Wedding PR: Podcast Media Chit-Chat
In recent years, we’ve seen how wedding industry podcasts have really become the new frontier when it comes to sharing expertise and continuing education, especially on a conversational level that tried-and-true print and online media can’t necessarily achieve. That being said, the idea of pursuing podcasts to connect with your target audience is extremely appealing.
To get more of an inside look, I had the joy of sitting down with Kimberly and Annie of the This Week in Weddings podcast – a show that’s at the helm of a self-proclaimed ‘support group’ for wedding industry entrepreneurs and professionals!
Both Kimberly and Annie had some amazing advice regarding the world of podcast pitching and wedding PR strategies for utilizing the medium to elevate both your business and yourself.
Best Practices for Pitching
Believe it or not, the hardest part about becoming a podcast guest is crafting a pitch to the host(s) that will get you noticed. Regardless of the wedding industry podcast, it’s crucial to understand that they likely receive dozens of pitches and ideas sent to them every day, so you have to stand out amongst the crowd.
One of the biggest guides when sitting down to write a pitch is actually identifying the big don’ts and working from there. Research the show and think about their target audience (including whether the podcast caters to wedding industry pros or wedding couples, for example), as well as some background on recent guests and topics, even the hosts themselves.
Additionally, etiquette when pitching is often overlooked, but can really make or break your chances at scoring a place in the hot seat. Keep all of the basics in mind – spell names correctly, fill out a podcast submission form if the show website has one, and be mindful of the fact that the hosts are probably extremely busy and will need a little time with getting back to you.
“Follow-ups are highly encouraged, because we’re busy people. Because there’s two of us, sometimes things do slip through the cracks, so following up is never a bad thing for us. However, try to give us a week to two weeks – we could be traveling, in the midst of busy season, or maybe just haven’t discussed it with each other yet since we talk about every episode together,” says Kimberly and Annie.
What Can You Bring to the Table?
Put yourself in the host’s shoes. What would attract you to a potential guest? There are a number of things to consider when mapping out your pitch and corresponding topic, but ultimately you want to make sure that you’re bringing valuable, relevant, timely content to the table.
If you’re wondering what sort of expertise you should be offering the show, go through and really listen to and analyze the recent topics. Set your sights on something that few others in your industry can speak on – for example, generalized talks like ‘Succeeding in the Floral Industry’ are unfortunately a dime a dozen and are most likely too similar to other topics that a well-established podcast will have already covered.
At the end of the day, you also don’t want to alienate a measurable portion of their audience that this doesn’t apply to. That isn’t to say that you can’t use the above as a starting point, just put some strategic thought into how you can make that idea a little more appealing to the show’s audience as a whole. Don’t be afraid to dig deep!
In discussing a specifically wedding-focused podcast, it’s undoubtedly a common assumption that you have to be a wedding professional in order to participate as a guest. Annie says otherwise: “Of course, the name of our podcast is This Week in Weddings, so by nature, we want to focus on weddings. That said, you can be an accountant, you can teach about meditation – any practices that we can take and relate to our industry that don’t necessarily have to be event-focused.”
The Tough Talk on Topics
We’ve discussed the general format of brainstorming topics, but here’s the tricky part: how do you know which topics the hosts themselves want to explore? It’s pretty rare for a show to put out a call for topics (if at all), and it can be hard to navigate what they may be interested in unpacking and what they simply aren’t.
This is where you can really get those creative juices flowing. Consider the tone and vibe of the podcast; do they speak on lesser-explored topics such as divorce or sales-specific techniques? Strive for the material that will really catch their eye, as well as subjects that may lift you out of your comfort zone.
That brings us to pitches about the elephants in the room – the controversial topics. Some hosts may have differing opinions on this regarding the type of content they want to expose to their listeners, but it’s okay to keep these kinds of ideas in your back pocket if you’re passionate and positive about them. It can be scary to approach something a little different or uncomfortable for some industry pros to think about, but when packaged appropriately, it can open the door to important conversations.
“Maybe something bad happened in your business, but you’re still afloat and able to maintain a successful business – we like that. We just really try to be real, and our job is to make guests feel comfortable, regardless of the subject matter,” both Kimberly and Annie say.
Do You Really Need Podcast Experience to Be a Guest?
The short answer is no. One of the blessings about podcasts is that they’re meant to be easygoing and conversational by nature. There’s a common misconception that in order to be considered as a guest, you need to have extensive speaking experience. The difference between a wedding industry podcast and your typical speaking engagement is that the latter is usually is accompanied by a PowerPoint and is fairly scripted. Depending on the overall tone and formality of the show, the more the conversation flows naturally, the better!
Annie agrees with this point, noting, “We don’t want scripts. We’re not fully polished and we don’t expect you to be. If you have a good topic and you are a good conversationalist, pitch away and come be on our podcast! There’s really no set formula.”
How to Prepare for Your Interview
Congrats, you got picked up for an interview! So, how do you prepare? This question may stump some of you that haven’t previously secured a podcast interview, and rightfully so as the days leading up to your episode might seem a little intimidating. Here are some tips for ensuring that you make the most of your guest spot.
First and foremost, you’ll want to thoroughly read through the instructions given to you by the host. This often includes a link to schedule your interview, technical specs that you need to know, and what is needed from you regarding your topic. We typically send over the short and sweet basics, things like a bio, headshot, social media links, and talking points for the client.
Your preparation may look different as opposed to someone else’s, and that’s okay! Once your talking points have been outlined, that’s a great place to start if you’re the type that needs to practice a bit, pre-interview. However, both Kimberly and Annie recommend that you don’t make your talk too scripted, otherwise it inhibits the natural chat during the talk itself.
Then we approach the technical aspect of setting up. There are a few basic rules to live by, and I promise that anyone can do these, no matter what your level of computer literacy is!
- Check that you have a strong Wi-Fi connection on the day of your interview
- Test your microphone ahead of time (and video if you’re planning to do so)
- Avoid using mobile devices for the interview, as this can sometimes cause connection issues
- Eliminate as many outside noise factors as possible, including securing pets, making an effort to relocate to a quiet room if necessary, etc.
- Make sure that you coordinate with the host(s) on what the meeting platform will be (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.)
If your interviewer uses a specific software, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research to figure out if your device is compatible, as well as how user-friendly it is. You may need to do a little practice with navigating the software if this is the case.
“We use a special software called Zencastr, and this is a great example of doing your due diligence and checking out the platform beforehand. It’s great with PCs, but if your company has a firewall set up, you may experience some hiccups. However, one thing that’s really helpful is the feature they have where you can essentially do a quick test run to make sure your audio is working. Things like these prevent any troubleshooting from cutting into your interview time,” according to Annie.
The Importance of Your Social Media as a Guest
Simply put, you don’t need to have a wildly high number of followers in order to be considered as a guest for a podcast. And vice versa, having a huge social media following doesn’t automatically secure you a spot on any show of your choosing. That said, your online presence does make an impression to a certain degree.
For example, the show’s host(s) is going to do their part on researching you prior to accepting you as a guest or before your upcoming interview. An active, engaging role in social media shows that you’re not only consistent, but you care about making an impact on your audience.
“Some of our greatest guests don’t have a lot of followers. If you follow our rules, send us your information and have an amazing topic or pitch, we’re still going to take you seriously even if you have 100 followers. We take on guests that we think are going to help our listeners based on what they have to offer, topic-wise,” adds Annie.
Promoting Your Interview When All is Said and Done
The work doesn’t stop once you’ve turned off your computer! You should feel incredibly accomplished and proud of yourself for tackling your wedding industry podcast interview, but the important thing is to understand that promoting your episode once it goes live is key. It’s okay to do a little bragging and shout it from your social media platforms, before and after you record your talk. The host(s) will appreciate it, and you’ll give your client base and followers something to look forward to.
Circling back to the importance of providing a headshot, most podcasts will actually create a promotional graphic for you to use. This is a super simple way to give exposure to both you and the show itself, so definitely take advantage of this.
Kimberly and Annie note that this is a huge plus, and doing so definitely bumps you up in their book. “However you normally connect with your audience, we would love for you to do so when all is said and done. We have some guests who may have recorded a year ago, and they’re still periodically promoting their episode or someone else’s episode in whatever they’re doing. We always love that! The great thing about being on the podcast is that your episode is timeless.”
Well-seasoned veteran or wedding industry podcast newbie, these are all wedding PR tips that you can take into your next interview and use to round out some already thoughtful expertise that you’d like to share with the industry.
To learn more about This Week in Weddings podcast, click here.
If you’d like help with podcast pitching, check out the OFD Collective Membership.