There is a significant difference between setting up a sustainable, impactful and ultimately successful podcast versus a podcast that flops at the first hurdle. If you’re a B2B marketer wondering how to get started with a podcast, or wondering why yours isn’t working successfully, then our ‘7 Steps to Kickstarting a Successful Podcast’ webinar is a must-watch.

Watch the on-demand version, and we share our seven steps and cover:

  • The importance of planning and strategy for a podcast
  • Why you need to know your audience
  • The need to invest in marketing promotion
  • Picking the format that works for you
  • Software and equipment
  • Importance of sound quality
  • How to pick a topic

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘The 7 Steps to Kickstarting a Successful Podcast’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard

Mike: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the latest Napier webinar. Today I’m gonna be talking about kick starting a successful podcast. So firstly, what we’ll do is if anybody has any questions or wants something clarified if I can ask you to post those questions into the chat. And then what we’ll do is we’ll cover questions at the end of the webinar. Okay, so why are we talking about kick starting a successful podcast? Well, the answer is, is that a lot of our clients are talking about podcasts now, podcasts have been around for quite a while. But we’re now seeing more and more people listening to podcasts, as well as producing podcasts. And in particular, we’re seeing a lot of people in the b2b sector, starting to produce podcasts, podcasts are like this amazing tool where you can get the attention of an audience for a significant period of time, you know, typically, in b2b, we see podcasts ranging from anything between about 15 to 45 minutes, so you’re getting a lot of attention from your audience. And it’s actually something that’s very easy to do. Now, this is why we’re running the podcast is, it’s actually not hard to start a podcast yourself. And so what we want to do is talk through the steps that we’ve taken in terms of, you know, starting podcasts, not only for Napier, but also for clients, and hopefully give you the confidence to think about how you might be able to start a podcast of your own.

So what are we going to cover today? Well, we’re basically gonna go through seven steps. And so those seven steps, start with the planning and strategy, and go all the way through to marketing your podcast. And I’m going to walk through each step into explaining what you need to do in order to kickstart the podcast. One of the important things to notice is that all of the tools around podcasts, the thing that I think people feel is very complicated, the software that hosting and the equipment you need, that’s just one of the steps. And actually, this is one of the things I really want to communicate today is that if you want to run a podcast, you don’t need to spend a lot of money, you don’t need a lot that’s complex. And you can actually start a podcast yourself today very, very easily. So let’s look at the seven steps and walk through them. Well, what are we going to do? First? Well, hopefully, we’re going to do a bit of planning and strategy. And we’ve got three questions here that really I think people need to answer before they start a podcast.

So why do you want to do a podcast? Why will people listen? And why is the podcast better than other channels. And there’s lots of different answers to this. So some of it is to create something that’s engaging something that gets people to pay attention, maybe when they’re doing other things, you know, typically podcasts listing, a lot of that is done commuting to and from work, which is a great way to get involved with either your customers or your prospects at a time that might be dead time for them. Suddenly, you can start engaging and actually making their commute to work, or the commute home even better than it was before. But other people have other answers. And hopefully most of you listening to this webinar, know that Napier runs a podcast. It’s called Marketing b2b technology. And we started that podcast for a very simple reason. What I wanted to do was I wanted to talk to marketing technology vendors, and find out what they’re doing and get something other than a standard sort of salesperson sell. And that’s been incredibly effective. I mean, just last week, I was talking to the CEO and co founder of Foley on if I was just an agency approaching failure, I wouldn’t get to talk to the CEO. But running a podcast means I can get insights from the people who really understand. So think about why you want to do the podcast. And that is going to definitely impact on how you approach it. So for us, it’s all about the guests. And hopefully, the fact we’ve got great guests means that our podcast is interesting and enjoyed by the people who download it.

But for us, that was our focus. Other people might have specific goals around business goals that they want to achieve. So there might be an objective in terms of, you know, getting people to understand more about a technology, or perhaps learn more, you know, one of the things we see is, you know, people in the channel, want to really establish they’ve got strong relationships with their suppliers. So a podcast involving suppliers for anybody working on the channel is a brilliant idea. It really emphasises to your customers, your prospects, the strength of relationships you’ve got. So think about why you’re doing it. But don’t necessarily just think about this in the same way. As you would do, for example, with, you know, running display ads, where it’s all about volume. This is about quality. And I think that’s one of the messages I’d really like to get across is it is all about quality. When you get to planning, it’s important to know how you’re going to deliver the podcast. Do you have someone who feels confident in presenting? Do you have someone who’s got time to go negotiate guests and an organised guests appearing on the podcast, and making sure that everybody turns up at the right time, you’ll need to edit the podcast, you’ll need to find somewhere to record that hopefully is not too noisy. And you’ll ultimately have to decide goals. And one of the things I would say, and this comes back to quality is a lot of b2b podcasts have fairly small, fairly niche audiences, it’s fairly typical to see a b2b podcast that maybe has less than 100 downloads per episode. But that can be super useful to have those downloads, if you’re targeting the right people.

So decide your goals. And don’t be, you know, don’t be over ambitious here, you’ve got to understand that you’re not necessarily going to drive a huge or huge audience. And then the last thing to say is, you really have to understand how you’re going to maintain motivation. If you’re going to launch a podcast, podcast, audiences typically grow as your number of episodes increase. And, you know, here’s a top tip, if you’re looking for agencies to contact you, with suggestions for guests, typically that doesn’t happen to you, you’ve published a roundabout 20 episodes, the agencies are very concerned about making sure you’ve hit that magic mark. And typically, it’s maybe 15 or 20 episodes, because they know once you get that far, you’re likely to continue the podcast is like to go on. But there are so many b2b podcasts that have maybe five episodes, and then stop, and I can guarantee that is not going to achieve any goals. Consistency is really the key to ensuring success with podcasting.

The next thing you got to do is pick a topic. Generally speaking, picking a topic is fairly easy. The only thing I’d say is just think a little bit about the podcast about the topic and whether it’s suitable as a podcast topic. And the key thing there is podcasts are, you know, almost always consumed as audio. So even video podcasts tend to be consumed with people, primarily listening to the audio. So you’ve got to have a topic that can be described in a conversation, or in a presentation. And you can’t have something that requires diagrams and visual aids to make you understand it. And then the last thing to say, you know, on this page, I think really is you’ve got to make sure that the topic is sustainable.

So you’ve got to pick a topic, that means you can keep going episode after episode without becoming bored and jaded. And chances are as the presenter you’ll be more bored than your audience will be. You know, typically the presenters are the ones that find it hard to keep motivated rather than the listeners. But you need to make sure there’s something that’s really going to motivate you and want you to issue a new episode in on a frequent basis and gets you wanting to talk to guests about the topic. The other thing is when you pick a topic, you’ll need a title. And podcasts are interesting. I mean, personally, my view is that podcast SEO is in very early days. So the title matters a lot. And it particularly matters if you’re not a very big podcast, podcast discovery through search and recommendation typically. And so if we look at what you’re going to get recommendations likely to be fairly limited, because as I say, you’re probably targeting a fairly niche audience, you may be having a fairly small number of listeners. So you may not rank particularly highly against consumer focus podcasts. So what you want to do is think about the title, so don’t go for clever titles. I mean, this is pretty standard SEO advice, but it’s probably more SEO advice from 20 years ago, make the title say exactly what you’re talking about. And be very specific. So when somebody is looking, for example, for the b2b, Social Media Marketing Podcast, make your podcast called The b2b Social Media Marketing Podcast, it’s much more likely to trigger hits when people search.

But when you do that, I would also strongly recommend you try and buy the domain. Most strong podcasts will also have a website. And we’re talking a little bit about creating podcast websites later. And it’s really useful to have a domain that roots directly there, rather than necessarily using a subdomain of your main website. So I’d always recommend trying to get the domain so let’s say you had b2b Social media, podcast, you’ve got b2b social media You’d route that through to your podcast homepage. You might also choose to route a subdomain as well. But make sure you’ve got availability of those before you actually go ahead and commit to the name. Step three, pick a format. Now, podcasting is interesting, because there’s really very few formats that work successfully. And generally speaking, the two best podcasts, or two best formats that work, particularly if you’re new to podcasting, is either interviewing guests, or having panel discussions. And both of those work really well. And they’re relatively easy to do.

There are some very successful podcasts that are basically monologues, I would say, that’s a very difficult thing to do. I wouldn’t recommend that as your first podcast. But if you have someone who’s a subject matter expert, who really knows a topic, and can talk about, you know, for example, what they’ve done each week in terms of that particular sector, then maybe that’s something you could consider. But I would imagine that you know, 95% of people who successfully launch your first podcast, pick either in interviews or panel discussions. You also need to decide how you’re going to record the podcast, whether it’s face to face or remote. And we’ll talk a little bit about the tools available for recording. Generally speaking, it’s actually easier to record remotely, rather than have multiple people in the same room. So that is a an interesting thing about podcasts. So there’s not necessarily a huge benefit in getting people together. However, if you do get yourself and an interviewee together, in a podcast, obviously, you have that benefit of like real face to face and much more effective eye contact. So consider whether you’re going to have face to face or remote recording. I think about the structure as well.

So generally speaking, you know, the podcast structure is fairly straightforward, we think about an interview, you know, you’ll want to have some introductory music. And I would recommend picking some music that you use, rather than trying to just go straight into the podcast, it just gives that podcast a much more professional feel. So if you have a standard piece of music, and then that fades to a, an introduction of the podcast, that makes it feel much more professional. And at the same at the outro. There’s lots of different sources for getting music, and we’ll mention those later on in the webinar. And then basically, the structure is fairly straightforward. You know, you, you introduce someone, you interview them. Quite often with interview podcasts, you’ll have a standard set of like quickfire questions that you’ll ask every guest. So, you know, that could be what’s your favourite superhero, any kind of crazy, crazy questions like that, for a bit of fun to create something that’s not just a long interview, but actually has kind of a bookmark in it. And then generally speaking, you ask for contact information, thank the guests, and then have your outro. So the structure is fairly simple. Don’t try and make anything too complicated. And I would say go with panel discussions. The secret is to keep things simple. So limit the number of people on the panel. And also limit the number of topics. I talked about running time I said, 15 to 45 minutes, that’s kind of a typical range, I would say the running time should really depend on what you want to achieve with the podcast, I wouldn’t start off with a specific running time in mind.

But once you start publishing episodes, the podcast, some degree of consistency, and running time, definitely helps. So the listener knows, you know, roughly they can listen to the podcasts in their commute. Or it’s you know, to work and back. Or maybe it’s just a portion of the commute, but but some things that have read it, that the listener sorry, has a idea of how long it’s going to take. I did say we’ve mentioned a bit about music. I don’t want to dive into this too much. I mean, there’s really two things. So firstly, I’d definitely recommend getting music for intro and outro. And I’d also recommend that you go out and you purchase that from a proper music library trying to get music is very difficult. That’s not copyright. And what you don’t want to do is get into a situation where your podcast is accidentally using copyrighted materials.

So generally speaking, the safest way is to purchase that. And that can be from any range of different libraries. So Adobe, Getty, audiojungle, Shutterstock. All have great libraries of music. And then one thing that some people ask is, should there be music within the podcast? You know, if you look at professional broadcast productions, they’ll often include music within the production amounts that is, you know, it’s a great thing to do. It’s a really difficult thing to do. And so generally speaking, you know, particularly if your first podcast, we recommend clients don’t try and have music or other effects within the podcast, The next step is to understand your audience. Now, here’s a simple but obvious top tip, the audience you’re looking for almost certainly are already podcast listeners, it’s so much easier to get someone who listens to podcasts, and is interested in your organisation to listen to your podcast than it is to get someone who doesn’t listen to podcasts and has to learn how to do it. Now, the great news is, is that a bigger and bigger percentage of the population are now podcast listeners.

So it’s not hard to find podcast listeners. But I would say that it’s really important to think about how you target people that are already interested in podcasts. And there’s a range of ways of advertising podcasts that we’ll talk about later. That will let you promote your podcast to podcast listeners. And as part of that, you should probably think about how your audience is going to behave, you know, if it’s on a commute, how long is their commute likely to be? You know, how often would they want to listen. And that should also inform your decision about how frequently you publish, and the length of time that the podcast runs for. Step five, now step five is the bit that I think everybody gets freaked out about, but it’s actually fairly simple and straightforward. This is the software and the equipment. So basically, as a checklist, you’re gonna need a few things, you’re gonna need a computer with a good internet connection. And, you know, just as a side note, lots of people have issues with Wi Fi. So it’s always worth having a wired connection. When you’re recording a podcast, you need a microphone, you’ll need a headset, you’ll need some recording software, you’ll need some editing software, and you’ll need somewhere to host the podcast. And I’ve talked to all these interns, so you understand what we’re talking about. Hopefully, the computer and the internet is fairly straightforward. And you understand that.

So, microphone and headphones. So when you’re doing a remote podcast, you obviously need to hear the other person. Never ever use a speaker always use headphones, it makes a massive difference to the quality. And then secondly, think about the microphone you’re getting. Getting a standalone microphone is more flexible. If you can get one with a pop screen, that will also help improve the quality of the sound. And so typically, people buy a range of microphones. And we’ve got a couple here shown on the slide. So the Yeti and then to the right is the Rode one. Both of those are great microphones, they’re, you know, somewhere a little under 100 pounds, that’s typically what people will pay. And then I would always think about putting it on a microphone stand. And if you didn’t have a pop screen that came with your microphone, then usually the stand will come with a pop screen as well. So we’re using the same setup as we do for podcast to record this webinar. And I actually have one of the Blue Yeti microphones on a stand just in front of me. So it’s a really simple setup. You need to understand something about microphones now microphones have what’s called the proximity effect.

So the closer you get to the microphone, the more bass is picked up, the deeper the voice. And so you know, if you hear that late night radio DJ voice, that’s someone talking very close to the microphone. So what you want to do is you want to think about not being too far away, because your voice will sound a little bit weak, but also being consistent in the distance that your voice is from the microphone, because that will ensure not only consistency of volume, but also consistency of tone. Today, lots of people have earbuds, you know, particularly air pods, they work pretty well. Not only for the earphones, but also for the microphone. We generally don’t like using headsets, although a lot of our clients do. The reason for that is because the mic is so close to your mouth, it can sometimes pick up breathing sounds. So normally we prefer to use a separate microphone, but headsets you know, as long as you’re careful and make sure that your breathing can’t be heard, then headsets are really good. And then lastly, having talked about this, you’ve killed yourself out you’ve got to you know great microphone, good headset.

Don’t forget if you’re interviewing someone, they need similar quality, or at least a headset with a mic type quality to ensure that their sound quality doesn’t adversely affect the quality of the podcast. There’s lots of different ways you can record. So recording software is something that people ask about. Generally speaking, what you want to do is you want to record multitrack and we’ll talk a little bit about why that is in a minute. And there’s lots of professional multitrack cloud based recordings. I picked three here. Clean feed squad cast and river Riverside are three really popular tools that are you is for recording Napi uses squad cast Riverside is very, very popular as well. And those two both offer a video option as well. Video can be great not only, so you can see the other person as you talk to them. But also so you can generate promotional videos, even if you’re not going to create a video podcast. Once you’ve recorded you do need to edit now the first thing to say is editing cannot fix poor sound quality. So getting the sound quality as good as possible at the start is really important.

Anything can mask some issues, but you’re never going to get great sound quality, if you don’t start with a great recording. So don’t think that if there’s issues with sound quality, you can fix it in the edit, it really doesn’t work. Generally speaking, we recommend that everybody multitrack records. Now that’s a really simple thing. That means that each microphone in the podcast and typically that each person is recorded on a separate track. And that’s great for a couple of reasons. It’s it allows you to eliminate background noises. So when someone’s not talking, you can actually mute their side if there’s some background noise. And that can have a significant impact, particularly if there’s like intermittent background noise. But it can also help with things like ensuring that both sides of the conversation are at the same level is it’s much easier to equalise levels, if you’ve got a multitrack recording, and if you’ve got a single track, it is a little bit more complex to edit. But, and this is the podcast as best secret, I think there’s a tool called descript.

Almost every podcast right now uses the script to edit the podcast. And it is an amazing tool, it will actually not only generate a transcript, but allow you to edit the audio by editing the transcript. So all you need to do is delete the words in the transcript and that will delete the words out of the audio feed. It’s an absolutely brilliant tool. And it’s probably the best bit of advice, if you’ve never come across it is when you want to edit, use the script, it’s the most effective tool there is available. And then lastly, podcast hosting. So technically, to have a podcast you need somewhere to host your file and you need something to generate an XML feed, which is basically a feed of the information about the episodes, the easiest way to do that is to go to a podcast host. We happen to love pod bean, it’s our favourite, but there are many, many podcast hosts that all do a very good job. These podcasts host not only hosts hosts the file and generate this feed, but they’ll also actually interface you in to make you be listed on services like Apple podcasts on Spotify on Google Play. And they’ll make that process simpler. So I really strongly recommend getting a great podcast host. The podcast host will also typically provide you with the capability of creating a podcast homepage, which will also have all your podcasts on and have a player so people can play from the web, and let you in fact embed that player into your website as well. So podcast hosts are great.

Now having talked about these tools, the recording, the editing and the podcast hosting. I mean, typically these tools come out at around about 10 pounds, which is pretty much $10 Today, a month. So you’re maybe talking about $30 investment a month in terms of the software tools to be able to do a really professional quality podcast. So you can see it’s a really cheap and effective way to get your message out. I mentioned sound quality, I keep mentioning sound quality, I’m going to talk about it again. Sound quality is so critical. And what we find is that you know quite often when people record, they will say sound was great, it was fantastic. And then when someone comes to edit it, the sounds terrible. So it always sounds worse in particular sounds worse when people are listening to a podcast in a quiet area. They’ll hear all the noises or the background sounds and any issues you had with quality of recording. So we always always say to our clients you know if there’s any issues at all, whether that’s poor sound quality, or guests not having a proper headset you know, issues with a network or just simply heavy breathing being picked up that you can’t avoid. Always stop and don’t record don’t try and you know battle through sound problems. It really is going to come back and hurt you. And it’s going to lose you listeners because nobody likes listening to something with poor sound quality. So if there’s one thing you really need to be a little control freaky about, I would absolutely say get that sound quality as good as you possibly can. And lastly, if you want to do that practice runs are always a good idea. Fantastic. So we’ve created our podcasts, we’ve done the planning, we’ve gone all the way through to the recording the editing and now have published it using a tool like pod bean. How are we going to get people to listen to our podcast.

The first thing I say it is hard to get listeners, it is really tough. And it’s probably one of the biggest challenges is I think when people go into podcasting, as a channel to reach a b2b audience, they imagine it’s going to be easier to get listeners. But if you think about it, it’s a real high commitment from a listener to commit to downloading a podcast, and then spending, you know, maybe 30 minutes, maybe more listening to a supplier. So it is a big commitment for someone to do that. And that means that it is tough to get people to listen. So I would say promoting is, you know, one of the most important things, and there’s a whole range of ways you can promote podcasts. Clearly, you can promote podcasts through normal approaches, you know, so that could be anything from, you know, messages in an email footer through to display advertising, probably social media, I would say is the best approach we found by promoting podcasts and getting listeners, particularly as it’s easy to promote each episode in turn. And if you’re interviewing guests is great, because quite often, the guests will amplify your message and promote your podcast. There are also ways to really focus down on an audience of podcast listeners. So as an example, it’s very easy to promote your podcast by buying ads on one of the podcast players, or indeed buying ads that are placed within podcasts. And both of those are really good.

The challenge is finding an audience that fits with your, you know, b2b audience. So you might find podcast listeners, but it might be a very broad spectrum of podcast listeners. And generally speaking, we found that unless a client has got a product that is applicable to quite a broad range of people, if you’re a very niche b2b podcast, then you’re probably going to struggle in promotion through other podcasts. But one of the things I would say is, rather than buying ads, perhaps you want to look at other podcasts in your sector, and invite the hosts of those podcasts to be a guest on your podcast. It’s a great trick. So if, for example, you’ve got a podcast, and it’s about robotics, you might want to look at the other robotics podcasts, and invite those those hosts on particularly the most successful robotics podcasts, because what that will do was then give you a promotion to that audience that we now know, a listeners of robotics podcasts.

So it’s a great way to grow in a particular sector, is by inviting our hosts on. And I’m gonna go back to the consistency as well. Don’t expect your first podcast to smash all records. Consistency really matters. You know, and most podcasts, you know, when you talk to the hosts, they’ll say, yeah, it was 1520 episodes. And then suddenly, I saw a growth in listeners. So, you know, be prepared for it’s a bit to be a long, you know, and frankly, quite hard work slog. But when you get there is just such a fantastic medium for getting really engaged relationship with your listeners. We’re gonna give you a bonus tip, we always like to give you a bonus tip and the Napier webinars. And so we’ve got a few tips around interviewing.

So firstly, you know, if you’re a host, you’re conducting interviews, research, the guests write a structure beforehand, you don’t have to write out every question. And in fact, it’s better not to write out every question, it’s better to just put the main ones and then be flexible. Otherwise, you end up with, you know, something that sounds a bit like an interrogation. You need to listen to the answers and ask questions based on the answers. Rather than just firing Question one, question two, question three. So be flexible, make sure it’s a conversation and not an interrogation. Next, ask guests to explain things, chances are you and the guests are going to be, you know, far greater experts on the topic than anybody listening. You know, you’re probably trying to promote a technology or a sector you’re working in. And quite often the customers you want to reach and not as great an expert. So always ask guests to explain unpack things, you know, give it a bit of clarity.

Even if things like just explaining abbreviations. That’s going to help more listeners, engage with your podcasts, it’s going to help grow that audience base. Make the guests do the majority of the talking. I mean, this is a really interesting challenge that I personally face. I like talking you’ll probably gather that from the fact we do webinars. But webinars are very different. There you have a presenter talking all the time. With a podcast, the host should talk as little as possible. The guest should talk as much and the host should really just be the person guiding the guests through a story. And whilst we’re talking about that, always make sure you avoid interrupting or talking over people. That sounds very confusing. And it’s very hard to follow. When you listen to a podcast because you’ve got no image of the people talking, all you’ve got is the voices.

So I would say, always try and avoid talking over each other. And lastly, give examples. As a great quote, the pictures are always best on radio, let’s make the pictures even better on podcasts. So thank you very much for listening. As I say, you know, we do do a lot of podcasts. So I’m very happy to work with anyone who’s got questions, and talk to you about how maybe you can launch a podcast what you need, and how we can support you. And typically what we try and do with clients is we try and make them as self sufficient as quickly as possible. It’s not a difficult thing to do, to run a podcast. And so what what we think is getting clients running on their own.

Quite often clients will say, well, actually, we want you to draft the questions, we want you to find the guests we want, you know, maybe you to do the editing. And so we’ll often do that. But you don’t need someone sitting and listening to you recording a podcast, that should be something that you’re very capable of doing.

So I’m just going to check to see if there’s any questions. Okay. And looking here, we do have let me see. This is a great question, actually. So would we recommend running a podcast as a set of separate series, or as a single overarching thing? That’s a brilliant question. The answer is we wouldn’t recommend either we’d recommend doing what fits your podcasts best. We have clients who run seasons, so that they’ll run a season of podcasts, and they’ll have a break. And that’s driven by availability of people more than anything else.

And also the fact that they want to create very distinct islands of content. So you know, one client I’m thinking of in particular, they want to talk about a particular group of suppliers. And then they want to move on and talk about a very different group of suppliers. So doing it by a season approach is awesome, because it groups or suppliers together naturally, it’s a brilliant approach. Whereas other podcasts because there’s no inherent natural grouping, actually, maybe it’s better to be consistent and just publish, you know, every month, every fortnight every week, whatever your frequency is, and be consistent. And I think it’s about picking what works best for your podcasts. Both of them can be great approaches. Okay, I’m very aware that we have run a little over a normal half an hour. I do appreciate your time listening. If there are any questions you’ve got, please do send me an email Mike at Napier b2b dot com. I’d be more than happy to answer the questions, or get one of our team that regularly produces podcasts to sit down with you and work out how you can kickstart your own podcast. And hopefully, you know, over the next few months, I’ll be listening to a lot more podcasts and many of those will be from you guys. Thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate it.