Marketing is not a simple formula. It can be complex and multi-faceted. It’s likely that anyone reading this has already honed in on a social media plan, advertising budget, or networking strategy. So why add something else to the list? Appearing as a guest on podcasts can be seen as just another thing to add to the list of marketing strategies, perhaps looked-over as something with little value or return on investment (ROI).
But to throw out guesting on podcasts as a viable marketing strategy would be a big mistake.
Podcasts are a long-form medium that reach millions of people every day. Appearing as a guest on strategic podcasts that align with your intended goals will place you directly in front of your target audience. There is significant ROI on your time and money in doing so. If done right, it can be an important and impactful piece of your marketing strategy.
This guide looks at the ROI available by appearing as a guest on podcasts and why this should be your next marketing move.
In This Guide
- Why podcasts need to be on your radar
- What is guesting?
- Financial ROI
- Networking ROI
- Reputational ROI
- Content ROI
- Time ROI
Why Podcasts Need to Be on Your Radar
The first question to sort out is: why podcasts? Why does this medium need to be on your radar as a part of your marketing strategy? Podcasts are a rapidly growing medium in the United States and worldwide, with a highly engaged consumer base. They offer a unique platform for long-form, niche content, different from many other popular media forms.
There are a number of studies done each year about digital media in the United States. One of the longest running studies is The Infinite Dial report from Edison Research.
The 2021 study reveals the following statistics, reflective of Americans aged 12+ in 2021:
- 78% are familiar with the term “podcasting” (up from 75% in 2020, 70% in 2019, and just 22% back in 2006, when this study began)
- 57% have ever listened to a podcast (up from 55% in 2020, 51% in 2019, and 11% in 2006)
- 41% have listened to a podcast in the last month (up from 37% in 2020, 32% in 2019 and 9% in 2008)
- 28% have listened to a podcast in the last week (up from 24% in 2020, 22% in 2019, and 7% in 2013)
Besides the popularity of podcasts themselves, there are compelling statistics about the people who listen to podcasts. Consider these facts:
- Podcast listeners enjoy learning: In 2019, 74% of US podcast listeners stated their reason for listening was to learn new things.
- Podcast listeners have high brand awareness: Also in 2019, eMarketer discovered that “54% of podcast listeners were either somewhat or more likely to consider a brand after hearing it advertised on a podcast.”
- Podcast listeners spend a lot of time on it: US weekly podcast listeners average eight podcast episodes in the last week, with an average of five podcast shows being listened to.
- Podcast listeners are part of all demographics: The Infinite Dial Report shows that there is an increase in the diversity of podcast listeners, with an increase in women, minorities, and older Americans (55+) tuning into podcasts.
- Podcast listeners have long attention spans: 80% of podcast listeners complete most or all of each episode.
These statistics clearly show the rapid increase in awareness and engagement with podcasts, now capturing a large market share of Americans. They also show that the people who listen to podcasts are engaged with this medium, representing a good market segment to tap into.
Podcasts are being embraced by the corporate world as much as by individual listeners. While this guide is not about creating your own podcasts, it’s worth noting that many large corporate players are channeling the power of podcasts to boost their brands. For example, companies from GE to eBay to Slack have successful podcasts (podcasts are titled The Message, Open for Business, and Slack Variety Pack, respectively).
C-Suite Professionals and other top-level leaders are enjoying the medium, too. Podcasts like The EntreLeadership Podcast, From Founder to CEO, Freakonomics Radio, and The Founder Coach Podcast are all popular podcasts that regularly host top industry leaders to share their expertise with the corporate world.
Podcasts represent an opportunity, both now and in the future. If it is not yet on your radar, it needs to be.
What Is Guesting?
We’ve made the case for podcasts in general—they are a rapidly growing interest amongst the American public. So, what about guesting? Or, what is guesting? Well, it’s more than just an odd turn-of-phrase. Guesting is short-form for appearing as a guest on an already-established podcast. We are not talking about creating your own podcast or partnering with someone to get a podcast started. Instead, you would be the guest expert on a podcast that already has an audience and loyal listeners.
As a guest, you will sit down with the podcast host for a conversation about who you are, what you do, and what your company is all about.
So, it’s kind of all about you. You’re the guest, you’re the focus of that specific podcast.
This opens up all kinds of opportunities for you and your business. Guesting will provide ROI by way of increased sales (financial ROI), meaningful connections (networking ROI), opportunities to establish authority and expertise (reputational ROI), and useful content for the future (content ROI)—all of these achieved through minimal time spent (time ROI).
Now, when it comes to measuring ROI, each company may take a different approach, depending on your business functions and goals. There is not a one-size-fits-all measurement for ROI when it comes to guesting. Instead, we’ve included some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you may wish to keep track of.
Let’s look at each element a little further in-depth:
ROI is most traditionally thought of in terms of money. We will get into all of the different kinds of ROI you can achieve from guesting on podcasts, but let’s start with this: appearing as a guest on podcasts will increase your financial ROI through increased sales. How? There are a few ways:
- You will get the chance to explain your business, products, and services throughout the interview, which will increase interest with the listeners.
- Most podcast hosts will allow you to directly plug your website or social media—as well as including links in their show notes—to direct listeners to follow, connect with you, and purchase your products and services.
- You can offer promotions or discounts for listeners to the podcast, incentivizing them to purchase from you.
It is important to note that the subsequent types of ROI we will cover below all increase the financial ROI through exposure, visibility, and brand awareness. However, there are some possible KPIs to track direct financial ROI:
- Clickthrough rate to website sales pages (i.e., how many podcast listeners used discount link provided to podcast host, or how many podcast listeners landed on your page via the podcast show note links).
- Sales figures after podcast release.
- Sales figures for specific products and services mentioned in podcast.
It’s all about who you know. That’s the cliché, isn’t it? Networking is always important, in every industry. But it is absolutely essential when you are trying to market your business, organization, services, and products. Networking is about expanding your reach to potential clients and connecting with partners and collaborators.
Appearing as a guest on a podcast will immediately expand your network; you will receive positive networking ROI. If you select podcasts that align with your own mission and vision, you will have access to the podcast host’s audience. After appearing as a guest, their listeners are likely to seek you out and can boost your own following.
You also get to network with the podcast host themselves, who can introduce you to other relevant industry connections. Because you will have had a long, in-depth conversation on the podcast, you are also forming deep, meaningful connections. There is a real exchange of ideas and viewpoints, which leads to positive and impactful connection. This is unlike other networking options, such as social media, where connections can be shallow and brief.
Possible KPIs for networking ROI:
- Social media following and engagement statistics pre- and post- podcast release.
- Direct communication from podcast (i.e., emails and other inquiries where clients indicate they were directed from the podcast).
- New collaborators or strategic partners through podcast guesting appearances.
Podcasts are unique to other popular mediums because they are designed to be in-depth, long-form avenues for thoughtful discussion and ideas. They are not the brief snippets we get on social media or the easy-to-skim long-form articles. Instead, podcast listeners choose podcasts specifically because they like to listen to in-depth, meaningful content.
When you are invited as a guest on a podcast, you are being invited as the expert. You then have a chance to speak to a highly engaged audience in a long-form medium. You can truly establish yourself as an expert in your industry and niche, providing the depth and breadth of knowledge that you have to the listeners.
For the sake of this guide, we’re calling this reputational ROI. You can build your reputation as an industry expert simply because you are getting a platform to speak and share your knowledge and wisdom. The nature of podcasts allows you to get into the details, the background, and the nitty-gritty. Listeners will walk away with new knowledge and understanding about the topic. From what we know about podcast listeners, they are highly engaged in the content they listen to: 80% of listeners will complete most or all of the episode, and 74% of listeners in 2019 stated that wanting to learn was their primary reason for listening to podcasts.
Possible KPIs for reputational ROI:
- Increase in invitations to appear on podcasts; this metric would indicate that you have established yourself as an industry expert and sought-after podcast host.
- Increase in opportunities outside of podcasting to speak, write, or otherwise educate people in your industry (i.e. invitation to speak at an industry event or product launch, or approached to write an article or book on your area of expertise).
- Increased social media following and engagement.
Content creation is key to keeping up in our modern world. You want to create and share content that is meaningful and valuable to your company’s goals. Content should be used as a marketing strategy to reach potential clients and convert them into customers.
As a guest on a podcast, you are helping create an important piece of content. It’s a long-form discussion full of useful information for a niche, target audience. That content can be used again on your own channels to promote your business. You can even consider re-purposing the content—with the permission of the host, of course—into blogs, articles, social media posts, or anything else you can think of! This kind of content ROI is a beneficial piece to guesting on podcasts; the creation of a meaningful asset will help your brand and business achieve its goals.
Possible KPIs for content ROI:
- Increased engagement on social media, blog, or other content platforms.
- Increased diversity of content and platforms (i.e., the podcast is posted on YouTube by the host, which is a new platform for your company, which increases overall exposure).
- SEO rankings; podcasts that are published with SEO keywords for your business and industry may rank high in Google and drive traffic to your website.
You’re busy. We know. You don’t have time to do the first three things on your to-do list let alone all 100 of them. We are all looking to claw back some time and focus energy and efforts on what truly matters and what is impactful.
So, appearing as a guest on a podcast has excellent time ROI. When you’re the guest on a podcast, your responsibility is to show up. It’s that simple. You don’t need to worry about the production, promotion, or marketing of the podcast. You just need to worry about getting yourself there and communicating what you are already an expert on.
Now, of course you want to prepare for the podcast; some hosts will provide questions in advance to help you do this. You want to be well-spoken and informative. But you are working with material that you are already familiar with—you’re working within your scope of expertise. So, the time investment as a guest is minimal, but with massive pay-off, as has been covered so far in this guide.
Get your time back and devote it to marketing efforts that really matter. Guesting on podcasts has excellent time ROI to keep you on schedule and in focus.
Any business person knows that ROI is key to doing just about anything. If it’s not worth the investment of your time and money, it’s a pass. Guesting on podcasts has valuable and tangible ROI. Podcasts can reach a niche, highly-engaged audience, and are generally on the rise in the United States.
They present a unique opportunity to present yourself as an industry leader, make important connections and content, and drive traffic and increase sales conversions. All of this can be achieved with minimal effort on your part, which basically boils down to speaking on a topic that you are an expert on.
The ROI is there. Are you ready to jump in? We offer full-service support for people who wish to incorporate guesting on podcasts into their marketing strategy. We can help you feel comfortable on the mic and identify what your core message is. Plus, we will do the heavy lifting and ensure you are getting booked on the right shows to reach your intended audience.