Podcast Alchemy: How to Get on Hundreds of Podcasts (or Find an Ideal Podcast Guest)

Once you learn the key techniques you can find and pitch hundreds of podcasts at scale; hosts can employ the techniques to find top quality podcasts guests.

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This is the fifth article in a ten-part series. Previously we looked at whether you should host or guest in Podcast Alchemy: 2. To Host or Guest. Assuming you want to be a guest, before reading this article make sure to look at how you should approach guesting in Podcast Alchemy: 3. The Philosophy of Guesting so you’re not selfishly spamming podcasts. Also be sure to review how to create a pitch and media kit that will make you stand out in Podcast Alchemy: 4. Creating the Perfect Podcast Pitch. This article will build upon that by exploring how to find podcasts to pitch. Later articles will explore how to be a good guest or host.

If you’re a host, you might be thinking that you can skip this. Not so fast. While the title is clearly aimed at guests looking for podcasts, we also cover how hosts can find amazing guests.

How To Find Podcasts on Which to Guest

Once you have your content, pitch, and the right attitude (see Podcast Alchemy: 3. The Philosophy of Guesting), how do you find podcasts? There are four standard ways, and two less common approaches. We’ll start with the standard methods.


Go to your favorite podcast hosting service and search based on keywords. Or use a web search and include the word podcast. It’s that simple. Some podcasts services will show you similar podcasts to the one you’re viewing, which extends the effectiveness of the search.

Podcast Tools

You can also use guesting tools. There are services (as of 2024) like PodMatch, Podcast Guests, PitchDB, Matchmaker.fm, Podbooker, Radio Guest List. Some of these are like dating websites, but for podcast hosts and guests; others are email lists. The main advantage of these services is that they do most of the searching and grunt work for you. Some have free tiers; others are paid only. Your mileage may vary with them.

I’d recommend them in that order with PodMatch being far and away the best option; it has a fantastic interface and large number of active podcasts and guests. (Disclaimer: I’ve used them all, often the free versions, and Alex Sanfilippo who started PodMatch has helped me in the past, but I have no financial incentive, direct or indirect, to recommend them or any other service.) Podcast Guests is free and you get consistent, active shows; although it’s not customized to you so any given week you’re only going to find 1-2 relevant shows (or less if your topic is very niche). Matchmaker.fm has a free tier but many podcasts are also off the air, so you need to first check to see if the podcast is live. I recently started exploring PitchDB which seems pretty good, but I haven’t used it extensively.

Podcast Communities

There are also many podcast Facebook groups. Just type “podcast” into the search bar to find them. Most, while well intentioned, tend to be oriented towards beginners. I don’t mean that as a criticism of the people, but an observation. I’ve found most of these groups have podcasters who are just starting out and have less than ten episodes. Likewise, most guests in those communities have only a handful of appearances, with limited audiences of their own, and in many cases are new to their business. (Maybe those are just the ones I see posting and the most active members of the community simply don’t post but will reply.) There are exceptions, but overall, you’re not going to find many experienced hosts or guests. Maybe things will have changed when you read this, but at the time of this posting it’s just not the case. Some also have a lot of spam from people selling services to podcasts guests and hosts (the group organizers are volunteers so don’t always have time to thoroughly police the weed-like spammers).

There are also a growing number of semi-private zoom communities, such as Generous Entrepreneurs in Media (GEM) run by Jason Van Orden and Michael Roderick. Someone, often a person who works with the type of people who host or guests on podcasts, will host a weekly or monthly zoom. The formats vary slightly but it typically involves, in some order, a welcome, brief pitch from the host about his/her services, possibly a brief presentation, and one or more breakout rooms. The breakout rooms are key. You’ll typically be in a room of 3-6 people for 5-12 minutes which is a bit like speed dating. Everyone goes around and gives an overview of who they are and what they’re looking for, guests, hosts, clients, or all of the above. Sometimes icebreaker questions are given (e.g., What was your biggest accomplishment last quarter? What's a tool you think others should know about?). The better rooms like GEM are curated and managed by the hosts so that it’s about community and people trying to help each other; less well executed communities tend to be more salesy, either by the hosts or by others in the room (I find those exhausting and not worth my time).

The quality and level of experience for any group varies greatly. Many are free, some are paid communities. The ROI for this, meaning the number and value of podcast guest invitations given the time commitment to do this, depends on the group and how well your overlap with others in terms of topic.

Keep in mind that some of the groups are more oriented to speed networking. Others are about community. Many people who host and guest on podcasts are solopreneurs from around the world (and many on low budgets). This is a way for people to connect with colleagues in a low cost (time and money) way to not also feel isolated working alone.

Typically, the paid ones are not just about podcasting, but “business connections.” I’ve traditionally been dubious on those. I get about an invitation a month to some paid peer community, and I’ve yet to see any that are really worth it. I am a fan of the speed introductions between podcasts guests and hosts, and that maybe something more can come out of it, but I don’t recommend paying for most premium communities (there are a handful of exceptions), unless you’re very tight on time and have the disposable income (typically four figures a year) to spend on being more time efficient with your communities. Even then, you can usually replicate it on your own to be more targeted and cost effective. See my articles in The Career Toolkit blog: Why Private Groups Are Better for Growth and Open Source Your Mastermind Group for more insights on this. (Also, for those looking at industry groups, see Book Publishers are an Anachronism, which applies to podcasters, speakers, and others, too; these industry groups need to evolve or perish.)

I suspect there may also be social media groups, discord channels, and other communities and that may also be sources of guests and hosts.


While the first three techniques are generally known, this forth technique is less common but very efficient. Find someone in your field, someone who talks about the same thing you do. If you’re an author, it’s someone with a similar book; if you’re a service provider, it’s likely a competitor or someone with an adjacent service. Go to her website and find what podcasts she’s been on. That’s a tailored list of who to target. Some of the podcasts may have ended; in other cases, if the person you’re shadowing was on last week, the host may not want someone like him on next week, but overall, it’s a very focused list of podcasts interested in people just like you. Most authors / speakers / business owners list their podcast appearances directly on their website and typically in chronological order, so you know the more recent shows are likely to still be active.

You can also use tools like Podchaser which is like IMDB for podcasts or ListenNotes which is a podcast search engine. (Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Podchaser or ListenNotes, other than as a user.)

We’ll flip this for hosts and then come back to the two most useful techniques later in the article.

How To Find Guests for Your Podcast

The same techniques to find podcasts can also be used to find guests.


Instead of searching podcast listings you should be searching expert listings. While it’s not as clear cut as looking at a list of podcasts, there are plenty of websites and lists of “experts.”

One option is to look at speaker bureaus. Speakers have something to say and are usually open to going on podcasts, especially up and coming speakers or speakers doing something new (e.g., new talk, new book, new tool). You can also see who is speaking at relevant industry conferences or local events. Don’t expect them to give you their speech obviously—that would be a boring podcast anyway—but they will be glad to talk about their field, their projects, and/or themselves.

Another option is to search LinkedIn, especially people who post about your topic there or on another social media site. For example, if you look for posts #resilience you’ll see who has something to say about it.

People with books are usually experts (or at least self-proclaimed experts) in their fields. Find the relevant category on Amazon every few weeks and look for the top new releases in that category. Those folks are probably dying to get on your podcast.

Podcast Tools

The same tools listed above work both ways.

Podcast Communities

The same communities listed above work both ways.


You’re not the only podcast in your space. Look at other podcasts and in your space who they have had on. Look at guests you’ve had on and see what other podcasts they’ve been on and then look at their guest list. Here again Podchaser and ListenNotes can help.

Of course, most hosts tell me guest applications aren't an issue. Many get far too many guest pitches. If you are new to hosting and don’t yet have many pitches, trying one of those services should quickly address that at relatively low cost.

Two Magic Questions for Success

Those techniques above are generally well known. But there’s another technique that is far more efficient than any of the above. I’m going to give it from the guest’s perspective, but hosts can simply flip it and use it, too.

At the end of the show, after the recording has stopped, you’ll usually talk to the host. This is oftentimes the most important part of the interview. This is a great chance to get to know someone and build a long-term relationship with them. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. The episode and social media posts will be ephemeral, the relationship can be helpful to you both for years to come. Dave Jackson of the School of Podcasting advises, “The biggest benefit of guesting is the relationship you build with each host. Don't do a drive by interview.”

There are two key questions to ask at the end. These questions are predicated on you giving a good show. If you were bad, asking these questions won’t help.

  1. Are there any other guests you’re looking for?

Offer to help the host out. A new host needs to find guests. Experienced hosts have lots of inbound requests but need help finding good quality guests (since they get a lot of generic, spammy pitches). Either way, if you just did a good job, they’re likely to give credence to your recommendations. Tracy Hazzard, CEO of Podetize shares, “As a host, I really appreciate referrals from my former guests. They already know the experience and the result from being on my show and are more likely to make right-fit referrals. Many of my best joint venture partners came from guests that were super-referrers, so if your goal is to establish a business relationship with me, making valuable guest referrals can be a give-to-win method.”

Who do you recommend? I have a list of about two dozen people. It started with some friends who were also authors and did podcasts. It expanded to include more people, including some podcast hosts I met and connected with who also guest on shows.

After the host tells me the type of guests he’s looking for I’ll say, “Great, I’m going to send you a list of people. Each will have a brief description and link to their website. No obligation to take them but if any are a fit, I’m happy to make the introduction.”

I have a standard email template. (I’ll use myself and a few fictitious people in the example below.) I mentioned that this list is about two dozen people. I have it saved as a template, and then just delete the people who aren’t relevant to that host because deleting each time is much faster than typing or copy-paste each time. This email accomplishes three things; a thank you, referrals, and makes sure the host has my links handy. [Note: there are some formatting limitations with my CMS but you'll get the idea.]

Hi <host>,
Thanks again for having me on the show. Below are some potential guests for your show.

  • Mark Herschberg, author of The Career Toolkit, 20+ years teaching careers at MIT, CTO/CPO with AI and cybersecurity background.
  • Hermione Granger, Hogwarts alum, talks about Muggle–wizard relations.
  • Yoda, venerated Jedi master, coaches people on the force and anger reduction.
  • Indiana Jones, well-traveled archaeologist, expert on religious artifacts.

No obligation but if any are of interest, I'm happy to make an introduction for you. If you know of any podcasts for me, that is always welcome.
Below are optional links for the show notes.

The Career Toolkit Website Links

Brain Bump
https://brainbumpapp.com (website)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.brainbump&hl=en_US&gl=US (Android)
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/brain-bump/id1616654954 (Apple)

Social Media

Because I have the template pre-written and only need to delete, this email typically gets sent out within sixty seconds of getting off the call with the host, making me look very responsive (I just promised to send you some names and did so within seconds). I do this both to help the host and to help my friends, but there’s a wonderful karmic side effect, too. My friends learned that I do this and referred them to shows. What do you think they started doing? I now have multiple people who, when they get on a podcast, recommend me for the podcast. I get pitched to shows when I sleep!

Again, I don’t recommend all two dozen to each podcast. I’ll send some subset based on who is relevant. Sometimes I may just connect the host to someone who may not be looking to actively go on other shows but where I think there’s a valuable connection for the two. Bottom line, help others, and in doing so, you’ll likely wind up helping yourself.

One word of caution: don’t go overboard. Certainly help the other person out but remember to take it slow. One host told me a guest bombarded her with introductions that really weren’t a fit. See the article Are You an Overeager Networker? to better understand how to strike a balance.

You may have already guessed the second question from a link in the email above.

  1. Do you know of any other podcasts for whom I’d be a good guest?

Podcasters often know other podcasters. Each podcast, on average, gets me to one other podcast. I ask in the order above because a good rule of networking is to give before you get. My offer to help them is in no way predicated on whether or not they can help me. Even if they don’t have any referrals for me, I’m happy to send people to them. And sometimes, even if they had no referrals today, it doesn’t mean they won’t have people in the future. When you are referred in it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a guest, but the odds do go up greatly.

These two simple questions asked post-recording can get you on podcasts literally in seconds. More importantly, they are part of relationship building. We’ll talk more about that in the coming articles.

Avoid Booking Services

Booking Services for Guests

One technique I do NOT recommend are the podcast guesting services. These are services, PR agencies or podcast specific services, that for a monthly fee will pitch you to shows or promise to get you on a certain number. I distinguish this from the communities above; if those communities are dating apps, these services are the matchmakers.

Many are fine, legitimate services. I don’t mean to suggest otherwise (although no doubt there are a few bad actors out in the world). But they will cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars per month. In the US, most agencies I’ve seen charge around $2,000-$3,000 per month for around 25-75 pitches per month. It can be more or less, depending on the services (which can include coordination, promotion, coaching, and development of a media kit, among other things).

Buzzsprout data, at the time of this article in March of 2024, shows that a top 1% podcast has just under 5,000 downloads in the first seven days (top 5% and top 10% respectively are about 1,100 and 500). Suppose you’re pitched to 50 podcasts in a month, and you have a 50% success rate (which is quite good). They’re not all going to be top 1%, so let’s assume they average to be top 5%. 25 appearances at 1,100 listeners gets you in front of roughly 25,000 people (I’m approximating to keep the math easy). At $2,500 a month that’s $0.10 per listen. That’s not bad especially since this isn't some web ad they ignore, rather they listen to you for a half hour or more. Of course, the question isn’t how many people hear you, it’s how many convert to being a customer, or to at least start to follow you on social media or get on your email list, knowing what percentage of those convert later on. (The NY Times wrote about how social media followers don’t always buy books, I’d argue there’s no clear data that podcaster listeners buy books either. And before you tell me I'm wrong, re-read that sentence and focus on the word “data.” If you have data, not anecdotes, I’m happy to see it and even to be proven wrong.)

We’ll explore this more in Podcast Alchemy: 9. Who is Helping Whom? Podcast Hosts, Guests, & Audiences, but the numbers don’t look quite as appealing. Oh, and that 50% success rate is unlikely. The services that I see which are based on appearances a month (as opposed to pitches) are typically in the single digits, so maybe turn that 25 into 5 and see how the numbers look.

But this isn’t the only option. In Podcast Alchemy: 4. Creating the Perfect Podcast Pitch you learned how to create a media kit and pitch, and this article is teaching you where to find podcasts. Using the above techniques you can find and pitch podcasts in minutes. You can easily pitch tens of podcasts an hour once you’re set up. Compare that to the cost of these services.

Even if you don’t have time, consider hiring a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant will charge around $10-25 per hour. For around $100 a month they can pitch you to at least as many podcasts as any of these services, for a fraction of the price. (And for those who do like to pay attention to the man behind the curtain, some of these podcast pitching services use the very same virtual assistants to do the actual pitching and/or use the same techniques, tools, and communities to find podcasts.)

You might be thinking, but don’t the services have “connections” to podcasts? Maybe. I’ve seen plenty of services use the communities above to pitch their clients as guests. Even if they have some connections, it’s not clear that they have enough in quantity or quality to justify their cost. There’s only so many top 1% and top 5% podcasts in your space (and your language) they can pitch to, and they’ll only have a warm contact with some of them.

The exceptions are for the very big-name podcasts, as well as for major TV and radio. For these you need a reputable PR firm who knows the bookers and can get their calls returned. Those PR agencies will cost you a few thousand dollars a month. By “big name podcasts” I don’t mean the top 1% I mean the very, very, very top, the 0.5% if not the 0.1%.

If you are thinking of using any of those firms, do your homework. Ask if they promise pitches per month or bookings per month. As for examples of prior clients: what was the cost, how many pitches, how many shows, and then speak to the client. If they don’t have a reference client they can connect you to, that’s a red flag. For the true PR agencies that can pitch the big shows, they don’t promise any results. You can ask them what clients they’ve gotten on what shows and you ask to speak to reference clients, but no good PR agency will promise they can get you on a show, or any other media (unless it’s pay to play media).

Probably their most useful service is the creation of the media kit and pitch angles. If you’re having trouble with that, it may be worth hiring a PR professional to help. Most virtual assistants don’t have the PR experience to create the kit and pitch email. (If you are a PR professional reading this, I’d recommend you offer a one-off package for people who need help getting started but aren’t going to spend thousands a month for you to pitch. It’s a good entry-level price point service.)

Booking Services for Hosts

There are services that can find you guests, but those have a special angle to them; they’re expensive, but you’re not paying for someone to be a guest, but rather to be a client. We’ll cover this in more detail in Podcast Alchemy: 9. Who is Helping Whom? Podcast Hosts, Guests, & Audiences. If you do need help, as above, consider hiring a virtual assistant. For a low hourly rate, they can do the research, outreach, and coordination for you.

Tracking Spreadsheet

If you’re doing all this pitching at scale, it can be hard to keep track of everything. At my peak I was recording 15 episodes a week and pitching many more than that. Emails will start to get lost in the inbox.

I tracked my podcast guesting campaign using a spreadsheet. You can download for free the Cognosco Media Podcast Tracker Spreadsheet. (The file is read only so just download a local copy.) By adjusting the status and dates in the spreadsheet as you go you can see what needs your attention or what may have gotten lost in the inbox on the other side.

Using the techniques above I was able to get on hundreds of podcasts, including plenty of top 1% podcasts, at no cost. You can do it yourself or find a virtual assistant to do it for you.

If you have any other tools, communities, or other suggestions, please do share. The world of podcasting is evolving rapidly and even a year or two from this writing some things may change. The one thing that one changes is the value of relationships and personal connections that can be made during your podcasting journey.

I’ll remind you again of the advice in Podcast Alchemy: 3. The Philosophy of Guesting and Podcast Alchemy: 4. Creating the Perfect Podcast Pitch. First, remember that you are there to deliver value to the audience. Second, you should NOT spam every podcast you find, only the ones where you will deliver value to the audience. Good luck with the pitches.