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The Playbook This Startup Used to Get Their Founders on 100+ Podcasts in 6 Months


Tom Griffin is the Head of Partnerships at Ranges.

It’s no secret that the podcast business has been exploding during the last decade, with loads of us tuning into podcasts for information, recommendation and leisure — popping in our headphones whereas washing dishes, strolling the canine, or throughout a commute. It’s estimated that 125 million Individuals will hearken to podcasts by 2022 — up from 46M in 2015 and 75M in 2018

Manufacturers are following customers into the area, determining how finest to leverage this comparatively new platform. Usually, they enter the area as an advertiser — assume, “This episode is delivered to you by… Blue Apron!” (stated in Dax Shepard twang). 

However are there methods for manufacturers to leverage this new platform moreover throwing promoting {dollars} at it? What if as an alternative of a 60-second scripted advert learn that prices $10,000, you probably did a 60-minute advert learn that deeply educates your audience on the issue you’re fixing, that prices $0? Enter: the Podcast Tour. 

A “podcast tour” is when a model secures podcast interviews for its founders on reveals that its audience is probably going listening to. For a startup, the principle worth of a podcast tour is schooling and consciousness. That is very true if you’re constructing a brand new product class. Within the case of Ranges, this new class is shopper biosensors targeted on metabolic well being – beginning with steady glucose displays. 

“Wait, what do you imply by metabolic well being? What are glucose displays? Aren’t these for diabetics? Why would I take advantage of one?”

All nice questions, finest answered by way of a long-form interview — not a flashy, seven-second Instagram advert or a 30-second podcast advert spot. When the corporate was began, only a few folks had been speaking about “metabolic well being,” so we knew that we had a giant problem forward of us to carry this class into the mainstream. Within the early days of constructing Ranges, we wanted to search out future clients, introduce ourselves and spend as a lot time with them as attainable explaining why we exist and why they need to care. 

After speaking with hundreds of individuals on our waitlist, we realized these people had been turning to podcasts as one among their major sources of data and recommendation on the way to enhance their well being. This was a transparent sign to us that as a way to attain our audience, we wanted to search out and talk with them by way of podcasts.  

Podcasts are a chance to spend an intimate 60 minutes within the ear of hundreds of people that have opted in to hearken to you alongside a bunch they belief. 

With that in thoughts, whereas nonetheless in closed beta early on, we launched into a targeted mission that led to our founders showing on greater than 100 podcast interviews in six months (moderately than spending hundreds of {dollars} on advert reads or trying to spin up our personal podcast present). Even now, almost a yr later, it’s nonetheless paying dividends throughout almost each perform of our enterprise. 

Loads of of us on the market have their eye on podcasts as a advertising software for selling a startup’s founders and the product however don’t know the place to begin. On this article, I’ll share the particular techniques we used at Ranges to safe dozens of podcast interviews — from researching all of the reveals that may suit your viewers, crafting your pitch, tapping into your community, nailing the interview, and monitoring outcomes. I’ll additionally embody particular e mail templates and scripts that you could lean on when crafting your individual outreach technique. Let’s dive in. 

It’s vital to emphasise that our advertising targets had been primarily schooling and consciousness, and never income. In case your objective is producing income ASAP, it’s possible you’ll be higher off working adverts (extra on this later). 

Along with schooling and basic consciousness, different advantages of the podcast tour embody: 

search engine optimization. Podcast interviews are an effective way to get high-quality backlinks to your web site at scale, as present notes will nearly at all times embody hyperlinks to your web site and social channels. 

Model constructing. Podcast excursions are one of many quickest methods to construct your model and improve consciousness of your organization. You’re stepping in entrance of a pre-built viewers who has opted into letting you hand around in their ears for an hour out of their day. Moreover, your model turns into implicitly validated by the host who has invited you on, who the viewers loves, trusts and respects. 

Partnerships and networking. Constructing relationships with influential podcast hosts can result in extra formal advertising partnerships down the road (together with podcast promoting).

Low price. To seem on most reveals, you don’t have to pay. This implies that you could execute this technique successfully with minimal monetary funding. 

I’m commonly requested by different manufacturers for tips about the way to get their founders on podcasts. Listed below are essentially the most important classes we’ve realized at Ranges: 

Step 1: Lean in your community to supply reveals. 

With numerous reveals on the market that may be a match to your startup viewers, honing during which ones to prioritize together with your outreach is a tall hurdle when kicking off your podcast initiative. There are a number of easy methods to determine what podcasts you may goal, together with: 

1. Apple iTunes charts by class, or utilizing instruments like Chartable to keep watch over high and trending podcasts in related matter areas.  

2. Interviewing your clients and prospects to ask them what reveals they hearken to. 

3. Hiring a podcast reserving company like Lemonpie and letting them determine it out. Talking of Lemonpie, I strongly suggest their podcast as a useful resource for studying extra about the way to leverage podcasts to your model (sorry, that is getting actually meta). 

However our not-so-secret sauce for securing over 100 reveals in 6 months was fairly easy: We acquired actually good at leveraging our community. About 60% of all reveals we’ve secured during the last 18 months got here from our community. 

Image showing podcast lead source: 58% Network intro, 15% agency, 16% inbound, 9% cold outreach

Be aware on the chart above: Inbound leads solely began to come back as soon as our founders had been on dozens of reveals, together with a number of very well-known ones. 

Let me flag that our firm has an unfair benefit right here: our investor base alone is over 150 folks and so they’re fairly well-connected, which was an intentional technique. Nonetheless, I imagine that many of the techniques we used will be utilized to any firm and founder. 

Whereas chilly outreach can work, it’s usually an inefficient strategy. I attempted a number of rounds and often noticed between 10%-20% response fee. In complete, chilly outreach was responsive for fewer than 10% of the reveals we’ve secured to this point. If you happen to do attain out chilly, I like to recommend doing all of your analysis and each emailing the podcast (I’ll embody some templates), in addition to messaging them on LinkedIn. If you happen to’re fortunate sufficient that your founder has a presence on social media, an Instagram DM to the present host also can work.  

Ask your traders for assist. Then ask your complete community. Then ask all of them once more. 

Along with formal “investor asks” throughout our month-to-month investor replace emails, we requested nearly everybody we interacted with by cellphone or e mail for assist connecting us to reveals. I don’t say that hyperbolically. We continually requested for assist. One small instance: I created a Superhuman snippet that I included in almost each e mail change, particularly these the place somebody stated “Tell us if there’s something we are able to do to assist!” 

Oh, I’m glad you requested 🙂 [types email shortcut] “We’re making an effort to get Casey and Josh on extra podcasts in Q1 to extend consciousness round the issue of metabolic dysfunction within the U.S. and what folks can do about it. Are you aware anybody who hosts a podcast or who might be able to join us with somebody who does?” 

Tip: DO NOT passively say “Let me know should you’re conscious of any podcasts we must always join with.” In my expertise, you’ll improve your response fee by as much as 50% by asking a direct query. Your traders need to assist — give them the chance to take action in a tangible means.

Do your analysis. Don’t be lazy. 

As an illustration, at one level I appeared up each single one among our traders and advisors on iTunes to search out which reveals they’d been on up to now, then reached out for introductions to related ones. By making the ask particular, we saved them the work of getting to think about reveals that might be a match — and we most likely acquired 30 bookings from this strategy alone. Right here’s the e-mail template we used: 

“Hello [Name], 

We noticed you had been on [X show] again in November – we’re huge followers of [host name] and [X show]. 

Do you assume [host name] could be excited about chatting with Casey or Josh about [tailored sentence or 2 about the topic that would make sense for that show]? 

In that case, I can observe up in a separate thread with a forwardable e mail that you could go alongside on to see in the event that they’re .”  

Make it simple for folks that can assist you with the artwork of the forwardable e mail 

Step 2: Use different founders as benchmarks.

One of many single most effective and efficient methods to search out reveals to your founders is to seek for founders of comparable corporations (or spokespeople in related industries) in podcast databases like Apple. For instance, for Ranges, I would enter the title for the CEO of Oura into the Apple Podcast App and it’ll instantly return a listing of reveals that he’s has been on. 

I can then take that checklist of reveals and do a few issues: 

Attain out to well-connected people in our community with the extra particular ask of “Are you aware the hosts of any of the particular reveals listed beneath, or know anybody who may know them?” 

Attain out to the present chilly, however with a way more customized pitch, now that you recognize they’re excited about a subject related to what you’d need to talk about. 

Photo showing podcast search results

You don’t want fancy instruments or web scrapers that pull 50,000 reveals right into a spreadsheet. Spend two hours taking a look at Apple Podcasts by class, in addition to looking for founders in your area who’ve been on reveals, and also you’ll generate a well-curated checklist of 100 reveals to go after. 

Step 3: Don’t pitch your product or your organization.

More often than not, a podcast host doesn’t need to have a visitor come on their present to do a one-hour infomercial a couple of services or products. The host needs to do two issues: make their viewers pleased and develop their viewers. Why is somebody listening to a podcast? Often for one among three causes: 

1. To determine the way to enhance their life (e.g., a podcast about well being, psychology, or enterprise techniques). 

2. To accumulate data (e.g., a podcast about present occasions, historical past, or science subjects).

3. To be entertained (e.g., fiction podcast, popular culture, comedy podcast). 

For these causes, listed below are a number of suggestions for crafting the “pitch” that shall be used to persuade the host to have you ever on:  

Take into consideration the listener. When contemplating what you’ll talk about on a podcast, at all times begin with the listener.

Assume huge. How does my private story or firm mission match right into a a lot bigger storyline? Don’t assume on the product or firm degree, assume on the degree of business developments, or higher but societal or civilizational ones. 

Assume contrarian. How is your take “new”? What aren’t folks speaking about sufficient proper now? 

Ask your self: “How can I add sensible worth to the listener’s life, even when, or particularly if, they by no means purchase my product?” 

Tom Griffin, Head of Partnerships, Ranges

Under are some examples I’ve pulled out of our e mail pitches. Be aware: In some blurbs, I point out Ranges, in others, I don’t. It depends upon what subjects the podcast sometimes focuses on and previous company. 

For instance, some reveals hardly ever have product firm founders on, and can let you know that they like to have “specialists” who should not pushing a model or product. For these reveals, it’s vital that you simply pitch an idea that doesn’t embody speaking about your organization (nevertheless, nearly inevitably you continue to will find yourself speaking about your organization). For different reveals, they commonly have firm founders on and love speaking about, for instance, the method of constructing a enterprise or, within the case of reveals targeted on self-improvement, particular instruments that their viewers can use to enhance their lives. 

With that in thoughts, listed below are a number of pattern pitches we use, relying on the kind of podcast: 

The epidemic of metabolic dysfunction within the U.S.: Our objective is to carry consciousness to the epidemic ranges of metabolic dysfunction in our nation and assist reverse this pattern. Over 120M Individuals have prediabetes or diabetes and seven of the ten main causes of dying are immediately linked to metabolic dysfunction. The vast majority of this is because of life-style components inside our management. Along with outlining the issue, we are able to talk about sensible suggestions for enhancing metabolic well being by pulling on life-style levers throughout eating regimen, train, stress and sleep. 

Personalised vitamin: We are able to talk about why “What ought to I eat?” has grow to be a trillion-dollar query. The size of the issue surrounding this query is staggering – 120M Individuals have diabetes or prediabetes, the financial price of weight problems alone within the U.S. is 1.72T per yr. 7 of the ten main causes of dying within the U.S. are immediately linked to metabolic dysfunction. One of many key points: Shoppers don’t know what to eat. Dietary recommendation modifications continuously, what works for one individual would not work for the following, and we have by no means been capable of measure our eating regimen in the best way we are able to presently quantify train and sleep. Ranges is altering this by bringing to market the primary biowearable that gives real-time suggestions on how your eating regimen impacts your well being. 

The keys to conduct change: Current listeners with a brand new means to consider efficient conduct change methods (see: Ranges Idea of Habits Change), particularly because it pertains to well being and vitamin habits. Tens of millions of Individuals need to make higher decisions, nevertheless it’s exceedingly tough to take action. Our strategy at Ranges focuses on: 1. Closed-loop methods, 2. Interoception, 3. Accountability and 4. Private Management.

COVID + Metabolic Well being: Dr. Casey Means, Ranges co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, will talk about the battle towards COVID by way of a preventative well being lens. Metabolic dysfunction — together with blood sugar dysregulation and weight problems — has been proven to be some of the important threat components for poor outcomes and dying from COVID-19, so extra persons are recognizing that now could be the time to enhance blood sugar. 

Step 4: Observe the whole lot and keep organized. 

We then used a easy Google Sheet to trace each side of this course of — together with podcast title, lead supply and which founder could be a visitor. 

Photo of podcast tracking spreadsheet

This had all the typical advantages of staying organized whereas managing a big pipeline of exterior contacts, nevertheless it additionally had a further, unexpected upside. 

Folks had been impressed by how we had been managing the method and, in consequence, had been extra more likely to introduce us to folks and unfold the phrase about our efforts. 

It allowed us to trace metrics over time, together with the place our leads had been coming from as a way to assist us determine how we must always spend our time. 

At a distant firm, clear documentation is vital for giving different group members visibility into vital firm initiatives, in addition to incomes the belief of these teammates. 

It allowed us to extra simply assist folks in our community who had been additionally trying to get their founders on podcasts. We had been capable of ship them a clear lead checklist and so they may tell us which reveals they needed to be launched to. 

Step 5: Follow so much and search out suggestions.

It at all times surprises folks how a lot observe it takes to refine their long-form interview expertise, which is why I like to recommend attempting to guide some smaller reveals first. The purpose of your first 15 podcast appearances is not even consciousness or brand-building — it is observe. You must put within the reps to be taught what works and get snug. For that cause, you need to be nearly solely agnostic as to what reveals you do to begin (dimension, material, and many others.). Just a few finest practices which have emerged from our time doing podcasts and offering suggestions to our founders:

Add worth to the listener’s life. If you happen to do that, the episode shall be profitable. That is additionally what motivates a bunch to have you ever on their present. 

Nail the opening bio. Have a decent bio the place you identify credibility and share related private expertise at first of the interview. Follow this to make sure you’re not talking for greater than a few minutes in your opening remarks, often answering the query “Inform us about your background and what led you to what you’re targeted on in the present day.” Don’t discuss for quarter-hour straight right here. 

Keep in mind to inform tales. Have 2-3 private tales and doubtlessly 2-3 buyer tales (if the interview is specializing in your enterprise) useful going into an interview. The objective of any story is to be relatable to the listener and encourage emotion. Often, that is accomplished by outlining a typical ache level and a corresponding emotion (frustration, hope, concern, shock, and many others.). 

Hit your key speaking factors a number of instances all through the present. It might probably really feel repetitive at instances, nevertheless it’s vital to drive residence your details by way of repetition. 

Be weak, genuine, and imperfect. Don’t fear should you make errors, stumble, or flub a phrase. Being genuine and imperfect makes you relatable.

Assume contrarian. It’s best to have a shortlist of contrarian concepts that could be shocking to the host or listener. These are good to include into the interview and into your outreach to reveals. Some contrarian concepts ought to make it into each interview. 

Don’t be afraid to pause. It’s important to be concise in your responses. There’s a lot you need to say about your space of experience and nearly any query may warrant a really lengthy response, however you’ll have to situation your self to pause, even when it appears like you must proceed elaborating as a way to be complete. The interviewer will ask follow-up questions and also you’ll be capable of make all of your factors finally, I promise.

Sprinkle in huge concepts. It’s value developing with a shortlist of “huge concepts.” These are useful in media pitches, podcast interviews, and biz dev calls. The objective is for the listener to zoom out to 30,000 toes and be impressed by a a lot grander imaginative and prescient than a brand new product that may assist them. When listeners are impressed, they’re extra more likely to share the episode.

Some podcast company don’t need to give away their secrets and techniques or prescribe an excessive amount of priceless recommendation, as a result of they need the listener to go to their web site to be taught extra, purchase their product, purchase their guide, and many others. It is a mistake. Give away as a lot as attainable to the listener without cost.  

In the end, the perfect factor you are able to do is get suggestions on each interview you do, so you may enhance. We created a easy doc the place any group member may drop in notes for our founders on any podcast they’d been featured on. This steady suggestions loop actually helped them get polished up. Just a few examples of the early suggestions we gave our founders: 

Your tone felt such as you had been in presentation mode, moderately than informal dialog. I feel that is going to take some observe, however you must attempt to body it in your head as if the individual you are speaking to is your finest pal. The tone was just like David’s preliminary product walkthrough movies. I requested him to shut his eyes and picture he was explaining it to his spouse Stacie, and his tone utterly modified (in the proper course).

I’d minimize down the SpaceX background that is not associated to what you’re targeted on in the present day at Ranges. It’s effective to do some small discuss and humor the host in the event that they’re excited about rocket science, however in some unspecified time in the future earlier within the dialog, I feel you must attempt to transition. For instance: “And humorous sufficient, SpaceX is definitely the place I first began getting excited about vitamin, which I do know we’ll get into subsequent.” 

Speaking about your private expertise with fatigue was nice, the necessity for the afternoon espresso, and many others. It was very relatable. I feel you used to speak about taking a nap below your desk at work — including these sorts of specifics that enable somebody to visualise it of their head makes it even stronger.

Step 6: Maintain the connection going. 

Don’t let your relationship with the host cease as soon as the interview is over. First, thank them for serving to you unfold your mission — actually thank them. We ship podcast hosts a bouquet of customized, native flowers with a observe of our gratitude. It seems, persons are very pleasantly stunned by this gesture and it means so much to them. 

Tweet with photo of flowers sent to a podcast host

Moreover, content material creators and personalities who create podcasts usually produce other platforms that you could finally faucet into as effectively. We’re now speaking to a few of the hosts from our first tour about affiliate partnerships, YouTube options, paid placements, and a lot extra — making podcasting simply the beginning of a robust go-to-market technique.

And naturally, you’ll want to shut the loop with the one that made the preliminary intro — this may’t be overstated. If somebody has helped you and made an introduction, observe up with that individual to allow them to understand how issues panned out. For us, as soon as we recorded the present, we’d ship a considerate e mail to the one that initially made the intro, updating them and thanking them. Anecdotally, persons are extraordinarily pleasantly stunned when loops get closed, and so they’re far more more likely to make introductions for you sooner or later. You could have confirmed to them that not solely do you recognize their assist, however that you simply deal with relationships with diligence, thoughtfulness, and a spotlight to element. 

The important thing to not dropping this ball is setting e mail reminders. If you happen to don’t use an e mail supplier or software that enables this, you want to begin ASAP (we use Superhuman). Along with e mail reminders, I set a recurring Google calendar occasion known as “Shut loop with individuals who made intros” the place I do a lookback on my week and guarantee nothing has fallen by way of the cracks. 

We secured greater than 100 founder interviews in six months (on the finish of six months, about 70 had been launched and one other 30 had been within the pipeline as scheduled or recorded). 

Screenshot showing graph of podcasts secured

These reveals led to effectively over a million folks spending, on common, an hour studying about why we began our firm and the issue we’re fixing: the metabolic well being disaster. It’s arduous to overstate what this did for our enterprise in our early days of operation. Throughout this stretch, our web site visitors greater than doubled from a mean of round 18,000 customers a month to greater than 40,000.  

Screenshot showing graph of users per month

This effort additionally helped develop our waitlist from 16,000 to 67,000. It’s vital to notice that our podcast push was taking place alongside many different efforts like constructing our in-house content material engine, every of which contributed to development in web site visitors and waitlist signups. 

Screenshot of graph showing waitlist signups

There have additionally been numerous intangible advantages: It’s been the spine of our networking efforts and led to actually a whole bunch of further introductions within the well being and wellness business, together with important alternatives throughout gross sales and advertising, PR, hiring and investing (a few of the podcast hosts themselves are even angel traders). Anecdotally, we additionally hear continually from our neighborhood that they first heard about us by way of their favourite podcast. 

Ought to everybody do a podcast tour? How a lot time and vitality does this take? These are vital questions. Once I joined Ranges because the third full-time worker and began managing this effort, I used to be spending about 50% of my time on this challenge for the primary couple of months. As soon as the engine was working, this got here all the way down to about 25% of my time. My major duties had been: 

Managing all e mail outreach, introductions, and scheduling (accomplished principally by way of Calendly hyperlinks). 

Creating and refining pitches, blurbs, and e mail snippets for use in outreach and e mail correspondence. 

Managing relationships with podcast hosts, who usually needed to attempt our product earlier than an interview, or had follow-up questions in regards to the firm.

Sustaining and updating our lead checklist and reporting out on progress to the group. 

Listening to nearly all episodes to supply suggestions to our founders (with the assistance of different group members). 

Closing the loop with podcast hosts (thanking them and sending flowers), in addition to the individuals who made introductions. 

Making introductions for others in your community (traders, advisors, different associates who’re founders, and many others.). 

For sure, it’s tough for a corporation founder/spokesperson to execute this effectively with out somebody on the group as a devoted challenge supervisor. You ought to be ready to useful resource this challenge with 50% of 1 full-time worker’s bandwidth. Along with the challenge supervisor, this additionally requires a major funding of the founder(s) who shall be doing the interviews: 

To your first 10-20 reveals funds roughly 3 hours per podcast interview: 1.5 hours of prep time, 1 hour of interview recording, half-hour of follow-up with the host. 

For all reveals after your first 10-20 funds 2 hours per podcast interview: half-hour of prep, 1 hour for interview recording, half-hour of follow-up with the host.

We’re additionally lucky that Ranges has 5 founders to share these duties. If your organization has one founder and CEO, the chance price of this challenge is bigger, and it’s possible you’ll be skeptical of pursuing it. I’d nonetheless encourage most corporations to experiment with podcast interviews, even should you can’t pursue it to the extent that we did. 

If you happen to’re on this camp, it’s additionally value exploring having a non-founder spokesperson do a few of these interviews – this may be one other government on the firm or an advisor. Some corporations even rent a public-facing “educator” or spokesperson to steer podcasts and press appearances. 

There are a selection of further methods to combine podcasts into your advertising technique: the most typical is podcast promoting, adopted by launching your individual present. Each methods have their professionals and cons and rely in your targets as an organization. 

Relating to beginning your individual branded podcast (assume, Rework by Basecamp or The WHOOP Podcast), you personal the channel, which suggests it may function a much more highly effective long-term gross sales and advertising funnel. The draw back is that it’s time-consuming and costly to create your individual present, and it usually takes years to construct an viewers that’s a significant dimension. Most corporations begin podcasts and stop the hassle after 5-10 episodes – based on one report, 64% of all podcasts have fewer than 10 episodes. 

As for podcast promoting, it’s the quickest solution to scale up leveraging the podcast platform, whether or not your targets are model consciousness or producing income. Adverts are, nevertheless, more and more expensive and more and more passed over, so it’s possible you’ll must be snug with not seeing your required ROAS (return on advert spend). Moreover, they’re brief, so in case your product requires longer schooling time or the viewers shouldn’t be already aware of the product class, outcomes could also be disappointing to begin. That stated, promoting will little question be part of our technique as we shift from specializing in consciousness to development. 

For us, the following 6 months shall be targeted on constructing off the podcast tour within the following methods: 

Growing deeper partnerships with high podcasters and activating their different platforms, together with in a paid sponsorship capability — for instance, collaborating on blogs, social promotions and newsletters. 

Ramp up podcast promoting. As we put together to ramp up our development, we shall be doing extra podcast promoting assessments to higher perceive our advertising funnel, buyer acquisition prices, and in what communities our product resonates essentially the most. 

Develop our personal podcast. We just lately launched our personal present, giving the world an inside look into how we’re constructing Ranges.

Cowl picture by Getty Photos / akinbostanci

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