When you decided to start a podcast, how did you envision your episodes? Were they filled with amazing stories from exciting guests? Did you imagine listeners hanging on to every word and sharing snippets with friends and family?
Creating an interesting podcast is the dream of any podcaster, whether the project started for business or personal reasons. Now, getting there can seem just like that — a dream. But it doesn’t have to be.
There’s a lot you can do to make your B2B podcast enticing to listeners. The key is to find ways to evoke emotion and instill value in every episode. Not sure how to do this?
Not to worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are five ways you can make your podcasts engaging.
1. Let Passion Drive Your Podcast
Without passion, words, stories, and scenes can miss the mark, especially if you’re trying to make viewers/listeners feel it.
And this is what you have to do with your podcast. If you lack passion for your podcast, it’ll show in the content you produce. Here's how Megan Hostetler (Collins), former Product Marketing Manager at Salesforce, sees it:
“You have to have passion for whatever the topic is. If you don’t have passion, you’re going to come off like a robot; you won’t sound authentic. I mean, you won’t be authentic, and it’ll be very apparent for your listeners.
“So I think step one, understand what the show is about and ask yourself, am I passionate about this to the point where I’m going to dedicate time to it? Because it does take time. It’s like a little baby you have to nurse and make sure that they’re breathing all the time.” — Megan Hostetler (Collins), Salesforce, from "Finding the Passion Behind Your Podcast" on The Casted Podcast
You can instill passion in your episodes by talking about topics that matter to you and your audience. And bring on exciting guests with amazing stories, as Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist and host of The Customer Experience Podcast at BombBomb, explains:
“I think first and foremost; the most important thing is that the person really, really wants to do it. Just like anything, if you’re not excited about it, it’s going to be a drag, and that’s going to come through for all the reasons we were just talking about. If I’m not excited to host a guest on my podcast from the first 10 seconds, no one’s really going to be particularly excited either. So it’s like the experience is in part the transfer of emotion. So someone needs to be excited to do it.
"Someone who, these are just some other qualities, likes to learn, is maybe a natural conversationalist or has some of those tendencies or qualities or enjoys doing that. I think someone who is a good communicator, because if you're going to really maximize the value of your investment in hosting and publishing these conversations, you should probably be at some level also involved in how does it get to a blog post if that's what you choose to do? How does it get into video content, if that's what you choose to do? How will you teach it internally and break down the essence of it? How will you title it and summarize it? And so I think being a good communicator in general, I think some of that lends itself to a marketing background maybe, or at least someone who is adept at content." — Ethan Beute, BombBomb, from "Giving Your Brand an Authentic Voice" on The Casted Podcast.
2. Know the Who (Your Audience)
When you get on the mic to speak to your audience, who is it you’re talking to? Who do you see in your head? Having a good idea of your core audience makes it easier to find ways to connect with them. Think of it like talking to a group of friends vs. a room of complete strangers.
In the latter, you wouldn’t know the right words to say, stories to tell, or jokes to crack (if at all). It’s a matter of comfort and confidently knowing who your audience is. Focus on relating to your audience and making them feel like close friends through sharing ideas and aspirations. Dan Misener, former Head of Strategy and Audience Development at Pacific Content, describes an audience-first approach like this:
“I believe very, very strongly that before you can make a show, you really need to understand the who, who are you trying to reach with this show? And the why, why are you making a podcast in the first place? What are the goals of the show, and how are we going to measure those goals? You have to answer the who and the why before you can begin to answer the what, and the what is the fun, creative challenge, right? It's what is the format of the show? What are the treatment's going to be, who is going to be the host, all of those sorts of fun, creative questions.
“But I think you really need to nail those fundamental questions of what is the audience that we’re trying to serve, how can we offer them something that they can’t already get? What is the show that only we can make, and why are we doing it? What is the business imperative behind that? And that’s the really tricky balance, I think, for anybody who works in audio for brands.
"It’s nailing the balance between the business reality that underlies the funding of the show and the genuine need to create an audience-first show that people are actually going to voluntarily listen to. Nobody is going to voluntarily download and spend time with an infomercial. The strongest shows are built on a foundation of loyalty and how that’s an ongoing opt-in relationship. So we try really hard to make shows that live those values.” — Dan Misener, Pacific Content, from "Earning Your Audience" on The Casted Podcast
3. Turn Each Episode into Cornerstone Content
People listen to podcasts to learn, to be entertained, or even just to laugh. If you’re providing information that can add value to their lives (bonus if it’s in an entertaining way), then chances are you’re going to earn long-term listeners. This requires treating each episode as cornerstone content that’s not only worth consuming but sharing as well, as Mark Kilens, former VP of Content and Community at Drift, shares:
“That's the other power of podcasting. It's not only a great way to reach a new audience, to grow an audience, to expand your brand. But it's a great way to also create demand gen, customer marketing type of materials and content that really can unify the story across your content, your customer experience, life cycle.” — Mark Kilens, Drift, from "The Power of Learning and Storytelling in Your Podcast" on The Casted Podcast
You can take part in the sharing by creating content around your episodes. Building that flywheel of content is key to driving traffic from various channels. For example, if you host an episode that features a guest sharing insider tips and steps to take to build a business, you can then:
- Grab the key takeaways and write a blog on each
- Take the tips and create a slide deck or infographic
- Highlight clips and turn them into audiograms or videograms
- Take the juiciest tips and write an email series around them
- Or take them and do a video series around them
Using the episode as a cornerstone piece of your content strategy helps to amplify your show. But this is only possible if you’re creating shareworthy episodes. Something meaty and packed with facts, insights, and stories will keep listeners coming back. Here's what Meghan Keaney Anderson, former VP of Marketing at HubSpot, advises:
"We've gotten a ton out of our shows. I think there's always the thing that you're initially going after, and then there are all these epiphenomenal, nice consequences that happen. So your North Star is typically listenership and the audience you're going after, and you want to see that growing year over year. You want to see the audience come back when you break for a season. You want to see the engagement rates stay high all the way through.
"That is the beautiful thing about podcasts is when people sit down to listen to a podcast, they listen all the way through it. You're getting their attention, their full attention, in many cases, for 20, 30, 40 minutes. And that's so rare there. So certainly those listenership and growth numbers are what we're looking for. We're looking for distribution and access to a broader audience. But there