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So you think your company needs to do a podcast?  Why?

So you think your company needs to do a podcast?  To quote Simon Sinek:   Start with why.   

 

Are you looking for an internal company PR mechanism?  Do you want to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to a cause? Do you want to build a brand?  Generate direct sales? Feed your CEO’s dream of being the next Emma Chamberlain or Joe Rogan? All of the above?

The real estate podcast Street Smart Success started so a real estate investor could better network with potential sponsors of commercial projects.  Their motive is purely to access more potential deals.  The host does not invest much in production but has freelance specialists who assist with some of the editing and social media elements of the pod.  It accomplishes his goal of upping his ability to network with a diverse range of alternative investment sponsors.  Since his industry is verticalized, his promotion is far simpler.

Mattress Firm’s Branded Podcast was a major initiative for the company.  They worked with their agency to produce a series discussing sleep with different people in different professions.  They applied both brand lift and direct attribution methods to measure a connection between customers and listeners.  They partnered with I Heart Media to help with promotion.  They likely invested  $2-3 million behind the effort and they appear to be happy with the results.

The Podcast Business Journal reports about 4.2 million different podcasts in its directory.  They also consistently report approximately 200,000 new podcast episodes each week.  The amount of podcast content available to us is overwhelming.

Is your company ready to jump into this crowded pool?  Why should I listen to your podcast when I have so many options?  Let’s remember to start with why.

Once you have established your why, now think about all of the elements:

1.  Content creation:  The interview format is common and simple (e.g. Fresh Air, The Ringer) The storytelling format is more nuanced and labor intensive (e.g. This American Life, Serial).  Both require time and talent.  The frequency of your content is an important consideration because without a regular cadence (new episodes dropping weekly), listening will not become habitualized.  These formats require or benefit from a host(s) (the primary people behind the microphone), producer (booking guests and coordinating schedules), technical producer (editor, platform distribution, sound/video design), writer/researcher.  Certainly a single person can handle all of these functions but this will certainly compromise quality.

2.  Platform management:  Throwing a podcast up on Apple or Spotify is fairly simple.  But what about all of the other platforms like YouTube, I Heart, SXM, Tune In, Audacy, and Amazon.  Multiple platforms and platform partnerships often can boost your visibility.

3.  Media Strategy:  If your podcast falls in the woods will anyone hear it?  You need to make a smart investment in getting your podcast distributed and heard.  The most obvious answer is to promote your podcast on other more established podcasts.  You can do this via Dynamic Ad Insertion, “baked-in” host reads, or a combination of both.  With 4 million podcasts floating around, you will need professional help planning and buying this media.

4.  Social Media Plan:  Pushing your pod out on Linked In, You Tube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, X (the social site formerly known as Twitter), Threads, Reddit, SnapChat, and all of the other emerging platforms requires a different skill set than your usual social media playbook.

5.  Video Activation:  Having video elements opens your ability to reach more people and activate better on social media.  How video takes shape within the podcast is a critical decision.  Full length companion videos don’t lend themselves to all formats, but having some video for social media purposes is essential.  

6.  Non-Pod Audio Marketing:  Contrary to popular belief, most audio listening is non-podcast.  Utilizing streaming audio (Pandora, Spotify, and others), satellite, and AM/FM is a natural extension 

7.  Success Metrics:  Measuring success and results is not as simple as simply looking at impressions and  engagements.  Podcast as a media platform was built by Direct Response marketers who often utilize a suite of proprietary metrics beyond traditional digital tools.  Making sure you know what success looks like will inform your investment.

There is a fair amount of research that supports the idea that audio messaging provides an intimate, personal environment that is more trustworthy than other media platforms.  Ideally your company’s podcasting efforts can lean into medium to better your connection to your employees, vendors, and of course, customers.  

Hiring freelancers and podcast, advertising and media vendors to pull the above elements together is one way to approach the process.  We would recommend an internal project manager with marketing, media, and audio/video content experience to help lead the effort.

A company like Mahdlo can fill this project management gap well.  Not only do we have CMO experts in audio and media, but we have the experience with macro goals to help your company establish the fundamental “why” answer you need to move forward and succeed.