By SuJin Oh
In times like these, when PR professionals find their media strategies impeded by a larger news story that captures the media’s attention, time and resources, it’s time to think broadly about where we can find opportunities for coverage that puts a spotlight on our clients, their brands and companies. Here we want to take a look at podcasts which is often an overlooked media platform.
Podcasts are not just an alternative type of media but in fact, many legacy media outlets have their own podcasts which work as a great alternative method for earning coverage in top-tier outlets such as Entrepreneur, Glossy, Allure. Other A-list media outlets have multiple podcasts including The New York Times, NPR and Bloomberg.
Of the many benefits of turning to podcasts for coverage, they are typically easier for clients to appear on as they can simply call in. Additionally, given how niche podcast categories tend to be, listeners are often more engaged.
Finding a Podcast
There are a lot of podcasts out there to choose between which is why it’s imperative to be informed when selecting one to pitch to. Below is a step by step guide to selecting the right one for your audience.
Search by Category
- Begin by searching for podcasts that match the subject matter most relevant to your audience. There are many apps that make it easy to find the most relevant podcast for your pitch such as Podbean, Spotify, and Stitcher, for example, all of which allow you to search by category.
- As mentioned, some media have their own podcast(s). It’s always a good idea to go to an outlet’s website and check out all of its available platforms that are looking for content.
- Power Tip: If you find a publication with multiple podcasts, a right producer may be able to pitch your idea across multiple shows.
- Google “podcasts for X” and you’ll often find great themed lists — Examples: Best Podcasts for CEOs, Best Podcasts for Cooking, Best Podcasts for Startups, etc.
Who to Pitch?
Choosing a podcast is only the first step — you also have to pick a producer to approach. But how do you find one?
A few good options:
- Check a media database.
- Go to the website and check for information or a contact page.
- Listen in! Many podcasts will announce the names of producers and writers (frequently at the very end).
More often than not, the host of the podcast will be the contact — so if that’s all the information you can find, you can try reaching out to them.
Making Your Pitch
Podcasting may not be a traditional media channel, but it’s still media and should be treated with the same level of professionalism. Experience has proved that bloggers like to be approached like traditional media, and the same goes for podcast hosts and producers.
So it’s PR 101:
- Make sure your pitch is relevant to the podcast. Let the contact know you understand the show, and that you have something valuable and relevant — like news, or a guest — they can use.
- Know the frequency of the show (daily, weekly, monthly, etc), and make sure your pitch is timely.
- Be concise. Make sure you’ve provided all the information the host or producer needs to develop questions for an interview, but get to the point quickly.
- Follow up as appropriate.
- Lock in the booking!
Measure the Reach:
- Podcasts are a relatively new media platform, so it can be hard to get a sense of their potential influence. As a decentralized format that can be downloaded from any number of independent websites, hosting networks, and aggregation services or programs, there’s no surefire way to get a simple tally of how many people have listened to a given podcast episode but there are metrics you can still check out that are informative.
- Podcast analytics are a way to gauge approximate popularity. Check podcast websites and social media pages. Things to look out for include: Number of total downloads, number of downloads per episode, player listens, number of subscribers, number of social media likes and followers.
Podcasts are one of many tools in the PR pro’s arsenal, but they’re an increasingly valuable one which is why it behooves communications professionals to diversify their pitch strategies to include them. Many podcasts are continuing to run despite the COVID-19 outbreak through remote conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype, so if you or your client have ever considered pitching podcasts or even starting a podcast, now may be an ideal time.