Why you should start your own company podcast

Podcasts are a great way to build your brand and tell the story of your business. Over the past five years, there has been an explosion in the number of corporate and business podcasts available and with it a growth in engaged podcast audiences. According to a September 2019 Ofcom report over seven million people in the UK listen to podcasts each week, a 24% growth over the previous 12 months.

During this series of articles, Grant Bather, Senior Training and Media Operations Consultant at Rostrum, will tell you how to create your own podcast. This first article looks at planning your podcast – including choosing a theme, deciding the format and making the business case for podcasting.

According to the latest research from Podcast Insights there are currently more than 34 million podcast episodes to download – everything from business, true crime, fitness, health, wellbeing, hobbies, sport and much, much more.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a notable change in consumer behaviour around podcasts, including a sharp increase in the number of downloads. In June, Chartable tracked 825 million podcast downloads, up from 600 million in March. This same month, Spotify reported that the number of monthly users listening to podcasts on its platform had increased to 21 per cent (up from 19 per cent in March). Interestingly the amount of podcast content this audience consumed more than doubled during this same three-month period.

But what are the benefits of podcasting for businesses? Podcasts provide the opportunity for organisations to reach new audiences that will engage with content while on the move or while doing other activities, like cooking or exercising. In addition, they offer a powerful way to subtly promote your company while appearing as editorial. Importantly, podcasts provide the opportunity for complete editorial control and can be produced within relatively short time periods. Businesses are increasingly using the podcasting medium to strengthen their relationships with customers and to reinforce their position as thought leaders and industry experts.

Starting a podcast

Before sitting down and planning your podcast, you need to bear some considerations in mind. Importantly, what are you going to talk about – and who are you aiming your podcast at? You need to have a sense of what your audience wants to listen to before you begin.

Once you have selected a theme, you need to think about your broadcasting strategy. For example, is there enough for you to talk about on a fairly regular basis? Podcasts rarely work as a one-off, so you need to have enough material to talk about for at least four episodes. You also need to consider frequency. Are you hoping to do a podcast episode every week, one a month, or just one a quarter?

You will also need to think about the format of your podcast. Will it feature one host who talks about an issue in depth? Will it be a news summary within a specific industry? Is it interview-based? There is a whole range of podcast formats out there, and it’s important that you find one that works for you. You also need to keep your target audience in mind throughout the decision-making process, and be prepared to refine your approach as you go. It’s usually a good idea to have at least a couple of voices on podcasts, so that it comes across more like a recorded conversation than a presentation.

A lot of time spent creating podcasts goes into the  planning phase. It’s a good idea to put together a breakdown of each episode. Many hosts like a scripted approach and if you think that’s the direction you’re likely to take, I’d suggest recording a few practice rounds. That way, you can figure out what works and what doesn’t in the script and build rapport with your guests or co-hosts, without doing so much practice that you sound robotic.

An alternative to the script is to create a checklist and key themes. Instead of a full script for your podcast, you create a list of all the themes that you’d like to talk about, a rough idea of how long you want to spend on each section, and then any key stats, research, or interviews to support those points. And remember, you can have these notes with you as you record the podcast. This approach is a lot more natural reduces the time that you need to spend on the planning.

By this stage you should have a name for your podcast, and I would suggest focusing on the theme that you’ll be discussing. This will make it easier to find. It’s also important to check that your podcast name hasn’t been used already.  Unless you’re a world-famous brand, I would stress caution on using your company brand, instead focusing on the content and topics you’re discussing.

In part two, we will look at recording your podcast, including your ‘studio’ setup and considerations for interviewing people via Zoom, Skype and other platforms.

Rostrum’s podcast studio helps organisations of all shapes and sizes tell your story in podcast format. Rostrum will help with the planning, recording, production and publication of any podcasts, on any subject.