Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

ORGANIZATIONAL STORYTELLING: How to decide whether or not to do a podcast

Disclaimers: The information provided is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Links in articles maybe affiliate links.

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Podcasting has continued to grow and according to some experts out there will continue to grow so I think it's a fair question: should my organization do a podcast?

Some organizations might scream: Another channel? It has to stop somewhere. And that is actually a valid statement because we can't do everything and definitely can't do everything well. But, podcasting is still on the upswing and there are some things to consider. Let's dive in.

Related: Podcast prediction and stats from AdAge

I've done a few podcasts on here on various topics and sometimes some topics lend themselves really well to podcasts. It's easier to talk about the topic or your audience might be more open to listening than to reading. For example, I know many people like to listen to podcasts when they're driving to and from work or while at the gym.

Here are the different things to consider as you're weighing whether or not to do a podcast for your organizational storytelling and content marketing strategy.

What's your over-arching topic for the podcast?

Virtually all the podcasts I listen to have higher level topics that they don't stray from too far. Yes they have episodes that are at the edges of that stated topic but overall the sales podcast won't be talking about something totally unrelated to sales.

Just like any content marketing channel consider:

  • What's already out there?
  • Would your podcast fill an empty topical niche?
  • Is there an actual audience?
  • Are you an actual expert on the topic?
  • Do you have enough topics to cover weekly or bi-weekly or monthly podcasts?

So while I typically don't recommend over-analyzing focus groups or committee meetings with professional overthinkers these are things to think about before starting and even if you do a pilot for a few months it's still important to keep these things top of mind.

Who is your podcast talent?

When I'm speaking at conferences I remind people that not everyone is a fantastic writer and not everyone is a fantastic podcast host. We all have our own unique strengths. Now podcast host don't necessarily need to have traditional broadcast experience. But they do need to be able to speak on air and be understandable and be able to have a conversation – if you are going to have guests on the podcast.

Regarding ghost hosts. 🤔😂😱

While I write all my blog posts myself on here, I'm not opposed to people having ghostwriters at all. Ghostwriters can make our blog posts read better and even get our point across better. As long as the content came from the actual subject matter expert I have no problem with the ghostwriter writing it.

That process can also make the production highly efficient for the subject matter expert. After all, the writer spends the actual time writing the content and the subject matter expert spends a relatively small amount of time being interviewed and then reviewing the content.

(Be sure to pay the writer and not in exposure or opportunity to interview the subject matter expert or some other non-dollar kind of payment.)

On a podcast, that's obviously not doable. You can't have a ghost host.

"Hi. I am Rick. I'm playing Christoph Trappe's part today and here are today's thoughts from Christoph …"

Doesn't work obviously. So whoever will be your podcast host, they will have to spend some time preparing and then of course hosting the show. Pick wisely.

Related: Having a ghostwriter doesn't necessarily make stories inauthentic

Who will produce the podcast?

I have published podcasts before without any editing many podcast do need some kind of editing. And even when they don't need it a little bit of touchup here and there does make them sound a lot better.

That can take some time and skill. For example, I have edited audio before and it's really not my strength. I cut too much or I cut too little. It's just not my strength.

A good audio editor can make an already interesting podcast topic sound even better. I would highly recommend using somebody who has that skill set.

Don't forget about the distribution

Just like blog posts, podcasts need to be distributed across different networks. Somebody needs to own those tasks. You might even have to allocate some ad dollars to distribute it further.

How will you reach your audience?

Podcast, social media or blog posts all come back to similar things: you have to reach the people who are actually your target audience. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do a podcast but we should think about if a podcast is the best way to reach them.

And even if it is the right way to reach them we still need to think about how do we keep it in front of them, how do we get them to subscribe and is it the right medium to reach them?

And sometimes we don't necessarily know and it's an educated guess. That's fine but it's something to think about.

What podcast technology needs to be bought?

Technology might be one of the most interesting topics in content marketing. There are a lot of free tools out there for about anything and then there are more advanced tools that cost a little bit or a lot. And I've actually done podcasts that were completely recorded on my iPhone. My guest and I were sitting next to each other and we're just talking into the iPhone. It wasn't really a big deal and it sounded pretty good.

But this was a quiet office and it was just me and her and we were longtime acquaintances so hacking into podcast production didn't even feel weird at all.


My setup when I'm a guest on podcasts 

Sounding good on podcasts is important to me. And I'm not talking about everyone necessarily agreeing with my opinion, but the actual sound quality. I want the audio to sound good.

I've been on podcasts in Australia, Asia, North America and Europe and enjoy them very much. I also appreciate unique questions.

I've learned what works and what doesn't by trial and error. The first few I participated in I sounded terrible. I once did one through Google Voice. Ouch. Let me call this one in. Ha.

So, here's what I have found to work:

I download whatever app the podcaster wants to use to my phone. I use those white Apple headphones that come with iPhones and that are designed for phone calls. They transfer the audio in a crystal clear way, make me sound great and the setup couldn't be any easier.

Easy, breezy, but it took me a few times to get it figured out.

Bonus tip: Make sure your phone is plugged in and doesn't run out of juice in the middle of the recording.

Of course, that's just me. I'm only a guest and don't run my own podcast. Jared Johnson, who runs a popular healthcare podcast shared this picture of his setup with me.

IMG_1395


So in reality if you're doing a podcast often you probably should be using podcast-specific equipment similar to what Jared was using.

There are plenty of good microphones out there to use and you should be able to buy something for under $100 to record. To record remote podcasts you might use Zoom or Skype. I use Audacity to record on my computer and to edit.

Before ever recording a podcast test everything.

Podcast wrap

Starting a podcast-especially one with a topic that is not covered elsewhere in the podcasting world-can really be a good way to stand out from the competition.

And while I would not advocate for overplanning or overthinking the decision just the right amount of thinking and planning is super helpful.

Hopefully you'll find my process up above helpful and if you do end up launching a podcast please send me a link to it.

Book me as a guest on your podcast here! (Usually free)


Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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