Over the past few years, podcasts have become increasingly popular with more and more people tuning in to listen to their favorite shows and voices. People of all demographics plug in their headphones and listen to anything from news stories to true crime deep-dives to celebrity and expert interviews, while they walk, drive or work. But it’s not just that people are tuning in for – podcasts are also making waves in many different industries.
Oftentimes, thought leaders join the top podcasters as co-hosts to share a lesson in their industry or to share industry insights. Particularly, PR professionals have become more accustomed to this audio-first platform. Although, podcasts have been used as a PR tool for years, the recent surge in popularity has made them an even more essential part of any PR pro’s toolkit.
With top podcasts receiving millions of international listeners, they have become yet another digital platform for brands to leverage for favorable media coverage. Media relations specialists have been turning to influential and credible podcasters much like they would with the top social media influencers. An interesting interview or favorable review or plug from a well-known podcaster can score you tons of points in the eyes of consumers.
But how did podcasts become so popular in today’s media landscape? A combination of key characteristics are responsible for the skyrocketing popularity of podcasts in the Public Relations industry. At the end of the day, it comes down to convenience, relationships and storytelling. Let’s take a closer look at why these three attributes make podcasts a useful tool in any Public Relations toolkit.
Podcasts offer a newer and easier way to reach audiences. Unlike mainstream media channels like TV and written mediums, podcasts are on-demand and accessible whenever and wherever you go. Without the need for a screen to absorb the content, podcast listeners can tune in while on a walk, doing errands, or even driving in the car. The convenient and accessible nature of podcasts is a big hit with their loyal audience members, but why is this so important to those in the PR industry? In this modern age, people are constantly looking for the newest and easiest way to consume content. This has driven the masses to look to podcasts for important news and insights, thus creating a vibrant and bustling new channel through which Public Relations agencies can share a brand’s message. The ease and convenience of podcasts will only draw more and more people, further establishing podcasting as a viable and imperative channel for brand messaging.
Podcasts build relationships with listeners. By dropping new podcasts daily or weekly in niche areas, podcasters can gain a large following of individuals with shared interests. Connecting with podcasters on common interests only helps to fuel their relationship with listeners, turning many into loyal followers. This helps to build a podcaster’s credibility and to establish themselves as a trusted source of information, similar to that of a social media influencer or trusted editor. Like social media influencers, podcasters set the standard of what is hip and trending in specific industries at any given point in time and can develop a strong influential hold over their audiences. It is imperative that Public Relations professionals recognize their influence and the value of their engaged audience to find opportunities for their clients through this expanding and evolving media channel. Whether that is to promote a specific product or event or arrange a thought-provoking interview with a brand’s spokesperson, podcasts are a great tool for illuminating the voice of a brand, service or community.
Podcasts provide a platform for authentic storytelling. Offering a more conversational venue for unfiltered thoughts and opinions, podcasts are able to enhance storytelling by making it feel more engaging and personal. Public Relations professionals can pitch their clients or experts for guest appearances on different podcasts allowing the brand to tell their own story to listeners. By authentically sharing stories about a brand or product, the spokesperson can connect with the audience on an emotional level and create a more engaging and memorable experience. Not to mention this can help to establish the brand spokesperson as a thought leader in their industry, while also building relationships with podcast hosts and their audiences. Unlike other media channels, the authentic interaction and storytelling inherent in many podcasts ultimately helps to establish greater credibility for a brand in the minds of consumers. Podcasts have become so popular that some creators are even streaming video as well as audio, creating their own ‘talk show’-style content for their audience.
Ultimately, these three features make podcasts a crucial tool for Public Relations professionals. By offering a new way to reach audiences, build relationships, and tell stories, podcasts are an effective means of skyrocketing your client or brand to the forefront of discussion.
Not only can Public Relations professionals leverage podcasts for their clients, but they can also be used to help propel their own messaging. Many companies and organizations are now creating their own branded podcasts as a way to build relationships with their audience and share their message in a more engaging way. Branded podcasts can cover a range of topics related to the company’s mission or industry and can include interviews, case studies, and thought leadership content.
For example, Olive Public Relations’ President, Jennifer von Stauffenberg hosts a podcast called Illuminate Greatness, where she invites guests who are leaders in their industry to share their expertise. Other episodes focus on stories of successful entrepreneurs and how they overcame challenges to achieve their goals. For agencies looking to increase their own SEO and share their expertise, a weekly or monthly podcast is a great way to establish themselves as a thought leader in the industry.
Leveraging the up-and-coming influence of podcasts has become a key component in a successful Public Relations campaign. When developing your next PR strategy and timeline, remember to add in podcast pitching for a variety of different thought leadership opportunities. By offering a new digital media channel, building strong relationships with audiences and providing a space for unfiltered storytelling, podcasts have officially established themselves as an integral player in today’s media landscape.
Written by Eleanor Lazar, Account Executive at Olive Public Relations