July 1, 2024 0 Comments

5 Tips on Starting a Successful Podcast for your Brand

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PR and podcasting go hand-in-hand. Podcasting, much like creative advertisements, media interviews, press releases, and video content, is a useful medium for integrated marketing professionals to do what they do best: storytelling.

The PR industry is changing—and securing interviews on popular industry podcasts can help your brand to stand out in a crowded market. And the best PR agencies know how to take it one step further, with original podcast content designed to tell your unique brand story.

But it’s not easy. You might recall this video that went semi-viral in online marketing forums recently, with the claim that a staggering 90% of podcasts fail after the first three episodes.

If that stat is true, it’s understandable. A lot can go wrong for brands that approach podcast production without the right strategies in place. A good podcaster knows the realities of the job: guests fall through, audio files get destroyed, news cycles move faster than editors do, hosts encounter scheduling conflicts, and on and on.

The risk of burnout is high. But the rewards for your brand awareness and credibility can be immense. Want to do it right? Here’s what our in-house podcasting experts recommend.

1. Make it (actually) interesting.

Before you sit down at the mic for the first time, it’s important to develop a deep understanding of who your desired listener will be. Ask yourself, “Who am I trying to reach? What do I want to tell them?” and then adhere to that blueprint. That core focus should drive everything, from the topics you cover, to the guests you feature, to the way you title your episodes and show segments. Oftentimes, brand leaders assume they know who their audiences will be and what those people will enjoy hearing. In reality, connecting with podcast fans who have thousands of other listening options is incredibly difficult. The best content marketing agencies will know how to get those listeners to choose your show over dozens of others in their feed.

Next, it’s important to keep those listeners coming back for more. And to do that, your hosts should have just as much interest in the chosen topic as your target listeners do. A professional podcast producer or content marketing expert can help you align your hosts’ vision as well as areas of interest and expertise, with the desired storytelling arc that will drive results for your brand. If your hosts are genuinely interested in discussing these key themes for the long term, it prevents burnout and fosters an authentic conversation that will keep your audience engaged.

2. Get the pacing and spacing right.

The one business resource that podcasting eats through most quickly is time. Depending on the style of show you produce, it can require several hours of post-production editing alone to deliver a single hour of listener-ready content. Beyond that, there are administrative duties like recording time, scheduling, guest procurement, and content planning. That’s just for production, without considering time for promotional assets and strategies. A skilled podcast production team will help you to set a sustainable pace.

Often, it’s best to start small, space out your episodes, and take care to minimize any unforeseen technical issues in the recording process. Then, over time, you can strategically ramp things up when needed. Simplicity and authenticity can make for a much more interesting listen than lengthy episodes with flashy effects that lack real substance.

3. Get comfortable with awkwardness.

The harsh reality is that boring podcasts aren’t successful podcasts. If you produce a boring show, it will almost certainly never reach your target customers, investors or stakeholders’ ears. That’s a waste of budget. Not every show will be comedic or fun, but every successful show must find a way to be compelling. Producing a valuable podcast requires a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, and the right expertise to develop a creative approach to your subject matter. If your brand can offer a new perspective or some other element that generates real value for listeners, the show will be much more likely to succeed.

Doing anything for the first time is awkward, and hosting a podcast is no exception. When you enter your first recording session, expect some jitters that might take a few episodes to subside. Your production team should be able to guide you through some icebreakers to ease the tension, and provide the right post-production editing to reduce any hiccups before an episode goes live. It takes time to build chemistry and rapport between hosts or guests, and that’s okay! Over time, the awkwardness will fade and the show will naturally become more relaxed and authentic, allowing your industry expertise to shine.

4. Be ready to pivot.

Some ideas that work on paper in your initial brainstorming session will fall flat in execution. For example: If your hosts aren’t genuinely interested in the topics they’re discussing, your listeners will sense it and press “skip.” And if your episodes are too long, listeners won’t finish them.

A good podcast producer knows how to identify your strengths as a spokesperson, and lean into them to meet the needs of your ideal listener. If an idea flops, it’s much better to move on than to hammer on a creative mistake that leads listeners to abandon your show and pushes it further down in streaming platform algorithms. As a brand leader who is passionate about your industry, product or mission, you might find it difficult to sense what an external audience wants to hear. That’s where the value of leaning on an external advisor comes in: A good producer will be honest with you about what works, what to change, and what to leave behind to improve your podcast.

5. Know the value you want to get out of your show.

Many podcasting newcomers assume the only ROI a podcast can offer is to generate advertising revenue. But, as PR experts, we couldn’t disagree more. The podcasting space is crowded, and it takes time to build up a large community of listeners that can attract high-value advertisers. If the only reason you want to host a show is to generate ad revenue, it’s unlikely to work out that way. Instead, consider other ways your podcast can bring value to your brand and enhance your other integrated marketing initiatives. For example: Can your podcast attract potential applicants to your company? Can it support product sales by offering behind-the-scenes insights and advice about your industry? Can it increase your brand credibility to help you stand out to target customers? Can you optimize your episodes for improved SEO value?

Another way for a podcast to benefit your brand is to establish a unique, high-value networking opportunity. You might build relationships with other podcasters and important industry guests, by leveraging your show to connect with them. This is where some PR prowess comes in handy for podcasters. The relationships you build with guests will determine the quality of the interviews you produce, and whether those guests share the show with their own networks. If you have a strong interview framework in place with a solid queue of interesting episodes, you can leverage your podcast as an asset to connect with important industry stakeholders by offering to give them a moment in the spotlight with an interview. Podcasts are all about storytelling and dialogue, and strong networking acumen is crucial.

Whether you’re interested in landing an interview on your favorite industry podcast, or starting a show of your own, our media relations and content development experts can help you reach the recording booth. Reach out to work with us any time.


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Trust Relations Team