Listener numbers don’t matter for booking guests, says podcast PR expert

Pow PR founder Fiona Fraser highlights the importance of building relationships with potential guests

The number of listeners a podcast has shouldn’t matter when it comes to booking guests, according to podcast PR expert Fiona Fraser, who advised podcasters to focus instead on giving guests an enjoyable experience,

Fraser is the founder of podcast agency Pow PR, which she describes as “the UK’s first and only podcast PR agency”, and although questions about listener numbers are relatively common when it comes to booking guests through PR agencies, Fraser told PodPod on this week’s podcast that she prefers not to ask about download figures, and that as a PR person, making the effort to build a relationship is more important. 

“It's about putting that effort into the personalised outreach [and] developing the relationships,” said Fraser. “It's like, if you're dating, if you're punching above your weight slightly, you're bringing the flowers and champagne ahead of time and you want to make people feel a bit special. That's how you need to convince somebody.”

According to data from Buzzsprout, if a new podcast episode gets more than 32 downloads within the first seven days of its release it means that the podcast is already in the top 50% of all shows, and podcasts with more than 1,000 weekly downloads are in the top 5%.

Fraser launched her PR agency in October 2020 as chief publicist and director and has since worked with a number of podcasters including The Rest is Politics with Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart and last year’s award-winning podcast Get Birding which took home the Best Climate Podcast title at the 2022 British Podcast Awards. 

As part of her work within the agency, which offers PR services for TV and podcasts, Fraser also recently launched a free masterclass on how to get booked on podcasts. According to Fraser, successfully booking guests all comes down to having the right personalised pitch, rather than reaching out to everyone. 

“If you could only do three at a time, just concentrate on those three, rather than sending out 25, and have the bits in about why you're a fan of them, what's so great about them, and why you think they make great guests,” said Fraser. “Put the work into getting the people that you want, rather than it just being like a blanket email out to everybody. If you've got a really clear podcast concept anyway, then it should be really easy to identify your guests for it.”