- What is a B2B podcast?
- Why should you create a successful B2B podcast?
- Benefits of a successful B2B podcast
- 1. Define your successful B2B podcast strategy
- 2. Position yourself as an authority in your industry
- 3. Drive more traffic to your website
- 4. Increase the visibility of your business
- 5. Rank higher on Google
- 6. Save time and resources on content creation
- 7. Use your B2B podcast to generate leads for your business
- 8. Find your B2B podcast audience
- How to set up a successful B2B podcast
- Questions to discover your ideal podcast audience
- How to decide on your B2B podcast format
- Solo podcasts
- Interview podcasts
- Panel discussion podcast
- Repurposed content podcast
- How to define your B2B podcast content strategy
- How to launch your B2B podcast
- How to name your podcast
- How to name your episodes
- How to design the podcast artwork and logo
- How to design your templates for episodes and promotion
- What you need to start your own B2B podcast
- What software and services should you get for your B2B podcast?
- What equipment do you need to start a B2B podcast?
- How to stay organized
- How to create awesome interviews
- How to land podcast guests
- How to schedule your recording sessions
- Interview script and questions
- Preparing for your episodes
- How to start recording
- Editing your episodes
- Publishing checklist
- Create a podcast page on your website
- Promoting your podcast
- Distribution: How to submit your podcast to podcast directories
- What’s next?
At some level most people know that to create a successful B2B podcast it should be aligned with business objectives and drive growth. However, that can be quite tricky since research shows that most podcasts don’t make any money.
The increased use of smartphones has made podcasts available to the masses. Today, there are literally hundreds of hours of content on just about any conceivable topic, including B2B podcasts that cater to particular industry interests. The good news is that podcasting is still a growing market.
To examine how we can capitalize on this trend and beat the odds we need to know how to create a successful B2B podcast.
Before we delve into this, it is probably best to start with a few fundamentals and understand how it can benefit your business.
What is a B2B podcast?
To define a podcast can be tricky because it is quite multifaceted. But most podcasts do share two main characteristics:
- Multiple episodes
- Organized into an RSS feed that anyone can subscribe to
Why care about B2B podcasts?
To answer the question, it is perhaps better to look at why you should care about podcasts in the first place.
The answer lies in the way people consume podcasts: They tend to listen while completing repetitive, monotonous tasks like commuting or otherwise filling in what would be idle time. These same people would not consume a text-based post or e-book in the same way.
Reasons to create a successful B2B podcast
The reasons to create a successful B2B podcast are not dissimilar to the case for powerful B2B content marketing. Also, the demographics for podcast listeners are attractive to B2B marketers. Research from Statista and Edison Research’s Podcast Consumer 2019 report found that:
- The audience for podcasting has grown significantly in the past year. Today, 51% of Americans 12+ have listened to a podcast, with 32% having listened in the past month and 22% in the past week.
- In addition, podcasting’s Share of Ear has more than doubled in five years, increasing 122% since 2014.
- Although all key demographics grew, much of the increase in podcasting has come from Americans ages 12-24, which means a younger audience is already accepting of this form of content and will likely continue to be as they grow older.
- Forty-one percent of monthly podcast listeners say they are listening to more podcasts today compared to one year ago, with 13% saying they are listening less.
- Streaming services are playing a role in the growth of podcasting, with 43% of monthly podcast listeners saying they have listened to a podcast on Spotify and 35% on Pandora.
- Fifty-four percent of podcast consumers say that they are more likely to consider the brands they hear advertised on podcasts, compared to 7% who say they are less likely.
- There are 525,000+ podcasts on iTunes, in 100+ languages, from 155+ countries, with 18.5 million episodes and 50 billion-episode downloads.
- Eighty-six million people listened to a podcast each month in 2019.
- Weekly podcast listeners listen to seven podcasts per week.
Why should you create a successful B2B podcast?
Just looking at the stats above, you will realize podcasts are more than just a good idea.
In fact, they work best to attract customers and engage with them at different phases of their journey. You can use your B2B podcast to:
- Build brand awareness
- Create thought leadership
- Standing out from the competition
through this content format
as well as brand voice and tone
- Fuel your content machine through repurposing
- Get to know your future customers via relationships formed through this medium
Take, for example, the Dell Luminaries podcast. Hosts Mark Schaefer and Douglas Karr provide a great example of thought leadership B2B podcasting. The episodes feature guests who share their insights and perspectives. Some guest are experts within Dell, and others are experts from across the tech industry.
Benefits of a successful B2B podcast
Setting up the foundations of your podcast will determine the success of it over the long term. A podcast shouldn’t be a time suck or a money pit in that it shows little or no return on investment rather benefit your business by driving growth a revenue.
Here are a few benefits worth considering:
1. Define your successful B2B podcast strategy
Your purpose and strategy in creating your B2B podcast is to attract a specific audience that has characteristics that closely match your ideal customer persona.
Your strategy can also:
- Increase brand awareness and generate leads
- Connect with existing and future customers
- Provide a channel to promote your products or services
- Build a community around your mission or brand
2. Position yourself as an authority in your industry
Being a recognizable authority in your industry or niche makes selling a lot easier. Why?
Because you don’t have to spend as much time convincing them that you can solve their problems. They trust your expertise, knowledge, and wisdom, which they have seen on the podcast.
3. Drive more traffic to your website
A relevant and successful B2B podcast will bring new visitors to your website. Each time someone visits your website is an opportunity to engage them and nurture them, especially if they resemble your ideal client profile.
Let’s assume that 1% of your website visitors reach out to engage in a conversation or sign up for a trial, and 10% of those turn into paying customers.
If your website gets 1,000 visits per month, this would result in one new customer.
Let’s look at the math involved:
1,000 visitors x 0.01 (who engage with you) x 0.1 (conversion rate) = 1
With a podcast, you’re building partnerships that result in sharing episodes with your guests. Let’s say you receive 10 times the amount of traffic via your podcast. In effect, if the visitors to your site are similar to your ideal customer persona, that would mean you get 10 times the customers.
4. Increase the visibility of your business
Consider being a guest on other podcasts. Conversation on podcasts creates lots of opportunities to bring awareness to yourself and your business.
The other benefit is that most podcast hosts will have a show notes page, where they include a link to your website and social media profiles. In other words, you’re getting high-profile links from respected sites (and other sites related and unrelated to the podcasts), which act as important ranking factors in search engine algorithms. More visibility on internet search engines means more visitors to your website and, in turn, more sales.
5. Rank higher on Google
Your podcast can be converted into videos and transcribed, or even have a blog post created around it. Each of these options provides the opportunity to rank higher for your keywords and related keywords, which helps you gain visibility, traffic, and sales.
6. Save time and resources on content creation
You can create multiple pieces of content from a single episode. Here are a few ideas:
- Transcribe the podcast and publish it as an article
- Offer the transcription as an option and have an SEO-focused article around the podcast topic that also incorporates other expert perspectives
- Turn parts of the podcast into social media posts that include video or audio file formats
- Share tweetable sentences or quote posts
- Turn your podcast into a video series
- Create lead magnets in content formats that are relevant to your audience
7. Use your B2B podcast to generate leads for your business
To generate leads for your b2B business, you need the right content strategy. Most businesses make the mistake of creating a podcast around their brand, product, or service.
For example, a commercial accounting firm might create a podcast on accounting practices. The problem in such instances is that their ideal client, often CFOs or CEOs of companies, don’t necessarily want to listen to content about accounting practices. But they may be interested in management practices or sales growth, so those are the topics and guests that businesses should build their podcast around.
The added advantage of doing so is that, by sharing the knowledge and expertise of your brand and guests, you’re:
- Addressing the pain points of future customers
- Building their trust and confidence in you
- Show your audience your ability to deliver what you offer in a way that is relevant to them.
This dramatically simplifies the sales process especially if you are interviewing future customers as it reduces the time taken to engage them. More importantly, it is a way of engaging them by increasing their exposure and by giving them a win.
Let’s dive into how this could work for you.
8. Find your B2B podcast audience
In finding your podcast audience, you need to identify your ideal clients and partners.
Because your B2B podcast audience should share the same characteristics as your ideal clients. It would be safe to say that they would be people who:
- Gain the most from using your products or services.
- Are able to pay for your products or services.
- Struggle with certain areas or aspects of their business that you will be able to address with your podcast episodes.
Other advantages of defining your podcast audience this way is that:
- It ensures a higher percentage of your audience comprises of potential future customers and existing customers
- Improves the relevancy and link-worthiness of your content with respect to your industry
How to set up a successful B2B podcast
Setting up a podcast for success in the long term requires ensuring that you have the right foundations, systems, and processes to maximize your investment in this form of content.
Areas to consider include:
Questions to discover your ideal podcast audience
To find your ideal podcast audience, it’s easier to begin by also identifying one person who could be your ideal client.
Questions you could ask yourself to clarify the characteristics of this person include:
- What is their age?
- What is their gender?
- What is their level of education?
- Do they live in an urban, suburban, or rural community?
- What is their marital status?
- What religion or ethnicity are they?
- Do they have children?
- Do the children live at home?
- Are they the children’s primary caregiver?
- Do they care for aging parents?
- What is their annual income?
- What type of work do they do?
- Is this person self-employed, or do they work for a company? If they work for a company, is it a corporation, a small business, etc.?
- In what industry? What’s their role?
- What are their passions and hobbies?
- Where or what was their last vacation, did they enjoy it, and why or why not?
- What type of neighborhood do they live in?
- Where do they buy groceries? Why?
- Where do they buy clothing and shoes? Why?
- What are some of their favorite clothing brands?
- What kind of car do they drive? Why?
- Do they belong to a church, country club, etc.? Do they take an active role in their organizations, such as participating in charity events?
- What brand or product has so changed this person’s life that they now couldn’t live without it? Why?
- Where do they get information? Newspapers, blogs, books? Online or print?
- Do they watch television? What are their favorite shows?
- Who do they admire most?
- What would people be surprised to find out about this person?
- What are their values, interests, and attitudes?
- What is their daily lifestyle like? Describe it in as much detail as possible.
- What in their journey has helped shaped who they are?
- What makes them stay up at night worrying?
- What makes them stay up at night worrying about that directly relates to what you have to offer?
- What are their hopes and dreams?
- How would you characterize their relationship with their immediate family?
- What recently happened that made this person search for information as it relates directly to what you offer?
- What did they already try that didn’t work and is the reason they’re is coming to you? Or are you introducing something they’ve never tried before?
- What would be their objections to buying your product or service?
- Where does your ideal customer get their information? (e.g., books, magazines, etc.)
- What does your product or service accomplish from your customer’s point of view?
- What are the specific benefits your customer is seeking in buying your product?
- Where is your ideal customer located?
- When do they buy your product or service?
- What is their buying strategy?
- What topics are your ideal podcast audience really interested in that are also a fit for your podcast?
- How would you help them to overcome their challenges and achieve their business objectives?
To create your ideal customer persona, use Xtensio, a web app that allows you to create and export customer personas.
To answer the above questions, consider doing the following:
- Start with brainstorming answers with your team and those who know your customers best
- Survey your existing customers or clients
- Dig into your Google Analytics
- Spend some time on social listening
- Pore over your social media analytics
- Get insights via Quantcast Measure
- Spy on your competitors to see who they are serving
Once you have a clear understanding of who this one person is, you can repeat the process for other ideal customer profiles.
Expanding and qualifying your audience
To expand your ideal customer personas, you could also look at identifying profiles based on an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach, or that combined with buyer intent databases, which tools like Leadiro or PathFactory provide.
To further qualify your audience, you could also go through the above questions while checking if any of the attributes make them unsuitable as a customer. If you are not sure, remove the attribute from the list.
Going through this process should provide a comprehensive picture of your ideal customer personas. These would be individuals who benefit from your products and services, have the resources to pay for them, and lack knowledge that you can address with your podcast episodes.
How to decide on your B2B podcast format
Have a read below of the different formats to help you decide on a format that would play to your strengths and resources.
As the name would suggest, with a solo podcast, there is only one person involved: you. You have the choice of recording an unscripted talk or using a script, which could be useful in sharing experiences, storytelling, teaching, and (to an extent) can also be used to explain certain topics or concepts in depth.
An interview podcast is a common form. Apart from providing relevant content, I recommend using this form for engaging with future customers, driving lead generation, and building thought leadership and brand awareness, as discussed previously. This podcast format requires more organizational skills in that you need to keep track of all your guests.
To be successful with this style of podcast, you have to hone your interviewing skills. The interview-style podcast can be done via video chat or in person.
Panel discussion podcast
This type of podcast format is similar to the interview podcast but is a bit more logistically challenging. There is a panel of guests instead of one, so this format requires more infrastructure to make it work.
You have the option of recording in a studio or some other location that your guests can get to. Alternatively, it could be done virtually but would require software like Zoom and enough bandwidth while recording.
Repurposed content podcast
Repurposing your existing content is a great way to generate podcast material from content you’re already using to reach other or similar audience segments. For example, let’s say you’re speaking at a seminar or conference. You could have your presentation recorded (assuming that it is not dependent on visuals in your presentation) and publish it as a podcast.
Here are a few ideas of content you could repurpose:
- YouTube videos
- Teardowns or case studies
- LinkedIn Live sessions
- Facebook Live sessions
How to define your B2B podcast content strategy
Your podcast content strategy isn’t a set-and-forget aspect of your business—or your overall content strategy, for that matter. It will evolve on a constant basis and require monitoring. However, when starting out, it helps to stack the odds in your favor; crafting your B2B podcast content strategy is worth spending the extra time.
A good practice is to create themes and topics that are relevant to your customer personas while still being relevant to everyone else. Going too broad can make the show irrelevant to your ideal customers whereas going too narrow can make it difficult to target and acquire new listeners.
You need a fine balance to reach a level of social engagement that grows your podcast organically. Thus, to grow your podcast quicker, it’s better to take a niche topic and make it relevant to a broader audience.
Niche topics also help ensure that those who subscribe are a close match to your ideal customer persona. For others in the broader audience, it provides a unique source for your unique take on topics that you cover. Having content that is both educational and entertaining is how you can seed your podcast for increasing engagement with your audience and customers.
So, what themes and topics can you use? To a large extent, that depends on you and your business objectives. Contact me if you need help, and we can explore this more on a call.
In the meantime, here are a few ideas that could help get you started.
People like to know people. A great way to get to know someone is to understand some of their past experiences. This could include the struggles you had in the past, especially if your audience can relate to those situations.
Lessons learned and mistakes to avoid can make for valuable lessons. These make for great stories to share personally or to get guests to share. Here are some ideas:
- How did you get started in your business journey?
- What did you wish you knew when you started?
- What was the lowest point in your business journey?
- Who or what helped pivot things to get you where you are today?
- Share an interesting learning experience.
- What failures led to your success?
- What has been your most expensive mistake?
- Share a business decision that has paid dividends since you made it.
Tap into current circumstances and events
People want to know how to best handle change and circumstances beyond their control; for example, how to deal with a whole slew of changes to the Facebook platform and advertising rules. Topic ideas and themes to explore include:
- Comment on news, events, laws or regulations that affect your industry
- Provide insight into the implications of the above
- Report on new developments like products or services
- Report on highlights or takeaways from trade shows and conferences
You could also help people look to the future and prepare for what lies ahead. Ideas to cover could include:
- Predictions or forecasts from industry experts
- Future scenarios and how best to prepare for them
A B2B content strategy around teaching and simplifying the complex so that it becomes simple and actionable is one of my favorites. Here are a few broad ideas that could be a great fit around the theme of education:
- How to do something complex easily
- Explain trends or implications of new rules or changes in the industry
- How to fix issues most businesses get wrong
- How to improve on X
- Strategies and tactics to survive and thrive in your industry
- How-to guides for industry X activities
- How to identify not so obvious opportunities for growth
If you have been in business for a while, you know there is a lot of misinformation, untrue beliefs, a lack of awareness, or even a lack of knowledge. Episodes that address these issues and offer solutions can be quite popular. Examples include:
- Good industry practices
- Improper execution
- Neglected aspects of strategy and or operations
- Mistakes and misconceptions in your industry
- Things that no longer work
- Debunk commonly heard bad advice
- Debunk myths in and around your industry
Air strong opinions
Polarizing opinions or at the least strong opinions can lead to a lot of engagement and debate. This works especially well if influencers are part of the discussion. Having said that the topics need to be relevant to your listeners and industry.
- Pros and cons of doing X vs Y
- Should you do X as opposed to Y
Share your reviews
Reviewing anything relevant in your industry is another great content strategy. A few ideas include:
- Products, tools and resources
- Industry announcements and regulations
- Reviews of experiences including events
Questions and answers
Probably my favorite format and one I recommend for interview-style podcasts is question-and-answer. Ask your audience or interviewee what they want to talk about, and, in most instances, they will gladly share.
You can either ask questions around the topic and record responses or do it live to create a more engaging experience for your audience.
How to launch your B2B podcast
Once you have worked through the above details, you can turn your attention to the creation of the podcast itself.
Below are critical aspects to consider before launch.
How to name your podcast
Having worked out who your ideal customer is, makes naming your podcast fairly simple.
The purpose of naming the podcast is to speak directly and simply to your ideal customer. They should be able to understand what the podcast is about after hearing the name of your show. There is no need to get cute with the name of your podcast.
A few naming formats that work well are:
Customer industry + customer role
Example: The Insurance CIO Show or The Insurance Executive
How to + what your idea customer is responsible for doing
Example: How to Improve PPC Lead Quality
If you are hosting your podcast on a separate site, look for an available domain name. You can use one of the services below to search and acquire one:
How to name your episodes
When naming your episodes, you need to consider the audience and the information you will present them with.
A few things to keep in mind include:
- Your headlines should create excitement and interest.
- The episode title should not include the name of your podcast.
- I am not a fan of including episode numbers but if you want to include them, put them at the end of your title.
Here is a simple formula you can use to name your episodes: main takeaway from listening/watching this episode + name of the guest
Example: How to radically improve customer service for business growth featuring Rich Rose
Note: You’ll notice that in the image below I include the podcast title which shows as a logo. You could also include an episode number like the one below from HelloBeautiful.
How to design the podcast artwork and logo
Consider this—when you ask someone to be a guest on your podcast, what is one of the first things they are likely to do?
They’ll look up the podcast, and one of the first things they’ll see is the artwork for the podcast and the logo. If it looks like a 6-year-old designed it, they aren’t going to have a very good impression of your content. Chances are, the person will decline your request or just ignore it.
On the other hand, if they like what they see, they’ll probably listen to an episode or two. And if they like what they hear, they’ll accept your invitation to be featured on your podcast.
So, invest in the podcast artwork and logo. Hire a professional graphic designer; it will pay off.
How to design your templates for episodes and promotion
To speed up the publishing and promotion of your podcasts, you need to create templates that you can use to complement text-based content and to help promote your content on social media channels.
We will talk about repurposing content in more depth later but know that you can use the graphics you create for each episode to keep your readers’ attention as they read.
For templates that you share on social media, consider having at least the following information:
- The podcast name or the URL of your podcast website.
- The guest’s name.
- The guest’s headshot.
- Your show’s logo.
- The episode number (optional).
What you need to start your own B2B podcast
To start your own B2B podcast, you need certain things in place and processes to cover the ongoing processes:
- Community building
What software and services should you get for your B2B podcast?
Creating a podcast isn’t difficult but there are a number of things you need to keep in mind and work on to consistently be able to produce quality podcasts.
Domain name + website hosting
Give your future customers the chance to connect, make an inquiry, learn more and subscribe to your email lists via your website which is hosted on a domain that you own. There are a number of options (as we covered above) to acquire a domain name like NameCheap. You can then build out a simple WordPress site which can be hosted by a reliable company like WPX Hosting
It is best to have your podcasts hosted on a service that caters specifically to podcasts. Options include:
Create accounts on each of the following platforms and share your podcasts on them:
Sharing your podcasts to relevant audiences is important and social media platforms like the ones below make it easier to find and join such groups. Remember the objective isn’t to spam such groups with your episodes but rather to add value when and where relevant.
Intro & Outro music for your podcast
There are a few options to conduct video interviews at the moment. Below are a few popular options.
- Skype (requires Ecamm Live or Evaer for Skype to record interviews)
Audio editing software
- Audacity (free)
- GarageBand (free but Mac only)
- Adobe Audition (paid)
- Logic Pro X (paid but Mac only)
Recording interviews (audio and or video)
If you prefer to use a third-party tool for calls via Skype, check out the options below:
Repurposing your podcast
One of the best things about podcasting is that you can transcribe and repurpose the content. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Convert your podcast into a video and upload it to platforms that favor video content like Instagram and Facebook.
- Convert your video files into audio files and add them to your podcast feed.
- Share your Facebook Live videos on other platforms.
- Create a blog post and/or content upgrades.
- Create audio files, video snippets, and shareable quotes.
Some of this needs to be done manually, but tools like Repurpose can help with automating some aspects. It depends on your strategy.
What equipment do you need to start a B2B podcast?
Creating a podcast doesn’t have to be expensive.
If you’re starting out, a microphone and pop filter would be a great place to start. As you grow, you can add or upgrade to the other pieces to improve your production quality.
The Blue Yeti comes highly recommended. It has four different recording modes: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo.
The modes you would probably use the most are as follows:
- Cardioid mode allows you to only record sound from the front and eliminate any noise from the background and sides
- Bidirectional mode is great for in-person interviews at the same location; simultaneously records front and back and blocks out sound from the sides
- Omnidirectional mode records 360 degrees of sounds, which is the ideal setting for recording around a conference table
The microphones gain control setting allows you to adjust its sensitivity. As with most microphones to reduce background noise and ensure clarity you should bring the microphone close to you and keep the gain setting to minimum.
When recording, be aware that certain sounds cause people to expel more air than other sounds. This can often result in pop or click sounds in your recordings. A pop filter is an inexpensive way to eliminate these sounds.
A couple of options include Dragon Pad and Newer NW(B-3).
A boom arm allows for optimal positioning of the microphone and works best with a shock mount. Options include:
A shock mount is a must if you are using a boom arm. It acts as a shield between the microphone and the boom arm. In effect, it helps to reduce vibrations or shocks that would otherwise cause noise in your recording.
For example, let’s assume your boom arm is attached to your desk. let’s also assume you knocked the desk with your arm while gesturing mid-conversation. The act of knocking the desk would create shockwaves that would travel into the microphone through the desk plate and through the boom arm.
A sound shield helps to minimize other extraneous noise, echoes, and other interference to your recording. The sound shield can be placed behind your microphone to mitigate any soundwaves that might otherwise bounce off the walls of the room and cause an echo.
How to stay organized
Now that you have the equipment for your podcast, you need to be able to record interviews.
You can use Skype or Zoom to record. For Skype, you can record calls with Ecamm recorder on a Mac. PC users can use Zencastr or Cast. Zoom offers the option to record the episode to your computer or to the cloud.
You also need a place to store your recordings. You could use Google Drive or Amazon S3. It is best to create folders for each episode to hold recordings, show notes, graphics, etc.
Editorial calendar and workflow
Once you get up and running, you need an editorial calendar to manage all the content and workflow. This is because you’ll need to manage the intricate workflow of each episode that you produce, especially if working with a team.
Trello is a simple and great tool for this purpose.
You can see in the image below how the Unthinkable Podcast organizes their workflow and so organize your workflow along similar lines.
I use Trello too for a few reasons:
- Each card can contain items like headlines, blog posts, show notes, and graphics for each episode.
- You can set deadlines for tasks to be completed and for the episode to be published.
- You can add your team to the Trello board
- You can provide your team access to the storage area for the recordings and other files.
- You can also send each other updates and communicate via a @teammembername mention in a Trello card comment.
How to create awesome interviews
Remember your audience
Your show may help you, your brand, or even the person being interviewed, but ultimately your objective should be to serve your audience by providing value to them. In other words, ensure that the topic you cover and the manner in which you cover it speak to your ideal audience persona.
Conduct pre-interview research
Before you record the podcast, there are a few things you need to do—especially if you are interviewing a person or group:
- Know and understand who you are interviewing so you know the right approach to take and the right questions to ask.
- Confirm details of the podcast interview including date and time, length of interview, method of recording, etc.
- Prepare a list of questions or talking points.
- Test your recording equipment and setup.
Prepare a list of flexible questions or talking points and possible follow-up questions
Create a list of questions or talking points that will serve to guide you and your guest through the interview.
You may not get through all the questions, but they are there to help guide the conversation. Again, you don’t have to be strict about this. Some of the best conversations occur naturally when things of interest pop up and you follow those aspects further.
A few other pointers to keep in mind include:
- Don’t ask questions that result in a simple “yes” or “no” answer.
- Don’t ask more than one question at a time.
- Keep your questions relevant and phrased in a way that encourages the interviewee to expand on them.
- You can also offer to show the questions to the person you are interviewing to make sure they are comfortable with the questions.
Create a welcoming environment
Creating a welcoming environment for your guests is essential. You may not have interacted with them before, so it’s important to make them comfortable in answering your questions with great detail that will add value to your listeners.
A few tips to help create this environment include:
- Make sure they have all the details about the interview before you meet for the recording.
- Thank them for the interview before you even record or go live.
- Letting them know before you hit record that it is a chat between the two of you.
- Ask them if they’d like to go over the questions or talking points before you start.
- Have them listen to a prepared introduction before getting to the questions to give them context in which your audience will get to know them.
- Most importantly, be curious about them, be enthusiastic, and actually want to conduct the interview!
Let your interviewee talk
Yes, the podcast maybe yours, but one of the worst things you as the interviewer can do is take over the show and spend a lot of time talking.
Remember: You have a guest on the show. The best thing for your audience is for you to facilitate a conversation that allows the guest to share their story or perspective on the topic. Listening more will go a long way with your audience and guest(s).
This can be difficult while also being obvious.
You don’t just want to ask questions and then tune out while you wait for your guests to finish. Conversations aren’t necessarily linear paths, so it’s important to listen in order to discover where you can potentially find a lot more value in your guests’ experiences, skills, or knowledge.
Practice active listening. Be engaged and present.
Seek to understand
Understanding is more than just comprehending the circumstances around the issue or what a person did.
It also entails going deeper and exploring why and how they took certain actions. This tends to make interviews a lot more interesting, both in the moment and for future listeners.
Andrew Warner from Mixergy, Nathan Latka from The Top, and David Sitemen Garland from the Rise to the Top do a great job of eliciting everything there is to learn about a person or process. It is perhaps the reason their shows are so popular.
Strive for high-quality production
Bad audio or video quality can ruin a great interview. I know some people won’t listen if the quality isn’t great. Do what can within your budget to produce a high-quality interview.
Investing in good equipment, as covered above, is a good place to start. Tools like Zoom and Auphonic can also help.
Life has gotten busier for everyone, and, unfortunately, technology and people are generating a lot of noise as a result.
Noise can be distracting, and these distractions don’t just come in the form of email notifications and phone calls. They also take the form of social media message alerts, dogs barking, cats scratching at doors, mailmen dropping off packages, kids having fun — the list goes on.
When you schedule recordings, try to do them when it’s quiet — when noise and other people are least likely to bother you.
Also, be sure to put your phone on silent or airplane mode, close your email programs and social media accounts, put the dog or cat in the other room, and wait to eat your meals until after your recording is done. A post-meal belch in a recording is unpleasant.
How to land podcast guests
When your curiosity about another person is genuine, it’s much easier to ask interesting and provocative questions. Ask yourself the following:
- Has this story been told before?
- Is there an interesting story we can talk about that’s not mainstream or typical?
- Can this person tell a good story or help break concepts into easily understandable and digestible chunks?
How to find people
Below are a few ways you could find potential guests for your show.
Always be on the lookout for who might make an interesting podcast guest. If you read about someone in an article, stumble on their work through a Google search or podcast, or read their book, you can add them to your list of ideas for people to interview.
You can ask each guest if there is somebody else you should interview. Eventually, you’ll come up with a handful of referral sources who know what you look for in a guest and will refer the right people to you.
Once you get up and running, you will likely get cold pitches. While they may seem like a good thing to potentially make your life easier, you should be cautious. Why? Because some people may try to get increased exposure but offer little of value to your audience.
Things that you should be cautious of include:
- Mentioning podcasts that are nothing like yours
- They may have a shopping list of accolades they have received but offer no value to your audience
- There is no clear theme to your story
- They have done no research
- They copy and paste their pitch
Remember: The art of a compelling interview is selecting a compelling guest.
How to schedule your recording sessions
The problem with scheduling is that, more often than not, you have to go back and forth several times to find a time that is convenient for both of you. A better alternative would be to use a tool like Calendly or Bookafy.
You can quite easily set up an account and create the fields for the information you want from the guest, like their name, email address, company website, Skype ID, etc.
You can then send your guest the booking link.
These tools sync with your calendar, so the guest will be able to see what times throughout the week are available in their time zone and choose a time slot that works best for them. You’ll get a notification as soon as they schedule time to record the podcast.
Interview script and questions
To create an episode that has value to your listeners and to your guest, know as much as you can about your guest and the topic you will cover before you record. It’s worth taking the time.
Lookup details for your guest and prepare questions that will logically help take your listeners from your guest’s introduction to a thorough understanding of the topic you are covering.
Listing a few questions and talking points will help as you head into the recording session with your guest.
Intro and outro
You can write a short script for your podcast’s intro and outro.
The goal with the intro is to explain the value of the podcast to your target audience. Do this as succinctly and concisely as possible; you do not want to bore your listeners.
With the outro, thank your audience and share your call to action (engage via email, review, subscribe, etc.).
You can then record both scripts. You’ll have to record them only once (either yourself or hire a voice talent on Fiverr, Upwork or Voice.com) and can apply them to every episode.
Sponsored ad spots
Podcasts aren’t cheap; they take time and resources to put together. Ad spots can help fuel your podcast’s production abilities.
To add value to your sponsor, consider writing out a brief yet magnetic value proposition to the product or service they offer and give them a call to action that leads the listener to a website link or specific landing page.
You can record the ad spot either yourself or via a voice talent (as discussed above) and place it in episodes for as long as the sponsor wishes to contribute.
The best place for ad spots is the beginning of each episode before the intro or in the middle of the segment. Another option is at the end of each episode, but that leads to lower engagement in most cases.
Preparing for your episodes
In order to prepare for your recording, you’ll want to:
- Research your guests by reading their LinkedIn profile, about page, their book, etc.
- Check the facts
- Ensure you have relevant headshots or other photos of your guests
- Obtain your guest’s bio
- Prepare your notes based on a pre-call or other sources
- Prepare questions or talking points
- Outline your show notes
- Remember: If you want to entertain someone, you must keep their attention for an extended period of time. Do this by creating opportunities for your guests to share their stories. People are hardwired to listen to stories, and if you evoke an emotional response from a person telling a story, you’ll likely elicit an emotional reaction from the person listening.
How to start recording
Before you get started with recording, you will want to:
- Move your phone and any other electronic gadgets away from your podcast setup
- Put your phone on silent
- Ensure you have your notes
- Check the acoustics
- Secure your pop filter
- Check the microphone, headset, and software
- Do a soundcheck
- Keep water nearby for you (and your guests if it is an in-person recording)
- Back up your audio and video files
Editing your episodes
By the time you’re finished recording, you should have enough material to use in your final finished episode. You could use a tool like Audacity to accomplish this like in the video below – “Podcast with Audacity.”
Also remember to:
- Remove awkward silences
- Add your intro and outro—it helps to have templates ready to use
- Normalize the audio levels without distorting the audio
- Export the file as a .wav file and then convert it to mp3 before uploading to your podcast host
Before publishing, ensure you have completed the following:
- Added the post title
- Added the guest name
- Publish data has been set
- Entered into the right category
- Prepared your show notes
- Prepared a feature image
- Repurposed the content via previously mentioned methods
- Getting it transcribed
- Prepared it for video
- Prepared an audio file
- Alerted your guest(s) to the podcast going live
Create a podcast page on your website
To send podcast traffic to your brand’s website, you’ll need to create a podcast page on your site (e.g., “www.YourWebsite.com/podcastname”).
Elements you’ll want to have on the page include:
- Your podcast logo
- A description of your podcast (same as your iTunes description)
- A subscribe button
- A podcast player containing all episodes like Smart Podcast Player
- To see an example of a podcast page, you can check out this one.
Promoting your podcast
Depending on your business objectives, there are numerous strategies and tactics you could employ to promote your podcast. You can take your pick of over 100 tactics to promote your podcast in an upcoming article. (Stay tuned and subscribe to get it when published.)
Acquiring sponsorships for a successful B2B podcast
As I said before developing a podcast and keeping it running incurs a cost in terms of time, money and or resources. So, sponsorships do help ease the cost of production.
Sponsorships, however, don’t necessarily require you do have a huge audience or downloads per episode. You can learn more about the best ways to secure podcast sponsorships in this interview with Preston Lee.
Distribution: How to submit your podcast to podcast directories
Most podcast hosts offer a distribution or submission service that allows you to share your podcast to directories like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Cast, Google Play, etc.
For example, Podcast.co offers a paid one-click distribution service or a DIY option where you can get step-by-step instructions to submit the required details to each directory.
You will need the URL of your podcast’s RSS feed to submit to each directory.
As you can see, creating a successful B2B podcast that drives business growth can be quite a lot of work but can pay dividends if done right.
Use this guide to help with the process. Contact me if you need some extra help, a free audit, or resources to make this work for your business.