The process for pitching a PR client to podcasts is similar to traditional media. However, rather than simply searching a pre-loaded media database for contacts, finding podcasts to pitch requires significant manual research to source individual shows. Here’s what PR pros need to know about pitching podcasts.
The growth of the podcast industry over the last few years is largely seen as positive. With more than 750,000 podcasts* for PR pros to pitch, it seems like an absolute goldmine. That said, a podcast that is published on a weekly basis has a limit of 52 guest spots per year. Suddenly, the odds of easy breezy automatic yes aren’t in your favor.
Pitching podcasts is now commonplace and shows are approached by podcast agencies, virtual assistants, PR agencies and people pitching themselves. A green light for your PR client is no longer the assumed slam dunk it used to be. When it comes to pitching, the industry has leveled-up so as a PR pros you need to bring your A game!
Podfade is real
Yes, there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts to for PR pros to pitch but thousands upon thousands of those shows are inactive. That’s a lot of podcast feeds to wade through only to discover the lights are on and nobody’s home.
This is what’s we in the industry refer to as ‘podfading.’ It’s basically the equivalent of ‘ghosting’ in the dating world (and equally as common and frustrating.) When a show podfades the host suddenly stops publishing episodes. Radio silence or in this case, podcast silence.
The podfade phenomenon generally occurs once a host realizes the huge amount of work involved in producing a show and quits. Here’s the kicker, even though a podcast is inactive, it can still show up in searches and the backcatalogue can remain live so it’s there for you to search and listen to but not pitch. Always check if a show is current.
That said, the volume of new shows published daily is massive. There’s always exciting additions popping up. For PR pros the challenge becomes monitoring those new players in the market until the time is right to pitch. Fresh opportunities continue to present themselves as the industry grows.
Podcasters are notoriously suspicious of being pitched by PR agencies. The biggest complaint is that PR pros deliver tone-deaf pitches, haven’t listened to the show, and put forward clients whom are not relevant to the show. As with all media, this approach is the fasttrack to getting blacklisted.
Podcasts focus on content that most benefits the audience. The medium by nature is highly personal and one-to-one and as such, all client pitches need to reflect that. Real talk. A generic pitch won’t make it past the gatekeepers. Always crosscheck your client with the show and ask the basic question, “What’s in it for the listener?” Once you have that down for the individual podcast reverse engineer to craft a killer pitch.
Podcast industry protocol
The podcast industry was born out of DIY broadcasters so any standardization is a long way off. Each podcast is considered it’s own publisher and many don’t follow what PR pros consider to be industry standard protocol for media.
The media cycles you are accustom to across TV, magazines, newspapers, radio, and even online or blogging don’t apply. Having an understanding of what you can expect with the annaul pitch cycle is helpful in planning your PR pitch calendar.
The podcast pitch cycle
- Shows are mostly designed to be evergreen
- Podcasts don’t operate on a 24-hour news cycle
- Podcasts rarely publish content calendars
- Hosts often batch record interviews
- Recording schedules aren’t published
- Seasonal, themed, annual and milestone-based shows are irrelevant
- Shows have unspecified episode duration
- Podcasts frequently go on hiatus.
- Relase dates and number of episodes in a season can be unspecified
What this means for PR pros?
To most, the podcast industry is still very new. While it grows rapidly, the barrier for entry remains low, which allows anyone to start a podcast in minutes. As a result, the majority of podcast hosts don’t have professional media backgrounds and some don’t consider their show to be a ‘media outlet.’ However, from a PR pros perspective when it comes to pitching clients, all media outlets are fair game. Here enlies the problem. This observation could shed light on why some podcast hosts resent being pitched by PR pros.
Ultimately, what this means for PR pros is that podcasts need to be considered individually. Just know that the rules change with every outlet and every pitch. If you are looking for simultaneous coverage in a launch window, start pitching podcasts six months ahead in order allow for recording and request interview release dates. Are podcasts still worth it? Are they still a win for PR clients? Do they provide desired press coverage? Absolutley!
Work with us
Like what we have to say? Pitching podcasts is what we do! To find out more about working with us to book your PR clients on podcasts schedule a time to chat.
*Edison Research Infinite Dial 2019 released March 6th, 2019