The best, most important things in life take time and careful planning. College. Wedding planning. World travel. Starting a family.
None of these milestones are split-second decisions. You do your research. You make notes. You consult others.
So it goes without saying that when you want something to succeed, you start with a plan.
Not all of the 900,000 podcasts available today have undergone this critical thinking (which is probably why so many have “podfaded”). But those that continually capture attention and listenership started with a strategy and continually refine over time.
At Casted, strategy is a simple formula that includes purpose, goals, audience, and theme. Before you hit record, consider these crucial areas of podcast planning.
Define Your Why
Why did you start your podcast? (No, really...why?) It’s ok if you don’t have an answer right away, but before you start down the path of production, it’s important to understand how your show will differ from the hundreds of thousands of other podcasts out there.
We like to call this your podcast “why.” To help you define yours, consider these three foundational questions:
- Is there a business need for your podcast? Every email, webinar, or campaign you produce ties back to a specific business need. Podcasts deserve the same attention and can be leveraged as a key business opportunity and brand differentiator.
- Is there an audience for it? Your audience doesn’t have to be gigantic — it just has to be engaged. Whether you’re speaking to hundreds or thousands, identifying your listeners is as important as determining a market for a product.
- Do you have a unique perspective to contribute? How is your show different from every other podcast? Why should listeners choose your show and not another? The answer lies in the unique perspective and experience you have to share (like our friend Sam Jacobs talks about).
Set Smart Goals (Get Better Metrics)
Grabbing a microphone and setting off into unchartered territory may be exciting, but it’s not sustainable. How will you know when your podcast has succeeded? How will you pay your team?
“You can’t pay your employees with downloads,” says podcaster and marketing extraordinaire Jay Baer. “Look at your spike in SEO; look at your spike in people mentioning the show to your customer success team.”
Your podcast goals can be whatever makes the most sense for your brand. The important thing is just setting them and paying close attention once you’re up and running. At Casted, we recommend looking beyond just downloads and eyeing measurements like:
- Brand awareness
- # of social media mentions
- # of verbal mentions to team members (tracked via CRM, customer service portal, or internal spreadsheet)
- # of podcast merchandise purchases
- Audience engagement
- Podcast rating
- # of episode comments or reviews
- Responses to questions, quizzes, or contests
- Sponsor ad clicks or promo codes used
- # of surveys taken (via email or provided URL)
- Top audio clips
- Audience growth
- # of subscribers
- # of show or episode shares from hosting platform
- # of shares of related content (podcast transcripts, blogs, clips, etc.)
Put Your Audience First
The thing about creating a show is that you have to have an audience to sustain it. No audience, no show.
Audience too small? The “bigger is better” mentality isn’t necessarily warranted in podcasting. The important thing is attracting an audience that is laser-focused on and hungry for the content you produce.
Audience too big? Consider breaking your show into more podcasts with tailored content for niche audiences. It takes more work (and it’s not the answer for every company), but the payoff for your brand could be huge. (Learn how the podcast pros at Drift did it.)
Lastly, don’t try to make your podcast into something it’s not: every other podcast. Embrace your uniqueness and whatever will attract and keep your audience. Take it from Tom Webster, SVP of marketing and strategy for Edison Research — what works for one show doesn’t always work for another.
Identify Your Theme (& Guests Who Fit)
You may have come up with your podcast’s theme before anything else. Perhaps it was even what led to your “aha!” moment to even start a podcast. But building an effective podcast strategy means digging deeper to unpack your theme and develop the best ongoing content for your show. Consider:
- Topic overlap. Is your theme already being covered by another podcast? Multiple podcasts?
- Pros and cons. What do you like about the shows that already cover your identified theme? What don’t you like?
- Perspective. What will be your unique angle/spin? How will you relate it back to your brand?
- Competition. Are any of your competitors podcasting? What’s their theme?
Answering these questions will not only help you hone your theme, but allow you to start developing individual episode content and inviting guests.
Once it’s time to get that guest list going, make a list of possibilities who fall within these three buckets:
- Internal: Employees (from associates to the C-suite) who have a unique perspective to offer
- External: Outside thought leaders who can provide an industry-wide spin
- Aspirational: Big-namers who might be great guests for down the road
Jeremy Donovan and the team that makes the Hey Salespeople podcast stick to a strict set of guiding principles when inviting guests onto the show. Here’s how they dug in at their show’s onset:
Strategy = Success
Our incredible friends and podcast guests demonstrate every day that the best shows require teamwork, collaboration, and (above all) careful planning. Sure, those plans may change over time, but establishing what you want your show to stand for and how you’ll do it will set you up for a longer and more fruitful future.
We’ve talked a lot about strategy recently, and it’s for good reason. We want you to succeed. We want your show to stick. That’s why we’ve developed the industry’s first podcasting platform for B2B brands. After you’ve done your homework in developing your show’s strategy, give us a call to help you squeeze more out of your content for better engagement and measurable results. Let’s talk!