About a year ago, the pandemic forced us to stop doing live in-person MiBs.
The downside of not being in the same room as the guest is the loss of nuance; a phone or Zoom is so different than a face to face, and real interaction gets lost. That was offset by so many top-notch guests suddenly becoming available. It was an embarrassment of riches, so much so I don’t think I opened a PR pitch in close to a year (other than Prosek, Hewes, and Edelman).
But as life begins to return to normal, I expect the PR pitch pipeline to ramp back up. I assume by the Summer, we are back to live in person interviews — if not sooner.
Despite very long odds against booking a guest via a PR pitch, some advice might help you be more successful — with mine or any other podcast. Consider these observations some help in tailoring a message that will save you and podcast producers’ both time and effort:
1. Subject matter: Guests should be people who fit the topical discussion that particular podcast specializes in. For me, its people who are Masters in their chosen Business — a broad and accomplished history, an expertise in their space, and shareable insights into business and finance.
I didn’t name the show (Bloomberg did) but its name is a pun on “MBA” while also referencing the expertise of our guests. Its not called “Your Client’s Latest Book” but rather, people who others can learn from their careers and experiences.
Every podcast has a different focus. You will be much more successful if you aim towards that specific niche, whatever it is, then email blasting whatever podcast list you seem to have amassed.
2. Good conversation: The vast majority of MiB bookings are simply people I want to sit down to have a chat with. This is true whether the tape is rolling or not. Your proposal should be someone who is articulate, capable of carrying the listener’s interest for an hour or longer. Lots of folks are great for 5-15 minutes but cannot hold someone’s interest over a long form. This is the wrong format for that person.
3. Listen! Check out the show you are pitching! Anytime you pitch a pod guest to show you have never listened to that show, your odds go from bad to worse. I can guarantee that you are wasting everybody’s time. You don’t have to listen to all 400 of mine but at least understand the show. “Masters in Startups” is a different podcast than mine! Try listening to one or two episodes, know what it’s about, and what is expected from your client.
4. Evergreen: Some pods are topical, some are designed to be evergreen. Understand what the focus is before making your pitch.
I want MiBs to retain value long after we are done recording. Most of what is said is not subject to the next market move or economic news release. Lasting insights into business and finance topics is the key.
Sometimes, the news and a guest match so perfectly its hard to pass up. When Covid-19 slammed restaurants shut a year ago, Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors was the perfect person to put what was going on in that industry into context.
5. Email: If you are emailing another podcast host’s daughter, or my mother — both true stories — you are destined for failure, blacklisting and vitriol. Sending the same email to 6 different addresses gets you banned from all of them. Be better.
The best email address for masters in Business is MIBPodcast@Bloomberg.net; I don’t want to get harsh, but here goes: Use any other email address and its deleted + marked as junk. And use your firm’s email; using Gmail addresses makes people wonder what terrible things your firm must have done for its employees to stop using that domain.
I hope these comments are helpful to both the PR and podcast side of things.
After 7 years, I am pleased we have stayed true to the original concept of MiB. I don’t really need to see PR pitches, but if you must send them — to me or any other podcast host — please make them relevant, appropriate and useful.