Podcasts are one of the big marketing trends right now.
The benefits are pretty clear: podcasts are engaging; they’re intimate; they build trust; they’re incredible tools for painting a comprehensive picture of your business and brand. And, not only that, but if you get on the podcast bandwagon soon, you’ll also be on the cutting edge of the medium. Podcasts are still new enough that many businesses haven’t put the channel to use – yet.
So, as Mugatu himself knows: podcasts are great.
The question is, though, whether they can be great for your business.
After all, creating and producing a podcast requires a dedicated exertion of resources. What makes the best podcasts so valuable and compelling is the high quality content that they consistently produce. To produce a podcast that people will value (and that will provide value to your business), you need to be able to do the same thing.
With that in mind, here are a few boxes to check off as you consider starting a podcast for your business.
In any good podcast, expertise is a necessity. People listen to podcasts to learn and be entertained. Nobody will listen to a podcast that features people who don’t know what they’re talking about. That would be pointless – and probably rather boring, too.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to know every detail about everything you want to cover in your podcast. In fact, one technique we recommend is bringing in expert guests to speak to topics your audience might be interested in. However, you need to start from a foundation of expertise in your chosen topic.
For many businesses, checking this box is almost a given. After all, you’re running a business – of course you know what you’re doing. Before you begin a podcast, though, just take the time to make sure that your expertise in your business translates into expertise that you’ll enjoy discussing in a podcast format.
Personality is the icing to the cake of expertise. Admittedly, personality can be a difficult thing to quantify, and there is certainly broad room for different personalities within the podcast medium. That being said, though, if you don’t have a personality for a podcast, your listeners will be quick to tune you out.
I completely agree with this observation from the Harvard Business Review: “The podcasts that are now commanding so much respect are helmed by people with tremendous storytelling skills.”
The fact is, if your podcast doesn’t feature great storytelling, you’re not going to get traction. Personality is the difference between reciting the facts and telling the story. It’s the difference between the screenplay transcript and the movie. It’s not quantifiable, but it is essential.
The host(s) of your podcast needs to have a personality that will keep your audience listening.
3. Information that’s valuable
In addition to expertise and personality, podcasts also need to contain information that’s valuable. Now, most of the time valuable information will flow from the combination of expertise and personality – but just because that’s usually the case doesn’t mean you can be unintentional about the information you present.
Before you begin a podcast, take the time to document the topics you’ll be discussing in each episode. The longer this list is, the better chance you’ll have of creating consistently relevant content.
If you can, go as far as outlining each episode. Creating an outline of discussion points can help you to ensure that you’ll have enough information for each topic to keep the entire episode interesting. Of course, these can be refined later. The important thing is to be intentional about presenting information that will be truly valuable to your audience.
4. An audience
And, speaking of your audience, that’s another box you’ll need to check – an audience.
A few points, here. First, when we say you need to have an audience to start a podcast, obviously we don’t mean that you need to have an existing list of subscribers (although that would be great if you did). Many good podcasts start from the ground up.
What you do need, though, is a base of potential listeners. Like any communication channel, determining whether or not this audience exists goes a long way towards determining whether or not the channel is worthwhile. The fact is that not every industry is well-suited to a podcast format, because not every industry has a topic that enough people will enjoy listening to.
You need to craft your information, expertise, and personality around the kind of audience you hope to have. If the audience you hope to have doesn’t exist, or if they exist in too small a number to justify the resources you’ll be expending to reach them, then you may want to reconsider whether a podcast is right for your business.
5. An entertaining format
Finally, before you start a podcast for your business, you’ll want to ensure that you have an entertaining format to work in.
There are a variety of options to choose from: solo hosts, dual hosts, interviews, group discussions – and these can even be combined. The important thing is to have a structure that works for your goals, your information, and your audience. What you don’t want to do (even if you’re a storytelling genius) is to start rambling. The better you define the structure of your presentation, the better you’ll be able to communicate.
Have you checked off all the boxes? Do you want help?
At New North, we’re a digital marketing agency that helps brands communicate to reach the right audiences. If you’re not sure whether or not you’ve checked off all the boxes, or if you want a bit of help in figuring out how you can, get in touch with us. We’d love to help you bring your podcast dreams to life.
Your business’ podcast. So hot right now.
Jon is an inbound strategist with a passion for helping clients take the mystery out of their marketing. His goal is to write about digital marketing using as little jargon as possible. He’s watched a few too many Pittsburgh sporting events.