If you’re like one-third of Americans, chances are you listen to podcasts regularly. According to data gathered by podcast hosting platform, Buzzsprout, 116 million Americans have listened to a podcast in the past month, and as of August 2021 there are more than 2.1 million podcasts that have collectively published 48 million episodes. For PR pros, it’s important to note that there are exponentially more opportunities to secure podcast interviews than with newspapers, magazines, newsletters or any other news outlets.

In honor of International Podcast Day on Sept. 30, I’m sharing some best practices and advice that I’ve learned while securing dozens of podcast interviews for clients in recent months. In this post, I’ll share one specific reason you may want to consider podcasts for your clients (if you haven’t already) as well as some tips for identifying the right podcasts for your clients. In part two I’ll share pointers on pitching podcasts and how to prepare your clients for their podcast interview as well as what you should do to gain maximum value from any client podcast opportunity.

There are plenty of reasons to consider a podcast for your clients, but one of my favorites is the ability to self-promote their insights, products and services. Journalists are increasingly stretched thin, meaning it’s more difficult than ever to secure interviews for our clients. While contributed articles can help fill the gaps between news cycles, publishers almost always require that topics remain vendor-neutral and neither directly nor indirectly promote a company’s products or services. Podcast hosts, on the other hand, will typical allow – even encourage – their guests to promote their company during the interview. This makes podcast interviews an outstanding earned media opportunity for many clients!

Now that you’ve convinced your client to include podcasts in their media relations strategy, you’ll need to identify the right podcasts to pitch. Given that universe of more than 2 million podcasts, knowing where to begin can be daunting. For starters, there’s Google, but this option is not for the faint of heart. Let’s say your client is looking to share advice on how they’re helping lead enterprises through successful digital transformations.

You can start by searching for “digital transformation” and “podcasts,” but you’ll find endless pages of results. It’s going to take some time to wade through that sea of results to zero in on the best opportunities for your client. You may get lucky and come across a list of “top digital transformation podcasts” from a source like Feedspot to start building your list. You may also try searching within a few popular podcast platforms to see which shows come up in the results. The tips I shared in my earlier post on building better media lists apply here as well.

Another option is to try a podcast database service like Podseeker. This type of tool is incredibly useful for populating lists of potential podcast targets with the added benefit of allowing you to sort results by average rating, number of episodes published, most recently published episode, and more. Using the “digital transformation” example, a quick Podseeker search turned up nearly 400 results – with more than 50 of those having published over 100 episodes each. Not all of these results may be a fit for your client, but it certainly provides a better-defined starting point than a simple Google search.

Now that you’ve started identifying some promising podcasts for your client, here are a few pointers I’d suggest for narrowing your target list:

1.     Watch out for podcasts that may be sponsored by competitor brands. This may be more obvious if the podcast is hosted on a company website, but less so if it’s hosted on a podcasting platform like Buzzsprout. Because of this potential conflict of interest, due diligence is even more important when pitching podcasts compared with traditional journalists.

2.     Look for podcasts that have produced more than a handful of episodes (unless they just started podcasting). If they only publish one podcast every few months, they may not have established a dedicated following like shows that put out new episodes every week. But if they’re just getting started, they may not yet be overwhelmed with pitches from other PR pros!

3.     Similarly, make sure the podcast you’re targeting maintains a steady cadence of new episodes (e.g., every few days, weekly, every other week). If the podcast hasn’t published any new episodes in the past 90 days, they may be between seasons – or they may have stopped podcasting. I personally wouldn’t waste any time pitching a podcast that hasn’t published a new episode in the past year.

These tips should get your podcast PR program started on the right foot. Stay tuned for part two where I’ll share advice for pitching podcasts and how to prepare your client for that awesome podcast interview you’ve secured for them!