With 1.68 million podcast shows globally and 155 million Americans listening to 41.9 million episodes, podcasts are one of the most engaging content types available for digital marketers in 2021.
Considering their popularity, it’s no surprise to see companies spending billions on podcast advertising. But promoting your brand and profiting from your show isn’t the only reason why you should start a podcast.
If you are in an SEO-competitive industry, you could use podcasts to earn dozens of high-quality backlinks every month. Are you curious? Great! Here’s what you need to know.
Why Podcasting Is Such a Great Way To Build Links
As you know, getting cold-outreach link building pitches accepted is getting harder every day. Large volumes of spam, low-quality pitches and lousy content have come together to make content managers wary of even opening emails that look like link building pitches. You need something unique to earn your recipient’s interest and have a shot at getting a backlink.
Podcasts aren’t like blog posts. Compared to blog posts, podcasts are a novelty. It takes a lot of effort to start a podcast show, and promoting such a valuable, unique content type may increase your chances of getting your email pitch accepted.
Besides their novelty, podcasts have more benefits over blog posts:
- You can reach new audiences that the written format can’t reach.
- You can engage with your audience in a way blog content can’t.
- You can repurpose your existing content, thus lowering your fixed content costs.
More importantly, podcasts are a fantastic opportunity to interview industry experts, build a network and increase your brand authority.
In the next section, you will find out how you can start a podcast show to build long-term link building opportunities with industry experts.
How To Get Backlinks With Podcasts
Step 1: Start Your Podcast
To get backlinks from podcasts, you obviously need to have a podcast running. Assuming this doesn’t apply to you yet, here’s how you can get started.
Let’s cover the main issue you must be thinking of: costs. Despite what you may think, creating a podcast show is cheap. According to David Hooper of the BigPodcast, you can launch a show with less than $100. All you need is a microphone, a pop filter and podcast hosting – the first two costing not more than $100 and the latter being free for starters.
The most important part to focus on before starting your podcast is to develop a plan. In this plan, you want to define:
- Topic: What is it about?
- Name: What is it called?
- Audience: Who are you targeting?
- Frequency: How often will you publish your episodes?
- Length: How long will each episode be?
With this basic plan in place, you can start coming up with episode ideas, depending on your format. You can use every episode to:
- Repurpose your most popular content
- Interview top industry experts
- Interview clients
- Share personal experiences and case studies
- Share opinions
For the highest effectiveness in your link building efforts, it would be ideal to pick the first two options.
Repurposing your content will help you keep your existing outreach efforts intact, where you replace your blog posts with your podcast episodes as your content asset. Interviewing industry experts will help you create connections with people that could give you a few links back. Later on, you will see what this process looks like.
Once you have set up your equipment, you need to record your first episodes and edit them. You can check out this guide by Eduard Klein, where he explains these steps in greater detail.
Step 2a: Create a Link Building Target List
Whether you want to repurpose or interview experts, you need to create a target list to promote your podcast. In this step, we will follow the traditional “Skyscraper Technique,” where you find sites that could link to your podcast episode to improve an article of theirs.
(You can also use your podcast along with other link building techniques, like broken link building, resource page link building and so on. In such cases, you would need to replace your content asset – i.e., your blog posts – with your podcast episodes.)
To start, you need to make a list of authoritative industry sites that you would like to get a link from. You can find those sites by using any of the following search queries:
- [Keyword] + blogs
- [Keyword] + best blogs
- [Keyword] + blogs to read
- [Keyword] + list of blogs
- [Keyword] + blogs to follow
Install an SEO toolbar such as Ahrefs and activate it. Only add sites you find with high domain authority. In my case, I always add sites with a domain rating of 60+.
To organize the results you find, create a sheet, name the tab “Link Targets,” and name the first five columns the following way:
- Site’s name
- Site URL
- Domain authority
- Manager name
- Email address
You can also search for companies with the following queries:
- [Keyword] + companies
- [Keyword] + agencies
- [Keyword] + software companies
- [Keyword] + tools
Add all of the results to your sheet, adding the information you find for the first three columns – you will learn how to find the manager’s name and email addresses in step 3.
Step 2b: Create an Experts Target List
While you can use your podcast content to enrich your existing link-building efforts, I would strongly recommend you use it for interviewing industry experts. Interviewing experts through your podcast is an effective way to build goodwill with authoritative people in your industry whose network could eventually help you in your link-building efforts.
To start with your industry experts list, create a new tab called “Experts” and write down the names of those people who you would like to interview. Next to their name, you also want to add a column named “LinkedIn profile,” “Website address” and “Email address.”
You can assist your brainstorming by checking your current Twitter account, LinkedIn connections, the blogs you read and the newsletters you are subscribed to. Add all of the people you find to your list.
Once you run out of ideas, you can find more by using any of the following search queries:
- [Keyword] + experts
- [Keyword] + influencers
Then, search for each experts’ LinkedIn profile and website address. If they don’t have a personal site, add the site of the company they work for.
Optionally, you can create new columns and add their social media accounts and their respective followers. The higher the following, and the larger and more popular the company, the better.
Step 3: Find Your Target List’s Email Addresses
Now it’s time to search for the email addresses of all the people you have found so far. To find the people found in step 2a, search for the company’s LinkedIn page and open the employees’ page.
Filter the results by their title. In most cases, you need to use keywords such as:
- Content manager
- Content marketer
Pick those people that most clearly are involved with managing the site’s blog, and add them to your sheet under the column “Manager name.”
Then, find both your link targets and experts’ email addresses with a tool like Hunter. In Hunter, add the site’s domain to the search browser and hit enter.
Add your contact’s name to the search bar and see what address suggestion you get.
Repeat the process with all the companies, sites and experts in both your link building target list and your experts’ list.
Step 4: Contact Your List
Now is the time where you need to reach out to your target list and gauge their interest.
With the help of a tool like Mailshake, you can contact your link targets on scale. All you have to do is add your link target’s list with their names and email addresses, add a template like the one Brian Dean shares in his famous “Skyscraper” blog post and send the campaign.
When it comes to contacting your experts’ list, you need to take a different approach. Instead of asking for a link, you want to explain to them who you are, what your company does and why you would like to have them on your podcast.
Here’s a sample template you could use to contact your expert’s list:
I’m [YOUR NAME], and I’m contacting you from [YOUR COMPANY]. [EXPLAIN VALUE PROPOSITION].
We have recently started a new podcast about [TOPIC] and we’d love to have you in it. [SHOW SOCIAL PROOF]
Would you be interested in jumping on a 30-minute call to interview about [EPISODE TOPIC]?
While optional, you should add some social proof to make your pitch more enticing. Some options you can include are:
- The number of monthly visitors your site gets
- The number of email subscribers you have
- The number of podcast subscribers
- Your domain authority
- Your social media followers
- Other experts you have interviewed
If they are interested, schedule a date and prepare your questions. Once in the call, ask them about:
- Their background
- Their job and their challenges
- An achievement they have recently shared on their social media accounts
- An opinion on the industry’s current state of affairs
- The way they do their work
In the interview, forget about the link and focus on connecting with the interviewee. The more rapport you build, the better the interview, and the more trust you will develop with that person.
Step 5: Publish the Episode
After you have finished the interview, you need to edit the audio clip. That includes:
- Adding your intro and outro
- Adding music and sound effects
- Mixing and mastering your audio clip
If this sounds like too much trouble, you can always hire a podcast editor to do it for you.
Once the audio clip is ready, upload it to your podcast hosting, get the RSS link from the host and publish it in as many directories as possible (here’s a long list of directories you can consider publishing your episodes.)
You should also create a blog post about your new podcast episode. In it, explain who you are interviewing, what are the main points of your conversation, and if possible, add a transcription.
Embed the episode on a blog post, and share it on social media and with your email list.
Finally, share it with the expert and ask them to share it with their audiences.
Step 6: Ask for the Link
Once the episode has gone live, you have built trust with the expert you interviewed. Think of the new business relationship you developed as an asset, not a one-time link-building opportunity. You could create many link building opportunities from every expert you interview if you think of it as a win-win situation where both need to benefit equally.
Since you have already provided a benefit to the expert by interviewing them and promoting their work, you can ask in return for:
- Writing a guest post on their site
- Having them share your episode with their social media audience (as you saw already)
- Having them link to your episode from a relevant post of theirs
- Having them share the episode with their email list
- Creating a joint webinar or other joint content pieces (e.g., eBook, whitepaper)
In this way, podcasts will become a key content asset that builds links almost passively. Your interviewees will be compelled to link to your content due to the “reciprocity” principle, as explained by Robert Cialdini.
Podcasts continue to be an under-explored opportunity, not just to grow a following of loyal fans but to build links.
If you haven’t considered starting a podcast, it’s time you start doing so. Once you start a podcast, this blueprint you saw here will guide you to get backlinks and build your SEO authority.