What non-journalist podcasters think

A successful podcaster who is fed up with pitches told me something that resonated.

His viewpoint is typical – most podcasts are not run by journalists. They’re people who are either experts in their fields, or want to be. So once they achieve some traction and get noticed (or start getting listed on some PR Facebook group :), they are sincerely confused by most of the emails they start getting from strangers.

“You should have my CEO on your podcast . . .” That sounds really weird when you think about it.

The same thing happened a while ago when bloggers started achieving critical mass (but before the term “influencer” was widely understood). You might have someone who just started posting her favorite recipes and suddenly people are asking her to “cover” their new avocado peeler.

When my wife’s sewing blog started taking off, she’d sit at her laptop and read aloud the email pitches from the dog food companies and auto parts companies, first in wonder and then in frustration. I was like, “I get it, they’re not relevant to you.” But this was a totally new phenomenon to her.

Most journalists, if given truth serum, will admit that PR people can be quite helpful at times. But not these non-journalists who are becoming predisposed to be annoyed at any pitch. They didn’t ask for this, they don’t even think they need PR people. So what’s the antidote?

The suggestion came from Jay Acunzo, the popular marketing keynoter and author who also runs two podcasts and a training program for branded podcasts. He was the guest expert on my recent Inner Circle training on pitching podcasts and developing your own.

He said that the next PR person who contacts him with a collaborative approach will be the first. Instead of blind recommendations, Jay is open to the person who analyzes his show, raises an idea he hasn’t addressed yet that fits his style, and asks, “What do you think? Is there something here?”

You could possibly try that with a hard-to-reach journalist, too, although I think you’re better served putting your best stuff in your initial email. But for a class of people who don’t think they need any suggestions, it’s definitely better to position yourself as a resource for the long run rather than a one-hit wonder now.

Jay and I also covered:

  • More insights from the other end of podcast pitches
  • The magic words most podcasts include right on their website that are missing from most pitches
  • The two key questions to answer when deciding whether to launch a branded podcast
  • If you do launch, how to build not just listeners, but subscribers

The training session is available exclusively for members of the Inner Circle. We’re not accepting new members now, but you can get free bonuses by registering for our Wait List, and be notified when we open up next.

This article was originally published on May 12, 2021

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