Case Study: How to Land an Interview on a Podcast

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Landing an interview on a podcast is a great way to increase your credibility, grow your network, develop authority, and land new opportunities. I’ve landed paid speaking engagements from podcast appearances, sold thousands of books, and built lasting relationships I call on to this day.

There are good and bad ways to pitch a podcast host, though. Most people pitch in bad ways. When I meet a host of a popular podcast, I like to ask them how many pitches they receive and how many of those they end up interviewing. The answer is always the same:

I get a ton of pitches. I interview very few.

So if you’re going to pitch a podcast host on interviewing you, you want to craft the pitch in a way that is both different than most of the pitches they receive and compelling enough to take the time to work with you.

My friend Aaron Watson, host of Going Deep With Aaron Watson, interviews entrepreneurs, authors, activists, and thinkers all over the world. He’s interviewed Sumo founder Noah Kagan, best-selling authors Tucker Max and Kevin Kelly, and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (and yours truly). He gets pitched all the time.

Most of the pitches suck, like this one he recently received:

I outlined everything that was wrong with this pitch and how to make it better in a recent email newsletter. But instead of just poking fun at bad pitches, I asked Aaron to send me his best pitch he’s ever received and to break it down for me.

This is his breakdown.

How to Land an Interview on a Podcast with a Cold Email

You’re probably reading this because you want to get yourself (or your clients) on more podcasts. You’ve come to the right place.

I’ve conducted more than 300 interviews for my podcast, Going Deep with Aaron Watson. I’ve also booked more than 600 interviews for Nathan Latka’s podcast “The Top”. This has involved sending more than 2,000 emails pitching entrepreneurs, politicians, and authors to be come on for 15-30 minutes.

I’ve also been pitched a fair amount for both shows. Most PR companies’ pitches range from mediocre to abjectly terrible.

Below, I’ve copied the best cold email I’ve ever received from a potential guest on my show. I then go on to break down, piece-by-piece, exactly why the email is so effective.

I hope you’ll be able to use it to get “podcast famous” like Zak’s favorite, Tim Ferriss.

Interview on a podcast cold email from Oren Klaff


Right off the bat, it’s important to note that I’d never heard of Oren before receiving this email. I responded within 24 hours and we scheduled to record within a month of receiving this message.

He drove me to action. Let’s break down how.

Hi Aaron,

He didn’t call me “Going Deep” or “Mr. Watson”. As Dale Carnegie would tell you “A person’s name is the sweetest sound”.

This sounds simple, but PR firms that are churning out messages mess this up surprisingly frequently.

I heard your recent episode with Bob Seawright and enjoyed the piece when he talked about trying to figure out his “errors in judgement.”

Two important details here. First, my interview with Bob Seawright was not my most recent interview. The emailer took the time to look through my library of episodes (of which I’m proud) and quoted a specific detail from the episode. This demonstrates actual interest and care was put into the choice to reach out.

Second, the emailer selected a relevant episode. I primarily interview entrepreneurs, writers, and finance folks on my show. Oren is an investment banker, so picking the episode where I interviewed a Chief Investment Officer ties the relevance together.

On this end, I work for Oren Klaff who wrote Pitch Anything and has a large global audience.

This email is being written by a subordinate, which signals Oren’s status. Further, the acknowledgement of a global audience suggests that my podcast could be exposed to such an audience. Every podcast is interested in that. 

(Zak’s note: this is tricky. I actually recommend you doing the outreach if you’re trying to land work with journalists and if you don’t have strong social proof…use subordinates once you can pass somebody’s BS-filter. If your email looks like it was written by a cheap VA overseas, you might want to send it yourself. Oren has very strong social proof and his scarcity looks authentic, not manufactured, so it works for him.)

Oren has spent last twenty years in the finance space as an investment banker. Has raised over $400 million dollars with his Pitch method, “S.T.R.O.N.G.” This method was born out of his many errors in judgement about how people perceive new ideas.

Succinct summation of Oren’s achievements establishes that he has a distinct area of expertise. You can ruin this part by writing too much. I don’t care about your fourth, fifth, and sixth greatest accomplishments. It’s highly unlikely that we’d get to any of those in an interview.

Either your top stuff is enough, or it isn’t.

I suggested to him you guys do a joint podcast or interview, and he said,

“yeah, let’s do it.”

I don’t get the go ahead from him too often, so I want to chase this down … I know you guys would create a great piece of content together.

This is the 202-level part of the email. Just masterfully hypnotizing stuff. The email has simultaneously signaled scarcity and Oren’s high status in just two sentences.

Oren has high time value, making interviews somewhat rare. A rare interview is more desirable for a podcaster than a conversation with someone everyone has already had on their show.

If you listen to the interview Oren and I did, you’ll learn how he is highly focused on establishing status, scarcity, and other key drivers of persuasion when pitching $100M deals to billionaires. This little sequence is commercial-grade persuasion.

Would be good to synch up on some logistics / timing for the interview. I’ve got 5/24 at 10 am or 5/25 at 1pm?

either time work?

We’re back to sales 101. After crafting a dynamite email, you can fart it all away with a “let me know a time that would work for you.”

Don’t put the ball in the their court. Make things easy by suggesting two times that they can immediately decide between.

And for the love of God, DO NOT SEND YOUR CALENDLY LINK. That’s not high status. That’s being a dick.

Oren keynotes all over the world as well, with his latest being for ICON16, XPrize, Symantec, and Tony Robbins.

You can learn more about Oren’s book here:

An example of a past interview can be found here:

Brendan left these markers of social proof and links at the end. The interest has already been generated, now I’m ready to sink my teeth in.

When it comes to persuasion, signals of status and scarcity are more powerful than social proof. It’s counterintuitive, but true.

Thanks for reading. If you’d be interested in seeing the exact script I used to book 600+ B2B Saas CEO’s for Nathan Latka’s show, email me at aaron (at) pipercreative (dot) co.

Check out Aaron’s personal site here.

Check out Aaron’s business, Piper Creative, here.

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