How and Why Podcasts Benefit Authors

Not Your Average Interview: The Many Advantages of Podcasts

Welcome back to Smith Publicity’s Industry Innovations Series! In this new 12-part blog series, the Smith Publicity team will explore various industry-related topics: from the evolution of self-publishing to the explosion of podcasts to social media and how it’s changed book marketing and much more. Each month, we will discuss how different innovations have evolved and their impact on our work as book publicists and the industry as a whole. Let’s dive in…

It’s hard to believe that podcasts were virtually unheard of less than twenty years ago. Since their official start in 2004, podcasts have steadily grown—especially during the last decade—to become what they are today: an essential medium for creators and consumers.

Not very long ago, though, radio reigned supreme, and podcasts were not a go-to outlet for authors looking for book coverage. Much like the rise of blogs and their influence, the popularity of podcasts has increased so much that it seems everyone has a podcast these days, just like everyone has a blog. Make no mistake: as plentiful as they are, they continue to be a powerful platform for book coverage.

Why are podcasts considered such a valuable media placement? Consider the following:

  1. Unlike traditional radio shows, the longer format of podcasts offers the opportunity for more in-depth interviews. Authors used to be lucky to score a 3-5 minute interview on the radio, and now they have upwards of an hour to dive into thoughtful conversation. Podcast listeners are information seekers, and authors can get very granular with topics with the time a podcast interview allows. The ripple effect of these long-form interviews is felt in the ability of an author to share their story and expertise and ultimately promote their book. Reports from our publishing clients show that podcasts do, indeed, present spikes in book sales.
  2. Podcasts offer a way to elevate an author’s voice, supporting their thought leadership. By participating in multiple podcast interviews and making rounds as a podcast guests, an author builds their credibility. Becoming a coveted podcast guest is now akin to being a sought-after speaker. Especially if an author has a goal to become a speaker, podcast interviews are an incredible tool to build a “portfolio” of speaking engagements.
  3. Podcast episodes are evergreen, live online, and come with digital links to share. Episodes exist anywhere and everywhere there is the internet. They’re likely available on any podcast platform, offering authors a greater chance of having their interviews heard and shared than a traditional radio interview.
  4. Doing podcast interviews also opens the door to doing even more podcast interviews! One of Smith Publicity’s publicists points out, “I often use episode links in my pitching so that people can hear what an interview with my client might sound like, what kind of topics they can cover, etc. I’ve also had shows reach out about an interview because they heard a client on another show and enjoyed it.” Podcasters listen to lots of podcasts! You never know who is listening.
  5. Finally, podcast contacts are generally more likely to read a client’s book. Because they can get deep into the details, they want to know more about the client and their content, and it’s more likely they’ll discuss the book in the interview. It’s also an excellent opportunity to discuss related topics outside the book, maybe something the author is writing about next or something that was cut from the book.

There’s no doubt about it: podcasts have come a long way, and we predict they will continue to be a significant player in the world of media coverage for authors for years to come.

Written by Jennifer Tucker, Marketing Manager, with Shannon Donaghy, Publicist