There was a time not that long ago that a well-established author might have questioned doing a podcast as part of a book publicity tour. But those days are gone as podcasts have become a part of many book marketing campaigns. Recent data on podcast listenership in the United States alone is impressive – over half the population over 12 listens. As a result, there are now more than 850,000 active podcasts with over 30 million episodes. Marketers love podcasts because they have niche audiences who are highly interested in a topic. It means they are likely to buy books after listening.
Thanks to their growing popularity, it takes some finesse (and an established following of your own) to land an interview on a top-tier podcast. Authors who want to be seen as must-have guests need to have large social media followings because the podcasts want to cross-promote. A writer who can promote a podcast guest appearance to thousands of followers will be viewed as an attractive interview guest. The requirements vary among popular podcasts, but it's routine for them to require an author to have at least 10,000 social media followers to qualify as a guest. It's why having a social media presence is vital.
At the same time, there are smaller podcasts with less stringent requirements. When you're working to promote a book, there is no reason to overlook them if they have the right audience. If you can appear on a podcast virtually or by phone, you can do several in a single day, making them a very efficient use of your time. What matters most is the audience's interest, and when it lines up well with your book topic, you can count on your appearance selling books. If you'd like to be a guest on a podcast, it's also wise to sample several episodes to get a feel for the format, host, and general vibe.
When you're a guest on a podcast, you want people to listen – which means promoting it to your fans and followers on social media is a must. Don't go overboard, but make sure you give it a nice plug on all of your accounts. People like to be in the know and find out about things when they are new, so the most impactful promotion will be shortly before the podcast goes live. There are few limits to what can be discussed on podcasts, and they are more freewheeling and potentially controversial than traditional broadcast interviews. Be prepared for the possibility and have a plan about how you will handle it.