Pod Save the Remote Leader
You’ve been FaceTiming your friends, Zooming your co-workers, but have you connected digitally with your industry community, customers, or new audiences beyond your immediate networks?
With more and more conferences canceled and an overwhelming increase in a remote workforce, there appear to be limited opportunities to share your brand story, thought leadership, or market insights. Reaching your target audience and industry peers can happen in many different ways including webcasts, live cast, blog posts, or visuals. One format we have been thinking a lot about is podcasting.
A podcast is great for storytelling, hosting conversations with your network, and capturing your industry insights quickly. This form of communication has a history of driving executives’ presence as an industry leader in their field. Lars Schmidt, for example, founder of Amplify, co-founder of HR Open Source, hosts the podcast 21st Century HR, creating an outlet for sharing insights and interacting with other thought leaders.
To help you build awareness and leadership during these unprecedented times, we’ve developed some tips for creating a successful podcast.
Success means attention to detail
You have your big idea, a pipeline of guests, and now you need to figure out the nitty-gritty of podcast production. Before recording, consider these logistical aspects of the project:
Research — Evaluation is key in the early stages of a podcast. Evaluate peers, competitors, and existing podcasts to identify opportunities to fill a missing need.
Establish Goals — How many subscribers do you want in one year? Are you looking to build social media followers? Highlight what your objectives are before you get started.
Audience — You know who you want to reach… generally. But what is your target listener’s age, job title, location, favorite existing podcast? By getting as specific as you can about your target demographic, you set yourself up for the best success in reach and engagement.
Frequency — Create a cadence for each episode. Decide how often you would like to publish. Make this choice depends on how much time you’re willing/able to put in. Useful podcasts can post daily, weekly, monthly, or even more sporadically. But the more regular your schedule, the more likely you’ll grow a loyal following.
Host Site — The home for your podcast is crucial. Where will listeners go to listen? Vie for prominent placement on a streaming service’s platform like Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, or Spotify.
Format — Podcasts vary from 20 minutes to over an hour. How long will each of your episodes be? Then there is the episode experience to consider. Will each one follow the same order of events: intro, guest interview, relevant news roundup? Listeners love a strong opening and ending, so it is also essential to decide how you will handle those for each episode.
Theme — Books, movies, music are categorized for a reason. What is the overall theme you’d like your podcast to fit into? What topics will you cover within your theme?
Promotion — Consider keywords for search optimization (e.g., startup, entrepreneur, ideas, innovation). Show behind the scenes footage. Consider videoing the podcast and posting on YouTube for a more significant impact on search and generating automatic transcripts.
Measurement — You want to see how many people your podcast is reaching, where your listeners are from, who they are. Use measurement tools to receive data to see if you are reaching your target audience.
Testing 1, 2, 3…?
Production is a stumbling block for many creators. But it doesn’t have to be. Finding an easy to use recording site or device at a low cost is an integral part of making a podcast. Using just a few tools, you can create a well-curated podcast with both quality editing and sound.
A good tip for testing is to conduct mock interviews with each service. This shows you the pros and cons of the services, and also serves as a practice round to get you acquainted to interviewing and using the tools.
Here are the tools you’ll need:
Podcast recording service like:
Editing service like:
Here are the podcast platforms you can post to:
iTunes (the most important of the bunch)
Before you hit “share” plan your promotion
You just finished formatting, recording, and editing your podcast. It’s read to share, right? Not quite! Instead of immediately pulling the trigger, create a pre-promotion plan. Advertise your podcast ahead of time to gain traction and drive excitement. Having a following ahead of publication sets your podcast up for increased engagement and reach.
One Month Ahead:
Participate in established podcasts to get a feel for the experience. Here are a few worth looking into:
What is this podcast for? Are you trying to inform audiences, share industry insights, demonstrate expertise, establish leadership, entertain, etc?
Set a date to hit all of your podcast goals. These can include social media follower count, subscribers, and total listeners.
Develop a content calendar
Decide on themes, topics, and schedule for the podcast over the first few months. Keep updating this as your podcast matures.
Decide on your in/out concept, podcast graphics, teasers, and other branding materials.
One Week Ahead:
Tease the podcast by sharing “behind the scenes” posts, industry stats on podcasting, or have the host of the podcast do a company blog post about his/her vision for the show.
Create a teaser audio post for LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms.
Create a newsletter teasing the podcast and inviting people to subscribe and share.
Ensure your podcast web page is live.
This page can include insights on the episodes, an about page, giveaways, teasers and more.
Share images, links, and pre-prepared social posts.
Encourage guests, partners, employees, and more to share this social copy on their channels as well.
E-mail the top 10 media influencers in your industry alerting them to your podcast.
Share a press release with traditional media.
Coordinate cross-promotion with guest social media channels.
Consider throwing a launch party via a live cast and offer giveaways like branded swag left over from canceled events.
It’s live, don’t just hold your breath
Don’t leave your audience hanging. Prior to publishing your series consider having a pipeline of episodes so you don’t risk losing your listeners if the first cast doesn’t go well. If there are other podcasts for audiences to try, you have a greater chance of appealing to more people.
You may think you’re done once your podcast is live, but it’s also important to keep up with the promotion and messaging of your new show.
Once live, you can:
Pin your podcast post on your social media channels and link to the show.
Connect with your audience and ask them to subscribe and review.
Post morning, noon and evening posts on LinkedIn.
Capture quotes and share live on Twitter and Instagram.
Consider live casting an episode on Facebook.
Engage with your audience and track responses in real-time during the podcast. Focus on comments from influencers and listeners and respond as necessary.
You promoted it, it’s out there, now what?
After publishing your first episode, you’ll likely be wondering how things went. Take your podcast journey one step further and engage with your audience. It’s vital to gain listener feedback to improve your content and retain and grow your audience.
Create 15-second soundbites to showcase the topic and guest of the show. Share these on SoundCloud and social media platforms as a teaser to the episode.
Ask listeners for feedback and show that you are listening by incorporating this in the next episode.
Share insights from your recording in a blog or on social media.
Thank guests for listening on social media, interact with those who are shouting out or commenting on your episode.
Track the traffic, subscribers, and comments you are getting.
Record results and key takeaways from this tracking to help improve the next recording.
Keep it consistent
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Stick with the same format and schedule to maintain consistency and a steady following. Following through with your objectives will help you reach your goals and launch a successful podcast. This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative! Think outside the box when it comes to content, just make sure your podcast flows from episode to episode.