Our company has been producing a podcast in-house since 2019 and now we have over 220 episodes of NetSupport Radio. While we produce our podcast to support our brand, our company isn’t actually our primary topic of discussion. In truth we just love sharing great resources and being part of the discussion in the education and edtech industries. That’s the first step to success. Obviously if you’re Apple or Amazon, people will listen in regardless, but for small to medium-sized companies or for companies whose products and services serve a niche audience, it takes compelling topics and great guests to have a long life and dedicated listeners. Here’s some tips for producing a successful branded company podcast in-house.
7 Tips to Create a Company-Branded Podcast That Actually Gets Listeners
- Find co-hosts from outside the company
- Listeners come for the topic but stay because of the hosts
- 25/75 topic mix
- Leverage trade shows and events for speakers and listeners
- Turn transcripts into marketing collateral
- Production tip: Get a good mic
- Podcast swapping is great for networking
1. Find Co-hosts From Outside the Company
I’m the CEO of our company, so it’s important that I be involved as a host and I absolutely love doing this. However, I also have co-hosts who join me. One is a former teacher and edtech blogger and the other is a former primary (k-3) teacher and writer, both of whom bring different perspectives and knowledge to what we cover. They really help anchor what our company values most, which is sharing and learning. Granted, my presence as a host is still central to the alignment of our brand but my co-hosts’ energy and enthusiasm on episodes is refreshing and helpful as a balance.
2. Listeners Come for the Topic but Stay Because of the Hosts
One reason for the popularity of podcasts is our natural tendency to seek out human interaction. Human beings crave being around and getting to know other people. Listening to a podcast gives a glimpse into the host’s life. Just like your favorite TV series, characters develop so viewers come to know them and can anticipate how they will react to situations or be surprised when they do something unexpected. This is the kind of engagement you want with your listeners, especially if one of your goals is to humanize the brand and help people identify more closely with your company.
3. 25/75 Topic Mix
About 25 percent of our episodes cover product-specific details like what to expect with a new version release. We spend most of our effort talking with guests who can add perspective to issues and topics affecting education. Sometimes these topics are completely unrelated to the work we do. If you develop accounting software, your 75 percent could be about the financial industry and best practices in accounting irrespective of software. If you’re a business consultant, your 75 percent could be about news in the industry sector you serve and the leaders taking that industry forward.
The point is that to draw and keep listeners, choose topics that are of interest to your listeners, rather than to your marketing department. It’s more difficult than it sounds, and it requires reaching outside of the typical marketing mindset. Rather than ask for recommendations about new topics from within your company, read industry newsletters for the topics they are covering and what they might be overlooking.
4. Leverage Trade Shows and Events for Speakers and Listeners
NetSupport Radio actually began as something fresh and fun to do at a trade show exhibit floor. We took a microphone and recorder and simply had conversations with attendees who came into the booth. Very few people can resist the invitation to step into the sound booth to lend their perspective, or talk about their business, even if it is simply a table and chairs in your exhibit booth. The more people you talk with, the more people there are listening and sharing their particular episode. You’ll also be providing valuable publicity to the trade show.
Afterwards, mashups can be pulled together based on themes you noticed at the show. The short conversations you had at the trade show also build your prospect list for more in-depth conversations in a future episode. Comb through the speaker and presenter lists for future guests. It’s also a good idea to produce episodes leading up to a trade show and afterwards.
5. Turn Transcripts Into Other Marketing Collateral
Think of podcasts as one ingredient within the entire marketing mix. It’s an asset that can stand alone and also be integrated into other activities. Take podcast transcripts, for example. Not only do you need show notes (most podcasts post notes or a summary along with the episode, and many post the full transcript on their website) but you can turn each episode into a long-form article to post outside of your company blog. Add links relevant episodes into company-generated commentaries, blog posts, and emails.
Sharing on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram is perfect for general podcast promotion, but take the time to message people directly and add a notation why the episode might be of interest, even if you only have time to do this for two or three people. You should also produce graphically appealing “covers” of upcoming episodes for social promotions and after recording, grab quotes from your guests to make additional graphics. These have a long lifespan and are usable before and after the episode goes live.
6. Production Tip: Get a Good Mic
We produce our podcast entirely in-house using Streamyard and Buzzsprout but hiring an outside production company is an excellent choice if budget allows. They can take on editing and post-production work and load episodes to Apple and Spotify and the other aggregators. A fancy sound booth isn’t necessary, but I do find that it is worthwhile to invest in a great microphone.
7. Podcast Swapping Is Great for Networking
I’ve been able to meet many high-profile executives, reporters, and thought leaders whom I might not otherwise have met by inviting them to be guests on our podcast. Nearly everyone appreciates the opportunity to refine their speaking skills and because we’ve taken time to build a personable, interesting podcast, very few guests decline the invitation. And, if your hope is to secure guest appearances on other podcasts, offer a “podcast swap” — meaning that they join your podcast and then you can continue the conversation on theirs. The networking opportunity alone can make podcast production time worth its while.