As crazy as it sounds... a well formulated podcast strategy gives you the freedom to experiment with different formats on a tactical level, without it becoming too confusing for followers and listeners.
If you podcast for business, then of course you don't do it as a hobby. Yes, you probably find it fun and interesting to do, but ultimately it has to contribute to a result.
Then it is good to know that podcasting and branding go hand in hand. And that podcasting can also be used very well for marketing, communication, sales and even lead generation.
As a result, business podcasting has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. And with the right podcasting strategy, podcasting can become a very fruitful marketing channel.
But enough about business podcasting... let's take a deep dive into how to formulate a podcast strategy.
Content of this article
Is a podcast strategy necessary?
No. You can start just fine without a podcast strategy. Especially if you are taking your first steps. But... it will be hard to make the business case because you don't have a clear goal with your podcasts. And without direction, you don't know where you'll end up.
You often see podcasts without a strategy in the 'kitchen table podcasts' where a couple of (business) friends have a nice chat about anything and everything. The goal and the earnings model arise gradually, as the podcast becomes more popular.
But is podcasting part of a content strategy, a communication strategy or a branding campaign?then a well-formulated podcast strategy is essential.
A business podcast strategy helps you to make choices about things like:
In the rest of the article, we will mainly focus on how to formulate a podcast strategy, what it should contain and what you have to think about.
Why do you want a business podcast and what are you trying to achieve?
This forms the foundation of the podcast strategy. Once you have this clear, the next parts become easier to formulate. For business podcasts, there are a number of goals that can be formulated that justify the investment of time and money.
We come across these a lot:
Based on these goals, you can determine what investments are justified, who should be involved in the process and what channels should be used to reach the target group. And that brings us to the business case of podcasting.
The business case
Now that we know what we want to achieve, we can formulate the business case. If you are a solopreneur or run a small business, you may be able to get by with a napkin. If you have to convince multiple stakeholders, you need a more comprehensive plan.
The business case can be divided into two sections;
This, of course, goes far beyond money. On the investment side, time and cost of opportunity must also be considered, and on the revenue side, long-term returns must be considered, such as brand awareness, future returns, etc.
And although every case is unique, below I try to give an idea of an average business case.
The investments you see below are indicative. It can be cheaper and more expensive. Keep that in mind 😉 Moreover, things like studio rent are optional, as you can also easily convert an office space.
The returns are somewhat more difficult to express in specific numbers. That is why I am giving an insight into the various returns and a brief explanation below.
A podcast is a great way to build brand awareness or to load your brand, because unlike textual content, audio lends itself well to making a human connection with the listener. Think of the CEO's column. What if that were a story in a podcast? That comes across as much less distant.
A podcast is a good way to build authority. Not only because of what you say, but also the questions you ask show authority. A podcast is also a low-threshold way of getting into conversation with interesting prospects or expanding your network. Finally you can also attract sponsors or advertisers, or become an advertiser in your own podcast ;D.
Ever since mankind has existed, we have been building community (connection) with stories. And we use those stories to get other people moving. Sometimes because we are making a case for a goal and sometimes because we want to bring about renewal. Here, the return could be expressed in impact and activation.
It is no secret that many people do not read or hardly read. Sometimes because it costs them too much energy, sometimes because they can't read and sometimes because they don't have/make time to read. Various studies show that this target group does consume audio/video, with audio doing well during sports, while travelling or at work.
In this case, you could look at potential new reach or increased interaction, e.g. the number of extra minutes people spend on your content.
Whether you are a internal podcast or a public podcast for stakeholders and/or customers... a podcast can be used very well to increase the involvement of the organisation. Because be honest... what would you rather receive? A written memo about the new strategy or would you rather hear the CEO explain how the strategy works?
The target group
Of course, a podcast strategy includes a description of the target group. Because the better you know for whom you make the podcast, the better you can make the connection with the target group. And that in turn increases your chances of success.
The pitfall with describing a target group is that you get stuck in generalities too much. In general, you can't do much with someone's age. Think about more specific things, which are also called psychographics:
To name a few.
Of course, there is no harm in having a persona It is important to be as specific as possible.
The contents of the podcast
I am not referring so much to the type of podcast formatBut more at the strategic level of what the overall content of the podcast will be. Are you going to share customer stories, communicate vision, develop thought leadership or build brand awareness?
The way in which you convey that content is often a matter of experimentation, but also of alternation. Interviews are nice to listen to, but sometimes it is also nice to have a solo cast of a CEO or the like in between. Or how about a round table with experts?
But the listening purpose can't just change. I'm just saying... you can't suddenly change a podcast with marketing tips to an internal podcast about culture. Your followers will get lost.
With my own podcast, Growth Minds, we talk about success, entrepreneurship and personal development. And in terms of guests, we want to interview ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. That makes it clear to us and our followers what to expect.
Formats, frequency and duration
As I just wrote, you don't need to have a fixed plan at the start when it comes to format, frequency and duration. In the beginning, it is especially important that you experiment with the formats and, if possible, gather feedback to determine which formats, frequencies and lengths contribute to the objectives.
A good podcast strategy should at least include an experiment roadmap and how you are going to measure and assess which tactics (because that's what they are) are the most effective. Approach it with a growth hacking mindset.
But having said that...
You can include a hypothesis in your strategy. And even if you have already determined what works best, the podcast strategy describes what formats, frequencies and lengths to aim for. But make sure you keep experimenting.
Distribution & Promotion
Podcasts do not spread by themselves and if you do not want the success of your podcast to depend on chance, you will need to include in the podcast strategy how you are going to distribute and promote the podcast. Even a internal podcast needs a promotion plan.
When it comes to promoting a public podcast, there are a number of important ways to promote your podcast. For one, your podcast website needs to be optimised for Google. A new kind of SEO... Podcast SEO.
This way, your podcast will also rank well in the search engines. With Springcast, you always get an optimised podcast website for your podcast. This is what it looks like in Google:
You also have so-called directories where you can register your podcast. You have generic directories and niche directories. You can think of the following directories:
But based on the statistics we see, most traffic from business podcasts comes from their own channels. Think of the following marketing channels:
KPIs & Analytics
Although the market is not yet mature and standardised enough to offer watertight analytics, statistics do give you (enough) insight into how certain content performs and how it contributes to business objectives.
At Springcast, for example, we offer the possibility to measure not only the number of downloads, the source and the geographical location, but you can also integrate Google Analytics and other analytics tools to know what happens before someone presses 'play'.
When setting up KPIs for your podcast strategy, it's important to think differently than usual. Because whereas with many other channels you have to go mainstream to get a decent return, with podcasts it's much more about quality, rather than quantity.
With an average listening time of between 45 and 60 minutes, a podcast is more comparable to a physical presentation to a group of people. This is mainly due to the duration and the intimacy of the medium.
Although I advise organisations as much as possible to include KPIs that are in line with the business objectives, here is a list of podcast-related KPIs:
A few final words
I hope this article has given you a good idea of what the building blocks of a business podcast strategy are. They are the usual suspects, but enrich the plan with specifics that relate to your organisation's market, situation and goals.
For small businesses, freelancers and solopreneurs, I have an additional piece of advice ... start and limit the plan to 1 A4 sheet. It is purely for yourself.
Do you represent a larger organisation and would you like to discuss your podcast strategy with one of our experts? Then get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.