PR in the age of the Podcast
In late 2014 American journalist Sarah Koenig released a new podcast called ‘Serial,’ and then something strange happened. Everybody listened. It became an inescapable cultural phenomenon which, after over 80 million downloads, gave birth to a new medium. Three years on podcasts have continued to thrive. No longer the refuge solely for true crime aficionados and sports nuts, podcasts present some very real opportunities for the PR profession.
First of all podcasts provide additional platforms for traditional media to distribute new and original content. In Ireland there are countless examples of this, too many to name. The main media outlets all have podcasts on topics such as women in business, politics, and perhaps unsurprisingly technology.
Where podcasts can truly come into their own in as an innovative PR tool is when companies do their own. You might ask who would want to listen to a podcast about a company, and you would be right. But when it is not about your company, but what your business represents, it is a different story. How about a Netflix movie podcast, travelling the world with the InterContinental Group, or even tales of the autumn harvest from your fertiliser supplier? That makes sense doesn’t it, and all of those examples have been hugely successful.
The stand out example is eBay’s Open for Business, a twelve part series on building a business from the ground up. Each episode took interesting case studies from those who had been there and done it, those who had won big and those who have lost it all. It was compelling listening. Most importantly it acted as an inspiration to any would be eBay’er to take the plunge and start selling. Honourable mention must also go to GE for their bravery in developing the hugely popular SciFi podcast The Message.
The key to the most successful branded podcasts is that they aren’t sales pitches. They are authentic and interesting pieces of content. It is about telling the story of your industry or your sector, in a way that leaves people thinking about you.
A final benefit from the podcast revolution for the PR profession is there is a lot of CPD out there for all of us. PR Week and Inside PR gives you all the updates from the global world of PR. But if it is case studies you are after look no further, or listen no further than For Immediate Release.