Yes, busy executive, you should make time for that podcast

They can be well worth the time.

The benefits of podcasts

Beth Haiken is EVP at Method Communications.

My husband, who works in the wine business, is fond of saying, “Be nice to the busboy — he’ll own the restaurant one day.” The same goes, I’d argue, for trade publications, newsletters and podcasts. But as PR professionals, whose job it is to connect media with sources and explain each world to the other, it’s on us to make the argument that these smaller outlets are worth the time of our busy executives. Here’s how to do it.



  1. Arm yourself with data: Not just about how many media layoffs there have been and how hard it is to land coverage, but about the outlet you’re recommending the executive spend time with. When was it founded? Who runs it? Who writes for it? Who reads it? Who’s been featured previously? What business goal of the company does it speak to (recruiting, product sales, VC visibility)? Does the outlet have an active social presence, or are the reporters particularly good about sharing their stories across channels? You should be prepared to quickly and concisely state why you think this particular opportunity is worthy of this executive’s time and attention.
  2. Come with a story: Is there a reporter you met “way back when” who’s now at one of the outlets everyone wants to be in, or who’s since launched an influential newsletter? Was there an instance where an executive made time to educate a reporter on background that resulted in a connection and subsequent coverage? We do this all the time and sometimes assume everyone else does too, but many executives don’t fully understand the way media relationships are built and evolve over time. 
  3. Make a plan: Every piece of content is a link in the chain; being able to show your client that chain bolsters your persuasive powers. Can an earned media piece become the anchor for a new blog post? Can a podcast become the basis for an earned byline? Especially if you’re asking an executive to spend time with a smaller outlet, being able to articulate how you’ll get maximum impact may help you.
  4. Be honest: There’s nothing wrong with telling an executive, “Look, this is a relatively new podcast that’s still building its listenership, but the host is gaining industry influence. She’s already on the organizing committee of XYZ conference and I think she’s going places. This is a bit of an investment now, but I really believe it will pay off.”
  5. Be flexible: Sometimes you lose. If an executive won’t budge, the reporter might. It’s always worth asking if they’d be willing to speak to another executive, or revert to an emailed Q&A. We don’t love having to ask, but their answer might surprise you.

It’s frustrating to pitch only to have an executive pass on the opportunity you’ve brought. Understanding how to articulate the value of the opportunity is part of the job – and being able to do so convincingly – will make your life easier. 


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