Businesses choose to start podcasts for many of the same reasons they attempt any new marketing strategy. The popularity of podcasts has convinced business owners, start-up founders, and software companies, in particular, that becoming thought leaders in the podcast space will help them reap significant rewards. These rewards could come in the form of improved brand awareness, greater online visibility, and deeper social media engagement.
However, podcasts aren’t for the faint of heart. They require a substantial investment of time and thought, in addition to any capital outlay necessary to get quality recording equipment. Starting a podcast off-the-cuff for the wrong reasons, or failing to invest sufficient resources in long-term planning for the podcast, can spell the end for your podcast before it gets the chance to impact your potential clientele. If you listen to podcasts extensively, you’ve noticed the cycles of “Podfade,” where regular episodes become more and more sporadic until a podcast entirely peters out. In many ways, this is a worse outcome than just not having a podcast, since you appear less committed to follow-through when people find your podcast that faded away.
When starting a podcast, it is important to start strong and avoid the mistakes that lead to Podfade and a reduction in quality down the line. By avoiding these 3 reasons why your business podcast will fail, you can put your business on a path to gaining greater visibility and brand awareness in the podcast space, a truly valuable outcome which is worth the effort.
1. You Don’t Have A Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy has at least three components, and if you don’t have them all, you are at risk for not getting all you could get out of your business podcast. The three key components are:
- Regular, consistent content creation (including someone whose job it is to create that content and polish it for consumption).
- A set strategy for the promotion of content across multiple channels and on social media pages that are relevant to your brand.
- Regularly assessed outcomes and goals for engagement, traffic, and conversions, which are adjusted based on analytics and data.
Content Marketing Strategy is the only way you ensure there is enough content for an intrigued reader/viewer/listener to engage with, ensure that it is being distributed widely to continue growing the audience, and ensure that you are continually adjusting the content you produce to gain and retain more followers. Without a Content Marketing Strategy, podcasts and blogs tend to have weak impact, which reinforces to others in the company that these aren’t effective means of promoting the business. In reality, with excellent cross-platform promotion and continued re-evaluation, they can be one of the most valuable aspects of your marketing ROI.
Basically, don’t start a podcast without a marketing and content creation budget and expect it to prosper. Instead, make a case for why you need dedicated professionals focused on creating content that can then be converted into multiple social media posts, repurposed for other platforms like video and blog content, and used to raise engagement across all platforms. Analyze your current traffic and engagement numbers and set reasonable but ambitious goals for improvement. Your podcast is a high-value item, but only if you can get it into people’s headphones, and Content Marketing Strategy overall is what will get you there.
2. You Expect Overnight Success
Many companies get into starting a podcast because it is a “hot trend,” thinking they can jump in, capitalize on the popularity of podcasts, and be a sensation from the beginning. Honestly, though, the podcast market is wide, and like most other marketing strategies, it is a long-term payoff, not a quick scheme.
If you expect overnight success, you aren’t likely to really invest in the long-term plan for the podcast: if your topic, for instance, is too broad or too narrow, you’ll find it hard to generate those ideas for the 2nd and 3rd and 10th month of the podcast. Instead of rushing to start and expecting instant success, spend the time you need to generate real educational content ideas that align with your business and your brand that will last for the first year or more of the podcast. Having these ideas and plans shows that the podcast has the staying power to get through the initial obscurity of all podcasts and rise through the charts.
Too many podcasts put in very little work, hedging their bets at the beginning, and as a result, they receive less listenership and ratings than they hoped for. Go “all in” on a podcast if you are going to do it, because only then can you see the results you want, helping to limit the chance that the podcast will fail.
3. You Don’t Work With A Professional Agency
Your business offers a value-added product or service and you’ve hired your employees because they bring specialized abilities to the table. If you choose to have inexperienced in-house teams run your podcast, you are making two mistakes at once: you are asking inexperienced people to make your podcast without the right materials to succeed, and you are drawing them away from the work they were hired to do.
Working with a professional podcasting agency costs money, so many companies would prefer to create a poor-quality in-house podcast than to invest in production costs. However, this investment truly pays off: the time wasted by employees who are not trained podcasting professionals, including costly mistakes, is money as well.
Allocating budget to pay a professional podcasting company keeps your employees working on their value-added tasks for the business and allows you to get a consistent, high-quality podcast product. These agencies also offer advice and consultation that can level up your podcast faster – still not a quick-win by any stretch, but a much better probability of ongoing success.
Avoiding these mistakes requires your company to look forward, see how your business can benefit from content marketing, and then systematically fund a great podcasting venture for long enough to see real results. It’s an exciting experience that can go very well for you, if you are ready to consider how best to move forward.