Top-rated podcasts don’t happen by accident; they are the result of careful ‘podcrafting’ that matches target audiences and their interests with digital savvy. In this article, we will outline the techniques for creating a podcast series that regularly ranks on the iTunes business charts.
Chances are, your clients are now listening to podcasts during their daily commute, at the gym or while making dinner. Every year the numbers grow, and the medium is still new enough in New Zealand for new podcasts to make an impact in different genres, including B2B and B2C themes.
Dr John Peebles is an authority on boards and C-suite issues and the author of a book on governance, Parsley on Fish. John has been the professional director of John Peebles Associates since 1990 and an executive search consultant and board advisor for more than 30 years.
In addition to providing corporate governance advice to boards, he handles around 20 non-executive director appointments in any one year (from publicly listed companies to cooperatives, private concerns and not-for-profit organisations).
He has been recognised as one of the top 50 most influential global headhunter” by the American magazine Newsweek.
Alexander PR worked with The Content Place to develop the concept for High Altitude Conversations: Conversations at the Top with Dr John Peebles – business in New Zealand from the perspective of the decision-makers, the risk-takers and the money-makers. It occurred to the podcast creators that John was having these conversations every day, so why not capture some of the detailed issues facing company executives, boards and investors and share them with a business-minded audience?
If you are a business executive with particular expertise and authority on a subject, and you are considering expanding your media repertoire, this article is aimed at you. Here are some of the basics to consider before embarking on the journey:
1. Don’t do it unless you have something to share
By nature an excellent podcast will be a deep dive into the subject matter in which you are an acknowledged expert – and you need to be willing to take some risks and share your intellectual property here. You can still maintain confidentiality where required, but listeners respond to rawness and realness, not coyness.
2. Look at whether you can create a point of difference
In the case of the High Altitude podcast series, at the time of launch there was little content aimed at New Zealand C-suite, governance and business leadership, and this podcast helped fill a vacuum. Other examples include The Spinoff’s Business is Boring podcast, or the recently launched American-produced Business is War podcast, in which each episodes serves as a case study showing the game-changing conflict between two businesses, e.g. PayPal vs. eBay, Netflix vs. Blockbuster.
3. Create a simple eye-catching design tile and theme music for your series
When scrolling through iTunes and Spotify, often it’s the design that catches your eye first, then the description. The little 1500 x 1500 image – or tile – is your gateway to downloads. Choose an intro and outro that best reflects your brand and audience, and come up with a short, smart title that conceptualises the overall theme of your podcast.
4. Pick interesting interviews who are willing to share something unique
While its tempting to interview ‘safe’ subjects, the very experienced public speakers and commentators who will do any interview anywhere, the most popular interviews are those that share some personal context that you won’t find elsewhere. Choose guests who will appeal to your core audience, and experiment with adding video to the mix, especially if you have a particularly topical episode. Dr John Peebles’s interview with Andrew Barnes discussed the entrepreneur’s background and what led up to his 4dayweek.co.nz trial, which started a global discussion; the video/podcast reached 60,000 views on YouTube very quickly and drove listeners to download from iTunes.
While being controversial or provocative is the easiest and quickest way to ensure you get noticed, it’s also often a cheap trick that is unlikely to promote either longevity or credibility. Sharing detailed and fresh thinking about an interesting topic will work as well in the long term.
5. Ensure you plan ahead and get the rhythm right
One of the challenges is establishing a great rhythm, so as listeners find you they can count on a regular schedule and you can build your promotion of your podcast through other channels (eg LinkedIn). You will need to set up a good, flowing pipeline of interesting interviewees or subject matter. Successful people are busy, so create enough interview opportunities by wooing and warming up your subjects that there is always someone ready to record.
6. Confirm your recording method
You can record on the go, using your smartphone and tailored apps like Bossjock Jnr, or you can record on Skype. If you prefer predictable sound in a controlled environment, the most professional option is your local studio.
7. Choose a reliable host for your podcast’
A host site is where you upload your podcast audio file to. There are many options to choose from. It’s important to plan for success and ensure that the platform you choose is scalable and affordable in case your downloads take off!
8. Syndicate your podcast series
Once your podcast is hosted, you can syndicate it to well-known sites where it is more likely to be found and downloaded. There are many options to syndicate your podcast series including Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, iHeartradio, Overcast and TuneIn.
9. Get your launch strategy right
Once you launch the first episode it’s best practice to release the others in a regular, reliable and predictable schedule. This, along with asking for ratings on iTunes, will have a positive effect on the algorithm that promotes your series and episode on the charts. Make sure that you use the keywords in your descriptions that you know your audience will use to search for your podcast. Write detailed descriptions of each show and share show notes with links that point to other resources.
10. Share with relevant high-authority media
There are writers, editors and journalists who are interested in your headspace. Utilise the unique and rich content (usually in depth and between 30 and 60 minutes) to share with relevant media that often don’t have the resources to invest personnel in in-depth interviews.
In Dr John Peebles’s example, the New Zealand Herald published the interview with Andrew Barnes around the #4dayweek. John was interviewed by Stuff.co.nz about the secret to success and his interview with business leader Naomi Ballantyne was also shared on Goodreturns.
This strategy is especially useful if you can add a topical or newsworthy angle to your episode and time its release with relevant current events. Being a guest on other noteworthy podcasts is also a great strategy for achieving more impact.
11. Share on owned media including your own site and social
Depending on your topic, your website, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Reddit are great channels to share the series and individual episodes – though you may need to invest in a few sponsored posts or Google Adwords to overcome the algorithm and achieve visibility on the timelines.
Developing a longer form LinkedIn thought leadership article about the topic and linking to the podcast episode will also work. Or develop infographics that illustrate the trends and link to the series from your website.
Remember to use #hashtags to ensure that your content comes up in searches.
12. D’oh! Don’t forget to share via email
Email is the most oft-used medium for most of us; putting a link underneath your email signature pointing to your latest podcast episode is an open invitation to click the link and have a conversation about interesting topics. Also point to it in your email newsletter.
13. The speaker circuit
If you already have intellectual property to share, this is a no-brainer – talk at your local business club or interest group about stuff that is important to you.
14. Write a book
Okay, most people won’t have the time, but this is an excellent strategy to share your IP, build your network and create a feeder channel for all your other work. You can also promote it on your podcast!
Read the article on LinkedIn.