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How SEP Engages Listeners by Focusing on Conversations They Want

At Casted, we always promise to shoot straight with you. So we won’t mince words. All you podcasters out there: Unless you are making a consistent, well-planned, and educated effort to connect, engage, and interact with your listeners, your podcast has little chance of succeeding.

After all, listeners — much less subscribers — are not going to magically fall into your lap. So while that pipe dream may sound lovely, it is just not reality.

For this very reason, listener engagement should be one of your top priorities, at least if you are serious about growing your audience. Invest in doing whatever it takes to connect and build relationships while delivering value to your listeners via great content. They’ll become loyal followers of every piece of content you put out, fueling your podcast with skyrocketing numbers of shares, subscribers, and measurable ROI.

They’ll listen to every single episode, post about it on social media, and most importantly, they’ll tell all their friends to start listening (and subscribing) too. This practice of building a listener community is an art form, the importance of which cannot be underestimated.

In a recent episode of the podcast, Zac Darnell and Kelly Wilson of solutions-driven software company SEP offer their advice on how to bring a podcast to life, including providing proactive steps for all those seeking to launch their own shows. After the pandemic shut down live events and wreaked havoc on their marketing strategy, Zac and Kelly decided to pivot and create their own show, Behind the Product. Outlined below are just a few of the magic ingredients Zac and Kelly shared with us for creating that perfect recipe for podcast success.

Educational Storytelling

Some of the best marketers are leaning into storytelling to educate their audience by digging into the very real experiences of their guests. In the podcast, Kelly stressed the importance of creating content that tells a compelling story, but that also educates listeners. “We have to stay core to making sure that we are communicating in a way that tells the story about products. We want people to learn something. We [don’t] want them to walk away and say, ‘All right, where’s the meat?’” she explained.

Fill a Void

You can tell that Kelly and Zac put a lot of thought into how to build their audience in a crowded podcast marketplace. The duo approached the selection and creation of their show’s content by looking for a void in the market and thinking about how to fill it.

Kelly shared how they asked themselves questions like, “What's already out there? What are people not already doing?" Whether it was people talking about brewing beer or doing other things, there's a lot of podcasts out there. So how do we stand out?"

Kelly was quick to make clear that while answering these questions with actual content, they had to be vigilant to ensure that the content stayed authentic and consistent to their brand’s core product. “From a marketing perspective, it’s making sure that we stay core to who we are throughout and not compromise the good content.”

Let’s Talk, but with Who?

Once you have figured out the subject matter you want on your show, the question of who you will be discussing the topic(s) with is equally important. After all, you can have a great topic, but if the person you have brought on your show lacks the skill set to engage with the audience, or maybe worse, lacks the experience and authority to adequately speak on the subject, it’s game over. A simple litmus test that can help you find the right talent for your show is just asking yourself: Who can we talk with that our audience would love to be a fly on the wall of that conversation?

Kelly commented that “Zac has got a Trello board of potential people he can talk to. And we're taking recommendations like, “Hey, this would be a great person to talk to as well." There's a lot of smart people, and there's a lot of people who don't have the opportunity to tell a story.” And Zac has done an amazing job finding guests with great content.

“There were three main categories of people I thought would be fun to talk to. Clients of ours that we could talk about. [...] We have a lot of NDAs and privacy behind a lot of the work that we do, but sometimes we can talk about those engagements. [Secondly], I don't want to say potential clients, not from a sales perspective, but just other people in maybe non-technically first verticals. So not digitally native companies that are looking to go kind of down a digital path or a technology path become a technology company. I find those stories personally interesting because I think that there are a number of different paths that those folks can go down. And I think it's fun exploring that. And then [lastly], other thought leaders in the industry,” shared Zac.

Bottom Line: You need to find folks who can embody the perfect winning recipe of 1) having something solid and relevant to say that listeners will be interested in hearing, and 2) saying it in a compelling way that will make listeners lean in closer to hear every word. And most importantly, keep them coming back to tune in again and again because they trust your choice of talent and are excited to see who you will bring on the show next.

Finding Partners

Building a great show doesn't just happen overnight. Sometimes, especially early on, you might want to find a partner who can lend you a hand. And Zac was quick to give credit to Casted for helping immensely in the process.

“Mechanically now [for the past six or so months], we’re actually using Casted’s platform, which is wonderful, by the way. We now have audio editing help, which is great because the first few shows were me learning through YouTube and Googling on how to use GarageBand.” The audio quality, and so much more, has vastly improved. From what he has now seen via his own podcast journey, Zac encourages those who are ready to go all in to the work of podcasting to enlist similar help like that which Casted provides. “Once you know that you want to take it more seriously, go find an expert because it’s going to amp up the quality tenfold.”

Kelly also has added her positive experience and fellow plug for recruiting professional help. “Having Casted to help do this has been really helpful, [and] we’re now plug and play. We’re at the point now where we feel great about the system in place to be able to publish it. There are no surprises now.”

Kelly noted that the ability to integrate Casted into her preferred marketing tools helped her team execute their marketing strategy around their podcast. “Integrations with WordPress, and being able to do that was really valuable for us, and really good timing that we didn't realize until we started using Casted. The interesting thing about the podcast is we don't have this content anywhere else on the website. So, the meat inside the audio is not anywhere else. And that's where I think podcasting is unique, and being able to use transcription now, and in the little audio transcript, the snippets, and all the various things like that that we can use on social media has made it a lot easier. If we were having to do that manually, we would have probably given up long ago. So, we do share it out on social.”

To find out how Casted and its amplified marketing strategy can help you on your journey, request a demo today.