How to Successfully Launch Your Company Podcast

With more than 104 million people listening to podcasts monthly, it’s no wonder businesses are scrambling to add podcasting into their 2021 content marketing strategy.

Podcast consumers are more educated, wealthy, and likely to spend money and adopt new technologies than the average consumers. They present a $302 billion market for the auto industry alone, and studies show they are 54% more likely to consider brands they hear about on podcasts. Even SMB owners are a large cohort of listeners, with 39% of SMB owners reporting listening to podcasts, 65% of whom listen weekly. As a collective, the podcasting community presents a promising opportunity for B2B and B2C organizations to reach target, even niche, audiences.

What many organizations may not realize, however, is that the low barrier to entry into podcast production is a red herring on the path to podcast success. Many companies jumping on the podcasting bandwagon are quickly realizing they’re missing the mark when it comes to creating traction with their shows. As Ben Gregson, a founding member of podcast production company Crate Media contends, “It’s not that hard to start a podcast. It’s much harder to get people to listen.”

What are companies getting wrong?

Podcasts are products that consumers purchase with their time. They’re an investment, as they’re not easily skimmable like blog posts or YouTube videos. They take time and commitment to really digest (most listeners spend about 7 hours listening each week, often to 4–6 shows). From the consumer standpoint, choosing which podcasts to exchange valuable time for is a delicate process, and only the best podcasts make the cut.

As any business leader or marketing expert knows, developing and launching a product takes months, if not years, of research, planning, testing and refining before launch, and then continuous iteration and strategic development once the product reaches the market.

Following basic product development and marketing principles is imperative to podcast success. If you want to produce a company podcast that effectively attracts listeners, engages your audience, and acts as a channel to garner brand awareness, generate leads, and increase loyalty and retention, then you need to be strategic. You need to create a product consumers want on their digital shelves. But how?

How to Drive Podcast Success

1. Do your research

Above all, the #1 question to ask when starting a podcast is: “Is the podcast the right medium for my message and for my audience?” Your research should tell you that answer.

2. Start with a strategic plan

Then, build your strategic GOST plan for launching and marketing your show. This includes your editorial calendar. If your goal is to build thought leadership and your SMART objective is to earn 10,000 downloads by the end of the year, then what kind of content will you produce to achieve that? This is where your audience research comes in. What topics are your prospective listeners interested in? What format is the best for delivering that information — interviews with experts, narrated audio stories, casual conversations with internal leadership? You need to plan for how you will attract listeners while also ensuring your editorial decisions align with and move you toward our brand goals.

3. Work with a production partner

  • Provide or advise you on the equipment you need to sound great
  • Provide or advise you on cover art, title, theme songs, transitional music, and SEO guidelines for your episode titles
  • Provide all of the editing and post-production services to help your podcast sound top-notch
  • Set up your podcast syndication on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc.
  • Help you launch the show, publish consistently and track metrics

4. Repurpose your content

But remember, your content must still fit into your overall company marketing plan and brand goals. A repository of content is essentially worthless if it does not capture and engage your audience effectively. Remember the Pareto principle: 20% of your efforts produce 80% of the results. If one podcast episode was particularly popular, focus on repurposing that episode more often and frequently than the others.

5. Measure and iterate

A sentiment analysis of reviews will tell you if you’re hitting or missing the mark among your target audience. Subscriptions will tell you how many people are interested in coming back (though ascertaining the exact number of subscribers is not possible at the moment). Further, specific episode metrics will inform you on which topics or guests are more popular. Metrics from all of the repurposed content created from that episode will tell you which content overall performs best. Website traffic and on-page conversions are also critical to determining effective calls to action. You need to capture all of these data points and create a system for habitually reviewing them. This will help you strategically determine the kinds of content you create next, while also creating checkpoints that mark your progress towards overall objectives and KPIs.

Podcasts are the medium of the future. IAB predicts that podcasting will be a $1 billion industry by 2021, already capturing 50% of the American public. There are myriad reasons for the phenomenal growth and popularity of the industry — telling signs of evolving consumer taste. So if you do intend to capitalize on this upward trend and deliver value to people through audio-centric content, follow these guidelines to make sure you are on the path to success from the very start.

A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategic Momentum blog.

Content strategist, writer, designer, singer and wunderluster who is obsessed with podcasts.

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