In the ever-changing media landscape, we’ve become increasingly drawn into podcasts – both as consumers, and when we’re wearing our PR hats. They typically come in easily digestible episodes, they’re great for listening to on the go, and these days there are podcasts that cater to any interest you might have, from business advice to storytelling to true crime. From a PR perspective, pitching podcasts can take your earned media strategy to the next level.
Why should podcasts play a role in your PR strategy?
Podcasts are the perfect fit for gaining visibility in front of new audiences that are interested in a specific topic. The host has already done their job of establishing credibility and becoming a trusted source of information, and, by association, you’re off to a great start and already positioned as an expert on the topic just by being chosen as a guest by this type of host.
Beyond the interview itself, a podcaster who knows what they’re doing will be repurposing their content across channels, giving the episode added exposure for a longer period of time. Studies have shown that podcast listeners are very active on social media and more likely than the average person to follow brands on social channels, so you may get more interaction from this particular audience than you would from a traditional interview.
Identifying shows that are the best fit
As a first step, consider what shows you or your colleagues consume regularly. This is a great place to start, but beyond that you can use a simple search for keywords on your preferred podcast platform and tools like Apple’s “You might also like” feature to find other shows that cater to your industry. Most podcasters use social media to promote their shows, so you can also search hashtags. You might start broadly with things like #healthcarepodcast, #bankingpodcast, or #businesspodcast but narrowing in on specific topics can help point you in the right direction.
Know the podcast you’re pitching
Just like with traditional journalism, you want to have a sense of the podcast you’re pitching before you reach out. This means doing your homework, listening to a few episodes, and taking a look at the show’s social channels or website. Make sure that this is the right opportunity for you. Do the show’s listeners align with your target audience? Is the theme one you can meaningfully contribute to a conversation on? Better yet, do you have a unique perspective that hasn’t already been covered on the show?
This also means looking at the format the show’s episodes take. Some podcasts also have different types of episodes (long form interviews vs. quicker conversations). Knowing any variations in format in advance puts you in the position to pitch yourself for the type of episode that will be the best fit. It also helps to demonstrate your knowledge of the show when reaching out to the host.
Pitchable content and landing an interview
Keep in mind that podcasters aren’t typically up against the tight deadlines we’re used to with more traditional media. Often, podcast episodes might be recorded in advance and planned for release at a later date. From a strategy perspective, this means that podcasts aren’t always the best fit for timely announcements – but that’s okay. Think of podcasts as more of an opportunity to position yourself as an expert in the field, not to sell something specific. If the timing of your interview aligns with a big announcement or upcoming event, fantastic! It’s perfectly reasonable to work in a mention if it works out, but consider that the host is most likely interested in more evergreen content. It might make more sense to incorporate your announcement into the language you use while sharing the podcast episode on your own channels.
When pitching a podcast, be clear about the value you can provide to the host and their community. Include a brief outline of some topics that might be a fit for their audience. If you have links to previous interviews you’ve done, send those along. It can help for a host to get a sense of what you’re like during an interview. In most cases, they’ll want to know that you’re knowledgeable, personable, and entertaining enough to keep a conversation going for the length of the episode.
Do your part in driving traffic
Podcast interviews are a two-way street. Yes, you’re benefiting from exposure in front of your key audience, but the podcast host is likely counting on you for exposure as well. Once the episode is released, do your part to drive listeners. Share on your social channels, blog, email blasts, etc. Ask your colleagues to do the same, and consider whether it might make sense for other organizations you have a relationship to share the content as well. Not only is this a great way to showcase your interview, but the podcast host will appreciate it. As with other media channels, building relationships can go a long way in opening doors to future opportunities.
Fluent IMC is a Maine marketing agency specializing in integrated marketing communications. Our expertise ranges from brand strategy and marketing planning to digital marketing and online advertising to public relations and communications.