This Guide will enable you to:
Podcasts now play a central role in many brand publishing efforts. They provide opportunities to dive deep into specific topics, showcase executives and guests in new and interesting lights, and experiment with new audiences and interesting ways to engage them beyond the written word or video. Of course, they’re also a good way to reach people while they physically cannot read or watch something, e.g., driving or commuting.
If they’re guest-driven or subject-driven, podcasts can provide a rare opportunity to have an intelligent, thoughtful discussion that words on a page simply don’t. They can prove effective in opening guests up and getting closer to unvarnished truths on potentially contentious subjects and topics.
Podcasts are also thriving because they can be relatively easy to execute with the right planning and approach. Guest-driven podcasts, for example, rarely necessitate anything more than a visitor who can speak knowledgeably about a subject. As long as a podcast has a good pipeline of guests and a clear purpose and audience in mind, it can feel easier to record a 45-minute conversation than report a story or generate and edit a piece of written content.
The downside, however, is podcast content is rarely held to the same standards or planning that written content is. This results in a glut of defunct, uninteresting and uninspired corporate podcasts that litter online radio apps and suck up time and budget without adding much value for audiences.
That being said, there is still room to incorporate podcasting as part of many brand publishing initiatives. Along with the basics of being produced in a professional manner with good sound and catchy music, podcasts in this context will only be successful if they hew closely to many other tenets of editorial publishing. Teams, therefore, should ensure that podcasts, just like other content, have been modeled after successful journalistic endeavors and mirror the goals and strategy outlined for the overall publication.
Successful publishing podcasts should:
- Serve a clear purpose and are the right fit for overall publishing goals: It can be tempting to make a podcast because “everyone is doing it,” but podcast projects without clear editorial goals, intended outcomes and definitions for success can derail quickly.
- Adopt effective and engaging podcast formats. There are a multitude of ways to present and package podcasts that should be informed by publishing goals, audience needs, resources and more. Brand publishers should think about the formats that best suit their specific needs and circumstances, rather than simply mimicking the approach of others.
- Begin with operational approaches that yield high-quality and repeatable results. Consistent, repeatable and dependable processes underpin any successful podcast effort.
- Have hosts help that deliver optimal value to their audience. There’s an oversupply of podcast content, and cutting through the noise requires focus and quality. The “build it and they will come” approach no longer works, and hosting and editing now play a particularly important role in enticing new listeners and, more importantly, creating affinity and ongoing listening habits with audiences.
This Guide provides a step-by-step framework to think critically about if a publication should consider podcasting, how to make podcasts complement existing editorial missions and goals, and best practices for making podcasts consistent, interesting and valuable.
Creating a podcast is straightforward, but creating a good podcast with the ability to stand out in a sea of alternatives, requires a clear purpose and reason to exist.
Organizations must develop a podcast strategy that not only ties back to their overall brand publishing goals and editorial strategy, but that also complements and augments other publishing initiatives. A podcast should only be pursued if it achieves something other content initiatives cannot.