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As self-proclaimed content and copy experts (hey, confidence is important) and podcast fans (except for Jess, who’ll come around eventually), we have something to say. 

Schitts Creek Comedy GIF by CBC

Stop pitching your shit. 

We’re asking you as content creators, fellow small biz owners, and podcast listeners to please stop going on podcasts for the sole purpose of pitching your stuff. It’s awkward for everyone involved, and it’s not doing your business any favors.

Why we listen to podcasts

People listen to podcasts for value. For many listeners, podcasts aren’t just background noise. They can serve all sorts of purposes.

Someone may listen to a meditation podcast of soothing sounds to focus on their work, or power down and unwind after a long day. Another person may get a rush from listening to true crime podcasts. Someone else may lower their stress levels by listening to their favorite comedy podcast.

How many people you know start out a conversation by saying, “I was just listening to this podcast the other day, and…”? So many people use podcasts to educate themselves and spark conversations with others.

The point is, podcasts exist to teach, to inspire, to entertain. We use podcasts when we’d rather not spend hours scrolling on Instagram or taking online quizzes to find out what type of bread we’d be. We still want to consume information, but in a positive and healthy way.

Podcasts engage our brains and make them hum, a computational and cognitive neuroscientist from UC Berkeley said. Look at it this way: podcasts are stories. Listeners want to learn or be entertained, not sold to. So why would you treat podcasts as commercials?

Leave your pitch for the end

We’re not saying that you should guest host on a bunch of podcasts and completely avoid selling what you have to offer. That would be a huge waste of time. Being a guest host on podcasts can help you reach new audiences and get your brand name out there. 

But you have to do it right. Otherwise you’ll leave your newfound listeners with a bad impression of your business.

How do you pitch your stuff the right way on podcasts? By leaving your sales speak for the very end of the episode, after you’ve already provided value. People will be more inclined to hear your pitch when they’ve heard how smart and trustworthy and witty and cool you are. They’ll probably be more inclined to share that podcast episode with their friends, too.

Stitcher You Gotta Hear This GIF by LeVar Burton

While we did say that podcasts aren’t just background noise for many people, there are lots of listeners who use podcasts to fill the silence while they’re doing something else. Like commuting to work or tidying up their home. Unless it’s a particularly juicy true crime story, they may not be on the edge of their seat giving 100% of their attention to the episode. 

That means that people may miss your pitch if you toss it out there early on or inject it into the middle of the episode. Putting it at the end won’t guarantee better results, but it will leave a better impression on listeners.

Build trust with listeners first

If selling is all you do with your time on a podcast, you’re wasting it. People will ignore you, to be honest. 

Instead, focus on building trust with your listeners. Explain why someone should check out your website and see what you have to offer. Provide something of value other than what you’re selling. While you may not convert everyone right away, you’re getting your name out there and establishing yourself as an expert and someone who doesn’t just make a podcast interview awkward. 

Also note that this goes for summits, live video interviews, virtual conferences, guest expert appearances, and more. You’ll sell more in the long run if you don’t just focus on your pitch, and instead focus on helping the people who are listening.

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