What’s the difference between a bad podcast and one that keeps you coming back for more? There are more than 850,000 different podcasts and 30 million episodes for listeners to choose from today. So it’s never been more essential to create one that stands out.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Jay Acunzo, author, speaker, and podcaster extraordinaire. Jay’s also the founder of Marketing Showrunners, a company on a mission to help marketers build passionate audiences for their brands.
Jay has been making shows since 2014, and hosts the story-style podcast, Unthinkable, one of my personal favorites. Together we geeked out over all things podcasting, discussing not only how to build a great show, but what marketers often get wrong. If you’re a B2B marketer who has a podcast or wants to start one, this episode could be a game-changer for you.
Embrace the Process
It used to be that to come up with a new idea, you’d throw a bunch of things at the wall to see what sticks. But today, creativity is often dwarfed by a thirst for results from the onset of any new project. Marketers feel this pressure and sometimes end up forfeiting the creative process, shooting themselves in the foot from the get-go.
Jay believes creativity is the sum of wins and losses. When it comes to podcasting and other creative endeavors, the magic lies in the tweaking and recognizing what you can do better next time.
Aspire for things to be great, but focus on everyday improvement.
If writers are those who write and speakers are those who speak, then podcasters are those who podcast. To get better, just go create. Forget perfection. Start producing shows (whether you launch them widely or not) and keep tweaking.
“Putting out bad work with the intent to be good is the only way to actually be good,” says Jay.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Marketing is no longer about who shows up (to hear what you have to say), but who sticks around. In the old days, marketers fixated on the 30 precious seconds they had to grab a television viewer’s attention. And then we all started furiously counting clicks, views, and impressions.
Today, it’s about creating content for the long haul. We should focus more on building a long-term subscriber base, tracking engagement over time, and generating lifetime value.
But this isn’t always an easy concept for marketers to convey to their number-hungry bosses. Producing a creative, long-running show can be tricky when marketers are surrounded by those who only see sprints and quick wins.
“If all you’re focused on is the near-term spike in the numbers, you’re not doing anything sustainable. Marketing is a marathon,” says Jay.
B2B podcast marketing is about one thing and one thing only: producing a show that’s worthy of listeners’ attention. And this isn’t done overnight.
Crossing the Finish Line
If there was a “golden rule” of podcasting, Jay believes it’s this:
The goal of any show, episode, or series is to get the listener to the end.
“If you’re thinking about getting them to the end...you start strong. And you don’t end episodes by dropping off a cliff. You give them something to think about; something delicious they can’t wait to get more of,” says Jay.
So ask yourself this: if you want listeners in it with you for the long haul (and we all do!), what do you need to do differently?
3 Ways to Create a Better Show
As with any creative endeavor, it can be hard to know where to focus your time and attention (squirrel!). Jay recommends keeping your eyes on three areas:
- The overarching concept
Contrary to popular belief, a concept is not an episode topic or theme. It’s the strategic and unique thread running through your entire show and tying everything together. Another podcaster might cover the same topic, but the concept of your show is how you’ll put your unique spin on it.
- Episode-level format
A successful podcast isn’t built on crossed fingers. Whether audience members are aware or not, each episode should follow a predetermined format. This builds in consistency and creates a proprietary model for your show. And while listeners like to be wowed and surprised, relationships are built on trust—people like to know what to expect.
Spotlighting and showcasing your podcast talent is an underutilized way to build serious traction in your brand. Put your host on stage, feature them in webinars, and highlight them on marketing materials to increase awareness and build a loyal following.
A Philosophy of Imperfection
While podcasting does take some tech expertise and a bit of elbow grease, going through the technical motions is certainly not how to build a great show. To be successful, Jay asserts that marketers must first get on board with the philosophy of podcasting—especially the reality that your show’s not going to be perfect at first.
So where should you start? Experiment. Look at the big picture. Be different. And above all, just podcast.
“With every new [medium] that comes up, there are those who ride the wave, and as soon as it crashes, they go back out to sea. Then there are those who dig in. That’s who I want to speak to.”
Listen to the full podcast to hear more about Jay and his beliefs on building genuine lifetime value through podcasting.