Welcome to the Grow My Podcast Show
April 10, 2023

55. Master the art of Podcast PR with Lauren Passell

55. Master the art of Podcast PR with Lauren Passell

Have you ever heard this about PR Strategies for podcasting? That working with influencers is too expensive, that a press release is the only way to get media attention, or that you need a huge budget to get meaningful results? Lauren Passell is here to share PR Strategies that actually work for podcasters who want to grow their audience.

I think when you find out how simple it is, you'll be like, "Oh my!". You'll get excited because it's ridiculously simple.

Lauren Passell, Tink Media


In this episode, I interview podcast editor and producer Lauren Passell from Tink Media on how to leverage PR strategies that actually work for podcasters and what typical tactics to avoid. Lauren's advice emphasizes the importance of a strategic and relationship-building approach to PR that enables podcasters to expand their shows' reach and audience.

About Lauren: With a career that began in book publishing, Lauren's love for podcasts led her to found Tink Media, a company dedicated to helping authors and podcasters grow their audience. Focusing on partnerships and relationships, Lauren shares her unique insights on how to effectively use PR strategies to build momentum for your podcast.

EXCLUSIVE BONUS CONTENT How important is it to connect with your audience and do collaboration? Lauren shares her strategies on how to go about negotiating with another podcaster, and on how to actually pitch. Check out the bonus clips to hear what she just shared!  Click here to unlock it

Related Grow My Podcast Show episodes you may enjoy:

How to build an engaged community for your podcast with Arielle Nissenblatt

If you're feeling frustrated that your efforts to create an engaged podcast community are not working and taking too much time, then this episode is for you!

How to Get A-List Guests on Your Podcast with Sarah St John

Trying to get A-list guests on your podcast? You've probably been told the best way is to just reach out to them and pitch for an interview. But if you've tried this, you know that it doesn't always work. Because there’s so much more to it! This episode will show you exactly what that is!

Resources mentioned in this episode 

💻 Try Capsho free for 2 episodes here!

Capsho is an AI-powered podcast marketing content writer that creates an episode title, description, podcast website content, social media captions, emails, blog posts, LinkedIn article and YouTube description AND curates a selection of quotes from your episode. All with a simple upload of your episode audio or video file.

🤝 You can connect with Lauren  here

🎁 Unlock the bonus clips  here

💬 Send me a message  here

❤️ Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating  here 

Connect with Deirdre:  Instagram  | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn




Well, I don't have a marketing or a PR background. I didn't work there. So I hope that might give some people some confidence that are like, I don't know anything about you can learn. If you have passion for the subject, you'll figure it out. I can tell you from experience that truer words have never been said.


You don't need to be an expert or even need a budget to get started doing your own public relations or what we all and affectionately refer to as PR. And the longer that I go on this entrepreneurial journey, the more I realize just how important PR actually is in growing a business. And as we probably know by now, growing a podcast is just like growing a business. It's hard. It's messy.


There's a lot of mistakes to be made, but it can also be incredibly fun and rewarding, especially when you see it working. In my mind, PR always seemed to be this really intangible thing. You know, when I was in corporate, it was always the first team to be downsized, the first budget to be cut. So what I thought PR was was all about getting stories or press coverage in big media outlets and newspapers and TV until I unwittingly and unknowingly did some PR myself for the first time, even though I didn't know it was PR at the time. So let me tell you a little bit about that story.


It was for my very first business, the dessert bar in Sydney called The Chocpot. I opened that almost ten years ago, and when I did, I was naive enough to believe that because our product was so good, like, legitimately, the best desserts ever, people would just find out about us magically and come flooding in to our doors. And I don't know, let me know. Have you ever thought this about your own product, maybe about your podcast? I did.


I did for the longest time until reality hit. We suffered for months with only making, like, $100 a day. $200 a day. It was seriously one of the truly loneliest times. But I knew that I had to actually do something right.


I had to work out some way of getting the word out there. And there was this moment that I remember it was months into opening. We had one of the very few rare nights that my husband and I were able to take off. We were out at dinner. It was a date night.


And we get this call from one of our team members at the time, because we weren't that busy. We only ever had two people working in the so we get this call, and he's like, Guys, you have to come in. I can't explain right now. I have to go serve this drink. But we need help.


You've got to come in. And we're like, OMG, what's going on? Has something blown up? Have we lost power? What is it?


And so we run to the car, we hop in and I'm driving. I'm trying not to freak out and run red lights or anything. And I get to the front of the store to drop my husband off and I can still see to this day what was in front of me. Our little itty bitty dessert bar was packed. It was packed.


We had a line. There were people waiting to get tables. Our poor team members were literally they were literally running back and forth from the kitchen to the table, serving people. It was absolute chaos, but it was beautiful chaos. It literally felt like overnight we had become a success.


But as we know, there is no such thing as an overnight success. So what had I done? I had reached out to a bunch of different bloggers and influencers and they were coming in maybe one or two a week for a few weeks. And it's not like getting them coming in and posting or blogging about us made us an immediate overnight success. But what it did build was momentum.


The more that people saw us read about us, the more that they were like, okay, I have to go try this place. Like everyone seems to be talking about them and I had this AHA moment. The only way that we can build this type of momentum quickly is to leverage people with large audiences where their audience is the same audience that we want. And this, my friend, is PR. And specifically the magic of PR.


Ever since then, I have always, always found ways to collaborate and work with people with real influence. Real influence, not big media outlets. And this works for growing businesses and you guessed, growing podcasts. So if you have ever wondered how you can leverage PR to grow your podcast without needing a big budget, then you are in the right place. I'm so excited to have my good friend Lauren Passell from Tink Media join us to take us through exactly that.


My name is Deirdre Tshien, CEO and co founder of Capsho, the fastest way to market and grow your podcast. And this is the Grow my podcast show.


I worked in book publishing, and when I was there, I loved podcasts. And the PR team would come up to me and ask if I could pitch our authors to be on podcasts because they knew I loved podcasts. So I was just like doing it, even though it wasn't my job. And I was like, I should make this my job. So I went and worked for a company called wait, what?


To kind of learn that side of the podcast world. And then I left to start my company, Tink Media, which was originally just to get authors on podcasts. So I wasn't really working with podcasters all that much, like scheduling, but I knew the author world. But as I continued working, I started hearing stories from the podcasters about how they needed help. They wanted to get on podcasts.


They needed to prove off their show they want to get their workout, just like my author clients wanted to get their work out. And I was like they just kept on asking me to do stuff. And at first I was like, I don't do that, but I think I can. And that's how this company has evolved. It's so new that a lot of the things weren't in place, so I've had to think of them.


And that's both frustrating sometimes, but also really exciting because we get to build ways that people can work together and new ideas and it's a very creative thing. At the end of this, I'm really hoping that yes, it's like, oh, that's easy. I really, really want people to know how easy it is, but also how fun it is. Yes. In this episode, we're going to do the heavy lifting of taking you through how simple doing PR for yourself can be.


Are you ready for that? But first I wanted Lauren to talk about what PR actually is. Well, it's funny because usually when I sit down with people, my clients, when we're just getting started, I think they think I'm going to want to talk about three things. And it's like they want to be in the New York Times, pitch me to big media companies, or buy some ads, or help me on social media. And so I don't mean to start on a negative note.


Those are all great things, but they're not my favorite things. And I'll tell you why we'll get them out of the way. First of all, social media is great for your community. It's great for the community you already have. Unless you're humongous on social media, it probably won't drive downloads.


When people are on Twitter, they want to be on Twitter. When people are on Instagram, they want to be on Instagram. And also a lot of them are not podcast listeners. So it is not your job to turn a non podcast listener into a podcast listener. That's really hard find the podcast listeners.


And so that's why social media we have very strong tips on social media. There are things you definitely should do and definitely should not do. But usually when I tell people, don't worry about social media too much, they either say, oh few, and that tells me that they want to work on making a great show, or they say they get fight with me and they say, that's not true. I get a lot of likes in my tweets. And that's when I say you have a lot of nice friends then because they are liking your tweets, that doesn't mean they're new listeners.


The other thing is same thing, kind of like I think if you polled people who are featured in New York Times, which is really hard to get, by the way, they would say it did nothing for growth. It's great social proof. And then the third thing is getting ads. Yes, absolutely. There's very good ways to spend money.


There's very bad ways to spend money. It's not necessary. I will just say don't spend money on social media ads. But the great things that I love talking about all have to do with partnerships. I think if you buy an ad, for example, you might get a spike and hopefully that spike sticks, but probably not.


Those kind of things cause spikes. I'm not anti spike, but that means you got in front of some of the wrong people. And I think in order to get in front of the right people, you have to do research and speak to very niche specific audiences and then work with those people, get in front of those audiences. And that's all about partnerships and relationships, which is why my job is so fun. I love this definition of PR.


This is exactly the mindset switch I had to make myself, going from trying to get into big publications that yield questionable results to finding the potential partners, large or smaller, who have your audience. This is why PR is so important and is so effective. This is how you start to create real leverage in your marketing. And yes, it might seem a little slow going to begin with, it always is, but as I mentioned before, the more you stick to it and keep going, the more the momentum will build. And before you know it, you'll have strangers coming up to you saying things like, it feels like you're everywhere.


This, my friend, is the power of PR. There are three types of PR grace strategies Lauren is going to be taking us through in the rest of this episode and we had to, of course, start with one of her faves. One of the best tools in my tool belt is applying to be featured on apps. And that's, you know, so when you open up Apple Podcasts or Spotify, you want to be able to see your show there. That's a great way to for people to discover.


And most podcast apps have forms you can fill out to pitch yourself to be considered. And once again, that might cause a spike. You could drive people to your show from being seen on an app and they could go and listen to it and hate it and leaf. And the way to get them to stay is actually to make sure that your artwork and your description accurately describe your show, because you don't want to fool people. If you fool people, they're going to get mad.


They'll leave you a negative review and then they'll unsubscribe. So now you just have a bunch of negative reviews. So it's really important. The marketing begins with your messaging, your cover art, so make sure your messaging is strong and fill out those forms for consideration. And once again, that can cause a spike, but it could cause a big spike depending on where you're featured.


It's not the silver bullet it used to be, but ideally, if you can get it all timed out right, like if you get featured on Apple podcasts, it helps you on Spotify and vice versa. So if you can get a few of those placements around the same time, it could make a very the kind of difference that matters. Super cool. I've always wondered if the independent podcaster like you and me can actually apply to be featured in these apps. I think when you find out how simple it is, you'll be like, oh my, you'll get excited because it's ridiculously simple.


In fact, they all have their own ways of submitting. It's pretty similar though. So I'll kind of like talk about Apple podcasts and I'll let you know if there's any big changes. But basically you're filling out an air table. I mean, for a long time, Apple Podcast had just an air table.


And so if you ever worked in air table, you know what the back end of an air table looks like. It's just copy, copy, copy. So keep that in mind though, because they're looking through a ton of copy when you submit. So think like, what makes something stand out? So in these forms, there's one for Apple podcast, there's one for Spotify, and there's one for Stitcher.


I think those are good ones to focus on. And basically they want to know what your show is and they want to think of themselves as like a newsfeed. So you have to convince them why you why now. They want to seem relevant. So this is really good.


If you have an episode that's about think about holidays, think about what does everyone support in Black History Month or Women's History Month. I would even recommend I mean, if you are able to I hope this doesn't sound like Crummy, but make content for the app. It might be worth it as long as it's not a big stretch. If you know that they're going to be supporting this stuff, it might be able to guide your editorial calendar a little bit. I don't use Apple Podcasts to listen, but I look at the app every single day.


I study it because look at what they're showcasing. Like there's a lot of carousels on Apple podcasts. Think about how you would fit into them and even maybe submit. So these forms on the Apple Podcast form and there are links to them. I'm sure if you Google it, you can find it.


But there are two places on the Apple podcast form I think people don't think about enough, and one of them is the region. And you can choose the region of Apple Podcasts that you're going to be featured in. And I think in the States, or this is probably true of every country, they're like, well, I am a US. Podcaster, so I'm going to put the United states or the US. Has the most podcast listeners.


I'm putting the United States. Don't put the United States. Look in your data and see where your listeners are because it's much less crowded in Belgium. Or think about Ireland. You might be surprised.


I had a client who had a podcast about the America. It was an American road trip. Podcast. They had tons of listeners in Italy. Great.


We applied to be featured on the Italian Apple podcasts app. We did not get featured in the US. They're so crowded. I wasn't surprised. But we did get featured in Italy.


That helped the numbers. So think about that. And you should submit every like three months. You don't have to submit more than that for most of these, but you could try like two countries at a time or something like that. The other place is there's a place that says, how will you promote us?


This is a really important section because they're saying like, hey, we're going to help you out. How are you going to help us out? This is where you have a little paragraph. Feel free to use the word co marketing because what you're trying to say is, I want to come into a marketing partnership with you. You're going to market my show and I'm going to market Apple podcasts or whatever.


And I'm going to do that by linking to Apple podcasts on a tweet or mentioning Apple podcasts, like listening on Apple podcasts on my show or putting an Apple button on your site. If you say those things, they're going to be more likely because they're like, oh, this is a partner. This isn't just someone asking for something from us. So I would look for those fields on those for those places. Also, Pocketcast is my favorite app and they have a newsletter for creators.


And I would recommend subscribing to that newsletter because every single month you get an email that's like, here's the kind of content we're looking for. I think it's completely underrated. And they have a great way of showcasing shows even if you don't listen on podcasts. Go check it out. They also have an editorial feature.


It's really, really great. Were you squibbling nodes down as Lauren was talking? I sure was. It's so cool how tangible she gets with her advice. So that's the first type of PR you should consider implementing pitching to podcast apps to get featured.


Now we can't have a discussion about marketing leverage without talking about leveraging the audience of other shows, can we? And once again, Lauren has a very specific viewpoint and a novel way of finding and pitching to other shows, one that I'm sure you may not have even considered before. There's a great site called refonic. Comgrass. Then you type in your show.


It will show you this galaxy of your podcast neighborhood where you can see Apple data telling you who has an audience match of viewers. If your show doesn't come up, just put in a comp show. Sometimes I just look up my clients show on the Apple podcast app and scroll to the bottom. It says you might also like, I also use list of notes as a resource and sometimes I just Google. Like if I'm doing a gardening podcast, I'll type in gardening podcast player SM.


That's one way. These are all resources that will give you list of similar shows. So then I list all out. But then that's when you have to do some research and you have to see are they still active? I think if it's been four months, you might consider skipping.


If it's a really good match, you might consider reaching out and saying, I noticed you haven't published an episode in a long time. Do you have something coming up? Maybe they've switched to a newsletter or have something else. Maybe they're done, but they wouldn't mind dropping an episode of your show onto their feed because they're not using it anyway. And they have this great audience.


What can you give them in return? So it's not always not worth it just because they haven't published an episode in a long time. But you absolutely have to listen to the show. Just think of yourself, you're a creator, how insulting it is. I bet you get pitch letters that are like, clearly someone who's writing you and has never listened to your show.


And I also hear from podcasters, I mean, you all know this better than I do. People can tell when you just listen to their most recent podcast episode. They're like, I love the episode about blah blah blah. And they mentioned something that was in the first sentence and it's like, that's very obvious. Do a little bit of a deep dive.


Make sure that you really like the show. Make sure that is a show you feel proud of to tell your listeners about because you really need to think about who these people are. Also, don't think so narrowly. Like, I have a gardening podcast. It doesn't have to be just with other gardening podcasts as my podcast friends, basically, I want to tap into the audience of people listening to garden podcasts who would like a garden podcast.


So maybe they like cooking or maybe they like other things. People are multidimensional. What else do they like? This is where it might come in handy to have a survey. I think if you've been running for about a year, it's really worth it to have a survey.


And here you can ask a lot of questions, but keep it simple. I would want to know how did you find me, what other podcasts do you listen to and what was your favorite podcast episode? And you can learn a lot with those three questions. I would also maybe you can say here's, give the survey link on your show or in your newsletter or whatever. I would offer like, a $50 gift card or something to Amazon or something.


As a reward, you have to give somebody a little something and they'll do a lot for you. So learn about them, find these audiences and then look at the show and say, what do they have to offer? Do they have can I do a promo swap with them? Do they have promo reads? Do they have guests?


Do I have guests? Could we do a guest swap? Do we both talk about kind of the same thing so we can have a joint conversation to be put on both of our feeds? Do they have a newsletter? What's their social media presence?


You have to kind of look into it and say, what do they have and what do they want and what do I have and what do I want? And then you get to negotiating. Does negotiating sound as fun to you as it does to me? That is not very yep. I'm generally a terrible negotiator, which is why I had to ask Lauren how we actually go about negotiating.


If you want her tips on that, then I'm going to link it up as bonus content. So if you head to the show notes for this episode, you'll be able to opt in to get this bonus clip where Lauren dives deeper into how we negotiate. And some of the factors to consider to create a win win situation. Because what I really want to get into now are newsletters, specifically podcast newsletters, which is an incredibly untapped resource for getting in front of people who want to discover and listen to new podcasts. So newsletter writers like me need content.


I need people to pitch me, I need to know about new shows. So that is why they work. One thing is it's interesting I've noticed in my own newsletter is the click through rate. I think my click through rate is about 10%, but people don't always click. So I wouldn't worry about asking about click through rates with these podcasts.


People read them with their phone open and they subscribe. They read, they subscribe, they read, they subscribe. They're not necessarily clicking, but there's a lot of niche newsletters too. But if you're a gardening podcast, I keep on talking about that. You can go out to gardening newsletters.


I have found in my experience it's less likely to get mentioned, but those are valuable audiences. But really go hard on. Make a list of podcast newsletters. In fact, I would say when you walk away from this, I think one of the first things you should do is subscribe to all of them and we can help give some links. Or if you Google best podcast newsletters, people have made really good lists about them.


Subscribe to every single one of them because the podcast newsletters can see that you're subscribed. So before you pitch, you want to make sure that you're subscribed for at least a few weeks before you pitch. So subscribe but also read to do your research because James Cridlan has a podcast called Podnews. It's very different than mine. Mine is all about recommendations.


If you like me, you'll like podcast newsletter. If you don't like me, you won't like podcast. The newsletter, it is like me. So you have to get to know what I like if you're going to pitch me. I love Disney World and I love the historical Jesus and I love Cannibalism So stories.


So if you have a podcast about Cannibalism Brie in my way, you're going to know that if you read my newsletter, james kriddle loves news things that are new ways that people are using tech in interesting ways. So that's when you would pitch James, everybody has their own. There's podcasts for audio fiction only or business smart like Hurt Your Brain. There's literally a podcast called Hurt Your Brain. So that's where the finky shows.


So subscribe to these and get to know them and figure out how you can and open them every time. Podcasters can newsletters can tell that you've been opening their newsletter. And then what I would do is when you're ready to pitch and you've been opening and reading, don't send a cold pitch. I get cold pitches so many times that I can't even read them all. Open up one of their issues and respond to that issue.


Because when I send out an issue of my newsletter, I'm absolutely checking every single response I get because I'm afraid I made a typo or something. So I'm going to see it. And when I see your pitch, I'm like, oh, this is someone in my community. I like you already. It's the difference between coming to me with closed arms and open arms.


So I would step one before you even think about pitching these people is just subscribe to the newsletters and maybe that feels like a nice baby step. It's not too overwhelming. It's just like subscribe and start reading. Do you have your very tangible next steps that you're going to take to start implementing these PR tactics? I sure hope so because they are so simple and such a great way for you to just get started.


Now, I, of course, could not let Lauren go without taking us through how it is that we should be pitching these newsletters. And I'm going to be honest, hertz answer surprised me a little bit. I just had never thought about it this way, but it's definitely something I'm going to start doing. Hardly anyone has ever given me the pre pitch. And the pre pitch is someone emailing me and saying, I really like what you do.


How do you like to be pitched? Hardly anyone ever asks me that and oh my gosh, okay, listen, I'm a human being. If you tell me you like my dress, I'm going to do whatever you want. Like being treat these newsletter writers like human beings. Sometimes people know that I like to listen on podcasts.


So someone once emailed me and said, how do you like to listen? And I said, Podcast. They send me their links on podcasts. That means something to me, that sticks out to me, and it makes it easier for me to consume the content. Sometimes when people say, do you want to hear things in advance or not?


That's the kind of question you can ask a newsletter writer. Sometimes podcast newsletter writers do a lot of work in advance and they want to feel special, and so they want to listen to something before it's out to everybody else. Sometimes people don't care. They just kind of go by the seat of their pants and want to listen to something when it's already out. If you can give someone an exclusive to the full season, that might really be enticing to them.


I just got an email of someone asking, like a pre pitch, asking if I would be interested in being the first one to announce a trailer. So it's the kind of thing where you aren't necessarily pitching at that you don't give them everything. You just say, how can I work with you? What do you like to see? But then there's also kind of like the pre pre pitch.


And I guess that's kind of what I was just talking about, which I think is even more important, which is just kind of like being in their orbit, following them on Twitter, liking their tweets, so that when they get the pre pitch, they know who you are. And so that's kind of like the pre, pre pitch. That pre pitch is gold. If you wanted to learn just one thing from this episode, it should be the prepitch. Because fundamentally what it comes down to is how we just be really nice human beings to each other.


This episode is already so jampacked with value, right? Which is why I didn't want to overwhelm you even more with Lauren's advice on the actual pitch. So if you're on the little more advanced side of podcasting PR, then I invite you to get the bonus clip where Lauren goes deep into the actual pitch, whether that's to newsletters or to other shows that's available in the Show notes for this episode as well. And if you're looking for some objective ears on your podcast and where exactly the growth opportunities are, Lauren has something pretty cool that she does called Podcast Therapy. Yes, it's really fun.


We sit down for an hour with someone who maybe is we have people that a lot of people that have been doing a show for a long time and are in a rut, they feel like they haven't seen growth in a while. We've had people that are seeing a big boom and they want to make the most of it, and they're like, what do we do? We have people that are thinking about developing something and. Want help. There like all sorts of questions, people that want to monetize, people have very specific questions, people that just want feedback.


We sit with them for an hour, we come having listened to the show, we come with questions, we come prepared to answer their questions. We have someone from the Ching team there to take notes. So you get this document basically with next steps, links, who to work with and then usually the number one thing I hear at the end of podcast Therapy is that was a lot to take in. But really at the end I always hope that people just get really fired up about their podcast. And so I think sometimes people sign up for 2 hours, like I mentioned, and then I ask them to just take in the 1 hour and sit with it and make changes if they want and then come back to us again.


But it's really fun. So I would hope that and I always hope that people leave those sessions knowing like being excited about their show, thinking marketing is pretty easy. And then I always tell them when you hang up from this Podcast therapy session, go make three podcast friends, find them, do a little bit of research, just find three, it's an easy thing to do. Find three, reach out to them, say hi and make your first podcast friend. That's usually where we end things on Podcast Therapy.


I will also mention one more tip if you go to SyncMedia co I built a database for promo swaps so you can in your show, put in a few tags the size, then search shows that are similar to yours. The people that have entered themselves on a database, you don't have to explain what a promo swap is to them, they know they enter the database expecting people to email them. So it's a great place to start. If you want to practice reaching out to someone, it won't be a stranger, it'll be someone who is part of my community that is expecting email. So that might be a good place to start.


You, that is such an awesome resource and one you definitely need to explore. All the links are in the show notes, including the two bonus clips that you can grab for free. One on how to go about negotiating with another podcaster and a second on how to actually pitch. So go and grab those right now. My name is Deirdre Tshien stay awesome.

Lauren PassellProfile Photo

Lauren Passell

With a career that began in book publishing, Lauren's love for podcasts led her to found Tink Media, a company dedicated to helping authors and podcasters grow their audience. Focusing on partnerships and relationships, Lauren shares her unique insights on how to effectively use PR strategies to build momentum for your podcast.