PR Fish Bowl

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PR Pitches & Podcasts: 5 Questions To Ask Before You Start

pr podcastPodcast listenership is way up, and this is good news for PR people as well as content junkies. We just can’t get enough stimulating, relevant conversation or hear enough stories.

Like a radio broadcast, podcasts have a producer or two who make editorial decisions on what to include. Many of the rules for pitching a conventional radio producer also apply to pitching a podcast, but there are some subtle differences. Start by asking these key questions.

Can you “see” the story on the radio? Ask this question first. Is the story so completely visual that even the most capable host will have trouble bringing it to life in a podcast? Suggest or use tools to help tell the story on air before the pitch. Submit audio to the producer that captures some of the sounds of the story, for example. One of the [now] classic uses of audio in a podcast is this memorable recorded line from Serial announcing the calls from prison that were part of nearly every episode, “This is a Global Tel-Link prepaid call from Adnan Syed.”  You may not have something as compelling as a prison recording, but you can submit storytelling soundbites or reactions of people affected by the experience described, or even a narrated description of a strikingly visual asset.

Can you start a relationship before you pitch? Podcast producers are generally a scrappy bunch who’ve built an audience gradually through social media and word-of-mouth as opposed to conventional advertising. Before the pitch, it’s a good idea to listen to a few episodes, study the website and all social platforms and find ways to engage. Comment on a story, share a link and in general, start a conversation before plunging into a pitch. The odds are the pitch will be better written and better received. The results? A solid relationship like the one we posted about earlier this year.

Is the subject matter niched enough? A hallmark of podcasts is their ability to zero in very specifically on a subject. From animation to zoology, there’s a podcast for that! They work best for offbeat stories, interviews with interesting personalities or topics, or little-explored subjects that benefit from detailed exploration. On behalf of a fintech client, we recently began working with a podcast dedicated to  CFOs, a niched audience you won’t necessarily reach via traditional radio. The pitch should micro-target just the areas you want to cover with no sweeping generalities.

Is your spokesperson “radio” trained? Many millennials have no relationship to radio at all, yet they may also be brand spokespeople. To be successful and commanding in a podcast interview, it’s important to understand how to articulate messages succinctly so they survive a sometimes rigorous editing process. At Crenshaw we believe in media training for all interviews, and as podcast opportunities increase, that training is all the more important.

Can you demonstrate to a producer how you will increase their audience? Podcasts live and die by likes, shares, and links. The PR teams who secure coverage on podcasts build lasting relationships by what they do before the story airs and, importantly, what they do afterward to promote it. Get to know those niche audiences, the listeners who are interested in the category and look to where else they get their information for other ways to spread the word.

How many different ways can you promote the podcast and expand its reach? Increasing the listenership via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms is an excellent way to get asked back.

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