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I’m going make a few quick assumptions about you. Yep. I know we just met and all, but hey…

  1. You already have a blog. It’s helped you build an audience that is interested in your niche + product.
  2. You dabble in social media + email marketing, too. Because it obviously helps you grow your business.
  3. But… you’re looking for a way to connect with your audience beyond the written word… because (unlike you!) not everyone learns best by reading.

So you found this post about podcast marketing.

Thumbs up, my friend. That was a smart search.

Some 57 million Americans listen to podcasts every month. And it’s only growing in popularity in the US and beyond.

Podcast listeners generally listen to more than 4 hours of podcasts every week from roughly 5 episodes and participate more often on social media every day.

^^^ There is HUGE opportunity to reach and engage your audience with podcast marketing. And as we marketers know…

Audience + Engagement + Activation = $$$

A few months ago, CoSchedule launched the Actionable Marketing Podcast. It’s a weekly podcast I host with a guest. Every episode positions the guest as an expert problem solver, sharing their story on process, ideas, and more.

You’re about to learn everything I know about podcast marketing:

  1. Discovering the best podcast format for your business goals
  2. Finding guest talent + great stories to share with your audience
  3. Banking your episodes to never experience last-minute fire drills
  4. Editing + producing your episodes (the easy, high-quality way)
  5. Promoting your podcast to expand your listener base

This process has helped me grow our podcast from zero downloads to 25,518 in just a few months. So let’s get to the learnin’.

Find the best podcast format for YOU

Solo, co-host, or guest…?

There are a few different podcast formats (or structures, if you will) you could try:

  1. Only you: You’re the host, the one host, and the only host. Example: Grammar Girl.
  2. You + one other standing host: You co-host with the same partner in crime for every episode. Example: This Is Your Life.
  3. You + guest: You interview (or chat) with a new guest on each episode. (You could also have a standing co-host + guest, but this gets messy fast.) Example: Entrepreneur On Fire.

The podcast I host, The Actionable Marketing Podcast, is partial toward podcast format #3: A host interviewing a guest. This format brings new perspectives, opinions, stories, voices, and talent to every episode. Your guests will share their episodes with their audiences, too, serving as advocates that will help you grow your listener base.

Guests + your podcast = win-win.

So, for the rest of this blog post, you’re going to learn how to structure your podcast for interviewing guests.

Action item: Determine the best general podcast format for you. Answer these questions:

  • Do you know nearly everything about the topic your podcast will cover? Going solo may work for you.
  • Do you + a teammate or industry friend know nearly everything about the topic your podcast will cover? A co-hosting format may work for ya.
  • Do you want to share stories, process, and how others like your audience have solved problems? A guest format may be your best fit.

Scripts, banter, segments, or interviews…?

So, you know how you’re going to host your podcast (generally speaking). Now it’s time to decide how regimented your episodes will be: Super loose or pre-planned conversations?
There are several ways to format your podcast successfully:

  1. Scripts: Imagine loosely reading a blog post out loud as a podcast episode. This works well for solo hosts. Example: Baremetrics.
  2. Banter: You have a topic. You’ve done your research. And you generally know what you’ll talk about, but it’s a back-and-forth style convo. This often works best with co-hosts who have good chemistry together. Example: Stuff You Should Know
  3. Segments: You have a podcast show outline with specific things you cover in every episode. There is a general flow like intro > news > topic 1 > topic 2 > close. While every episode follows the order, the information shared is always new. Example: This Old Marketing.
  4. Interview: This is often the format for host + guest podcasts. You can have the same list of standing questions you ask every guest (like Entrepreneur On Fire). Or you can write new questions for every guest to dig deep into a specific topic (like Actionable Marketing Podcast). Example: Smart Passive Income.

The takeaway is the talent you have on your podcast should influence the episode structure.

Action item: Determine the podcast structure you’ll use for planning your episodes. Explore these questions:

  • What types of podcasts best retain your attention (scripted, banter, segments, or interviews)?
  • What structure will likely work best with the kind of hosting format you’re planning to use?

How to find guest talent + great stories to share with your audience

Where can you find smart peeps to interview?

^^^ I’m glad you asked. ;)

As a business, you know:

  1. Customers: Who are your most active users, repeat buyers, and ultimate fans?
  2. Email subscribers: Those folks who subscribe to your blog content (remember my assumption from earlier!) likely have unique stories, challenges they’ve solved, and perspectives others like them would love to hear.
  3. Industry friends: Who attracts a similar audience within your industry? Your podcast is an easy way to collaborate.
  4. Companies you buy stuff from: Chances are, these folks want to keep their customers happy. It’s an easy ask to find guests from the businesses where you spend money.
  5. Companies who kick ass at the topic your podcast covers: Could you reach out to companies you love to find guests for your podcast?

There is no limit to the number of people you could find as guest talent for your podcast.

Action item: Create a list of names/companies you’d like to interview on your podcast. Think about this:

  • Create a spreadsheet with the names of individuals and the companies where they work.
  • Go to the potential guest’s website/blog, highlight their name, and use Datanyze Insider to find their email address.
  • Add the email address into your spreadsheet.

Reach out to your (potential) guests

Do not: Mass email your guests with a blind copy. Yeesh.
Do: Send a personalized email to each guest explaining how you selected them, why you want to have them on your podcast, and what they’ll get out of it.

This is what your first podcast outreach email template could look like (feel free to copy/paste/tweak):

Hey {Name},

Thanks for {something you admire about them}. My team at {your company name} loves your work!

I’m {your name} at {your company name}. I host a podcast to help {your target audience}, and I’d love to pick your brain for an episode.

Our {Job Title, Name}, specifically recommended that you would be a great source of information our audience would love.

If that sounds like fun, just set up a time with me so we can find a cool angle for your episode: {your Calendly link}. I’d like your episode to discuss a {topic} challenge you’ve overcome recently, and this chat helps me find a unique angle you’ll be really good at covering.

After that initial conversation, I’ll draft questions and we can schedule a second time to record your actual episode.

Thanks a lot!

{Your Name}

PS—You can check out the podcast episodes here if you’d like to learn more: {link to listen}

^^^ You probably noted that I meet with all of my podcast guests BEFORE actually recording their episodes.

This practice helps me find a unique angle for all episodes, understand what their audio sounds like (so I can suggest they find a microphone if necessary), and if they are long- or short-winded (so I can draft more questions to dig deep into the topic when appropriate).

The Calendly tool helps my guests book times when I am available without the back and forth. Pick.co is also a tool that can help you do exactly this (and is by a former podcast guest of mine, Sujan Patel).

Calendly and Pick.co help you grab important information when your guests book times to chat. Make sure to ask for their Skype ID (the tool you’ll use to call your guest) and phone number (just in case something goes awry).

With the template above, I use Dash from Kapeli to easily write emails fast. All you need to do is enter the email template as a Snippet in Dash. When you name the template something like, say, .podcastemailoutreach, then you can simply type the Snippet .podcastemailoutreach and Dash will automatically paste your template where you’re typing.
It saves a lot of time.


Your guests are busy. If they don’t get a chance to respond to you in a week, bump them:

Hey {Name},

I know how overwhelming email inboxes can be, so I thought I’d follow up with you on this. Would you be interested in being featured on {your company’s} podcast?

I know you’d be able to provide a lot of great insight, so I’d love to pick your brain to share what you know with our audience of {the number of folks in your following}.

Let me know what you think!


{Your Name}

Confirm the first angle call

When your guest books the angle call, do two things:

  1. Add them on Skype immediately. If something doesn’t work, at least you’re not figuring it out right at the moment you are supposed to be chatting with your guest.
  2. Email your guest letting them know you have them on your calendar. This is a nice personal touch and lets them know you care.

Host your angle call

This is your opportunity to find a really interesting topic for the episode. I generally do these chats via Skype with my video turned on so my guests can see who I am (because next time, I’ll just record the audio).
Kick off the convo by noting a few things:

  • The {insert your podcast name} is all about helping {audience} {do a desirable action} better than ever.
  • I want to find a story you can share that will help {audience} overcome a challenge.
  • The purpose of this call is to find that great angle for your podcast episode.

From there, you can ask any number of questions to find the best topic (feel free to copy/paste/tweak):

  • How do you approach project management?
  • What is the one thing you’re doing in {your industry} that is working really well right now?
  • What does your {strategy} look like?
  • How do you approach {strategy #2}?
  • What are your thoughts on {controversial topic in industry}?
  • What is the most successful thing you’re doing right now for {strategy #3}?
  • How do you plan your {strategy #4} projects?
  • How do you execute your {strategy #5}?
  • What is something different that you’re doing in {strategy} that’s working out for you?
  • What does a normal workday/workweek look like for you?
  • What are your biggest daily challenges?
  • How are you working to resolve those challenges?
  • What was a major {industry} challenge you recently experienced, and how did you overcome it?

You can either record the conversation via Skype with Ecamm Movie Tools Call Recorder or take detailed notes to the answers in a tool like Evernote. Or both if you’re super organized. ;)

Write and structure the podcast show outline

I shoot for podcast episode lengths of 20-25 minutes (the average commute to work is about 25.4 minutes, and since most people listen to podcasts on their mobile devices, I want to capitalize on this opportunity).
So, depending on how short- or long -winded your talent is, draft 12-20 questions for your interview.

Speaking from experience, it really sucks when your guests answer questions super fast and you are not prepared to dig deeper into certain parts of their answers. So it helps to prepare secondary questions for each as cues to help you dive deeper. These cues keep you on your toes, especially as you’re listening to your talent’s answers and could forget some of the early details from your angle calls.

Keep the podcast show outline simple. The more complicated you make it, the more difficult it is for you and your guest to follow.

You can always edit in post production, too, so go into the interviews knowing you’d prefer these to sound like a natural conversation. Go off track. Sometimes those sidetracks make for great caveats.

For example, here is what a podcast show outline for the Actionable Marketing Podcast looks like. This outline is from my podcast episode with Campaign Monitor’s very own Kim Courvoisier:

Hey Kim, thanks for being on the podcast today!

Alright, Kim! Fill me in on Campaign Monitor and what you do there.

  • Your background makes you a perfect fit for our topic today of building an email list that generates traffic. So I guess we should start at the very beginning. What are some of the best email list building tactics you’ve seen?
  • Alright, Kim. In order to get traffic from email, you’d need to get your emails opened. What are some of the best ways to get more opens?
  • Now let’s say your subscribers have opened your emails. What tactics have you seen work best for generating more clicks?
  • Every email you send offers data to help you improve next time. What insights can you glean from email opens and/or clickthrough rates?
  • I want to backtrack a little. Marketing exists to drive profitable customer action. So I was wondering, when someone subscribes to your list, what are some best practices to nurture that lead further into the funnel?
  • We know people buy from people they know, like, and trust. How do you build trust with email?
  • All of this seems like it would take some organization and team collaboration. What does your workflow look like for creating email campaigns?
  • Process inspires efficiency! How do you keep your team organized as they execute your projects?

Alright, Kim! That’s it! Thanks for sharing your tips for getting more opens, clicks, and conversions from email marketing!
Bonus questions in case Kim is quick with her answers:

  • What are some best practices for list segmentation? Could you give me examples?
  • How do you collaborate with your team to create email content?
  • What does your workflow for creating email content look like?
  • How do you organize your email campaigns?
  • How do you use an editorial calendar to stay organized?
  • Every email you send offers data to help you improve next time. What insights can you glean from email opens and/or clickthrough rates?

It’s pretty simple.

^^^ And that’s a good thing.

I also record a specific introduction, middle call to action, and conclusion for every episode of The Actionable Marketing Podcast. I write + record those parts after I record the actual episode. This helps me ensure everything I say in those areas makes sense for the actual convo, not what I anticipate the convo will be about.

Send your podcast show outline to your talent

Send the questions to your guests, and ask them to set up a time to record the episode via Calendly or Pick.co.

You can also give your guests pointers here to get the highest quality audio:

  • Find a quiet place to record.
  • Turn off distractions (and let your co-workers know not to step in).
  • Put phones on silent.
  • Turn off notifications (and pings/dings/rings) on your computer.
  • Plan on about 45 minutes for recording.

When the day of recording comes, I also like to send a reminder email to my guests in the morning. People are busy. They forget things. This lets them know you’re serious about recording and gives them the chance to prepare if it’s slipped their mind.

How to record + edit + produce your *awesome* podcast episodes

Record your podcast episode

You’ll do this with Skype + Ecamm Movie Tools Call Recorder + professional microphone + headphones + a quiet room.

When you get on the call, explain your expectations. Make your guests feel comfortable!

Let them know if:

  • You will stick to your questions verbatim.
  • You’ll dig deeper into shallow answers.
  • You’re cool with going way off track.
  • They stumble, they can start over.
  • You will record an introduction, middle call to action, and conclusion after you record this conversation.

Then hit the record button.

As I do this, I often ask the guest to say their name so I can get audio levels. This not only helps me know that I’m picking up their voice for the recording, but also gives me a clear vocalization of how the guest likes to pronounce their name.

^^^ I say their name a lot during the episodes, so that would be p-r-e-t-t-y embarrassing to say it wrong the entire episode.

And once you start asking questions, let your guest answer. You are not the talent. Your listeners don’t care about hearing your voice. Let the guest drive the conversation; put them in control.

They need to talk more than you.

Don’t cut them off.

If they are done with a question, it’s OK to let the silence hang for a second before you transition to your next question.

Record the episode’s intro, middle call to action, and conclusion

It’s best to write and record these pieces immediately after you record the guest’s episode. This way, everything is fresh in your memory.

The purpose of the introduction is to hook your listeners and make them want to listen to the entire episode. It needs to clearly outline the benefits, the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?).
You can start with templates like, “What if you could…?” “Imagine…” and Does your…?” position the podcast content as an answer to the question. You can also begin with anecdotes, facts, or controversial quips that will pique your listeners’ interests.

This is your chance to introduce your guest talent as the authority figure on this topic, reiterate your podcast’s name, tell your listeners what exactly they will learn + why it will benefit them, and introduce yourself, too.

Middle CTA
These give a nice audio break from concentrating on the subject matter, often backed by your podcast’s music while providing an exclusive offer of some kind.

With the Actionable Marketing Podcast, we often give away an extended trial of CoSchedule during this break. Listeners can get that trial at a specific URL, and we only give that URL away in the audio version of the podcast (so when signups come from that URL, we know 100% that it was influenced by the podcast).

Lately, I like conclusions to connect the dots between the actionable advice the talent provides + how I’ve used their advice (or similar advice) to grow/improve CoSchedule.

Then, I’ll transition into thanking the talent for being awesome and sharing their knowledge. I’ll also thank the audience for listening (because you can’t do a podcast without the loyal listeners).

Then I’ll share the URL where listeners can grab the full transcript and show notes from the episodes (sometimes, people like to find tools or processes discussed in the show later on because they are driving and can’t do it while they listen).
Afterward, I’ll wrap up by restating the special offer made in the middle call to action and sign off.

Choose music + voiceover

Most podcasts open and end with music and a voiceover that essentially says the podcast name.
Again, keep this simple.

Use AudioBlocks to find your music. And use Freelancer.com to find your voiceover talent.

Edit/produce the podcast

I highly recommend not doing this yourself.

^^^ Emphasis on the word *highly* there.

There are some great podcast services out there that specialize in high-quality podcast production, and it’s well worth your time + resources to capitalize on their strengths.

For the Actionable Marketing Podcast, I rely heavily on the team at Podcast Motor to edit out awkwardness, create the professionally recorded introductions, middle calls to action, and conclusions with music, sweeten audio levels and take my advice on edits/cuts/etc.

You can also rely on your outsourced podcast team to write your show notes and transcript so you can publish a blog post + embed your audio there for every episode (without having to do this step yourself).

I can’t (seriously) recommend Podcast Motor enough.

You’re ready to launch! It’s time to plan podcast promotion


You’ll need a place to host your podcast’s audio files that automatically shares to your podcast distribution channels like Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, and SoundCloud.

The place to host your podcast’s files is Libsyn.

Launch blog post

The day you launch, publish a blog post to share the podcast with your existing audience.

Why did you prioritize the podcast? What will they get out of it? Why should they subscribe to receive your podcast content?

Per-episode blog posts

Every podcast episode you publish is an opportunity for a blog post.

These can include show notes, an embedded version of the audio file (Podcast Motor Player is what we use at CoSchedule), show highlights, links to tools + content mentioned in the episode, an email list subscribe form to receive podcast-specific emails, pull quotes, and a full transcript of the conversation.


You’ve been building your email list via your blog. Share the podcast with all of your blog readers with a special email.

Social promotion

Schedule a social media campaign for every podcast episode you ship.


If you send an email newsletter, include links to your podcast episode blog posts.

Guest reminder

As episodes publish, thank your guests for sharing their advice. You can also include zip files of your social media graphics to encourage them to share the episode with their audiences.

I also typically give every guest some cool CoSchedule swag including t-shirts, stickers, and more. Because… they are awesome.

Podcast landing page

It’s nice to direct traffic to a specifically designed landing page that shares only your podcast content.

That’s the process behind podcast marketing

Thanks for reading, and good luck as you get started with your own podcast marketing.

Because you made it all the way to the end… here’s a Word Doc of a ton of the templates I used to start the Actionable Marketing Podcast at CoSchedule. Enjoy!

About the Author Nathan Ellering
This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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