I’ve been a podcast listener for much longer than I’ve worked in PR, so when I was in a brainstorming session and my colleague suggested pitching our client as a podcast guest – I was skeptical. Not necessarily because I disagreed with her idea, but because it never crossed my mind to use podcasts as a PR tool.
Looking back now, after having successfully pitched several podcasts, I can’t help but laugh at my naivety. Let me explain how my perspective changed.
One of my favourite things about podcasts is how accessible information is. Because there is a podcast for just about every topic, hobby and interest, there is a wealth of knowledge from experts at your fingertips. Platform algorithms take the guess work out of the discovery process, suggesting podcasts you might like based on your listening history.
Like any effective communicator, good podcast hosts involve their audience in the ideation process through reviews, ratings, and interactions on social platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Not only does this create intimacy and a sense of inclusion for listeners, it also gives the host a deeper understanding of what drives their audiences – What do they want to hear? Who do they want to hear it from? Who do they find credible?
This is where the magic happens.
By structuring shows that your existing audience want to hear, and carefully selecting guests to interview, you’re essentially guaranteed engaged listeners who are satisfied with what they’ve heard. I also think the inherent nature of podcasts lends itself to human connection – you can’t get much more personal than a listening party for one.
So where does PR come into play?
Offering up your clients’ spokesperson for a long-form podcast interview does a few things. Firstly, it takes them out of their perceived “element” and immediately makes them more relatable to listeners. Trust me when I say that everyday listeners do not assume that podcasts are scripted, and they usually can’t tell when someone’s been media trained.
Podcasts are also a great visibility tool. If you’re looking to position your spokesperson as an extension of their brand – think Elon Musk for Tesla – an interview with a built-in audience is a quick win when executed correctly.
As a PR practitioner, podcasts are one of my favourite forms of earned media – and if you had told my university self that one day I would be playing a role in crafting one (admittedly a small one), I’d have thought that was pretty cool.