I’d love to be considered.” And just putting that out there. You never know who is going to be interested, who somebody can introduce you to. It’s really all about relationships.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s such a great point. Samar Owais was on my show last year. That is exactly what happened. That’s how I got her on the show. She said that she wants to be on more podcasts. She’s an eCommerce email marketing expert. And this was like right… I think it was before Black Friday that I had her on the show. And a friend of mine retweeted her, that tweet. And I was like, “Yes, let’s get you on the podcast.”
So definitely, definitely put it out there. And yeah, networking events. Facebook groups have been like shockingly effective for me. I’ve been on a few podcasts now from connections I made in Facebook groups. So maybe that’s because like a lot of my target audience is like coaches or whatever and consultants in the speaker sponsor, author area and they’re hanging out on Facebook. But kind of be where your target audiences and then be where people who also target your target audience is. So eloquently said.
I think the last thing I want to mention here… Well, I want to ask you about TV and publications again. Well, I want to circle back to that.
Brittney Lynn: Sure.
Joe Casabona: But the last thing I want to talk about here with podcasts is, is it easier to get on like newer podcasts? Are they like hungrier for guests and content or are they like more selective?
Brittney Lynn: That’s an interesting question. I think it depends. A lot of times we’ll wait a little bit before pitching a new podcast. But I’ll put an asterisk next to that, right? So if it’s a big podcast, where it’s like a well-known person that’s starting the podcast and let’s say they have three or four episodes out, you know that that’s going to be a successful podcast because they already have an existing audience. And now they’re just opening up a podcast.
There are other people where it’s like they’re really kind of just starting and they’re kind of starting from the ground up, and they’re starting a podcast. And so we like to kind of see how a podcast progresses. Because as you know, there are a lot of people that start a podcast, but they don’t stick with it. So they’ll do 10 episodes, and then you never hear from them again.
And so we want to make sure that when we’re pitching our clients, like it has to be valuable for them and their time too. Like that’s super valuable. And so we want to make sure that these are strong podcasts that are going to exist for a while, that host is going to keep delivering content.
Because there has been a few times where we’ve had a client record a podcast and then the podcast stops and their episode didn’t go live. And so it’s like, well, that was a giant waste of time. And that’s rare that that happens. So the new and noteworthy is just like, Let’s observe, let’s see what’s happening, let’s keep it on our radar. But we don’t always immediately start pitching them for that reason.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s a really good point. About 75% of podcasts don’t make it past seven episodes or something like that. It’s wild. Buzzsprout regularly publishes stats where it’s like there are like 2 million or so podcasts but only like 400,000 have published in the last 90 days, which is wild.
Brittney Lynn: It’s crazy.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. I think a lot of people think that podcasting is getting like YouTube saturated. But like YouTube has 38 million channels, I think. Something like that.
Brittney Lynn: Yeah. Podcasts are nowhere near that. We are still at like the infancy of podcasts. And I know people who have been in the industry for a while think it’s like, “Oh, we’ve peaked. Guys, it hasn’t. There’s so many podcasts.
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Joe Casabona: I’m not going to ask you this. But I will say I know of some podcast agents or agencies who get paid basically when that episode airs. I mean, I don’t know what your business model is and I’m not going to ask. But that seems odd to me.
Brittney Lynn: I mean, I’m happy to share.
Joe Casabona: Okay.
Brittney Lynn: I don’t care. I’ll answer the question. We do not work in that sort of way. And there are podcast-specific agencies out there. Some of them do work in terms of they don’t get paid unless if they book a podcast. I personally did not want to work in that structure. So we do not do any sort of guarantees of like, we guarantee that “we will get you on six podcast per month” or whatever it is.
And some people do that. Some people ask us during our sales calls, like, “Is there any sort of guarantee?” And I’m just honest and upfront with them. And now that we have been established for six years, I can share we don’t do any sort of guarantees because the nature of like sometimes it’s, I can get you booked on eight podcasts in a month and then the next month it’s two podcasts. Like there’s kind of no like… I can’t determine that. I can’t read people’s minds.
But I can tell you what we average. So I can say, Of all the clients that we’ve ever serviced, we average this amount of podcast interviews booked per month, we average this amount of publication interviews, we average this amount of TV. There are some clients who start with us, let’s say we’re hitting below that average, we’ll have a conversation about it. Like, we’ll figure out something where it’s like, “Okay, we tried this…”
And sometimes there are people in some industries where it’s like right now it’s not hitting with the media for whatever you’re talking about. And so I’ll start our agreement with, “We’re going to give this a shot. I don’t know how this is going to go. You know, we haven’t worked with a client that talks about this topic before. So let’s check in after a month or two and see how things are going.”
And I think that communicating piece is really what people appreciate. And I think a lot of times with agencies, that’s the thing that they get wrong is they don’t want to communicate whenever things aren’t going as well. And so they just don’t say anything. And then that’s why people hate PR agencies because it’s like, “I haven’t heard from my publicist in three months.”
And it’s like I’d rather just be upfront about like, “Hey, this is where we’re lacking. This is what we would like to improve upon. This is what we’re doing in terms of improving upon it.” Or, “Hey, we’re doing podcast interviews for you, let’s add in publication pitching. I’ll do it free of charge just to kind of like diversify and like get something else going.” So that’s just what clients really appreciate or at least what I have found our clients appreciate.
Again, there are definitely podcast agencies out there. I don’t have anything bad to say about them at all, like check them out. But a lot of times people come to us because of our experience as well as we do more than just podcast pitching. We also do publication and TV, which is just a more well-rounded strategy.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m glad that you stepped in there. Because I was basically going to say like, that model doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It’s like how when you try to cancel your cable, the customer service rep fights tooth and nail for you to cancel because it looks bad on them, which is insane. It’s like they don’t decide anything.
So it kind of feels the same way, right? Because I’ve worked with agencies where it’s like, “Hey, when’s that going to publish?” And I’m like four months from now. Like, sorry if you get paid when it publishes, but frankly, I don’t care when you get paid. This is how it works best for my schedule.
Brittney Lynn: And also it becomes like a numbers game where it feels like I’m just trying to make the number go up, instead of really focusing on the value of like, I’m trying to get my client On really solid podcasts. And some of our clients, they’re at a level where they’re not wanting volume, they’re wanting the quality. So they’re not wanting quantity. They’re like, “I want you to pitch less but I want you to pitch super high end podcast.” So they know that they’re going to get less interviews but they’re going to get higher quality. And they’re fine with that.
I think there’s pros and cons to each, right? But I think with that structure, it just makes you from the agent perspective, you’re just trying to get the number but you’re not necessarily as much focusing on the quality.
Joe Casabona: And perfect example is I used to speak at every WordCamp. These are like WordPress-specific events. And they’re generally very cheap for people to attend. And the speakers aren’t paid. But I was like, “I’m just going to get myself out there.”
I’ve spoken to a bunch over the last two years, all virtual, and none of them have led to a single sale or a single new client. I did one podcast interview for the Course Creator community podcast, and I landed a coaching client from that. So like quality over quantity is huge, right?
Brittney Lynn: Totally.
Joe Casabona: You can be everywhere, but it’s probably not the best use of your time or your agent’s time. So wrapping up, I do want to ask about publications and TV. When we spoke, and we’ll elaborate on this in the members-only episode. You can head over to Howibuilt.it/250 to become a member of the Creator Crew. But when we spoke, you basically said, “We’re definitely not going to think about pitching you for TV because TV doesn’t like to have podcast experts on.” This was I think November of 2020.
Brittney Lynn: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. Okay, gosh, time is far-
Brittney Lynn: It feels like forever.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, I know. Do you think that is still the case? And what topics generally do you find are best suited for either TV or publications?
Brittney Lynn: Great question. So for TV, you want to think about the general public, right? Like who’s watching TV, both local and national TV? It’s not just business owners. So whatever your topic is, you want to make sure that it’s for the general public. So the topics that we see that work best, some examples.
So we did work with Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. We pitched him to publications and TV. And the topic that worked really well for him was him sharing his story about how he was let go from his job, and ways in which people can find new jobs or maybe start businesses on their own.
And the reason why that topic worked was because we started working together right after the pandemic started. So a lot of people had lost their jobs, a lot of people were looking for work. He could share his own personal experience of going through something similar, as well as tips for how you could start a business, or things that you can do to help further your career. So that was like something that was going on in society, something everybody was talking about. That’s why that worked really well for TV.
TV, and this would still be true now, TV and podcasts are kind of competitors, right? It’s like not that you can’t watch TV if you listen to podcasts. Like you probably do both. But they’re not going to want to shine a light on another type of media because that’s going to take viewers away from them to go consume something else.
Joe Casabona: It would be like GMA advertising whatever is on NBC or whatever.
Brittney Lynn: Exactly. And the other thing too is like people still don’t understand podcasting. The general public still doesn’t really understand it. And so it’s just a concept that people don’t really get. So like that talking point specifically. Like I would never pitch myself to be able to talk about that on a local TV segment because they’d be like, “Why does that even matter for people?”
And I think a lot of people still… I know that this sounds silly—but like, because of the language that we use with podcast, because we say “subscribe,” a lot of people associate that with payment. A lot of things that you are subscribing to, a monthly subscription box, a magazine subscription, you’re paying for those things. And so I think people don’t even check on their apps because they think that they have to pay.
And again, us podcasters and you guys listening, No, you don’t have to pay for it. But it’s a language thing. And so I think being you have talked about that topic of like, we can get just a different word.
Joe Casabona: Yes. And Apple’s trying that, right? Apple put out their guidance that you should say, “follow us on Apple podcasts now” instead of “subscribe,” partially because they rolled out paid subscriptions and they don’t want that language confusion. But you’re right, it’s funny because I never realized it until somebody explicitly said it. So like, “Do I have to pay for your podcast?” Oh, no, it’s free.
Brittney Lynn: It’s like, “Of course, it’s free.” But once you kind of step back and you’re like, “Oh, I kind of use the word subscribe for payment for any other type of way I’m using it.” So TV, you just want to think about what are topics that the general public can consume. So looking for a job. Just thinking of what’s timely and relevant now. Like consuming the media that you want to pitch would really help with your talking points.
And for publications, what I would suggest, again, reading the publications that you want to pitch. Look at their article titles. Like how are they phrasing their article titles? Who are they featuring? What topics are they talking about?
So again, you’ll want to kind of consume some of the media and the news that you want to pitch so that you know what types of topics they are looking for. As an example, Entrepreneur, they’re going to want to feature information that’s relevant for entrepreneurs. That can be success stories, that can be marketing tips, operations tips, business tips, all that kind of stuff.
Fast Company on the other hand, not just entrepreneurs who read that publication. So whenever you’re pitching topics, they have a wider, bigger audience. So you’re going to want to pitch topics that can be relevant to maybe anyone in like a leadership or business leader perspective.
A lot of times what works well for them, they have a lot of productivity-type articles. So if you’re thinking about I want to get into Fast Company, again, take a look at their website. They’re talking a lot about the workplace, they’re talking about productivity, they’re talking about tech stuff. So taking a look at the places that you are wanting to get into so that you can make your pitches timely and relevant.
Those are my two top tips that I can give is any type of pitch, make it timely and make it relevant to that audience. And so timely meaning look at what people are talking about. So right now, at the time of recording this, we’re at the beginning of the year, people are talking about their goals for the year, they’re talking about New Year’s resolutions, they’re talking about their business goals, a lot of people focus on health and fitness during this time of year, COVID Like cases are up, so there people who are talking about that.
So it’s just like things that are happening during the year. Think about like National months. Like May, for instance, is National Mental Health Awareness Month. If you talk about mental health, that is a great month to be able to pitch topics on what you’re talking about, because you can relate it to something timely. So timely, relevant. If you take anything away from this interview, just those two things and you’ll be set to go.
Joe Casabona: Timely and relevant. I love it. This got me thinking while you were talking, right? Because again, like podcasting is generally my area of expertise. Something probably good for the beginning of the pandemic would have been like how a restaurant can have a good online presence, something that we talked about.
But again, maybe a good topic for me now, because I’ve been thinking about this is how to avoid burnout, or if we want to make it timely, how to avoid burnout while working from home. Right? Because people are still working from home, it seems, for the foreseeable future, again, as we record this. And so that might be timely, relevant, something that everybody can relate to because people are in that situation.
And then you mentioned national months. My social media manager Publer, it’s called… this is like one of the only AppSumo lifetime deals I actually use. At the beginning of each month, they actually give you like a publication calendar with like holidays and things that you could share on social media. So I’ll have that link and everything else in the show notes.
Brittney Lynn: I do have a suggestion for that. If you go to Nationaldaycalendar.com, that’s a free resource, but it has like every national month, every national week, every national day. And guys, there’s like a national day for everything. There’s a national day for like I love my headphones day. I don’t know, there’s such bizarre days. So yeah, that’s a free resource that you guys can check out as well.
Joe Casabona: Today’s National Day list. Oh, this is so fun. National Bean Day, National Cuddle Up Day, National Shortbread Day, and National Technology Day.
Brittney Lynn: It’s very random.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. National Bean Day. Awesome. Tomorrow’s National Bobblehead Day. So if you have a bobblehead doll.
Brittney Lynn: Need to have that on my calendar.
Joe Casabona: Absolutely.
Brittney Lynn: Absolutely.
Joe Casabona: Awesome. Well, Brittney Lynn, this has been amazing. Again, if you want to hear our member episode coming up, you can sign up over at Howibuilt.it/250. If people want to learn more about you, where can they find you?
Brittney Lynn: I am everywhere at Brittneyllynn. You can find me on any of the socials. Instagram tends to be my favorite. And you can find out more about our services and how to work with us at humanconnectionagency.com.
And if you want some free pitch templates, which I’m happy to share that with your audience, if you would like, you can go to Brittneyllynn.com/pitchtemplates, all one word. And I’ll put the correct spelling of my name in the show notes. So just go check those out. And you can get our free pitch templates which also includes examples of our pitches that got a yes, so you can see kind of the pitch template and real-life examples, so you can kind of see how we would tweak and edit and all that kind of stuff. So go check that out.
Joe Casabona: Awesome. I will definitely link to all of that in the show notes over at Howibuilt.it/250. Those pitch templates are great. I downloaded them and then I hired Brittney. That’s the chain of events. And here’s a freebie tip for you if you’re going to be pitching yourself on podcasts. Have a clear call to action like the one that Brittney just had. Something where you can capture listeners’ email addresses because that’s exactly what happened. I heard Brittney on Smart Passive Income. She mentioned the pitch template link. And I downloaded them, I looked at them and I was like, “I could probably use some actual help here.” And I got in touch.
So Brittney, thanks so much for your time and your expertise. I really appreciate it.
Brittney Lynn: Thanks so much, Joe.
Joe Casabona: All right, and thank you to this week’s sponsors. Thank you to everybody listening. Stick around if you’re a member for the extended episode. And until next time, get out there and build something.
[00:50:56] <podcast end>
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