In 2018 Annual Conference

By Kacie Escobar, Orlando Chapter (Twitter: @kacieboniberger)

Podcasts are becoming a popular tool used by organizations to reach key audiences while they’re on the go. For PR pros interested in incorporating this tool into their strategy, getting started can be the biggest challenge.

Here are insights and resources shared by Deirdre Breckinridge, CEO of Pure Performance and host of the “Women Worldwide” podcast, and Joe McLeod, founder of McLeod Communications and co-host of the “PR & Politics” podcast, on how to launch an authentic, new experience for your stakeholders:

  • Select a topic that interests you, too. While the foremost concern of a new podcast should be eliciting a desired response from listeners, it’s important to balance this with developing content that interests you.  Breckinridge and McLeod manage podcasts on completely different topics, but each project was born from an intersection of the hosts’ unique personal passions and professional experience.  This enables them to bring their authentic voices to the show and reinforce the brand promise they’ve made to consumers.
  • Choose the right tools to make your job easier.Once your podcast topic has been identified, it’s time to fill the technology toolbox.  Some of the tools Breckinridge and McLeod recommend trying include:
  • Avoid the impulse to edit. Beware of the bells and whistles included in popular editing tools.  Listeners crave the imperfect, conversational nature of this medium.  Remind your guests the conversation is being recorded and allow them the opportunity to restate something if needed, but don’t edit flaws in the audio unless it completely detracts from the message – such as coughing or the mispronunciation of a proper name.  It might make you cringe to hear “ums” and awkward pauses, but this will endear your listeners.
  • Engage in self-promotion. As your podcast gains popularity, consider creating separate communications channels to support the project.  Both Breckinridge and McLeod have websites, blogs and dedicated social media pages to support podcast content.  Posting compelling quotes from the episode and audio cards on social media, or expanding upon popular topics with a written blog are great tactics to increase listeners.
  • Measure success and adjust accordingly. You can easily measure success with several methods, including website analytics and episode link clicks.  On some podcast hosting platforms, you can even pay to access data on the number of unique listeners, as well as how long they listened to a particular episode.  Once you’ve gained a sizeable following, explore the possibility of leveraging your fan base to attract advertising and sponsorships.

If you’re still on the fence about launching a podcast, try dipping your toe in the water before diving in. Breckinridge recommended serving as a guest host for another podcast or launching a mini-series of your own before committing to a full-time gig.  “There’s no right or wrong way,” she encouraged.

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