With an estimated 575 podcasts started every day, it’s no wonder that many companies are looking to podcast booking agencies to help them line up podcast appearances.
Keeping up with rising podcasts is a full-time job!
And yet, there are benefits to keeping your podcast outreach in-house. You know your brand story, messages and timely angles inside-and-out, and these are compelling reasons not to bring in an outside firm to represent you.
So, is podcast outreach something you should manage internally, or is it time to bring in an expert?
To help you make the best decision for your company or organization, today I’m sharing the pros and cons to outsourcing podcast outreach.
The big 4 benefits of outsourcing your podcast outreach
1. A company dedicated to podcast outreach can save you hours of research and database management each week.
Most PR people have grown used to using media databases like Cision to quickly and easily source email addresses and phone numbers for the journalists they want to reach. When they branch out into podcast PR, they’re dismayed to learn that very few podcasts are listed in the media directories.
That means that you have to find podcasts that old-fashioned way, through understanding what your audience is looking for in a show, tracking them down, getting to know their content, and then researching the best way to contact the podcast host or producer.
This process takes quite a bit of time.
A company like ours, who specializes in podcast bookings, has been steadily building up our own database of podcast contacts. Right now, we have 479 podcasts in our database, complete with show profiles and contact information. This cuts down hours upon hours of research time for each project, so we can spend less time on research and more time making the connections that lead to bookings.
2. We have relationships with many of the podcasts you want to appear on.
One of my pet peeves is when PR people act like relationships are the end-all, be-all to our work.
Anyone can cultivate strong relationships with podcasters, journalists and others working in the media.
All it takes is the time and willingness to understand what that media professional needs from you to do their job better. In other words, if you bring some empathy and emotional intelligence to the task, you will be able to cultivate relationships with podcasters.
However, I do understand that cultivating relationships with podcasters does not make it to the top of your priority list!
Just because you can spend the time researching a podcaster’s interests, listening to their show, and brainstorming awesome interview topics you can provide them with doesn’t mean this is the best use of your time and resources.
The relationships Podcast Ally has cultivated with podcasters is a reflection of the time and care we’ve given to doing the legwork of getting to know individual podcasters, so that we can be a better resource to them.
3. Your outreach partner will look at your messages with greater objectivity, which can help you find that perfect, unique angle.
I often joke with clients that our team needs to simultaneously act as their #1 cheerleader and their most honest critic.
In order to craft the best introductions for you, it’s our job to both believe in your work and the value you offer, and take an honest look at the topics that are going to be the most compelling to podcasters.
This requires a critical eye, an awareness of trends in coverage, and the ability to sift through the content and make tough decisions on what to pitch and what to leave out, at least for the moment.
It can be difficult to look at your work with that level of detachment, and this reflection back of what’s most compelling about your message right now is one of the unexpected benefits of outsourcing their podcast outreach that our clients universally rave about.
4. We know what works.
Should you start every email by complimenting the show? How much detail should you include in a podcast pitch? Should you name-drop a contact you have in common?
From 8 years of teaching PR, I’ve seen how questions like these can stall even the most successful companies.
Because too often the answer goes, “It depends…”
Should you compliment a podcast host? Yes, but only if you can be sincere and specific. There’s nothing worse than copy-and-paste flattery.
How much detail should you include in your pitch? Just as much as it takes to get the job done — and that’s usually far less than you think.
And,yes, you should always name drop a common contact.
Podcast Ally has done the work to analyze the results of our pitches to identify what works. We know what we need to include in every pitch, and how we can customize them to make each email feel personal to each podcaster we reach out to.
In other words, we’ve put in the legwork, so you don’t have to.
You can see that there’s quite a case to be made for hiring a company like Podcast Ally to handle your podcast outreach, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best option.
When I host a discovery call, my priority is making sure that our outreach services are a fit. I want to understand what your goals are, as well as what assets you bring to the table.
2 signs it’s not the right time for you to outsource podcast outreach
1. You struggle to bring in consistent revenue.
This will be controversial, but I don’t believe in PR as a silver bullet to solve a company’s revenue problems. Some of the CEOs and business owners I meet would benefit from first looking at your actual sales processes and product delivery.
A lot of this comes down to the lead times with podcast outreach.
It will take an outside company or contractor time to get to know your messages and develop great pitches for you.
But beyond this, it takes time for you to see results from PR.
Let me share a common timeline, so you can understand this better.
We’ve cut our onboarding process down from a month to 2 weeks, so we’re able to start introducing a new client to podcasts quickly.
It usually takes a few weeks to a month to get your first booking.
Then, when the podcaster agrees to have you on, you will have to wait anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months to actually record that interview.
Then, there is another waiting period while the podcaster edits your interview and schedules it into their feed.
To put this in perspective, we’ve had client interviews posted as fast a 2 weeks from the time they were accepted on the show up to a year later. Four to five months is the norm.
Podcast outreach is a tactic best used by companies and organizations who are in a position to invest in the long-term sustainability of their business.
It’s not a strategy that will quickly turnaround a struggling business.
2. You, or someone on your team, is a super connector, or you already have relationships with podcasters.
I’ve taught PR courses to small business owners, startup founders and nonprofit leaders for the past 8 years, and I will be the last person to tell you that you can’t pitch a podcast on your own.
This is a skill set that can be learned and managed in-house. If you have someone on staff who is a super connector, or you already have relationships with the top podcasts in your industry, it may well be best for you to manage your own podcast outreach program.
We do work with clients who fit this bill, often when they’re in the midst of a big, all-hands-on-deck project.
Many of our author clients have been super connectors with networks that even had us in awe!
They trusted that we would represent them thoughtfully and were relieved to be able to hand off this part of the work.
But in their normal operations, these super connector clients happily took back their own podcast outreach, and we’re happy to see them thrive.
This all goes back to my initial point about the benefits. Many of our clients, especially among the most successful, could manage their own podcast bookings. They choose to hand it off to us, because their in-house staff has other priorities like sales, launch coordination, customer success and even marketing.
Where you land on this question depends quite a bit on the workload and priorities of your existing staff, and how much growing your audience and spreading your message is a priority.