How to be a Profitable Podcast Guest – Kristin Molenaar
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Like many business owners, you’re most likely always searching for new avenues to be seen and heard. Have you thought about podcasts? Getting featured on the right podcasts will increase your visibility, help build your credibility, and attract new qualified leads for your business.
But maybe you just don’t have the time to pitch yourself to podcasts, or maybe you just don’t know where to start. Consider working with someone who specializes in just that, like Kristin Molenaar from YesBoss. Kristin has built a career around helping business owners double their new client leads just by being a featured podcast guest.
Rich: My guest today is an entrepreneur enthusiast who lives by the mantra, “Work less and make more”. She enjoys helping entrepreneurs ditch the vanity metrics for true connections. She’s the CEO of YesBoss, a digital agency that helps entrepreneurs book podcast features so they can generate new leads in just one hour per week. So let’s dive into being a profitable podcast guests with Kristin Molenaar. Kristin, welcome to the show.
Kristin: Thanks for having me.
Rich: And here I was worried about mispronouncing your last name and I messed up “Kristin”. Kudos to me.
Kristin: When you think too much things don’t come out so smoothly, I guess.
Rich: Exactly. I don’t know what it is when you start saying the same word over and over and you’re like, wait, “Was, is that actually word? Was?” Anyway.
Kristin: I’ve been tripped up by that exact word, but we digress
Rich: Tell me a little bit about how you got into podcasting, and specifically helping entrepreneurs book guest spots on other people’s podcasts.
Kristin: So I became a podcast guest myself after building my agency to a point where it was led by a self-lead team. So I did a lot of sales and marketing, but I wasn’t needed in the day to day. And what I had discovered was that a lot of entrepreneurs were complicating entrepreneurship, really going after tons and tons of things. And, you know, I had built this self-led company and I wanted to share that with other people. I was essentially on a mission to eradicate entrepreneurial stress.
So I told my team, I think that the best place for me to talk about this message is as a podcast guest. And six months went by and I had still not pitched myself to be a guest on any shows. And what I found was that I kept getting in my head about it. It was like, I would look at your podcast, Rich, and be like, “Ah, Rich doesn’t know who I am. I don’t have a great Instagram following. I don’t have all this social proof.” I was getting in my head about it.
And so about six months after I started saying I wanted to be a guest on podcasts, my team said to me, “Hey Kristen, you know that thing that you’ve been talking about doing, how about you just let us do it for you because you’re not doing it.” So my team started pitching me for guests and it happened almost overnight. They didn’t have any of those mindset blocks that I did. And so I started being a guest on a lot of shows, and as many hours as I wanted to dedicate to them finding me guest spots, we just got more spots.
And what ended up happening is, I went into it with kind of a philanthropic thinking, like I just wanted to add value. I just wanted to help other people. I just wanted to get out there and spread this message. And what ended up happening is business started generating leads faster and more efficiently than any other thing we had ever done. And it just kind of like, I guess after I had been doing it for about four months, it kind of clicked in my mind to go back and actually run some analytics. And what I found was on average every time I showed up as a podcast guest, it would bring in about a thousand dollars revenue to the business. That’s because sometimes one guest would refer two people, and other times, none. You know, whatever, it’ll average out.
And when my team and I were really looking at what can we do to really niche down our services because we were doing more general online business management services, we were doing a wide variety of services for our clients. It became a no brainer when we looked at the analytics for what my being a podcast guest was doing, and we also started doing it for some of our clients that we currently had. And we found that I’m not special, this isn’t just happening with me, this is also happening with our clients. We are going to just double down to do this because we really like the results oriented aspect of it. And I like that it’s not focusing on fluff, it’s really focusing on connection and getting out there.
Rich: All right. So you found some obvious benefits to getting on podcasts, but what other benefits are there and why do you suggest this for your clients?
Kristin: So there’s a number of benefits. And I think that before I discuss the benefits, I want to discuss what category I put this in. Because I think that a lot of people look at being a podcast guest as one of two things. Either they look at it as traditional marketing, which traditional marketing would say, go after podcasts that have the biggest audience possible, you are going on to create awareness for these massive audiences. Which yes, that’s great. And that does ring true.
Then there’s this other side that says that being a podcast guest is all about traditional PR, and traditional PR would say, “Go to the podcast that has the biggest name recognition. You want to be able to leverage that recognition with a logo on your website to create authority there.”
What I have found is that actually the most profitable podcast strategy is rooted in connection, and that connection starts with the podcast host. So I have found for our clients that especially people that have built a business based on referrals, this is a fantastic model for them because they’re not trying to do other things like doing these mass marketing strategies. It’s all about, how can we find you people that you can connect with that then become like referral partners for you, and it’s mutual. Like, how can you refer clients to them? How can they refer clients to you? How can you collaborate and do JV partnerships? What people do each of you know if you’re interested in speaking on stages, if you’re interested in being a guest expert in each other’s Mastermind groups, who are other people in your network that you can also refer them to? You know, you don’t even have to refer work to each other, but you could refer to other networking people. Like all of these things are really rooted in connection. And so that’s why I would say if somebody has found that connection is the way that they’ve gotten business so far, this is like steroids, networking on steroids.
Rich: It’s so funny, you didn’t even mention my personal number one reason for getting on podcasts, which is SEO and link building. Because years ago I would do guest post blogs for other people and get links back. I found that writing a blog post at this point in the web, takes me 6 to 10 hours, easy. Where getting on a podcast takes me anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. So that was a benefit that I had. So I was kind of excited to hear about all the other ones that you just brought up.
And maybe that also changes the way that you and your team go about approaching or finding the right podcast or that you might recommend people do it themselves. Which is a nice segue into my next question which is, what’s involved with finding appropriate podcasts? How do you find those podcasts for your guest or for yourself?
Kristin: So I believe that everybody needs custom research. I know that sometimes with podcasts booking agencies they have existing connections with people, and it’s all about connecting their clients with their existing connections. And I do believe that there’s value in that if there’s an appropriate fit. But we really think that everybody also needs to do some custom research. And so we do that for all of our clients. One of the best ways that we have found to do that custom research is to find somebody who has done podcast guesting, who has a complimentary message to what you do.
So for example, I’ll use myself. So I love talking about work less make more, ditching vanity metrics, being more effective, delegating all of those things. Who are people that are currently going out and guesting that have those same kinds of things that they’re talking about, the same business philosophies I would say that I’m talking about? I’m not going to go out and an influencer that I would be looking at for clues would not be somebody that’s talking about hustle all the time. Because I’m talking about anti-hustle, right? So who’s talking about work, let’s make more identifying a few people that match that. So have that complimentary business philosophy.
And then looking at what podcasts they have been on. I think that this really opens up a landmine or a goldmine, not a landmine. That sounds awful right. That has negative connotation. So a goldmine of podcast hosts that really also buy into the same business philosophies that you have, and also are attracting other people that have those same business philosophies.
So like for me, James Schramko is super easy. He wrote a book on “work less, make more”, like, where has James been? And then kind of going through those doors and seeing which ones also apply to me.
Rich: That really interesting. And again, another answer that I totally wasn’t expecting because I know that sometimes I’ll do something on say, influencer marketing, not my favorite subject honestly. There are people who just really love influencer marketing, been using it for a while, and I’ve always been a little bit ambivalent about it. Now I’ve noticed that after I do one episode, suddenly five other people come to me and say they want to speak on it. And actually I’m like, “Well, that’s all we want to do on this category.” So it’s interesting to hear your perspective.
It’s like, you can actually find somebody and then just draft after them. So if you find somebody with a similar message, I would almost wonder though if it wouldn’t work just as well if you found somebody with a contrary message where you say, “Hey, this guy talks about the grind and the hustle. I’d like to speak to the other side of it.” And that might be another avenue for approach as well.
Kristin: Yeah, that’s really interesting. And maybe we’ll have to try that. I’ll have to shoot that over to my team and see what they say. I do want to clarify though that I’m not just looking at people that are podcast booking agencies and following them because what I realize is they’ve already connected with the host, and so the host already has somebody in their network that offers what I offer. I’m looking on contrary, maybe a coach that has a similar message or somebody that’s productivity. So complimentary, definitely not the same. I don’t think you’re going to get the best out of the same.
Rich: Great clarification. All right. So once you’ve identified these shows. And it sounds like your method of doing this is by finding like-minded guests who they’ve had before. So you found a list of potential podcasts, what’s the next step? How do you approach the podcast or what do you do at that point?
Kristin: So it all has to do with a pitch. And a really good pitch has a few key things. One, it needs to be others focused. Obviously you need to talk a bit about yourself in the pitch because you need to show why you have credibility. But what I would say is that you need to look at the things that you say about yourself and seeing if they actually prove a point or drive a point home. So are you just saying, “I’m a best-selling author and I made a million dollars last year and I’ve been featured on Forbes”, and this and that. And the other thing, does that prove that you know how to talk about the things that you’re talking about, or is that just a way to boost your ego?
So your accolades definitely have to be relevant to what you’re talking about and it has to be others focused. So in all of our pitches, we start them all with a very short paragraph showing the podcast host that we actually looked at their podcast. We know a little bit about their podcast, we didn’t just find them on some random lists without looking at them in the podcast library. So we say something specific.
And then I also have talking points. So the talking points I feel are a really great way for the podcast host to vet whether or not they want you to be a guest on their podcast. I also found, and Rich you can speak to this, I’m very curious to hear your perspective. Podcast hosts have a lot of work to do, you’re outlining and drafting entire episodes and trying to figure out how to bring the most value to your audience. And for somebody to show up in your inbox and be like, “Hey, feature me as a guest”, it’s like, cool, if I want you to be my guest, you’ve just put a ton of work on my plate. I don’t know what I’m supposed to ask you, can you just tee up some ideas for me? And I see this as delivering an episode on a silver platter to the person that you’re pitching to.
Rich: Yeah, it’s definitely true. And the longer you’ve had your own podcast, the more people pitch you. I mean, I would say that I get anywhere from one to three pitches a day on some busy weeks, which is more than I can go through. And I’ve actually got a process for taking ones in that helps me out. And basically the first step is people actually have to go through the process that I’ve dictated to them, because otherwise I’m not even going to look at it. So I absolutely hear you. And getting a little bit more information so I can quickly go through the list and find out is this person relevant to the audience and to the message that I want to do, is a huge time-saver on my part as well. And I don’t know if you know, one of the other things I ask for is give me three episodes of other podcasts that you’ve been on. And sometimes it’s somebody who’s brand new and I might say, “Get a little bit more experience under your belt.” And other times they’ll point me to some either podcast episodes or maybe a YouTube video they’ve done, and so I get a sense of who they are, which is really important to me, too.
So you’ve reached out, you’ve made it, you’ve spoon fed the podcast host as much as you can so it’s easier for them. Is there anything else involved in that up front ‘pick me, pick me’ type of work?
Kristin: No, you just got to get out there and you just got to, even if you have some of those mindset issues, maybe you got to delegate it. But you have to realize podcast hosts are busy and you’ve just got to put the work in.
Rich: All right. So we get a slot, we get our opportunity to step up to the mic. What do you recommend for your clients? What did you do yourself to prepare so that you can deliver the best content possible?
Kristin: So this is kind of an interesting question because I have talked to people that have said to me, you know, I have been a podcast guest and it was fun, but it felt like a waste of time. It really didn’t result in any business for me. And so what I have done with my team is really distilled, what is it that makes being a podcast guest really effective? Like what makes it profitable? Because for us, we want to add benefit to our clients. So anyways, there are two things that are super important.
The very first one is you’ve got to know what you offer. If you get off an interview with a podcast host and they think in their head, “They’re really awesome. I like that person. I would totally work with them, but I have no idea how I would work with the”, that’s a problem. And I’m seeing that this is a problem that’s really prevalent. Your offer has to be super specific. So even if you offer a variety of services, what is the one way that there’s the entry point where people start to work with you? That’s got to be really obvious. On that episode you want to be talking about that methodology, the way that you serve clients in what you do. So whatever your offering is. I would say, if you can talk somebody into doing your job, talk your way through teaching somebody else to do your job, you’ve done your job. So like right now I’m literally laying out our exact process, and I think a lot of people would say that’s kind of scary. Why would anybody hire you if you’re telling them exactly how to do what you do? I would say if somebody wants to DIY, they’re not my ideal client. I want somebody who is, here’s what I have to say goes, “Oh yeah, she knows what she’s talking about, but I just want to throw money at that so I can grow faster.” The person that wants to delegate, that’s my ideal client. So knowing what you offer is really important, because then you can speak with authority on that thing. That’s important.
The second thing is that follow-up. So after that episode, definitely look at this as a new relationship that you have formed. Even if somebody who needs what I offer, but we jump off the call and I’m like, “Okay, cool, thanks for having me”, and then we never talk again. You’re never going to talk about me either. And if that relationship starts oftentimes right after a podcast recording, I tell all of our clients ask the podcast host, “How can I be of service to you and your business? Is there anything that I can do to add value to what you’re doing?” Really position the relationship in such a way where the host knows like, hey, I’m interested in being part of what you’re doing and I’m interested in looking at this as more than just a way to talk to your audience. This is a relationship play for me.
Rich: Okay. And do you usually do that via email, social media, or does it not matter as long as you’re doing some sort of outreach?
Kristin: I would say it doesn’t matter as long as you’re doing something. But you do want to make sure also, I think one of the ways to prove that you’re in it for not just selfish ambitions is to be willing to promote episodes and that usually has done on social media and to your email list. So you’ve got to be willing to open up those avenues.
Rich: All right. Now I have two podcasts, The Agents of Change, where I often interview people who are very experienced with the podcast format. And then I have another one called Fast Forward Maine, which is basically a lot of times this is their first appearance on a podcast ever. You must have clients in both routes. If somebody doesn’t have a lot of experience with podcasts in general, what recommendations do you have so they come across as professional as possible?
Kristin: So I think that a pitch is a great way to start up the relationship looking really professional. I think that that’s your first impression. But another thing that I recommend, and this is actually what I did in the beginning, is I pitched myself to brand new podcast hosts. And what I found was that brand new podcast hosts were actually really incredible people to have in my network. It also took a lot of the pressure off of me because they were newer and it just felt like a conversation that I could have with them without this like, “Oh my gosh, this is a big person. I’m really nervous. What am I going to say?” It took a lot of those nerves out.
So I actually still am interested in being a guest on podcasts that are newer. If you think about it, if you’re serving an entrepreneurial audience, somebody who decides to be a podcast host has decided to take on a very big project. Which means that they’re probably a very ambitious person and that’s the kind of person that I want to have in my network. So I would never discount being featured on a newer podcast, even if you’re more experienced. This is something that I always recommend for everybody.
But to answer your question specifically, this takes a lot of pressure off people who are new to the podcast realm.
Rich: It’s so funny. And I’m so glad you’re on the show because you and I have come at this from completely different directions and possibly because of what we need. I will usually accept an invitation from a new podcaster, but I never really think of it as something to take too seriously. Because I haven’t thought about it through your lens, which was that networking lens. I think about it from getting in front of the audience and the links from their website to flyte’s or the Agents of Change or whatever it may be. And so I’m less excited about going on a new podcast than I am about an established one that’s got trust pulled up on Google. And I’m recognizing now that I’ve missed some opportunities here. So I really appreciate this reverse approach that you’ve taken compared to the way that I’ve always looked at it. So thank you for that.
Kristin: Of course, that’s really interesting to find out. I love that.
Rich: So when I’m on a podcast regularly as a guest, I don’t usually have some sort of call to action or some download to point people to, but I’ve certainly hosted enough guests who come on my show and point them to something. What do you recommend for yourself and for your clients that they do? Should there be a strong call to action? Should there be a download? Are you sending them to a website?
Kristin: So I don’t care if somebody asks me to share a freebie offer or a download, I’m not really concerned about my email list. The reason is because my experience has shown me that very few people actually go to my email list and the ones that do require a ton of nurturing. So this is specific to me as a service-based provider, I can’t necessarily speak to somebody who’s in coaching. Maybe you’re more willing to put in that nurture that needs to happen. But the ideal clients for me hear the episode or see that an episode has been published.
So one example is, I was on a podcast recently and the podcaster sent an email out to his email list. Two of his close business colleagues saw the email or the subject of the podcast, responded to him and said, “Hey, you know, I see that Kristen was on your podcast. I need somebody to help me book myself as a podcast guest. Do you vouch for Kristen? Do you think she’s any good?” The podcast host said, “Yeah, I think she’s great.” Two people called me, became clients, and said, “Frankly, I didn’t listen to the episode. I just know the person that interviewed you. I’m just interested in hiring you. You just need to tell me how I can give you my money.” So that is my favorite kind of relationship is somebody that comes to me. That just because of the connection that I had, I got connected to somebody that they already trusted and they hired me.
So I would say that, you know, go on podcasts. Even if you don’t have that backend funnel all the way built out, you can actually leverage some of your conversations down the road to create content. That’s going to be really good for those backend funnels. I just talked to too many people who put something like that backend funnel they put it in between them and being a podcast guest. They disqualify themselves because they don’t have that. And what I want to say is my favorite clients have not even bothered to get on my email list. They’ve just contacted me directly. So I don’t care.
Rich: Well, if I have the choice between putting somebody on my email list and booking them as a client, I agree I’m going to choose the client one every single time. So that makes a lot of sense.
We’ve talked about what to do before, during, and after the podcast. I do want to circle back around because I was kind of curious when you’re coming on a podcast – I’m not putting you on the spot about the Agents of Change right now – but do you listen to episodes that the host has already done? And is there any additional research that you do to be in the best possible position, or do you like to just show up and be like, “Let’s talk”?
Kristin: So my team does the initial research for me, because they know the type of content or the type of hosts that I’m looking to connect with. So they know how to identify who a good fit is for me. Before I talk to somebody though, that is when I listen to a podcast.
So what I have found is that I listen to a lot of podcasts, just because I’m really into that medium for learning. And so I get all this information jumbled in my head. So what I do is literally right before, about an hour or half hour before I get on the podcast, is usually when I listened to an episode. And I pick a random episode that looks like it might have some kind of information that would be valuable to me. Because I think that it would be awful to get on a podcast and have somebody say to you, “Do you know something about me?” And you were like, “No, I never listened to your podcasts before.” I think that that’s an awful way to start a conversation. So I believe that you should listen to an episode right before you talk to the podcast host. But I don’t think that it’s necessary to binge all of the content necessarily. I actually think that that starts to happen after the relationship. After you have a conversation with somebody if you’re like, “Okay, I really like this person. I connected really well with them and I would love to explore future business opportunities with them.” That’s typically when I start diving into content even more, because I’ve gotten that relationship established first.
Rich: Fantastic. Kristen, and I got it right that time. Kristen, this has been great. And for people who want to learn more about your business, or maybe hire you to help them get on some really good podcasts for them, where can we send them?
Kristina: So our website is yesbossva.com. We have a 10 minute Masterclass that breaks it down very similarly to what we did in this podcast episode, kept everything really concise. And then the only place I hang out on is on LinkedIn. I don’t do other social media. It just drains me. So I only do LinkedIn and you can find me by searching by my name.
Rich: Awesome. Kristen, thank you so much for your time today.
Kristin Molenaar takes the guesswork and legwork out of finding the right podcasts to feature her clients on that have proven to double their qualified leads, so they can spend more time sharing their knowledge. Find out how she does it by checking out her website, and be sure to connect with her on LinkedIn.
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.