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Get your story heard: tips for pitching to podcasts and radio

Jul 21, 2023
With audio journalism on the rise, here are 7 tips for improving your pitching to radio and podcasts.

Do you have a story to tell? Newspapers, magazines, and blogs are not the only way to get your message out there; podcasts and radio are a great medium for your story to be shared and reach new audiences. As of 2023, 42% of Americans ages 12 and older have listened to a podcast in the past month, and in 2022, 82% of Americans ages 12 and older listened to terrestrial radio in a given week. As audio journalism continues to rise in popularity, you may want to start pitching to podcasts and radio shows. Whether you’re pitching a news story, an expert from your team, or even yourself, it’s essential you make your pitch as strong as possible.

In this blog post, we’ll cover some tips to get you started on your next pitch to an audio journalist. We'll be sharing the latest findings on podcasting from Muck Rack's 2022 State of Podcasting Report.

1. Get to know the themes, format, and audience of the show

When you’re pitching a podcast or radio show, you want to make sure your pitch aligns with the work that show has produced in the past. Podcasters, like journalists of other mediums, say that lack of relevance and lack of awareness of their show’s content/format leads them to immediately reject pitches. To avoid such rejection, consider the following; is your story/topic/expert relevant to issues covered in the show? Is the scope and format of the show appropriate for the story you’re trying to tell (i.e. a podcast that features one story per episode versus a radio show that touches on 10 major headlines per episode)? Is the audience you’re hoping to reach the same audience that listens to the show you’re pitching? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may have to either change the angle of your pitch or look for a new outlet to pitch. 

2. Go straight to the source

Pitches are not one-size-fits-all; while there are general standards, different outlets have varying pitching requirements. Some radio shows and podcasts may require you to send a recorded submission, which will have its own set of guidelines, whereas others will have you send a written pitch. Before writing or recording your pitch, check if the website mentions what they’re looking for. Self Evident, CBC, and Code Switch all offer specific guidance on the format and content for a successful pitch. 

3. Keep it concise

Many popular podcasts and radio shows, such as Code Switch, This American Life, and Radiolab specifically request brief and concise pitches that get to the point in a paragraph or in 250 words or less. The majority of podcasters prefer pitches that are 200 words or less. Therefore, your pitch should be clear as quickly as possible. Whoever is reading your pitch shouldn’t have to dig through text to find your story.

4. Expertise is key

When you’re pitching someone (including yourself) as an expert to appear on a podcast or radio show, you’ll need to demonstrate credentials. Why are you qualified to speak on the topic? This could be done by linking published articles, sharing your educational background, or drawing upon your lived experiences. You will also want to pitch someone who is comfortable being interviewed and speaking as an expert. In order to keep an audience’s attention through this medium, your expert should be an engaging speaker that is able to answer any possible questions on the issue.

5. Personalize your pitch 

The majority of podcasters report that lack of personalization made them immediately reject otherwise relevant pitches. Personalization is important, and you always want to address the producer by name rather than sending out a mass email. You can also personalize your pitch by referencing recent episodes of the show you enjoyed or mentioning a mutual connection you share with whomever you’re pitching.   

6. Look at examples of successful pitches

Some radio shows and podcasts, such as This American Life, publish examples of successful pitches. These pitches provide great insight into both content and format considerations as you work on your own pitch. By looking at the This American Life pitches, we can see what made these pitches stand out to producers; the stories were unique and thought-provoking, and were easily tied back to a bigger picture (whether it be evangelicalism or police and surveillance). 

7. Follow up

If you don’t hear back right away, don’t get discouraged! Producers receive hundreds of emails a day, so if they don’t respond at first it doesn’t mean they’re not interested. Oftentimes, they just need a reminder to check out your pitch. 85% of journalists are okay with a follow up email within a week of the initial outreach, so don’t be afraid to reach back out three days to a week later if you haven’t yet received a response. 

We hope these tips will help you as you pitch your story to audio journalists and take advantage of this exciting medium.

Also check out:
Podcasting 101: A Guide for Nonprofits and Advocacy Orgs 
12 Tips for Getting More Coverage for Your Media Hit