If you had told me 10 years ago that future me would regularly listen to behind-the-scenes tales from episodes of “The Office” or a weekly recap of Hollywood gossip, I would have been highly skeptical. But along came podcasts … and those Office Ladies and entertainment news mavens have become my go-to listens during cardio sessions and road trips. While others’ podcast selections may look different (I see you, true-crime buffs), I know I’m not alone in my podcast habits.

According to trusted market research organization Edison Research, podcasts now account for 24% of all spoken word audio consumption among those over the age of 13, with comedy, culture, news, true-crime, sports and business topping the list of most-popular podcast genres. Pew Research Center reports that nearly a quarter of Americans get their news from podcasts. The stats show that podcasts are here to stay, and there’s still plenty of room for growth in the industry.

How does this translate into opportunity for legal marketers and attorneys? Podcasts are another platform for thought leaders to make their voices, views and capabilities known. Better yet, podcasts are highly targeted and have staying power. While the number of listeners per episode may not be as high as mainstream media, those who listen are listening for a reason — especially if the podcast is highly niche.

I’ve had many a podcast conversation with clients who wonder if their best move is to launch their own firm or practice podcast. For some, yes, it could be. (Take that conversation up with Jaffe podcast guru and producer Steph Maher or Jaffe marketing expert Alan E. Singles, who discuss in detail how to launch a podcast.) But at least as a starting point, I encourage my clients to first look into opportunities to make guest appearances on podcasts that already exist.

What does that process entail? Like more traditional media placements, it all starts with a compelling pitch. Here are my top tips for perfecting your own podcast pitch.

Identify your target podcast

If you’re not yet a podcast listener, start exploring! With more than 5 million podcasts in existence, there’s certainly no shortage of options. As you’re researching and making a short list of targets, make certain that the podcasts you identify fit the necessary criteria. At the very least, a target podcast should:

  • Feature guests or rotating hosts
  • Reach the right audience and have a strong existing audience base
  • Focus on a topic relevant to your practice/industry
  • Speak to you as a listener and future guest thought leader

Keep in mind that a good target podcast may be one that has nothing to do with legal topics at the core, but could benefit from a legal authority who can address various points of the podcast’s theme.

Actually listen to the podcast

Don’t just read the show notes or a recap, but listen to numerous episodes from start to finish. This will help you to get a feel for the podcaster’s personality, communication style, sense of humor (or not), etc. Without knowing and understanding your target, it will be nearly impossible to make a connection in your pitch.

Decide on a proposed topic

Your topic shouldn’t be stale or a repeat of content that has already been produced on the show. What aspect of your practice are you looking to highlight? Can you introduce a new angle to a topic they cover? When possible, your topic should align with a current event or trend. Is there a breaking news item or trend you can speak to? Something niche within your practice that sets you apart from colleagues? Most importantly, what topic is going to provide value to the podcast and its listeners?

Draft your pitch

The pitch should be succinct, but personable and personalized. It should demonstrate not only your knowledge of the proposed topic but also your knowledge of the show and host/producer. Are there inside jokes or commonly used phrases that can be weaved in? Include specific comments about a recent episode and statements that will allow you to create goodwill and rapport via email. Talk to them, not at them. For example:

Dear NAME,

Thank you for producing such a thought-provoking show. I particularly enjoyed episode #137, because it provided a fascinating first-hand glimpse into your industry and the challenges that can arise. To complement that episode, have you ever considered doing a show about XYZ? As someone who advises entrepreneurs on this topic daily, it would be an honor to join you for an episode to cover XYZ. I’m confident it would be a hit with your audience!

So much of what makes a podcast good is the character and temperament of its hosts and guests. Your message should make the recipient feel like they absolutely need to invite you on! And don’t overlook the importance of an attention-grabbing subject line. If your email doesn’t get opened, it won’t get read.

Flaunt your influence

A differentiator is always a good way to round out a pitch. Does your firm or feature attorney have a well-known social presence? It can’t hurt to mention that in your pitch.

As a newer platform, the podcast landscape will certainly continue to shift and develop, and with that will come new opportunities for legal marketers to raise the profiles of their firms and attorneys. Podcasts represent so many things: individuality, connection, entertainment, education and new viewpoints. Find a way to make a mark in this flourishing field!

We would love to hear about your favorite podcast or topics ideas. To discuss your podcast pitch or a favorite episode, contact me, Bethany Chieffallo, at bchieffallo@jaffepr.com.