How Jessica Rhodes is ‘Monetizing the Mic’ With Her Unique Approach to Podcast Booking
We’re going meta in this episode of the PR Talk Podcast by taking a deep dive into podcasting with Jessica Rhodes, founder of Interview Connections. Since 2013, Jessica’s company has helped entrepreneurs land podcast interviews that lead to measurable return on investment (ROI) outcomes. During this conversation, Jessica chats with host Amy Rosenberg about the important role podcasts can play in a PR outreach strategy, how pitching these opportunities differs from other media types and more.
An Accidental Career
Jessica didn’t set out to start a podcast booking agency. She began her career doing door-to-door canvassing for a nonprofit and became a virtual assistant at 25 because she wanted to launch a home-based business that accommodated her life as a new mother. One of Jessica’s early clients was her father, who is a business coach and long-time podcaster. He asked her to book him on podcasts to increase his visibility. So, she approached podcast hosts with pitches and quickly discovered her niche. Today, Interview Connections has over 20 full-time employees serving 200 clients.
Who Listens to Podcasts?
One common question PRs often get from their clients is, “who listens to podcasts?” Even though listenership statistics have grown year-over-year since 2013, many executives don’t see the value in pursuing or appearing on podcasts. According to Jessica, research shows that podcast listeners are highly-educated, high-income people. What’s more, podcast audiences tend to be a very targeted group, which can pay big dividends for companies.
However, Jessica made a point to mention that podcasts are one place in PR and media strategy where audience size should not be the most significant consideration. In fact, this is often a trap that can leave great opportunities on the table. Jessica prefers to treat podcast appearances as networking opportunities. When vetting opportunities, Jessica seeks out hosts who are aligned with her client’s products or services and can deliver business opportunities or become customers themselves. With those goals in mind, podcast interviews can become 30-40 minute one-on-one pitches to very warm leads. It’s here where Jessica begins connecting podcast appearances with ROI.
Booking is All About the Details
Now that the value of podcast appearances is clear, it’s time to connect clients with hosts. So how does podcast booking differ from other forms of media? Jessica’s biggest tip is to remember that podcast hosts own their shows and are rightfully very protective over their content and audience. With that in mind, PRs should communicate succinctly and clearly why they’re genuinely a good match for the host’s show and audience.
The biggest mistake you can make is to copy and paste the same pitch to everyone. Instead, research the hosts, learn who they are, what their businesses are and how you can add value to their conversations. In these instances, less can be more. So, slow down and focus on connecting the dots for hosts in your pitches.
There’s More to this Conversation
Amy and Jessica covered so much more in their conversation, including follow-up etiquette, delivering effective calls to action at the end of interviews and if including video is really necessary in today’s podcasting world. So, tune in to the episode to hear more.
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About the Guest: Jessica Rhodes
Jessica Rhodes founded Interview Connections, the world’s first podcast booking agency, in 2013 when no other agencies like it existed. Recently awarded the 2022 Bronze Stevie Award for Marketing Agency of the Year and Podcast Booking Agency of the Year by Corporate Vision Magazine, Jessica & the Interview Connections team is responsible for booking thousands of podcast interviews a year, leading to millions of dollars in revenue for their clients. She has been podcasting since 2014 and currently co-hosts her podcast, Monetize the Mic.
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