If you’re responsible for marketing in an Addiction Treatment Center (ATC), you know that many spend hundreds of thousands every month on Google Ads, SEO, and other advertising channels.
However, very few leverage the low-hanging fruit of creating a concerted Podcast Guesting Strategy which can be done for pennies on the dollar compared to your other marketing investments.
What’s today’s fastest-growing marketing strategy? And one that requires little cash outlay to get started? You guessed it: being a guest on relevant podcasts.
And while once the domain of consumers alone, brands are now following suit to leverage this channel. Why? Because people love stories. In fact, Forbes said Podcast Guesting has been called “the #1 killer content marketing tactic of all time.”
At elev8 we practice what we preach. Over the last 6 months, my team booked me on more than 100 Podcasts with the objective of promoting The Zero to 100 Million Sales Blueprint—my recent book. In doing so we created a clear-cut playbook for this process. In this post I share the benefits you too can realize from doing so and how we did this.
Podcasts Are Exploding
Podcasts are now one of the primary sources of information and advice targeted to the interests of listeners. In 2022, the global Podcasting market accounted for USD 21.4 billion and is expected to reach around 133.9 billion in 2032. Between 2023 and 2032, this market is estimated to register a CAGR of 27.8%. So while it’s still early in the game, it won’t remain this way.
Consider these facts:
- The United States has the most podcast listeners in the world.
- It’s predicted there will be over 100 million active podcast listeners in the U.S. in 2023
- 78% of the US population is aware of podcasts
- 28% of the American population listens to podcasts regularly
- Video podcast production is now higher than ever
Podcasts are a perfect way to spend an intimate 30-60 minutes in the ears of thousands of people who have opted in to listen to you share ideas and experiences with a host they trust.
But most addiction treatment and mental health centers don’t use this marketing strategy, partly because a) they don’t know how to create a podcast strategy, b) have limited experience in this area, and c) have constrained resources.
Why Create A Podcast Guesting Strategy?
Just as we’ve done at elev8.io, when brands pitch podcasts and are invited to have a guest appear on selected shows, they’re participating in a Podcast Guesting Strategy.
Depending on your current situation and business objectives, there can be various reasons why you may want to explore a Podcast Guesting Strategy on an ongoing basis:
- Obtain valuable backlinks to improve your SEO
- Obtain organic PR (earned media) for branding
- Improve your credibility and authority in the market
- Generate more leads and admissions
- Attract more professional referral partners
- Expand your program offering
- Open a new facility in a new market
- Recruit in-demand professional staff
- Raise funding
- Exit and sell your Addictions Treatment Center(s)
For most facilities lead generation and revenue is obviously the primary goal. But from my experience, the more savvy operators think long-term and realize the importance of building brand equity to increase their multiple on exit.
8 Benefits of Creating Your Podcast Guesting Strategy
1. SEO: E-E-A-T
How does Google currently rank your website and content? The acronym “E-E-A-T” stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These are key criteria Google uses, among many other unknown factors, in its ranking algorithm.
This is particularly important to embrace in today’s ChatGPT & OpenAi content-generated world where everyone and their mothers are cutting corners and trying to hack Google’s algorithm by producing content at scale using AI.
My advice is to not do this since Google and other search engines are sophisticated enough to identify AI-generated content versus unique creator-generated content.
Also, using solely AI-generated content can be counter-productive once Google releases a new algorithm update with these preventive measures (just look historically at all former updates and how Google has consistently closed loopholes like this).
However, another way to check all the boxes of Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness at scale, is by participating on multiple shows as a podcast guest with expertise in your domain.
2. SEO: Backlinks
Most marketers know that, besides effective on-site SEO and content creation, a key ingredient to ranking organically for select target keywords is to obtain backlinks from other relevant websites.
A backlink is basically an endorsement of your site in the eyes of Google. Many factors come into play in determining the value of a link e.g. domain authority, amount of links and placements, follow or non-follow.
Many marketing agencies and facilities easily budget $5-10,000 per month to purchase link placements on blogs and third-party publications.
By executing a Podcast Guesting strategy, your facility can organically obtain valuable backlinks on a monthly basis to complement your existing SEO efforts.
3. Social Media Content
When I take a look at the social media profiles of most ATCs, I cringe a bit seeing outdated profiles with little content and inconsistency in posting fresh content.
Considering the cost per admission and how much money is spent on marketing overall, it’s mind-blowing how overlooked this medium is—especially since social media can impact SEO if done correctly.
The challenge I have come to learn for most ATC owners is a) limited time, b) generating good content and c) finding resources to distribute the content effectively.
A key benefit of your Podcast Guesting Strategy is that it will fuel your content strategy with ongoing relevant and authentic content that reinforces your value proposition and brand at a very low cost.
4. Lead Generation and Admissions
Podcasts are usually listened to in a multi-tasking environment where your listener is often doing something else such as driving, working out, cooking, etc. So the average completion rate is typically very high as you are literally in their ears sharing your stories and expertise. This results in a higher trust quotient and propensity to contact you.
Very often, especially if your podcast selection is done strategically, based on relevance and audience size, you will generate leads and new clients as a result. Prospective patients of yours will contact you after the podcast.
We have experienced this time and time again. Your prospective patients will be much more receptive to your clinical approach, treatment modalities, success stories, and recommendations when first contacted by your facility’s admissions team.
5. Brand Building
In a world where content is being mass-produced with a projected CAGR of 13.5% between 2023 and 2030 according to Grandview Research, it’s become more important than ever to think long-term and build yourself a brand, not just another business.
Just ask any marketing thought leader out there, whether Gary Vaynerchuck or Neil Patel, and they’ll all say you need to double down on not only your company’s branding but also your personal brand.
A surefire way to get started with this at a low cost compared to hiring a 6-figure publicist or PR Agency is by starting your Podcast Guesting Strategy. This will get your brand equity in motion.
Your brand becomes implicitly validated by the host who the audience trusts and respects. It will increase the probability of journalists and publicists soliciting you as a thought leader to be featured in major news outlets and publications where they are looking for a subject-matter expert in your field.
We recently surveyed 500+ addiction treatment, detox, and dual-diagnostic centers across the US to understand marketing performance and key revenue drivers across the industry.
Coupled with CPC insights from our partners at Google and Microsoft, we learned that the average cost-per-admission for most competitive states is $7-9,000 and in less competitive markets easily $5,000. For more on these insights, check out our Addiction Treatment Industry Benchmark & ROI Calculator.
Adding podcasts to the mix of marketing tools will not only generate extra admissions but also support your existing marketing strategy and often yield a 10x ROI from your PodCast initiatives
7. Partnerships and Networking
Most ATCs often attribute >25% of their admissions to professional referrals. It’s usually a lot of heavy lifting to systematically run the lead generation and business development initiatives to generate these results.
Also, with a referral strategy being common and even saturated in most markets, a one or two-touch-point effort by your BDR team just won’t cut it anymore.
A great way to complement this tactic and help your “boots on the ground” is by incorporating a professional referral management strategy into your Podcast Guesting strategy. This is where defining your pitch and podcast narrative is key to getting the desired results.
Developing relationships with influential podcast hosts can lead to more formal marketing partnerships (including podcast advertising).
A well-run alumni program usually attributes anywhere between 10-50% of admissions for ATCs. For some of our clients, we have a “Done for Your PodCast” service where we strategize, create the entire framework, book guests, develop the interview questions, edit the show, create social media graphics, and distribute for them.
Basically, they just prep their questions, show up, and interview their guests and we do the rest.
In this case, we also recommend inviting recently discharged alumni to share their experiences and recovery journeys. The results from these efforts are outstanding since it gives your alumni a great sense of pride to share their story and they will share the episode with their network.
The same goes for new admissions. Ever heard of the expression: “Your customers will always outsell you”? Of course, you have! That’s why you create recovery testimonials and success stories.
And that’s exactly why you can expect those struggling with addictions and their loved ones to trust the advice of your former alumni and contact you next.
12 Tips To Organize Your Podcast Guesting Strategy
As you set out to build your podcast strategy, consider these steps:
1. Leverage Your Network
Identify shows that are low-hanging fruit by first reviewing your network for referral partners (psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, etc.) and local or other business partners. If they have a podcast, ask them directly if you could join as a guest. You can increase your response rate by up to 50%.
2. Interview Your Target Audience
Ask your patients and alumni what podcasts they listen to. Add these shows to your list if they fit your objectives.
3. Look at Apple iTunes or Spotify Charts
Search these apps by category and use tools like Rephonic and Chartable to keep an eye on top and trending podcasts in relevant topics areas. Identify audience size, and statistics to select the most targeted and relevant candidates to pitch.
4. Define Your Goals. Then Build Your Show Pitch List
Assume a realistic goal of booking 4 shows a month. That’s about 50 per year. Create a prospective list of 200-250 potential shows to pitch yourself as a guest. Use lead data tools such as ZoomInfo, Apollo, LinkedIn SalesNavigator, and PhantomBuster to gather contact information (email, social media, etc.) for the host and producers. Know your hosts’ profiles and interests.
5. Know Your Listener. Then Create a Media Kit
Know your shows’ objectives and audience. Always start with the listener. Most people listen for self-improvement, to be informed or entertained. Ask: “How can I add practical value to the listener’s life, even if they never entered our program?”
Note the format, probable audience, tone, and typical questions of each podcast. Determine what new perspectives you can bring. Check out the host’s Google presence and social profiles. Use this information to focus your pitch.
- Create a media kit and pitch narrative to support your outreach efforts to get booked on shows. Consider how your personal story or facility’s mission fits into a much broader storyline. What is special about your story, experiences, and know-how? Feature that.
Currently, most hosts are easy to pitch and actively look for guests with subject matter expertise. Create a brief, interesting bio to share with the host and producer so they can introduce you. Establish interest and credibility. Include links to your site or other relevant info e.g. a book you wrote, so they are included in the show notes to extend the lifespan of your opportunity.
Note: Don’t pitch your company or programs (people don’t care). Instead, focus on the knowledge and experiences you can share that will benefit the listeners.
Prepare 2-3 brief powerful personal stories and 2-3 company stories you can use. Make sure to include any accomplishments, awards, or media coverage. As an example, see the media kit I used to book over 100 podcasts in six months.
6. Prepare Your Email and Automation Tools
Acquire email software and sales automation tools such as outreach.io or reply.io as well as LinkedIn and Instagram to build outreach sequences targeting the podcast host and/or producer.
Another note: This is damn hard these days which is why many give up at this stage. The key to success is sophistication, automation, consistency, and leveraging all channels.
7. Make Your Pitches
Understand that personalization and relevance are non-negotiable elements to factor into your messaging and solicitation process in order to attain even decent results and bookings. Nobody likes generic messages and again, nobody cares about you and your facility. As background, I refer back to my book “The Six Principles of Persuasion”.
Having done your research to identify and learn about the show and your hosts, start your pitch (either by phone or email) with a hook, refer to an episode of their show that caught your interest, and compliment them genuinely.
Then drop a few custom ideas related to either trending topics or gaps in their content that you as a guest can bring to the show. Be relatable. Authenticity, not perfection, is the goal. Make it easy for the host to see the value in your guesting. Word of caution—you may need to repeat the cycle with 6-8 touchpoints.
8. Interview Prep and Practice
Overprepare. Know the host. Know the audience. Research first. Listen to some episodes of the podcasts you’ll be on and comments on social media. Outline 10 compelling talking points and be prepared to speak comfortably to them.
This is typically the responsibility of your producer, assistant, or marketing agency, to prepare your Show Brief which includes all pertinent information, research, questions, and talking points, so that you can prepare quickly yet effectively for the interview.
Read the Show Brief and the host’s sample questions. Practice your first and last questions especially to start strong and end stronger.
Rehearse for sure, and use a mirror, but the best practice comes by booking 10-15 smaller shows first. The objective is simply to improve as you get ready for bigger shows.
Use emotion to connect with and inspire your listeners. Remember, podcast listeners love stories. Use a storytelling approach whenever possible because it helps make connections and your listeners can relate better. Use repetition of your main talking points to reinforce your messages.
Give away as much as possible to the listener for free. Use a lead magnet strategy to increase post-show engagement. For example, I often give away my planner and book for the first ten social media comments or shares.
Prepare your call to action. Be specific about what messages you want your listeners to take away.
9. Distribution and Sharing
Distribute before, during, and after the show. Promise the host you will conduct good pre- and post-show promotion. Beforehand, let your followers and audience across all channels know that you’re scheduled as a guest on the show and express your excitement.
During the show make sure your assistant or producer engages your audience by posting some snippets or reels of the interview, asking questions, or highlighting key talking points.
After the show, broadcast a summary of the interview, tag the host and show, say thanks, highlight the key takeaways or giveaways, and wrap it up with a date when the episode will go live.
Other tactics include:
- Converting the audio into a blog post with the most relevant important show notes
- Featuring the blog in your newsletter
- Adding a link to a show in your emails for social proof
10. Ongoing Social Media Strategy
As mentioned earlier, many ATCs lack a strong social media presence. A way to solve this is by editing key segments from your Podcast interviews into short reels. This is purely authentic content.
Then, with the right social media distribution software, post them on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Linkedin simultaneously and on an ongoing basis.
That solves most of your problems with social media and fuels the algorithm and your authority with the right narrative for your value proposition. For a good example of this check out my Instagram or LinkedIn profile and see if you can detect a pattern 🙂
11. Track and Optimize
Measuring and tracking your Podcast Guesting Strategy impact and all the logistics can be as simple as using a Google Sheet for starters (see how we started here). As things evolve use project management software like Asana or ClickUp to manage processes, cross-departmental collaboration, deadlines, etc.
Then comes the part of measuring performance and attribution from a marketing standpoint. I recommend using a combination of tools such as SemRush or Moz for tracking backlinks and referring domains that impact your SEO efforts. Likewise, you can add tools like HootSuite to gauge your brand presence and evaluate social media engagement.
As I always like to say, “In God we trust, everyone else brings data”.
12. Thanks and Feedback
Be a memorable guest. Immediately after each podcast, thank your hosts—and the person who made any initial introduction. Consider sending them something special or unique. We sent my Planner and Book.
Leave a specific and personalized LinkedIn recommendation. Ask them for frank feedback to allow you to improve. Leverage your time and theirs by asking if they have other platforms you might appear on and whether they do YouTube features, affiliate partnerships, or paid placements.
With these best practices in mind, you should be well-positioned to conduct not only an initial podcast guesting tour but also an ongoing part of your marketing strategy. If you’d like to learn more about how we conduct a Podcast Guesting Strategy or could help you with yours, give us a call at 813 213 4492.