Like many in the PR world, I am an unabashed podcast junkie. The best of the genre provide in-depth looks at a range of people or ideas, and they often include the extra interview questions that you just don’t get on traditional radio shows. Podcasts can spark ideas that are just irresistible to the PR profession. One of my personal favorites is The Sporkful food podcast at WNYC Studios, and its thoughtful and witty host, Dan Pashman (who also hosts the Cooking Channel show “You’re Eating It Wrong.”)
Reliably entertaining whether discussing something scientific or just loving on favorite foods, (I’m a sucker for his bagel musings) The Sporkful is a must-listen. In our Q & A with him below, Dan, who also happens to do his own PR, gave us his no-holds-barred perspective on how PR pros can improve their relationships with producers.
Q: Do you find that PR people understand how to work well with a podcast producer and what would you say are the differences between “pitching ” an interview on a traditional radio broadcast vs a podcast?
A: I find that most PR people don’t know how to work with any kind of producer. I think the main difference with podcasts vs. radio is that podcasts are more niche. They are more specific in what they cover. So you really, really have to know what a podcast covers and specializes in before you pitch them if you want to have success. I do a food podcast, but there are whole parts of the food world and food-related topics that I have no interest in and never cover. I often get sprayed with food pitches from people who have clearly never listened to a single episode of The Sporkful.
Q: How often do you work with PR reps and what is an example of a good experience you have had?
Here Dan was kind enough to compliment Crenshaw and another agency whom he cited as consistently opting for “quality over quantity.” Dan continued to say that he finds most PR people lazy, but qualified this by saying they rely too heavily on compiling huge media lists and sending mass email pitches so they can tell their client, “I pitched you to this place and that place!”
A: Sending a mass email is not a pitch. I never send the exact same pitch to two people. You’re better off sending 10 individual, personalized pitches that are custom tailored to the specific recipients than you are sending one mass email to 1,000 people. You’ll get about the same number of hits and you’ll build good will and a strong contact base. I always read the emails I get from my trusted PR sources because they know what I do and they only email me when they have a good idea that could really fit. We don’t always go for it, but I always read the email and consider it. (And to be clear, I can easily tell the difference between a person who spent 30 seconds scanning my website so they could reference something specific I’ve done and someone who actually listens.)
Q: What advice would you have for someone who wanted to start a podcast, perhaps one about PR?
A: There are a couple of specific PR podcasts but they tend to be very “Inside Baseball,” it might be interesting for someone to produce one that was more fun and appealed to a broad audience by telling some PR secrets or pulling back the curtain on some interesting stories –that the layperson would have no clue – were PR-generated. PR is so much about presenting a certain image or idea to the world, I think people who are really immersed in PR can become so accustomed to communicating with a certain filter. I’d love to hear PR people talking without that filter. Anyone up for the challenge?