How to Build Your Platform and Sell More Books with Podcasting

by | Mar 13, 2015

By Tom Corson-Knowles (@juicetom)

Are you ready to make your podcasting debut? Or, maybe you’ve already taken the plunge? In today’s post, Tom Corson-Knowles tells us why we should consider podcasting to build our platforms and sell more books, and offers tips on how to be a guest on popular podcasts.


 
Podcasting is the future of radio.

In fact, there are a lot of similarities between what’s happening right now in the radio industry and what’s happening in the book publishing industry. Just as digitized books (eBooks and, to a lesser extent, digital audiobooks) are dominating the growth in the book publishing industry, podcasting and internet radio are dominating the growth in the radio industry.

In fact, less and less people are listening to conventional radio and are switching partially or even completely to podcasting and internet radio. That being said, there are still billions of dollars in business being done in both the conventional radio business and the conventional print book publishing business.

So, it’s not that digital books and radio are going to eliminate their more traditional counterparts in the next few years, but they are growing rapidly and are changing the economics dramatically.

One of the huge benefits for budding authors and entrepreneurs in an industry slowly becoming more and more digitized is that this creates massive new waves of opportunity. That’s how self published authors like Steve Scott in the nonfiction world and Hugh Howey in the fiction market have build incredible followings and businesses in just a few short years.

Just 10 years ago, self-publishing was incredibly expensive and required a lot of capital. Today, anyone can self-publish a new eBook for a few hundred dollars (or even free, if you have graphic design skills to design your own book cover).

Likewise, people who were virtually unheard of a few years ago have created massive businesses as podcast show hosts and creators.

When Big Changes Happen, Big Opportunities Develop

And that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now in the world of podcasting.

As an author, how can you take advantage of this new wave of podcasting and internet radio?

You have two options:

  1. You can create your own podcast show to build up a following and network.
  2. You can make a name for yourself by being interviewed on popular podcast shows in your market and area of expertise.

There are plenty of great resources to learn how to create a podcast show if that’s what you’re looking to do, and I’ve had a bit of success with my own show The Publishing Profits Podcast where I interview a bestselling author every week. But, there’s also a massive opportunity to build a huge platform and fan base by simply getting booked on a few popular podcasts in your field.

How to Get Book on Top Podcast Shows

In this article, I want to focus on how to get booked on some of the top podcast shows in your field and get massive exposure. It’s an easier, faster and more direct route to start building your platform, and if you enjoy doing interviews and online video and audio recordings, it could be a perfect fit for you.

  1. Define Your Target Market

    Who is your target market?

    Your target market is the entire market (everyone in the world) who

    1. Needs or wants the benefits of what you provide, and
    2. Has the ability to buy what you provide.

    First, they have to need what you provide. If you provide fun, adventurous vampire novels, find out as much as you can about the people who read vampire novels.

    If you provide education on how people can get healthy or lose weight, find out as much as you can about the people who read books about how to lose weight and get healthy.

    It sounds so simple and obvious, but most authors and entrepreneurs skip this step and wonder why they can’t build a serious business. It’s because they can’t even find where their customers are hanging out!

  2. Find Your Target Market

    Next, you have to find your target market.

    In the podcasting world, it’s a pretty simple process to find your target market.

    You can open up the iTunes podcast store and search for some keywords related to your field of interest or target market. You can search for shows about fiction writing, publishing, fantasy, romance, gardening, weight loss, marketing and more.

    You can also go to https://podbay.fm/ and browse for some top shows in your market.

    When you see a show that looks like it’s doing well and is focused on your target market, write them down. Create a list of the top 10, 50 or 100 shows in your market, and then reach out to the hosts and offer to be a guest on their show. I know, it may sound strange to invite yourself onto someone else’s podcast show, but it’s actually a great thing to do!

    As a podcast host myself, I know how much time it takes to find great interview guests for a podcast show and meet our publishing schedule week after week. It’s a full-time job. If you really would make a great interview guest for their show, then you’re doing the host a service by reaching out to them and offering to be on the show!

  3. Get Booked

    Once you reach out to the show host or contact person via email, make sure you follow up. Don’t be a pain in the butt, and don’t spam people, but just kindly and persistently follow up if you don’t hear back from them.

    If they reject you, that’s okay! Everything in life is a numbers game. If we all got married to the first potential mate we met, we’d all be making a huge mistake. You don’t need to get booked on every show in your market! Even just getting booked on 5 or 10 shows over a year could provide a massive amount of exposure and book sales for you.

    Quick Tip on Emailing Influencers: Keep your emails as brief as possible. Everyone’s busy, and people who are influencers don’t need to read 5 paragraphs to figure out if you’re a good fit for their show or not. Keep your emails to 5-10 sentences at most, and keep it as personalized as possible.

    If you simply copy/paste the same boring, corporate-sounding email to everyone, your response rate will be horrible and you might only attract the wrong kind of attention.

  4. Deliver Value

    When you get booked on a show, make sure to add as much value as you can! Try to avoid sharing too much of your own personal stories and rambling on about your personal life.

    Of course, you’ll want to share your background story and let people know where you came from and where you’re going, but you only need a few minutes to do that. Instead, focus as much as you can on adding value, sharing helpful ideas, and entertaining your audience.

    You’d be amazed how many authors get booked on a major radio, TV or podcast show and do no research or preparation. They usually bomb on the air, and never get invited back. The host and the audience can tell if you’re just rambling and aren’t really prepared to add value and create a great experience for the audience.

  5. Always Ask for More

    At the end of your interview, most show hosts will ask where people can find out more information about you and your work. This is your chance to pitch your books, your website and what you do.

    There are two big mistakes to avoid here.

    1. Don’t skip over this part!
      It’s important. You should have a carefully prepared call-to-action for people to follow.

      • Do you want people to go to your website and sign up for your newsletter?
      • Should they subscribe to your YouTube channel?
      • Should they buy your book on Amazon?

      Be very specific, and be focused.

    2. Don’t ask people to do everything.
      Just ask them to visit one website or go to one place to find out more about you. You can share two resources at most. After that, people are just going to tune you out and it’s going to reduce the amount of people that actually do what you ask them to do.

      Every time someone interviews me about writing and publishing, I simply say, “If you’re just getting started writing a book, or if you’ve already published several books and want to take your business to the next level, check out my free training video course on writing, publishing and marketing at www.EbookPublishingSchool.com.”

      It’s simple, clear and direct. And it works! You can even create a custom website domain that you only share on podcast shows if you want to track how much traffic and sales you’re generating from your podcast interview marketing campaign.

      For example, you could buy a domain like www.yournamepodcast.com that you only share on podcast interviews, and then forward that domain to your main website.

      The possibilities are endless!

But you can’t benefit unless you take action! So start searching for podcast shows in your market and create your “dream list” of shows you’d love to be a guest on.

Here’s to your success in the new world of digital radio!

Tom Corson-Knowles headshotTom Corson-Knowles is the international bestselling author of The Kindle Publishing Bible, CEO of TCK Publishing, and host of The Publishing Profits Podcast Show. His mission is to help authors make the world a better place by getting their inspirational, educational and entertaining messages and stories out to millions. You can connect with Tom on Twitter and Facebook.

 
Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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12 Comments

  1. Tam Francis

    Thanks for the advice. Well-written and concise. This is one avenue I haven’t explored yet. I’ve done one podcast radio show with a college radio station, but that’s all. Looks like I need to do more! Love the step-by-step! Thank you!

    ~ Tam Francis ~
    http://www.girlinthejitterbugdress.com

    Reply
  2. Mickie Kennedy

    Tom, absolutely brilliant advice. A quick tip to add on: press releases are a great way to score both traditional radio and podcast pickup. I’ve seen it work (literally) hundreds of times.

    Reply
    • Tom Corson-Knowles

      Thanks Mickie! Yeah, press releases can work well, too for landing interviews :) I’ve never gotten picked up on a podcast from a press release before but that’s cool to hear it’s worked.

      Reply
  3. Cheri Fields

    I thought this was going to be an article on starting our own podcast. But, certainly there’s a lot of power in getting interviewed by others.
    Love how you get practical. It can quickly get overwhelming for me to think through what I need to do. Having a step by step checklist to go through keeps things way more manageable. Thanks. :)

    Reply
    • Tom Corson-Knowles

      Thanks Cheri! Glad you found it helpful! You can literally do it for just 5-15 minutes a day and start getting booked on shows as early as next week.

      Reply
  4. Matthew C. Winner

    Excellent article, Tom! I’m the host of Let’s Get Busy, a kidlit podcast with over 150 interviews to my credit so far. I think you’re hitting the nail on the head with everything you’ve shared in this article. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the community!

    Reply
    • Tom Corson-Knowles

      Awesome! Thanks Matthew. Glad to hear from a real successful podcaster like yourself that this is all good info :)

      Reply
  5. Michael N. Marcus

    I’m going to try it. I bought a new microphone and rehearsals start this weekend. I’m a good storyteller with my keyboard. I wonder how my mouth will work.

    Reply
    • Tom Corson-Knowles

      Awesome! Yeah, having a good mic and understanding good mic technique can help so much. If you’ve never done an interview before, maybe have a friend, family member or colleague interview you on camera to get comfortable with it

      Reply
  6. Fiona Ingram

    Thanks for a really informative article. You have inspired me to have a go at making this work for my books!

    Reply
    • Tom Corson-Knowles

      You’re welcome Fiona! Good for you for giving it a go! I’m cheering for you :)

      Reply

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