Podcasts and PR - should you be getting involved?

Should you be thinking about starting a podcast? How would it fit within your PR and communications strategy? 

Not a day goes by without a great new podcast being recommended, but just how much effort should we be investing in getting involved?

Last month British Vogue launched its first podcast. Presented by Steve McQueen, it will allow the fashion bible to engage with its readers in a different way; to diversify, freshen its offering and try something new. In the business world Estate Gazette also launched a new podcast focusing on technology called Tech Talk Radio.

There’s no denying that the appetite for podcasts continues to grow - but should you jump onto the bandwagon? Indeed, the appetite for audio in general shows no sign of abating - an article in The Times this weekend revealed a new partnership between Audible and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art to teach aspiring young actors the skills needed to voice audio books and podcasts.

In June 2018, Apple estimated the number of active podcast shows at 550,000 with more than 18.5m listeners - a number which is almost certainly likely to have risen further since.

RAJAR research revealed 24% of UK adults have listened to a podcast at least once. Digging down into their appeal, Ofcom found that 51% listen to podcasts because they find them interesting, while 26% seek to learn something new. BBC Radio 4 and TED Talks were the most popular.

Listening activities grow in popularity as people seek to make the most of their time. It’s also driven by advancements in technology, namely in-car entertainment systems and smart speakers. 

But is there opportunity to utilise this new potential channel within your PR strategy? 

The first question to ask is whether you have unique content? Do you have something that isn’t readily available that will interest people? Can you teach people something new and, perhaps most importantly, can you keep them coming back? 

The most successful podcasts are regular, so it’s also important to be able to commit to providing content. It must also have longevity - you don’t want to be reinventing the wheel once you’ve built a loyal following.

Is there an opportunity to team up with a partner or professional body to provide a podcast series, perhaps even a limited number to coincide with a major date in the calendar or an industry conference?

For most businesses and brands, while podcasts can be produced at a minimal cost, the answer will lie not in creating their own but by engaging with other, established podcasts in their relevant field. As a PR consultant, it’s vital to now consider opportunities for clients to contribute to podcast conversations as we would ‘traditional’ radio and television shows.

So, while your own podcast may not be the answer, you may want to brush up those broadcast skills for a guest appearance.