The Alphabet company wants to be a full service concierge to the online world, which is why Google recently announced it will begin featuring podcasts on its Google Play hub. Google’s music product manager Elias Roman told Re/code that podcasts enable Google to do everything for its users. By curating playlists and recommendations based on individual interests and moods, Google plans to target a much wider audience than ever previously reached by podcasts.
This is partially the result of a void. Apple has been the primary source of podcasts for its customers and other apps haven’t lived up to the challenge for Android and other mobile users. But will audiences be tuning into podcasts for engaging narratives as they would their favorite TV show?
Probably not, but it also might be too soon to tell. Google’s announcement comes just before the second season premiere of “Serial” – the insanely popular spinoff of “This American Life.”
More than 8 million people have downloaded each episode of the first season of "Serial," according to Pandora, which signed on as the exclusive sponsor for season two to expand the program’s audience. Like Google, Pandora generates playlists and recommendations based on the interests and choices of its listeners.
The Neiman Lab says “the opportunity is ripe for the taking” when it comes to mastering playlist recommendations for podcast listeners. Podcasts not only connect the right audience to an unfolding story, whether it be a gripping mystery or current events, but they also relay it in a unique format that is not as structured or pre-packaged as other forms of media.
And as the way we digest news continues to change, PR professionals must stay on top of new mediums. We must also determine how they are effective and how to maximize their benefit. In that vein, here are a few tips for mastering a podcast interview:
1.) Keep it short. You don’t want to overtake the host or other guests by responding with longwinded answers that segue into various topics. Read short sound bites out loud and practice beforehand to make sure they address the topic and match the tone of the host, whether it’s conversational, academic or humorous.
2.) Watch your tone. Listeners can quickly differentiate between monotone and enthusiastic, and it can mean the difference between capturing their interest or losing it. Natural conversation cues, such as hand gestures and smiling can help avoid sounding flat during the interview, particularly when hosts have mastered the art of the radio voice.
3.) Use personal stories to deliver your message. Listeners will resonate more strongly with personal anecdotes and better understand your purpose and message. Not only are stories more engaging, they stay with the audience longer and help them share it to friends or on their social networks.
4.) Do your research. With more big players in the field like Google, there will be more podcasts available in your relevant industry and for your target audience. Do your research and maintain a list of top podcasts to follow to find the best place to tell your story.
So don’t count podcasts out just yet, especially when you plan to tune in for the Serial premiere this month!