Consumers crave podcasts.
And businesses are tuning in.
The wacky fad of listening to audio blogs on your Gen 1 iPod back in 2005 has matured into a booming industry. Podcasting helps companies pump profits and open doors by boosting the bandwidth of their customer base.
Thinking of starting one for your own business? That’s great! Here are ten things to consider before taking that plunge..
The best B2B podcasts have a dedicated point of contact for your show’s producer.
Not every producer has to have a setup like this!
When everyone is responsible for something, then no one is. An alarming number of B2B podcast failures come from shows that don’t have an accountable person inside their business. Tap a member of your team to interface on a consistent basis with your podcast production agency.
This person doesn’t have to be the VP of Marketing who came up with the idea. His or her talented assistant would suffice.
The key is to maintain a close enough connection to internal decision makers without having every small decision be their problem.
Only 40 out of 100 podcasts make it past the seventh episode
Have you ever seen footage of newly hatched sea turtles scrambling for the surf? We all choke up a bit when those damn seagulls swoop in to gobble them up, right? Fresh podcasts are like baby turtles, and attrition is the water chicken.
Don't feed this guy.
Brainstorming a podcast is exciting, but pretend you’re a time traveler for a moment. How do you feel about planning 5 episodes? Ten? Fifty?
Understanding that podcasts have a high attrition rate should be a major factor in deciding whether or not one is right for your business. And that attrition rate is driven solely by the folks backing the podcast.
If resources for shows stop flowing, then they tend to go downhill pretty quickly. Eventually, they become consigned to the internet graveyard.
And nobody wants that.
Hand in hand with above, B2B podcasting is a marathon, not a sprint.
The truth is I’ve seen companies hit the jackpot because of this type of podcasting, but I’ve also seen folks strike out completely.
I consider the first meaningful milestone for evaluating a podcast’s performance to be no less than two years. Ponder if you're able to make that timely investment while working to convert guests to deals.
It's a long road, but it's one you should consider taking.
Creating content with your guest is first and foremost an exercise in relationship building. It's not a pitch.
I’ve lost count of the times I've heard eager marketing people ask something like, "Well, we're 4 shows in. When do we turn a profit?"
Remember, podcasting is a long game - not a transactional one. Doing business through podcast guests and creating content with them is the definition of relational selling.
Think of the process like selling big ticket items, like a yacht.
If you own a yacht and you sell them for a living, it might make sense to host parties with the prospect of your guests buying one from you for themselves.. But, just as you wouldn't immediately ask your party guests to bust out their checkbooks at your party, the same can be said with podcasting.
You're creating a memory of making content with your ideal customer. Let it marinate a bit before saying, "Hey, Robb! Remember that time we were on my awesome boat? Ever consider getting one of those for yourself?".
What makes your show special?
There are millions of podcasts out there, and pundits in the industry have been screaming that the scene is overcrowded.
They're half right.
Categories like crime and comedy are swamped with sub par content. Such is the blessing and curse that is the open democracy of podcasting. Anyone with a heartbeat and a smartphone can crank out a show.
Yet you, the B2B podcaster, have the resources to devote to audio and production quality. You can also bring on movers and shakers from your industry - the people you eventually want to do business with! You have the means to put out a consistent, well produced program and promote it across all of your networks.
The best shows in B2B make lists, like "The Top 15 podcasts to Listen to this Year in Finance".
This isn't a list you make, but one that you get on by impressing third parties with your content.
When you're on the shortlist, it doesn't matter how crowded your genre is!
Your host makes or breaks your show.
Your host’s capacity to learn, adapt, and ask the right questions is one of the most important things about your podcast that you need to nail.
The person sitting in front of this is one of the most important aspects of your show.
The CEO or founder of your business may not be an automatic fit as your show’s MC. For instance, one of your people in marketing who understands relational sales could be just the voice you need.
Company leadership’s involvement behind the mic isn’t vital. In my opinion, the less they deal directly with the host, the sales process, and the podcast production agency, the better. Shows that are micromanaged by VP or C-suite folks tend to die quick deaths.
Pick a person who's the right fit and is willing to learn from mistakes.
Because in podcasting, you must be comfortable with imperfection.
Podcasting is a human to human medium. And we all know humans ain't perfect.
Part of the charm and draw of a podcast is the fact that it's real people talking about something you find interesting.
The best podcasts draw you into the conversation. The parts that we might find to be imperfections - stutters, breaths, ‘ums’, ‘ahs’ - are part of the whimsy and magic that is a podcast.
Of course, it shouldn't have glaring mistakes or head-scratchers. But, much like with an engagement ring, some of the most beautiful diamonds have flaws. Yet, we still appreciate their beauty..
The most exclusive production agencies can give you perfection. If you’re wearing Joe Rogan’s pants, then you can probably afford them at about $30K an episode...
But if you want to have something that can still be engrossing, hard hitting, and punch way above its weight class for content and impact, sign with an agency that believes in this "imperfection" mantra.
Because if you take every bit of imperfection out of a podcast, what are you left with?
A piece of marketing audio, and that's boring.
Podcast analytics suck.
Straight up - if you're analytics focused and you start a podcast, you're probably going to be in for a world of disappointment.
It may not seem like it, but podcasting is still in its infancy. The majority of numbers that you and your marketing team will want to see are locked up in hundreds of podcast platforms. Sure, Apple and Spotify have some decent analytics. Platforms like Sounder.fm and Spreaker.com also have some insight into what's coming from where. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, podcasting statistics are pretty vague.
As of the time of this writing, a reliable way to identify listeners and track them effectively through normal marketing channels doesn’t exist.
Whoever creates it will likely be a trillionaire.
With a glut of podcast hosting services, no one platform ties together the thousands of potential places your show could be found on the internet - yet.
Until then, if you're that analytics person, keep in mind that marketing data that can be linked to listeners or fed into a CRM will be a challenge to come by.
Prepare for an audience drop-off after week 1.
So, you've launched your show and have told everyone you know about it.
That's awesome! You'll probably see an encouraging number of downloads to kick off your new adventure.
But you might ask yourself when episode 2 rolls around and you have a quarter of the previous downloads, “What happened?!”
Likely, your network came through to get you your first hits. When you think about it, though, they probably aren't your key customers. After the initial high tide of your LinkedIn crew subsides is when building your audience really starts.
A dip in listenership, especially a pretty significant one, is normal for most shows - don't let it freak you out. That's when you sort out the folks who are listening for charity from those who might benefit from your show.
Establish consistency by having episodes in the pipe.
We touched on this earlier, but here's some meat for the taters.
Set a release schedule and do everything in your power to stick to it..
Shows that churn out new episodes weekly are far more successful than their sporadic counterparts.
Here is my firm recommendation for your show to be lucrative:
- Same release day every week
- Same release time every week
- If you skip a week (we all need a break), communicate with your listeners
- When you start your show, have no fewer than 5 episodes in the can ready to rock
- The day your show debuts, start recording episode 6 and 1-2 new episodes each week going forward.
Sticking to this cadence not only helps you keep your podcast machine running, but also ensures that your production agency can keep up with your show. It also keeps your listeners and guests engaged.
Find a quality partner.
Podcasting is still the wild west, but there are areas that are settling into a routine where you can create a show and stake a claim on a part of the podcast landscape.
Whether you hire internally or find a partner outside your organization, it's important that they know what makes content engaging, and what makes a show more than just two people yakking at each other. Down the road we'll likely talk about this more, but suffice to say there are a number of great companies and individuals out there to partner with.
Well, there you have it!
Sound scary? Trust me, it’s not!. With the right producer at your side, it’s simpler than ever to leverage one of the hottest new trends in business to work for your company.
We’d love to talk with you about creating a podcast that makes your business stand out from the competition.
Should we chat?