8 Podcasts PR People Should Know

Public relations pros tend to love podcasts, and we’re no exception! Once an under-the-radar media form that blended the old school (radio) with the new (digital distribution), podcasts have certainly come into their own. We love them for obvious reasons: many are incredibly informative, taking the time to thoroughly explain an important topic, and how it affects and changes our world. We listen to learn, understand, and be able to better serve our clients in diverse industries, from technology and design, to food and beverage, and 3D printing.

But more than that, the podcasts we love are simply riveting. We appreciate the brilliance of simple storytelling, and draw lessons on how the best podcasts employ drama, suspense, surprise, and curiosity to tell stories. We also love listening to expert interviewers, how they question and probe (or not) to draw out the best responses from subjects. These observations inform the work we do as professional communicators and media relations specialists, making podcasts a must-listen in our minds.

Here are our top picks for podcasts PR people should be listening to.

Note To Self (formerly New Tech City). As a tech PR firm in New York City, “the tech show about being human” is an obvious pick. It’s easy to get so caught up in breaking technology news and lose sight of the bigger picture. Note To Self helps us take a step back and analyze the impact technology is having on us — which gives us the perspective we need to keep things fresh and new.

Taking Stock. This interview format show from Bloomberg is essential for those wanting to understand what makes markets tick. The top minds of Wall Street dish on the latest business news, providing instant insights for the PR pro needing to become well versed in the nuances of the global business world.

Startup. Our team often works with technology startups, and this podcast is a window into the world of what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. Alex Blumberg, a veteran of the podcast world, keeps the stories expertly informative and entertaining at the same time.

Nerdist. We love host Chris Hardwick for being a nerd long before it was considered cool. Among the many ventures of this stand-up comedian and media personality, Nerdist keeps us up to date on pop culture  happenings with its celebrity interviews, which is, of course, a must for PR.

Reply All. Another podcast from Blumberg’s Gimlet Media, this one is “a show about the internet,” a topic so ubiquitous we take it for granted. The show reminds us of how technology influences our lives, often in ways we can personally relate to.

99 Percent Invisible. This podcast about “the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world” is especially informative when you work with companies that are spearheading innovation in technology and design.

Death, Sex and Money. An irresistible listen to personal stories about topics we all wonder about, but rarely discuss. Helpful for its narrative storytelling form, and to keep us curious and thinking.

Fresh Air. An oldie and a classic. Fresh Air started as an interview format radio show in 1987, hosted by Terry Gross, one of the most skilled interviewers around. The Peabody Award-wining daily covers everything from politics to the arts and culture. Gross never fails to unearth details and angles not heard anywhere else. If you’ve fallen behind on keeping up with media, listen to a week’s worth of Fresh Air podcasts, and you’ll quickly have a handle on happenings in the world.

PR And The Power Of Podcasts

As storytellers and public relations professionals, we consider podcasts one of our favorite forms of content. What’s not to love? You can take them on the go, listen at your own pace, delve into subjects in-depth, and get lost in the story-time nature of the experience. But personal preferences aside, podcasts are becoming a powerful form of content for companies and brands looking to expand and strengthen their PR reach. Podcasts are part of a new era of content creation in which CEOs, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders of all kinds can position themselves in front of their target audiences.

In case you aren’t yet convinced, here are the top reasons we think podcasts make powerful content for PR programs.

Podcasts intensify the bond between you and the people who are most important to your company or brand. The level of engagement for podcast listeners is higher than engagement with any other type of content, many sales and marketing experts believe. It goes beyond “click bait” or the quick, easily digestible listicle-type nuggets of information that are so prevalent today. The listener has made a decision to spend quality time with your content, and that creates a strong bond.

Podcasts are a part of the greater shift toward mobile. The rise of content consumption on mobile devices has been well documented, and podcasts are a growing part of that, as most people listen to podcasts on mobile devices. This should come as no surprise, as the very nature of podcasts makes them perfectly suited to be consumed via mobile: you download them once to be listened to wherever, whenever you choose, and as often as you like.

Podcasts are an easy way to create guest content. Ever try to get a partner or third-party spokesperson to contribute a piece of content? Written or visual forms of creative content can be very time-consuming to produce and it’s a lot to ask of someone, but most people are amenable to a 10-minute phone interview. Record the interview, edit it, and voila — you have guest content.

Transcribing podcasts creates still more content. Once the podcast is complete and uploaded, having it transcribed (and edited) creates instant content, which can live online and enhance SEO. It’s essentially two for the price of one – the audio content of the podcast, plus the written content of the transcript.

It’s the way of the future. Apple reports podcast subscriptions have topped 1 billion. Serial, the most popular podcast of all time, has been downloaded more than 40 million times. And the number of unique podcast listeners has tripled, from 25 million to 75 million listeners, over the last five years, according to a tracker of 20,000 shows. Just as blogs — once a frontier reached by individuals — have developed into full fledged (and well funded) news websites, the podcast is growing from an under-the-radar form of entertainment to a legitimate information channel of its own.

 For guidance on how to create podcasts that strengthen your brand, download our podcast tipsheet:
Download Tipsheet Here