Discover the secrets to producing an award-winning podcast, and find out why audio storytelling is a marketer’s most important communications medium in 2020 from Charlotte Goodwin, Account Director at Filtered Media + Executive Producer of The CMO Show podcast.
2019 was an important year for the podcasting team here at Filtered Media.
We were honoured to take out national awards for podcasting including the Australian Marketing Institute Awards for Marketing Excellence in content marketing and a finalist gong at the Australian Podcast Awards.
We feel proud to be recognised as industry leaders in podcasting.
Now as we approach April 2020, the world has changed significantly due to the impact of COVID-19 and we’re all adjusting to the new normal – social distancing, working from home and video conferencing – and evolving our approach to content marketing at the same time.
Brands are searching for ways to convert typically in-person customer and staff brand experiences into digital ones, and podcasting has never been a more relevant storytelling medium than right now.
To help set you up for success during this time and beyond, we’re keen to share some of our podcasting secrets with you.
Branded podcasts are nothing without clear strategy
Podcasting is one of the most versatile and personal storytelling channels available to marketers – allowing you to deliver your message directly to listeners’ ears.
Think creatively; look at other podcasts in the category you’re looking to break into and ask yourself: ‘What can I do differently? What unique value can I add to the saturated podcast market? What can I do that will appeal to my audience?”
Especially in the case of a branded podcast, a clear strategy is imperative. Consider the communications objectives you want your podcast to achieve, decide on one to three (three max to keep your efforts focused) and stick to them – come hell or high water.
Podcasts can be topic-led, guest interview-led, tell a story, or combine any and all of these. Format and execution options are also many and varied, with feature interviews recorded in-studio, over the phone, online or even live in the field; segments can provide variety and pique listener interest; and a narrative arc specific to each episode is uniquely satisfying to listen to.
Whatever the combination, you want to ensure that all the components of your podcast – host, interviewees, storylines, calls-to-action and all supporting promotional content – are aligned with your strategy.
Don’t waste time on anything that doesn’t serve the strategy. Temper all the grand ideas (while still important to have!) against the question: “Is this going to drive us towards achieving our goals?”
A solid format = a strong foundation for success
In 2018, we iterated on the format of The CMO Show – updating the two-host, one guest interview format to follow more of an NPR-style “audio narrative” format that interprets and brings the story alive for listeners.
A unique audio brand (theme music and stings), scripted cold open introducing the theme or set-up of each episode, short “producer breakout” pieces from roving reporters or reflections on guest interviews helped listeners to engage even further with the topics.
We knew cut-through in a market of increased supply would be crucial, and a point of difference for The CMO Show was its production value.
Next, we turned attention to a revised amplification approach, with episodes published across multiple platforms, promoted on social media channels involving paid, earned and owned promotion. Adobe’s CMO.com platform also publishes the podcast alongside editorial content, further extending the reach of the podcast directly to a marketing audience.
Our podcast format innovation rolled out in 2018 yielded a 93% increase in total downloads and worthwhile return on investment for Filtered Media in terms of converting our podcast activity into client engagement.
We share this case study as a proof of concept for the importance of having a well-considered and creative podcast format.
1-1 conversational interview style podcasts might be simple to produce, but they’re expected and considered “run of the mill” by podcast listeners in 2020.
Offering your audience audio content with a distinctive format – audio brand elements, scripted pieces, vox pops, atmospheric sound, etc – will help to set your podcast apart from the rest.
Comprehensive go to market and ongoing promotional plans are paramount
Invest in a robust go-to-market plan. Consider how you will promote the podcast across your various communications channels and tailor the messaging to each audience – website, social media, eDM, media, etc.
Ensure that all of your promotional creative and copy across all channels is punchy, engaging and elicits conversation/action – covering off the think/feel/do of all effective communication.
For a business category podcast, for example, we suggest posting each new episode to Twitter and LinkedIn (the two most relevant channels for the business podcast category) including a direct quote from the episode transcript and a question in the post copy that will spark conversation – supported by at the very least a modest paid social budget to help boost reach.
Brands that choose to produce a podcast as an internal comms or other non-public facing piece – meaning they don’t intend to release the podcast to the typical aggregators like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, etc – still need to consider a number of release plan elements. For example, how they will release each episode to their audience, the internal messages that will accompany the audio, and how they will drive engagement and conversation.
We hope that these insights into the performance of our own podcast and podcast production tips will help you to navigate the medium with success – during these uncertain times and beyond.
If you’re looking for support in reimagining your upcoming event into a podcast series, or simply want to know more about podcast production, download our eBook or drop our team of podcasting experts a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Filtered Media
Filtered Media is an independent integrated marketing communications agency driven by a passion for brilliant storytelling. In addition to producing our very own The CMO Show for the past five years, Filtered Media has produced podcasts for Xero (Xero Gravity & Xero In), Adobe (Adobe Experience Makers), BBC Storyworks & OFX (Where the world’s moving), Business Australia formerly known as NSW Business Chamber (The Company You Keep), Autism Spectrum Australia and Oscar Trimboli (Deep Listening).