Many of our readers know we do interactive news releases, infographics, and websites. But did you know we also produce podcasts? We’re huge fans of the medium. Podcasts are an exceptional tool if your brand is trying to build relationships with a target audience. The combination of long form content and convenience is hard to beat. (Seriously! You can listen in the car, on a jog, or while cleaning your house … if you’re a person who jogs and cleans, that is.)
Many of our readers know we do interactive news releases, infographics, and websites. But did you know we also produce podcasts? We’re huge fans of the medium. Podcasts are an exceptional tool if your brand is trying to build relationships with a target audience. The combination of long form content and convenience is hard to beat. (Seriously! You can listen in the car, on a jog, or while cleaning your house … if you’re a person who jogs and cleans, that is.) So to celebrate the fabulousness of the podcast, we’re sharing a few thoughts on how to make a podcast sing … or educate … or entertain.
It starts with a concept. There are podcasts about everything under the sun. But a brand podcast should center on exploring topics and sharing information that’s important to your audience. This is the time to ask yourself the key question: Why am I doing this? Are you trying to establish your brand as an industry leader? Advocate for a key initiative? Generate leads? Understanding your “why” is key. Once you’re clear on the why, your theme will take on direction and become more evident.
Podcast themes or topics can be broad or narrow and should be something you’re passionate about, something you have the authority to speak to, and something that connects to your why.
Once you know why you want to create a podcast, and what you’ll explore, it’s time to plan the format. Some podcasts have a single host; others change hosts constantly. Some podcasts are scripted stories (The Magnus Archives or Hardcore History), others are interviews (Fresh Air), still others feature experts addressing a given topic in depth (TED Radio Hour or Kickass News). Be sure to pick a format that aligns with your goals and best displays your expertise.
Next up: length. There’s no perfect answer here either. For the podcasts that PWR produces, we work to ensure every episode is interesting from the open to close. If it gets a little slow, we get back to editing. Each podcast episode should be as short, or long, as it needs to be to cover the topic and maintain engagement. That means designing your series format to be cohesive and consistent, but with a little bit of give when it comes to episode length.
One way to keep consistency in a podcast series is with scheduling. While some podcasts post randomly, it’s easier to create a relationship with an audience if they know what to expect. Weekly, biweekly or monthly all work (less often is harder) as long as you keep it consistent.
Name It, Show It, Brand It
Your podcast name should be specific enough to convey the topic clearly but unique enough to make it stand out. And the icon you design should not only live comfortably within your brand guidelines, but have a little life of its own as well.
Here’s an example from PWR world – we produce this series for the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and were lucky enough to help conceptualize it as well. We love the title. Central Line is a play on both communications and a technical anesthesiology term. And we designed an icon we think fits the brand and topic with just enough design oomph to stand out from the clutter.
At PWR, we create discussion guides for every episode we produce, often in conjunction with a show editor, host and/or guest. Note that if you’re creating a personal podcast to share your favorite jokes, this might be a step you can skip. But if you’re working on a brand podcast, it’s key to align talking points with host, guests, and often the c-suite. This doesn’t mean developing tight scripts. If it’s too tight the episode won’t sound conversational. But it does mean the content is spelled out in advance so participants know the topic and message, and are prepared to speak to it.
Once your podcast name and design are nailed down, it’s a good time to work on intro and theme music (or what we call, “the fun stuff”) and make plans for a podcast trailer, a teaser to grab your audience’s attention. It’s okay to put up a placeholder trailer and update it once you have some good episodes out in the world. You’ll want to write a description for your podcast at this stage as well. Tell your audience what your show is about in about one paragraph. And remember, it’s metadata and will make your show more visible on Apple, Google Play, Spotify and beyond. We also recommend providing a transcript to improve the listening experience.
Once you have all that set, set up your equipment, pick a platform to amplify your podcasts, and choose a category. Don’t forget to get your podcast listed in all of the top directories. (If you’re struggling with these details, feel free to reach out. We have thoughts on this too!)
Go for It
Whether you publish your first episode with the pizazz of a grand opening or opt for a soft launch, at some point you have to send your work out into the world. Don’t let impostor syndrome get you here. Just do it. If it’s not perfect, you’ll learn and do better next time. And let’s face it, it’s probably nearly perfect anyway, amiright?
After all that, you get to market your podcast, iterate so you keep improving, track your metrics, and, best of all, celebrate your fabulousness! Holler if we can help – we’d love some new podcast projects over here.