As marketers, we sometimes obsess about winning over new audiences. We dive headfirst into research, brainstorming, and whip up grand ideas about how we might reach those who don’t know us yet.
Expanding your reach is critical—no question there. But all too often we overlook our existing audiences, those who are already invested and interested in what we have to say.
Podcast showrunners fall into this common trap, too. When a podcast is in the works, it’s tempting to zero in on how new audiences might be tapped into, forgetting about existing brand advocates, fans, and friends.
Our expert pals at OpenView Venture Partners are whizzes at not only regularly reaching their existing audiences, but continually engaging them through closed content paths that keep people along for the ride.
Meg Johnson, Multimedia Marketer at OpenView and host of the OV BUILD podcast, walks us through this content merry-go-round approach in this marketing nugget-rich episode from Casted’s Season 5 podcast. In it, Meg shares just how OpenView has built a loyal podcast following by reaching new folks and engaging existing audiences. Let’s dive into some of their growth takeaways.
Create a content carousel.
Who doesn’t love a dazzling merry-go-round ride? They are irresistible, and once you’ve climbed aboard, you don’t want the magic to end. And carousels are best ridden with friends, right?
That’s how Meg likes to think about marketing. At OpenView, they invite audiences along for the ride and do everything they can to make it a good one. They continually dish up enticing and valuable content along the way, keeping people on the ride for as long as possible (without making them too dizzy, of course).
“Like a carousel, people come along for the ride. And so there’ll be ups and downs and engagement with your content when people are more or less interested in what you have to say, but as long as they’re still on the ride at the end, you must be doing something right,” says Meg.
Don’t think of your podcast as a silo. Make sure it’s integrated into your overall content strategy and consider it just one part of the customer journey. Map out how it fits in with your other channels and how you can take people from one piece of content to the next. From your blog and your podcast to your newsletter, social media, and website, all of the marketing channels you use are part of the ride you want to keep audiences riding.
One way to produce enough content (and more importantly, the right content) to keep audiences enthralled is to repurpose everything you can, however you can.
OpenView does a tremendous job of seeing beyond the show and wringing all of the goodness out of each and every podcast episode. They know how much time and effort goes into planning, recording, and producing a stellar episode, and they aren’t about to let all of that hard work go to waste.
“I started thinking, okay, I need to fill this content calendar and also get more podcast listens, so how can I creatively solve this problem in a way that hits two birds with one stone, so to speak. And for us, we do blog posts. We'll usually have around two to three blog posts per episode. So the first one will be the day the episode launches, and that'll just be the social copy that I write that we're going to share on LinkedIn and Facebook, et cetera. And then we do two other posts based on topics discussed throughout the episode,” Meg shares.
In addition to the blogs and social media copy, OpenView repurposes podcast episodes into newsletters, photo posts, and Audiograms. They share many of the content pieces with podcast guests too, encouraging shares within their networks to help spread the message far and wide.
Be a friend.
There’s never been a time where our world needed more humanity. And podcasts are a great way to build and strengthen authentic connections with people all over the world. The intimate nature of the podcasting medium lends itself well to building genuine connection with others.
“When I think about the podcasts I listen to most closely, it really makes it feel like a friendship. You listen to these people...and you really start to feel like they’re your friend...I don’t know anyone in the year 2020 who couldn’t sue an extra friend or use that little bit of humanity and support,” Meg says.
When the pandemic hit, many expected podcast listens to drop dramatically across the board as commutes dwindled. But for OpenView, they’ve actually seen the opposite, nearly doubling the number of listeners who are clearly still along for the proverbial ride.
Your brand has an authentic voice to share, a unique story that only you can tell. Why not step out and share it through a podcast like OpenView? Brands that are willing to step out and humanize themselves are the ones who are becoming the trusted go-tos and friends in this crazy time we’re experiencing.
“People need support and they need other humans. An easy way to do that as a brand is to create a podcast and really share your voice and your true self with your audience,” explains Meg.
Stay constantly tuned in to what your audience needs and wants.
Going back to our trusted merry-go-round analogy, think about it like this: if people are staying on the ride with you, you must be giving them something they want.
But if audiences are hopping off left and right, you’ve got a problem. Then it becomes time to ask yourself: Is the ride we’re providing worth it? Are the right people on it? Are we giving them what they need and want in this season?
Identifying and speaking into shared pain points is the key to really connecting to people, Meg explains. You can’t please everyone, so you have to really focus in on who you’re trying to serve and why you’re doing what you’re doing. And you have to constantly be looking at the right metrics and making tweaks.
OpenView uses Casted’s marketing platform (woot woot!) to do deep dives into podcast metrics, seeing at a glance what kinds of content audiences are responding to and what might be falling flat. The platform allows them to go beyond just simple downloads or general listens and lean into meaningful engagement metrics for decision-making.
Just like an IRL friendship, podcast friends deserve attention and active listening. Showing up for your audiences like a good friend means they will show up for you.
Be willing to pivot.
If you’re being a good friend to your audiences, then you’ll be willing to make changes as different situations and needs arise. Take 2020 for example, the year of the pivot. Companies who are thriving are the ones willing to listen and make changes to better serve those who depend on them.
OpenView had completely planned out their next podcast season back in March, ready for an April rollout. But then COVID-19 hit the scene. The company knew the right thing to do was to postpone the existing content and look at what audiences really needed from them in the moment. So, they ditched the original plan and instead produced a mini-series directly tied to growing a business during a downturn.
“Stay tuned to your audience, what they need and what they want, and be aware of the emotional climate that you’re producing in,” Meg says.
Find your groove.
Part of showing up well for your audience means knowing what they want from you and knowing your own limitations. Producing spot-on, high-value content and maximizing the use of that great content takes serious strategy and execution. That’s why it’s critical to dig deep and find a rhythm that works for you and your listeners.
At OpenView, that meant backing off from weekly podcast production to bi-weekly. They wanted to give each episode (and themselves) time to breathe. The off weeks give them time to unlock more value from the great content they create.
“What was a temporary solution at the time actually ended up being our primary strategy moving forward because we saw so much more engagement with the podcast once we gave it time to breathe,” Meg says.
“It also helped the guests feel a little bit more special that they weren't just one social post and done, but over that two-week span, we had multiple social posts, multiple blog posts, different things kind of really giving them the spot in the limelight that they deserve, versus just kind of grinding through episode after episode, just trying to check all the boxes to get things done.”
Keeping audiences along for the ride is something that all marketers set out to do. And truly, it’s easier than you might think. If you commit to listening deeply, being a good friend, being flexible, and continually providing value, a brand podcast can take your prospect and customer relationships to a whole new level.
At Casted, there’s a reason our customers (like OpenView) turn into friends. We’re committed to not only growing our own rich relationships, but helping brands do the same with their audiences. And as the first and only marketing solution for a brand podcast, we empower you to get inside audiences’ earbuds and hearts through meaningful conversations. We’d love to show you how! Schedule your demo today and get to know us!