By Heidi Otway, APR, CPRC
President of SalterMitchell PR and Host of the Fluent in Floridian Podcast
FPRA Member Since 2003
There are more than 1.7 million podcasts, and over 43 million episodes in play across the globe. Prior to COVID-19, 49% of podcast listening was done at home, 32% was in the car. If you’re considering creating a podcast for your company or client, I encourage you to go for it!
Yes, the field is crowded, but 75 percent of U.S. households are familiar with podcasting. If you’re in the 25 percent that are not, podcasting is a digital audio file available to download or stream on a computer or mobile device. Podcasts are typically recorded interviews or conversations about specific topics. Most podcasts are produced as a series or in new installments that subscribers receive automatically.
Creating Our Podcast
Fifty percent of all U.S. homes are podcast fans, and companies, brands, nonprofits, media and even individuals, are producing programs to inform and engage these listeners. SalterMitchell PR firm started its podcast in 2017 to introduce and elevate our new brand. The Fluent in Floridian podcast features in-depth conversations with influential leaders across the state. Listeners tune in to hear the state’s movers and shakers talk about issues that Floridians care about, what inspires them to lead, and where they see our state headed.
Podcasting has a low barrier to entry, yet listeners want great content. Before launching our podcast, we spent months forming a strategy, defining our target audience, developing a production plan, creating a microsite to host episodes, and building a list of notable Florida leaders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to interview. We also identified key performance indicators to track audience engagement and growth.
How to Produce a Podcast
We purchased equipment to produce the podcast in-house, and learned how to record, edit, and post the podcast on Apple iTunes, Spotify and other popular audio platforms. Our earlier guest interviews were done in person using a portable recorder and microphone. As our guest list grew, we switched to newer tools to interview guests remotely and improve production quality. Since the pandemic, our podcast interviews are produced virtually using Squadcast.fm to record both high-quality audio and video of the conversations.
Why do you want to do a Podcast?
If you’re considering podcasting as a PR tool, the first thing you should do is determine why you want to do it. When people call me asking for tips and insights, I first ask them why they want to do a podcast. While there are tons of “how-tos” on the internet, most of the people I spoke to hadn’t considered the planning, production and promotions needed to create and sustain a quality podcast that attracts listeners. Producing a podcast with high-value content takes work.
Keys to Success
We’ve produced more than 80 podcasts. Here are some keys to our success that you should consider:
- Make the podcast an integral part of your brand
- Hire a college student to be an associate producer/producer (shout out to Florida State University grads Jacob Freid and Claudia Craig!)
- Invest in quality equipment and/or an online recording platform for remote interviews
- Promote each new podcast on social media
- Invest in paid digital and social media advertising to build an audience and increase subscribers
- Send a link to newly released podcasts to the media
- Use the podcast for blog posts and/or e-newsletter content
The Future of Podcasting
Clubhouse, the invite-only live audio streaming app, is growing and generating a lot of buzz. I’ve been listening to programs on the audio social network and believe it has the potential to pull audiences away from recorded podcasts or alter the way podcasts are currently produced. Newly launched podcasts are more niche and getting shorter in length — less than 15 minutes long. With new platforms, trends, and format changes, podcasting has greater potential as a PR tool for brands.
Heidi Otway, APR, CPRC
Decades of experience has solidified Heidi as an expert in all aspects of media, communications, marketing, and audience engagement. She has led numerous public relations and public affairs initiatives, managed the reputation of top corporations, and developed campaigns targeting diverse stakeholders across Florida. For every client and cause, she relentlessly pursues results that can help them win.
Her work has supported clients in Florida’s top industries and sectors. She is accredited by the Universal Accreditation Board for public relations and is a Certified Public Relations Counselor. Many of her award-winning campaigns for organizations and businesses helped their good causes win. Evidence of her strategies, innovative ideas, and creativity can be found across Florida.