The primary goal of public relations is memorable branding on all platforms, which is why it’s important to include podcasts in a PR strategy. Every company strives to build relationships and trust with new audiences daily. They also seek to strengthen these relationships by reaching out to audiences on a variety of platforms regularly.
Podcasting has become one of the fastest-growing business mediums since COVID-19 first hit, with its accompanying lockdowns. With more businesses embracing podcasting, the industry has become saturated with competition for listeners and attention. Podcasting is one of the platforms available for a brand to tell its story, which is why every company that wants to reach a large audience must use this rapidly growing platform.
To put this into context, “41% of Americans listen to podcasts every month, and 40% of weekly podcast listeners listen to 1-3 episodes per week.”
With nearly half of the US population listening to podcasts monthly, it makes sense for businesses to consider using these staggering numbers to their PR advantage. From thought leadership to masterclasses, there are numerous ways for public relations professionals to use podcasting to help their clients and businesses solidify their brands.
History of podcasting
Podcast history unfolds along a timeline marked by technological breakthroughs and shifting consumption habits in the twenty-first century.
The term podcasting did not even exist at the turn of the millennium. However, the emergence of various technologies gave birth to a brand new, uniquely 21st century medium. These technological advancements include: the affordability of home recording equipment and software, faster and more accessible internet access, and an increase in niche communities longing for specialized on-demand content.
The history of podcasts is inextricably linked to the history of Apple’s iPod.
The first iPod was released in 2001. A few years later, in 2004, former MTV VJ Adam Curry and software developer Dave Winer devised a plan to download internet radio broadcasts directly to Apple’s revolutionary device.
In February of that year, journalist Ben Hammersley published a now-iconic article about the burgeoning torrent of online radio, which Curry and Winer had helped to launch. Hammersley observed that “all the ingredients are there for a new boom in amateur radio.” He then cited the following ingredients: the rise of the iPod, the increased affordability of home audio production software, and the proven appetite for blogging that had already come to dominate the web. Moreover, Hammersley proceeded to propose a handful of forthcoming titles for this new wave of online broadcasting: podcasting, a throwaway portmanteau of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast,’ was the one that eventually stuck.
From that point, podcasting gradually but steadily gained popularity. Libsyn.com (Liberated Syndication) emerged in October 2004 as the first podcast service provider. By the end of the year, the number of Google searches for the term “podcasts” had surpassed 100,000. Hammersley’s coinage was permanent.
By 2005, the hype surrounding podcasts was starting to gain traction. It was the year the New Oxford American Dictionary named ‘podcast’ the Word of the Year, firmly establishing podcasts as the emerging media trend that was already, or soon would be, on everyone’s lips (or entered into their search bars). Several landmark events occurred in 2005, laying the groundwork for what the podcasting industry would later become. Todd Cochrane, a broadcast producer who founded the company Podcast Connect Inc., published the first DIY guide to podcasting: Do-It-Yourself Guide.
Podcasts were first presented in front of live audiences in 2006 when they were liberated from the confines of every listener’s Apple earbuds. During a keynote address to begin the year, Steve Jobs demonstrated to a live audience how to create their podcast using Apple’s free GarageBand software. When 2007 came arrived, podcasts began to gain recognition for the massive audiences they were accumulating. With over a quarter-million downloads per episode, English comedian Ricky Gervais set the Guinness World Record for the most downloaded podcast.
By 2019, 165 million people had listened to a podcast, with 90 million Americans listening to a podcast monthly. This massive interest in the medium foreshadowed an inevitable shift, which writer for The Vulture, Nicholas Quah, refers to as “the era of big podcasting.” At this point, Spotify and Apple Music had been competing for audio share for years. After becoming the dominant music platform, the Swedish streaming service began to make several strategic business moves to establish itself as the premier platform for podcasts.
Podcast ad revenue is expected to exceed $1.5 billion by the end of 2023. There are chances that podcasting might be on its way to being swallowed up by media conglomerates. Additionally, it’s true that the medium’s DIY origins are no longer recognizable. Be that as it may, it’s worth remembering that podcasting is still in its infancy. There will inevitably be many new eras speckling the horizon as this medium, like so many before it, changes with the times and grows into its own.
Advantages & disadvantages of podcasting
As previously stated, podcasting has grown in popularity significantly. It has become one of the most popular ways to consume audio content online in recent years. There are numerous advantages and disadvantages of pursuing content creation through a podcast format. Let’s dive right in.
Advantages of podcasting
A podcast is a technology that is available on demand. Podcasting is a very convenient method of communication, especially for the audience. People can listen to whatever they want, whenever they want. All that is required is a smartphone and a podcast listening app.
The most convenient aspect of the podcasting experience is that listeners can choose when and where they want to consume the content.
2) No time restriction
Podcasting is convenient for listeners because they do not have to log in or tune in at a specific time, as with a radio or television show.
For example, people listen to podcasts while jogging or walking as part of their exercise routine or during their daily commute to work. They have the luxury of listening to a podcast at any time and anywhere, which makes this content format that much more appealing to audiences.
3) Personalized content
Companies and individuals who want to use podcasting to promote or market their products can go extremely niche and serve personalized content to the right audiences.
People choose to listen to a particular podcast because they are looking for specific content. This is where businesses gain an advantage because they can serve the right content to their target audience.
Podcast listeners do not need any special equipment to enjoy their favorite podcasts. Nowadays, almost everyone owns a smartphone. This is all that is required to listen to a podcast. Since the smartphone is mobile and people can download episodes in advance, people can listen to podcasts just about anywhere.
5) Direct connection
If a company wants to connect directly with its audience, podcasting is as good as a video medium like YouTube or Vimeo. Since there is no middleman between the listener and the podcaster, there is a direct connection between them. A podcaster can build relationships with listeners, which helps in the long-term success of the podcast.
6) Cut costs
Podcasting is a low-cost medium for companies and podcasters. The costs of setup and production are relatively low. Podcasts are an effective communication medium because they can reach a large audience at a low price.
Disadvantages of podcasting
1) Accessibility issues
People must have access to the internet to listen to podcasts, and it is difficult to reach a larger audience if they don’t have access to the internet.
More prominent podcasts with large file sizes and video podcasts have become a significant issue. There is still a large population in developing and underdeveloped countries that do not have internet access. This can make it difficult for businesses to reach their target audience.
2) Finding & reaching audiences
With millions of podcasts on thousands of topics available, ranking on Google podcasts or iTunes for a specific topic is challenging. It can be disheartening and a test of patience for companies to produce episode after episode with no audience listening.
Finding the right niche and audience for the content businesses want to produce takes time and effort. Podcasting has become highly competitive with large-scale production studios and movie / TV entry into this space.
3) Difficulty in IP & content protection
It is difficult for businesses to protect their intellectual property or content from being copied by others. Anyone can easily replicate their content, make minor changes, and publish it. However, this is a problem for popular podcasters and large studios. It is not easy to identify and control such misuse of content.
Reasons to include podcasts in a PR strategy
1) Extended thought leadership opportunities
Pitching a podcast guest to a podcast host works the same way as pitching a story to a journalist. The company sending the pitch must determine what the guest they’re pitching can speak about and what they have experience with. Following that, they must search for relevant podcasts by topic. For example, a search for “podcasts on SaaS founders” can yield a specialized list of podcasts on which their boss or client could speak.
Podcasts work for thought leaders in the same way that articles do. Making a guest appearance on a respected podcast builds consumer trust. It also increases visibility by helping companies to be present on various mediums, and gives a company or client an advantage in the industry.
Businesses should use podcasts as another channel to position their brand or client as a thought leader in their industry. With millions of monthly listeners, this is bound to amplify a company’s PR strategy by increasing visibility across multiple platforms.
2) Plethora of SEO benefits
Public relations professionals are responsible for getting their brand’s or client’s name out there and in relevant places, whether that’s on TV, in print, or online. SEO plays a significant role in customers discovering brands and finding their products.
Being a guest on a podcast is a great way to boost a brand’s SEO presence in a manageable way. Most podcasts include recorded conversation, in addition to show notes and an accompanying blog post. This gives the brand twice the exposure and additional backlinks from a credible source.
Podcasts age differently compared articles, especially when the topic of the podcast is evergreen. Unlike articles, which become obsolete after two or so years, podcast episodes are almost “ageless” because people can still find valuable information within them for a long time after they are released. Another advantage is that being a guest naturally drives referral traffic to a brand’s website over time. This means that referral traffic from podcast appearances can continue to be steady and trickle in for many years.
3) Increased ease of consumption
Podcasts are unique because they can broaden a company’s audience due to how they are consumed. When podcasts are combined with traditional PR methods, a brand or client can be featured across multiple mediums that appeal to different demographics.
People are naturally busy, making sitting down and reading an article challenging. Podcasting makes a brand’s content accessible to people who aren’t interested in reading an entire article but prefer to multitask while listening.
Furthermore, podcasts provide a unique way for businesses to captivate an audience and tell their story. While articles are limited in word count, podcasts allow guests to tell their stories in greater depth than a typically written article.
Podcasts not only allow businesses to reach out to those who prefer audio over text but also allow brands to tell their stories in a more comprehensive format. Thought leaders and brands can demonstrate their expertise in ways that written articles cannot.
4) No shortage of niche topics
When it comes to pitching and securing a placement in top-tier publications such as Forbes or Entrepreneur, the audience isn’t always within a company’s ideal niche. Podcasts come in handy in this situation.
Companies can pitch their thought leaders to podcasts that are hyper-focused on their brand’s target audience. There is a podcast for every topic, so focusing on the topics on which their thought leader can speak or that are specific to their brand is fantastic for exposure.
5) Guests have full control over the stories told
Another advantage of incorporating podcasts into a company’s public relations strategy is that they have complete control over the story being told. Working with a journalist can help a company to determine what is newsworthy and worth including for their audience. However, podcasts allow businesses to dictate the story and share the essential aspects.
Journalists are masters of their craft, and they understand what resonates with their audiences. The exposure from a written placement is significant. On the other hand, incorporating podcasting into their PR strategy also gives businesses a bigger advantage in creating a complete story for those interested in their brand. It allows for the opinions of others (journalists) and their views and stories.
Top 10 PR podcasts to listen to in 2023
1) Perfect PR with Jaimie Abbott
This podcast is dedicated to helping businesses to raising their profile and grow their business (and income) through public relations and public speaking. This is the place to start for a company that is entirely new to the field and is faced with the challenge of getting the word out about their small business. On the public speaking front, it’s a great guide to developing an incredible secret weapon for many who find themselves in front of groups. Learning how to persuade the audience when a company is in the spotlight is always a helpful skill.
2) The Hansen & Hunt Podcast
The Hansen & Hunt Podcast is the go-to source for relevant news and public relations, communications, and marketing tips. Arik Hanson and Kevin Hunt are the podcast’s creators, and both have a wealth of experience to share with listeners.
People look forward to Hanson and Hunt’s weekly updates because they cover topics like data journalism and fake sponsored content.
3) Social PR Secrets with Lisa Buyer
In Social PR Secrets, a former journalist and communications professional provides weekly public relations ideas for small and large businesses. With nearly 200 episodes in her library, there is plenty to scroll through when looking for a place to start, and audiences will undoubtedly find something that matches their needs.
4) For Immediate Release
People can always count on For Immediate Release to serve an insightful and exciting episode with in-depth interviews, analysis, data, and much more. A collection of fascinating hosts who share their industry insights and understandings, discuss upcoming trends, and more. The podcast also covers general business practices for public relations and communications firms.
5) The PRovoke Podcast
The PRovoke Podcast produces enticing episodes that focus on the entire public relations industry, as one might expect from the group formerly known as The Holmes Report. With interviews and discussions on current topics and future trends, listeners are sure to find an episode to satisfy their podcast cravings regardless of their mood.
6) Become A Media Maven with Christina Nicholson
Join media expert Christina Nicholson on this weekly podcast about all things communications. Christina founded Media Maven after working as a TV anchor and reporter for over ten years. Episodes of Becoming A Media Maven draw on Christina’s extensive experience to provide people with actionable advice on improving their reputation and online authority.
7) The Public Relations Podcast
The Public Relations Podcast is a casual podcast with interesting facts from the worlds of media, celebrities, brands, and businesses. Guests share in-depth accounts of their journeys and experiences. They’re also encouraged dive deeper into their own stories. This is a great listen for PR professionals who want to get to know specific guests in the field well.
8) On The Media with Brooke & Bob
On The Media with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield is well worth a listen for incredibly insightful discussions on worldwide trending topics and how they affect our lives. The podcast delves into the specifics of various topics generating significant buzz in the media and worldwide.
9) PR Roundtable with Jesse Wynants
In the PR Roundtable, Prezly founder Jesse Wynants, meets with interesting people who are making big moves in the PR industry once a month to pick their brains. Topics include how data informs strategy, how to start a public relations firm, podcasting tips, and more.
Listening to PR Roundtable is a great way to stay current in the ever-changing world of communications.
10) Marketing Over Coffee with John & Chris
Marketing Over Coffee is a weekly casual podcast that keeps people up to date on the latest technological developments that may significantly impact a company’s work. This podcast will help companies stay one step ahead without getting bogged down in jargon. Companies will find lots of relevant content. This is true regardless of whether they want to take advantage of these developments themselves or be informed about the challenges and opportunities that the people they work with may be facing.
Public relations is not an easy task, especially when it comes to finding suitable podcasts and journalists to pitch. As a result, it is sometimes prudent to seek out a public relations agency with the necessary knowledge and expertise. The most effective PR strategies are integrated PR strategies that employ various tools to increase brand visibility. In this day and age, these PR efforts should include podcasts.
How Pressfarm can help you craft an effective podcast pitch
Do you need help pitching your podcast guest to reputable podcasts within your niche?
By hiring the services of professionals such as the ones at Pressfarm, connecting with podcasts and podcast hosts is easy. When you sign up, the account executive will create a customized media list to help you connect with the best podcasters in your niche. With access to a database of 1 million+ journalists and influencers, you can widen your contact list even further.
If you need help crafting the perfect pitch, the PR specialists and expert writers at Pressfarm can help you do that too. In addition to crafting a pitch, they can also write an engaging press release as well as some compelling guest posts highlighting the insight that your guest can offer their podcast. Finally, with an eye-catching media kit, you can pitch your guest in a memorable way.
With help from Pressfarm, you can put your podcast guest in the spotlight where they belong.