How to get a podcast started in your organization?

Learn about the journey of starting and maintaining a business podcast. It covers the initial hesitations, the process of gaining team support, setting realistic goals and metrics for success, and innovative ways to maximize the value of each podcast episode.

January 22, 2024

Today, we are talking about a podcast and podcasting. How do you start your podcast?

I was very hesitant to do a podcast and had been for a long time in my career because I love podcasts. Actually, I listen to them all the time. So, when I think I do not want to do a podcast, it seems silly. I had been very anti-podcast because I did not think that we could do it well or as well as the companies where this is what they do for a business. All the podcasts I listen to are produced by media companies. They are produced weekly, or some other regular cadence, and the production value is really good. They are good, entertaining, and educational content that you want to listen to. As a business podcast, I know we are not just competing with all the other business podcasts; we are competing with other types of podcasts. I wanted to make sure that we could do something good.

My fear was that we would get really excited about it, produce five or six really great episodes, and then really slow our pace down after that. It would be a slog to get them out or produce one a month, and then we would slow down entirely and we would skip a few months. Maybe we would be heavy into events seasons, and we would pause on the podcast and all that type of stuff. Priorities shift in a business, and you can lose focus. So, I wanted to make sure we could produce something good and regular and at a regular cadence. I needed to get the marketing team on board with this. We met with the marketing leader and marketing team, and we said this is what we want to do, and this is why. We are going to do a six-month pilot to test this out and see how it goes. Are you all supportive? The reason we ask this is because we want to make sure that this is a priority in the marketing team. There might be times when we cannot get this ad out because the designer who is working on the podcast needs to get the audio files done today so that we can produce it tomorrow or whatever. We really have not had too many conflicts in that sense. It was just an issue that I foresaw could potentially happen, and I wanted to get the whole marketing team on board so that we could do this. That is what we did, and they were supportive. They were supportive of a six-month pilot, and that went well, and we went from there.

When you did the pilot, did you have specific metrics of success? Did you have any requirements you gave to the team that meant, if we do this and it is successful, then we keep moving forward? How does that all work, and how did you manage it?

Really good question. It was hard to say without having put out an episode yet, what a good number of listens looked like. I think we just wanted to make sure that the numbers were okay and that they were growing. So, if three people listened to the first episode and then three people listened to the second and third, then we cannot keep producing these podcasts for three people. We want to make sure that number is constantly growing and that it seems like a reasonable number. We looked at what a business podcast number should look like, but I think every company and every industry is so different. I think it is hard to give a real benchmark in that sense, so we are really just benchmarking against ourselves. We were also looking qualitatively at how the process was going and if it was hard to get this out or if every episode was stressful. We also had to have the time to get the interviews. Perhaps we should stop because there are probably other things that we could be doing with our time. The president of our company decided he could not prioritize this because he did have other things to do. That would be a reason to stop, but he has been on board the whole time, and the numbers have been growing then and now. So, we are keeping it going. I felt like it was something we had to do. I feel like now, after three years, we have reached a good point, but I felt like in the beginning, I had to be some sort of champion and like a defender of this podcast. This is especially true as we have new marketing directors come in. Over the years, we have had a few different leaders, and it is having to show the numbers and show how we are using it in areas of our marketing and showing the growth that is important.  

If someone is wondering if they should do a podcast, how do you answer that question for a business? When does it make sense? And when does it not make sense to do a podcast?  

I have always believed that you should not just jump on the bandwagon of the tactic that everybody is doing just because everybody is. I do not think that you need to be on TikTok just because everybody else is on TikTok. I think you should have a podcast if you think that you have something to say to your audience, specifically, and you think that you could do it well. I think that if you do not have an angle or if you do not have a good host, then it is not worth doing. I am sure there are other avenues that you could explore that would be more impactful to your business. Our team is known to be innovators and on the cutting edge of where the industry is going. It makes sense to have guests who have transformed the industry and share their insights. That all makes sense to us. If we did not have that fit, then I do not think we would have done a podcast. So, that is my tip, if you have something that makes sense. If you have something of value you can deliver in a podcast format with a host and a team that can support it, then that makes sense. Of course, you are not going to know exactly what you are doing the second you start, and you can experiment and grow. But, if you are just doing it to do it, I think it is a bad idea. I think that is a bad idea across all content formats.

When you have a podcast episode, you do not just let it sit there as only a podcast episode. What do you do to extract as much value out of the episode as possible?

That is such a good question. I do think we sort of viewed it like that at the start. We repurposed it in a few ways, but we were just trying to get ears on the podcast. So, we would promote. We would put it on LinkedIn and say a new podcast episode has dropped. Go listen, go listen. We really wanted to get people to listen to it. Our episodes are an hour long. Yours are much shorter. So that is way less of a time investment. But we are asking people to listen for an hour, and that is a big ask. Of course, we were chopping it up into other things. I think a big one is video clips, so we record videos. It is like three-ish minute clips that I will put together, and we will put those on LinkedIn. The view is not that we will use them to promote the episode, but if you just want to watch that one three-minute clip. Hopefully, you have learned something. Maybe you have not learned all the things you would have in an hour-long episode, but you have learned something, and you will see it is from our company. You might feel that our company really knows what we are talking about, and that is good. That is a huge one. We can also use those clips for other things, too. Sometimes, we will put them in blog posts when they are making a point that we were trying to make, or salespeople might send them out. We also have a really great product marketing team who is always looking for quotes and testimonials and proof points to back up everything they are saying. So, if we have an insights leader from McDonald’s who says something like, “I got customer feedback so early and often to iterate on my innovation process, and that has been really successful for us for these three ways,” then that is so much more credible than us saying you need consumer feedback early and often through your innovation process. It is much better coming from them than it is from us. So, they will use those.

Personally, I just love using the podcast as research for our audience and our ICP. So many people on our podcast are customers or people who could be customers, and I love hearing what they are dealing with in their lives. They are not necessarily talking about how they use our software. They are talking about the struggles that they are facing and the successes they are proud of, and you are just getting inside their head in a really cool way. Those of us who do not talk to customers on a regular basis can find this really useful, which can make us smarter and better at our jobs. I think those are the key ways to use it.  

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