Podcasts have become mainstream over the last few years. Over 464.7 million people around the globe listen to podcasts regularly, and that number is expected to increase to half a billion by 2024. They are a unique and effective medium that provides a wide range of benefits for listeners and marketers alike. For decision-makers at tech companies, podcasts offer a valuable opportunity to build brand awareness, connect with target audiences and establish thought leadership. Podcasts are an easy and preferred channel of communication for the multi-tasker, the thinker and the learner, and they have a niche for just about every topic across industries. 

From a PR perspective, podcasts allow spokespeople and their companies to speak to their audiences thoroughly, authentically and personally. This is especially important in the wake of the pandemic, as many in-person speaking opportunities have operated in digital or recorded environments. Podcasts bridge the gap between businesses and their digital audiences and can be leveraged through any platform.

According to eMarketer, US marketers anticipate spending nearly $2.2 billion on podcast ads in 2023. While buying ad spots is effective, not every company can allocate a large investment for podcast efforts. Rather than paid placements, public relations teams can land company executives on podcasts that garner a high listenership of the audiences who matter most.

Preparing for a Podcast

PR agencies take a unique approach to pitching podcasts as opposed to traditional media. Targeted lists of podcasts are developed based on which programs customers tune in to and include an array of shows from general to vertical-specific. Along with researching stand-alone podcasts, a PR team will look into podcasts sponsored by publications through existing relationships with target reporters. Podcasts are also compared across various client accounts to avoid missing relevant shows and to leverage established relationships with hosts.

Your company representative will offer thought leadership about the information discussed in the podcast. After identifying the appropriate company spokesperson, a PR agency will ensure they’re prepared and media trained before the podcast recording date. This involves reviewing a detailed briefing sheet with podcast-specific tips and any other information the host gives. Spokespeople should be camera-ready and should record from somewhere with good audio and reliable WiFi.

Podcast pitches comprise long-form biographies about the spokesperson with a few key points on what they’d like to discuss. Hosts occasionally set up short briefings with the spokesperson or PR team before the podcast recording to determine the topic. This is often a collaborative effort between the spokesperson and the host. If the host determines your spokesperson to be a good fit for their show, they’re typically more lenient with the topics as they’ll want their guest to be comfortable and knowledgeable during the recording. Regardless, it's important to highlight your representative and the podcast’s niche to ensure timely and relevant insight. 

Measuring Podcast Success

PR teams use a combination of tracking tools and metrics to measure the success and impact of podcast placements. At Treble, we conduct research and monitor results using tools like Muck Rack and Podchaser. These platforms confirm podcast credibility and provide insights into podcasts’ total monthly listens, estimated new episode listens, social media links, and demographic and psychographic makeup of the listener. With these metrics in place, PR teams can develop relevant KPIs and turn podcast appearances into media coverage. 

Once a podcast goes live, PR teams will monitor for social media posts from the host and show’s accounts and help to amplify coverage across company channels. Additional coverage may arise over the days and weeks following the episode’s release, and all mentions should be tracked accordingly to best plan for future podcast research and pitching efforts.

Amplifying Other PR Efforts with Podcast Appearances

Podcast appearances are a valuable type of long-form earned media content in their own right, but they can also support other PR efforts. Podcasts provide an opportunity to capitalize on consumers’ increasing desires for audio and visual content and act as the foundation for an omnichannel approach to content generation. Soundbites from lengthy conversations can be converted into short-form videos, posts or quotes that populate the company website or corporate social media accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. 

Another way to get second-hand use out of podcasts is by embedding them into pitches as additional background and assets. They're a good commodity to have for other proactive efforts your company is undertaking. Links to podcast episodes can also be used as an additional promotional tool for announcements, such as product launches or company growth. Connecting with reporters who have podcasts is also a great way to establish long-term media relationships for online and print publications.

Leveraging a Growing Medium

Treble has seen firsthand how podcasts have helped clients meet KPIs and achieve short and long-term goals. They prove valuable in supplementing coverage and can be a great way to establish thought leadership in the absence of corporate news. In fact, landing a podcast feature is more difficult than landing a traditional media mention, so all appearances should be celebrated and tracked accordingly.

Podcast listenership shows no signs of slowing down, but the podcast industry as a whole is overly saturated. With this in mind, podcast research should always be driven by the target audience to see success in PR and marketing objectives. Leveraging databases that provide quantitative data and researching what podcast hosts are looking for is key to this success. Integrating podcasts into your company’s PR strategy is an added effort but worth the results.