In a crowded content space, publishing blog posts isn’t enough to stand out. Instead, B2B marketers need to take a more integrated and resourceful approach to content, exploring new formats and distribution channels to extend their reach and speak to their audience in new, engaging, and conversational ways.
In the last year, the number of active podcasts has swelled to 700,000 (up from 550,000 in 2018). And for good reason. More than 50 percent of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast. But how do you know if you should launch a podcast? And how can you get started planning the content for a podcast?
At Right Source, we recently launched our own B2B podcast, “Oh No! Not Another Marketing Podcast.” In it, Chief Marketing Technology Officer and Host Will Davis chats with B2B leaders and marketers, uncovering lessons learned and secrets to success. Since launching our inaugural episode in February, we’ve been jotting down our list of podcast launch lessons and wins, things we tweaked along the way, and what we could have done differently. While planning a podcast can seem like a BIG undertaking, these tips from our podcast team will help you get organized so you can plan, develop, and launch your podcast more efficiently (and have fun doing it).
Will Davis, Chief Marketing Technology Officer and ONNAMP Host
This one may sound obvious, but as host of Oh No! Not Another Marketing Podcast it was important to make sure that what people experienced during our recording was what they would get in real life. So, if you are someone who is thoughtful, sometimes a bit sarcastic, makes dad jokes and sports/music references, all while wanting to talk about the podcast topics, make sure your recording reflects that personality. Don’t water yourself down or try to be someone you aren’t — listeners will gravitate to the authentic you, the content will be better, and you’ll enjoy the experience more, too.
.@willdavis on the importance of authenticity in a #podcast host: Listeners will gravitate toward the authentic you, the #content will be better, and you’ll enjoy the experience more too. #ONNAMP Click To Tweet
Do your homework on your guests and prepare relevant, open-ended questions
It might seem like you can ask your guests many of the same questions, that certain guests can just show up, ready for an amazing, high-quality conversation, or that you can fix recorded files with editing. In reality, you’ll create better podcast content if you:
- Do your homework about your guests and figure out what makes them interesting and relevant to you and your audience.
- Schedule a pre-show call to get to know your guests better, develop chemistry, and identify interesting questions and conversation starters.
- Spend time developing thoughtful, specific questions.
- Send those sample questions to your guests ahead of time so they can prepare thoughtful answers.
- Think about your audience first. Like all great content, think about what your audience really wants to know and start there.
Break some of the “rules” and do what you like
Some podcasts are five minutes, some push the two-hour mark. Some have intricate musical intros or no intro at all. You’ve likely heard really great podcasts with multiple hosts and guests or just one solo host taking the reins. The exciting thing about podcasting is you aren’t bound by time slot restrictions, frequency, FCC regulations, or any of that – there’s a tremendous amount of freedom in podcasting. If it’s good for your audience and your guests, do it!
Will’s favorite podcasts:
Mike Sweeney, CEO and ONNAMP Guest
Make your guests feel welcome
When you have guests over to your house, whether it be for a cocktail hour, dinner, or an extended stay, you do your best to make them feel welcome. You tidy up the house, provide them with the food and drinks they like, give them clean towels, etc. Do the same with your podcast guests. They have sacrificed their time to be a part of your show, so ensure they know exactly how the podcast will work. Inform them how it will be produced (phone, video conference, in-person) and ensure they receive questions well ahead of your scheduled recording session.
You know that feeling you get when you leave someone’s house and you think, “That was fun, those people did everything to make sure I was comfortable.” That’s the feeling you want your podcast guests to have.
Identify your podcast “why”
Before you get into any of your podcast details (such as titles, guest lists, or a promotional strategy) start with your “why.” Why are you doing a podcast? Just because everyone else is doing one is a terrible answer. Are you looking to build brand awareness? Recruit? Generate leads? Set your host up for future speaking engagements? A podcast (done right) is an investment in time, effort, and money. Make sure you know your why and then determine how you’re going to measure against it.
What is step one to developing a #podcast? Before you get into any of your podcast details, such as titles, guest lists, or a promotional strategy, start with your why, says @RightSource's @mjsweeney. Click To Tweet
Repurpose content from your podcast
So, you launched your podcast, and now you have a few episodes in the can? It’s on Spotify and iTunes, you posted a LinkedIn status update, and Tweeted about it. Done, right? Wrong. If you had the right guest and created good dialogue, you just created some impressive audio which can now be repurposed into additional formats.
Take your recording and develop a Q&A-style blog post, transcribe the audio and add it to your website for added SEO value, create social media images, and incorporate video into your episode promotions — the list is almost endless. Why invest time and money without maximizing what you get out of it?
Mike’s favorite podcasts:
- How I Built This, NPR
- The Psychology Podcast, Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman
- Entrepreneurs on Fire, John Lee Dumas
- Biohacking Secrets Show, Anthony DiClementi
Carissa Hampton, Director of Content Marketing
Make promotion easy for your guests
Once your episodes are recorded, your job as a podcaster is just beginning. Get your guests and their colleagues involved in promoting their episode. Make it as easy as possible for them to share with their own networks, and they’re more likely to promote it. Not only will this help each person extend his or her personal brand and showcase their company, you’ll also widen the reach of the episode by tapping into expanded personal and professional networks. Provide your guests with sample social media posts and images, the live link to their episode, and ideas for how to use the episode for personal branding and recruiting. Give your guests social fodder, video, and images, and they’ll be excited to share and watch as episode engagement climbs.
Fine-tune a process you can replicate
Because there are so many pieces and parts involved in podcasting — including scheduling, recording, editing, and promotion — creating a documented process you can replicate for future episodes will help you stay organized and ensure you’re maximizing each recording session and episode. A documented process will also help you build out a schedule you can stick to so that your episodes are recorded and published on time.
Carissa’s favorite podcasts:
- Building a StoryBrand, Donald Miller
- Masters of Scale, Reid Hoffman
- Social Media Marketing Podcast, Michael Stelzner
Communicate effectively with your guest
Make sure that you provide all of the appropriate information for your guests and also ensure the right number of touchpoints. We’ve stuck to three main types of communications — initial outreach, pre-recording, and post-recording. It’s highly possible that your guests aren’t regularly participating in podcasts so provide them with enough information to make them feel comfortable. In our initial outreach, we provide:
- Links to previous episodes so they know what to expect
- Scheduling options for the recording session
- Recording best practices and tips
- Time investment expectations
- Recording location and details
- Contact information for following up
- Podcast questions and topics (provided a week prior)
- Recording confirmation (two days prior)
Be disciplined and respect the schedule
Treat your podcast like going to the gym. You won’t get results from working out unless you actually work out. The same goes for your podcast. You need to have a consistent schedule for all aspects of your podcast — from when it goes live, to each step of the process, including: outreach to guests, recording dates, working with your content and design teams for copy and creative, promotion schedules, and guest follow up. Having a set schedule will not only make it easier for you to manage internally but will also set expectations for team members and ultimately allow you to grow your audience by distributing consistent podcast content.
Dov’s favorite Podcasts:
Make a plan for repurposing your audio
Launching a podcast can be a monumental project, with a lot of moving parts that occur on the front end before you ever introduce the world to your team’s auditory magic. Between prepping enough show content for a successful launch, navigating your submission to distribution platforms, and selecting the perfect show music, it can be easy to overlook a critical component of your success: distribution.
Don’t limit your planning and prep work to content development. The podcast space is already too crowded to lean on an “if you build it they will come” model. Some important considerations for your distribution plan include:
- Don’t limit RSS submissions to the podcast giants like iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher — look at smaller players like Pandora, and Google Podcasts.
- Build a podcast presence on your website to capitalize on the SEO value of transcripts, show notes, and descriptions.
- Explore running traffic ads, driving to compelling episodes embedded on your website.
- Prep an email marketing campaign to solicit iTunes ratings and reviews of your new show.
Bottom line: your launch plan needs to go beyond pressing upload on your first few episodes. Keep distribution top-of-mind to build the momentum you need to run a successful show.
Kirsten’s favorite podcasts:
- B2B Growth, Sweetfish Media
- Unthinkable, Marketing Showrunners
- Behind the Bastards, Stuff Media
- Lovett or Leave It, John Lovett
Although launching a podcast is no easy feat, it can be a great way to engage your audience with a new format. Get organized, follow a schedule, and prepare your guests and you won’t have to go back and complete crucial steps later. Then take that high-quality content and repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!
Catch up on our podcast action — listen to Episode One: It’s Time to Break Up With Arts & Crafts Marketing.