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For many of us, when we hear the term “audio” our minds immediately revert to music. While music is one of the longest-lasting audio experiences, the word is subconsciously starting to signal a different medium – podcasts.

It’s no secret that podcasts have been on the rise. Podcasting has quickly become one of the most interactive mediums for hosts, guests, and listeners. In fact, according to a 2018 Podcast Trends Report, 51% of the U.S. population had listened to a podcast even as of four-plus years ago. Since then, these numbers have only heightened. And, even with a bit of a podcasting reset during the pandemic and questions about the future of monetization, podcasting is still set to become a $4B market by 2024.

Given that size and scope, podcasting is becoming an influential marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. Having company leaders interviewed or as regular guests on podcasts – or even starting their podcasts – accelerates companies in reaching targeted audiences. This enables them to drive more conversions, and helps brands establish dominance in their given industry. 

Although a lot of attention is often on large podcasts such as the Joe Rogan Experience or Office Ladies, it’s more likely you’ll be targeting the longtail of podcasts in pitching your startup’s founder or CEO as a guest for your marketing or thought leadership programs. 

As you search through the extensive array of relevant podcasts for your startup, thousands or even hundreds of listeners often count, as opposed to millions. But that shouldn’t sway you away from targeting podcasts. It’s important that marketing teams understand that podcasts aren’t just about reach. It’s about getting leaders on the shows that target their desired audience with intention, which can lead to influence and action. 

But, before we get into how startup marketing teams can achieve marketing and communications goals by targeting podcasts, let’s first explore why podcasts are now embedded into marketing and PR programs as the medium continues on an exponential climb. 

Why Podcasts Should Be Added to Your PR Program 

According to Judd and Mackenzie of lady-brains, “podcasts are such an important channel for brands to consider when they are thinking about their PR strategy. They are a channel that can really connect with the consumer. They are the most amazing way to connect with the audience, connect with the consumer, and get buy-in.” 

Today, several podcasts of all sizes and scopes exist across all industries. The smaller-scaled ones show how marketers can further attract the right audience and get in front of the audience their company needs to. Our agency’s PR campaign for startups have even helped many startup brands launch their podcasts to go direct to their audiences. 

By demonstrating their expertise to the right audience, startup leaders can also grow their personal brand. Before your CEO shares thoughts at a conference, having them on a podcast can enhance their communication skills. It can also enable them to refine precision and directness in their messages. Founders benefit from these mediums as they help them acclimate to exposure and refine their speaking delivery skills.

Furthermore, podcasts enable marketing teams to quickly capitalize on their message or story in our busy lives. CEOs and C-suite executives can gain exposure and drive success in front of a fully engaged audience as listeners can conveniently access podcasts. Simply put, listeners just have to pop in their earbuds, and they are active listeners of your thoughts.

Pitching Podcasts: How to Break Through the Noise 

According to Muck Rack’s year-end State of Podcasting 2022 report, 81% of podcasts feature guests sometimes or often. But, for startups, finding the right podcast is significant. It’s not just about getting leaders on air. How marketing teams find the best podcast for their client and strategize targeting is crucial for success.

Let’s say you’re working on landing the CEO of a climate tech startup, which focuses on solar energy, on podcasts. There are many solar-centric podcasts today, but marketers should think about the fresh knowledge they bring. Some podcasts may delve too deep into solar specifics, making it challenging for founders to bring something entirely new. Worse, they might discuss something to an audience already saturated with similar content on other channels.

In this example, your startup CEO could stand out as a solar expert in crossover podcast themes like energy savings or home improvement. This broadens their potential opportunities and influences teams to identify the right audiences for their message across different mediums. Thus, expanding their reach.

Like all other forms of outreach, podcast pitching should be personalized to the host and podcast itself. Regular hosts aren’t just looking for anybody; these individuals want thought leaders on their episodes. Not only does this further drive traffic to the guest’s company and podcast alike, it simultaneously strengthens the platform as a medium that brings unique perspectives to the space. This is something CEOs, CTOs, and all executives are striving for now and can benefit from being a part of. 

Podcasters want marketers to review their website and content and their social media presence and listen to multiple episodes before pitching. That’s why when pitching podcasts, it’s imperative for marketers to strategize their outreach before making moves. 

Strategies for Effective Podcast Pitching

To break it down, here’s how marketing and PR teams can work to secure podcast opportunities:

  • Identify podcasts that speak to a similar audience to their brand or clients. As PR Daily shares, effective podcast outreach isn’t as easy as doing a simple Google search. The goal is to raise brand awareness and position their senior leadership as a thought leader. This ensures the podcasts you’re pitching to target your ideal audience is critical. 
  • Pitch the podcast while actively assessing the target audience and demonstrating a clear understanding of that audience. You can do this by listening to a few episodes to gain a stronger understanding of what the host(s) is looking for and see which topics have been covered in the past. 
  • Craft your message with a specific and unique angle. According to MuckRack’s 2022 State of Podcasting Report, lack of personalization, confusing subject line, and bad timing are leading reasons why podcasters will reject a pitch. Today, it’s crucial that your pitch introduces a topic not yet covered extensively.

While podcasts may not be everyone’s top medium of choice, their growing popularity and the promise of their impact should motivate future PR and marketing efforts. As many of us work to enhance brand and CEO reputation, identify the right podcast for your client and seize the opportunity to introduce unique thought leadership tactics. Stay ahead of the competition by exploring podcasts where your client can make a mark before others do.

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