At the start of this year, we decided to add another string to our content marketing bow here at Passle and launch a podcast.
We did this completely on our own without any experience in broadcasting, audio editing or live recording. Needless to say, we learned a lot. Over the course of the first dozen episodes, there’s been a lot of little tips and tricks that we’ve picked up.
Here’s what we learned from starting a B2B podcast:
As usual, before you start, it's important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. It’s tempting here to set a goal of reaching a huge audience ie- “rank in the top 5 business podcasts” or “gather 200,000 views”.
Realistically though, your goal needs to line up with your market, revenue sources and who your clients and prospects are.
When setting a goal remember;
Don’t count the people you reach - reach the people who count.
- David Ogilvy
When thinking about a format, we had two main considerations; length and structure. We considered who our audience were, how they would receive the podcast and what we wanted to achieve with our goal.
We decided on a shorter podcast, which required a really tight focus for each episode but had the benefit of being easy to record and edit while most importantly being easily digestible.
You can record a podcast on an iPhone. You can also record a podcast in a multi-million dollar soundstage. The reality will be that your setup lies somewhere in between. For our podcast, we decided on a decent but not overly expensive or complicated microphone. It was important to us that we had a setup that was mobile, that we could take to our guests.
The space you decide to record in is really important, try to record in a quiet space that doesn’t produce a lot of echoes. Stay away from big glass windows and try and give yourself a little bit of distance from walls that create an echo.
The Guests & Host
You can record a podcast with just one person speaking. But we quickly realised that we wanted to bring on experts in different areas to the podcast. Often this was someone from our own firm, a client or someone with an interesting point of view in a related field.
An expert meant that we had an authentic conversation and someone with a genuinely interesting perspective on the subject of the podcast. The opinions of that guest were what we are after - and what our audience wanted to hear.
Every guest at some stage experiences impostor syndrome. The most confident people and the most introverted alike feel nervous before the podcast. It's important when reaching out to guests that you aren’t pushy and make sure that they know all the details about the podcast, how it's recorded, the structure and their options for approval.
Your guests are the experts. They don’t need to be perfect because it's their opinions and authenticity that you are trying to capture. Making sure that they know this and that anything they aren’t happy with can be edited from the podcast will go a long way to making them feel comfortable.
To keep consistency and to represent the audience, we agreed to have a consistent podcast host. It helped to have someone that knew the structure of the podcast to guide the conversation so that it would make sense to listeners with a range of understanding of the subject matter.
For us that was me, but that could be a client manager, a partner, a marketer or anyone who could represent the audience in the discussion to make sure that what was being said was interesting and understandable for listeners.
Editing our podcast, I find that I’ll listen to the audio fully through at least 3-4 times completely during editing. Bear in mind that if you have a 30-minute podcast you’ll likely have about 2 hours of editing time each time.
By contrast a 10-minute podcast can be recorded, edited and published within an hour of meeting the guest.
I record the podcast using the freeware Audacity which is lightweight and easy to learn in 10 mins or so. Audacity lets you edit, but I prefer to use Da Vinci Resolve, an editing suite because it gives a better visualisation of the audio.
We committed initially to completing 10 podcasts as a bit of a trial. From there we looked for opportunities for interesting content. Our topics tended to have two sources. The first is external, an organic topic that our client-facing teams found in a discussion.
The second way was an internal source of the topic. This was either a key message that we wanted to push or another initiative we wanted to support such as an event or a campaign.
For both sources, it was fairly obvious who we wanted to be our guest. We’d reach out and find a time and place to record. Having an agile setup meant that we were flexible and able to travel to our guests to get the recording.
Once a recording was done, I’ve found that it was best to edit and publish as soon as possible. If you don’t, the momentum is lost and we end up with an out of date audio file.
We sent each podcast to the guest for approval within a couple of days. This meant they were still excited and keen to get it published. They usually approved in a day or so - another benefit of a short podcast is that the guest could listen and approve in a few minutes.
It is really key that each podcast has a purpose and a target audience. We create the podcast to open doors and deepen engagements with the people that matter. If the one right person listens to the podcast then it was worth the time. The key is to make sure that the content is relevant to that right person and ensure that the podcast is delivered to them - even if that means sending it 1-2-1.
A great example of this was the podcast we used to help our hiring for the client success team. All our candidates mentioned that the podcast with Sarah was a key factor in their interest in the role.
Podcasting is something that not many people have experience in. The best piece of advice we got when starting the podcast was to treat the first 10 episodes as a learning experience. We interviewed our own people and learned a lot about structure and format. As a host, I learned for example that a podcast with two people needed to be carefully managed and the best way to prepare guests to come on.
You aren’t going to be perfect the first few times so getting through those first few should be the priority, allowing you to test, measure and tune the podcast to get where you need to go.
Finally, listen to other podcasts, particularly B2B ones. Figure out what you like and what you don’t. Becoming a conscious consumer of podcasts definitely feeds into your own confidence and understanding of the format.