More and more people are listening to podcasts (a third of UK adults are now listening) and so understandably more businesses get that business podcasts are real opportunity to reach new audiences.
But with all that content comes a lot of quality variation and inevitably, business podcasts that blur the line between value-driven storytelling and overt promotion. As a business running a podcast, the challenge isn’t just to create a content channel but to use it to its fullest potential – the art of holding your audience’s attention without making each episode feel like a thinly-veiled commercial.
Let’s dive into the art of making a podcast that is good for business and which your audience actually loves listening to, week-in-week-out.
Identify Your Podcast DNA
Before you even hit record for the very first time, you should have identified your business podcast’s purpose. We like to call it its DNA as it’s the thread that runs through everything you do, holding everything together and giving it its identity.
Of course, this should also resonate with your brand’s values but a huge part of the DNA Is how and why you’re meeting the needs of your audience (we talk about it here in the importance of understanding your podcast audience). A podcast with a clear, genuine identity fosters trust and loyalty, turning listeners into advocates for your podcast, and as a result, your brand.
The podcast DNA is also a vital yardstick in helping you decide what guests to have on or what questions to ask them. Or, as the person running your corporate podcast, it can give you a handy tool to help you pushback when others may ask you to feature content or ideas that you know may not be quite right for the podcast.
A business podcast that provides genuine value
Each episode of your podcast should offer your audience something of real value – whether it’s industry insights, stories they may never have had access to before, or thought-provoking discussions. The facts show that 74% of podcast listeners listen to learn new things, and as a medium, people trust it. The Guardian found that by adding a podcast to your marketing mix, done well, can increase trust levels from 45% to 63%.
So, when a listener comes away with new knowledge or perspectives, they’re more likely to view your podcast as a trusted resource rather than a sales pitch.
Storytelling over selling
Good sales pitches can grab attention, but in longform content people connect with stories, and that holds attention. Think about how you can integrate narrative elements into your podcast to craft a more compelling and memorable listen.
How can you share customer success stories without regurgitating all that you did for a client? When we set out to develop the British Podcast Award-winning podcast ‘The Third Angle’ for industrial software company PTC we knew that the best people to showcase the amazing things their software does, are the people using it every day. That’s why, in each episode you’ll hear inspiring stories of innovations all over the world, we send producers out to meet the people who are using PTC’s technology and get them to tell their story.
Diverse Voices and Expertise
Not every guest you have on your business podcast needs to part of the company, or even an immediate part of your network. Invite on guests who can offer unique perspectives and expertise and importantly help provide context for the listener, even if they may not have a direct link to your industry.
With this approach you’ll position your podcast as a platform for thought leadership. Lets say for example you run a climate podcast on the latest trends in renewable energy and sustainable living, you could invite on a scientist who specialises in human activity on the environment. Their perspective could give listeners the context of the urgency surrounding climate change.
Alternatively, if you host a branded podcast on marketing strategies, you could bring on a psychology expert who can speak to the emotional drivers behind consumer behaviour decisions.
Engage with your community
Podcasts are built on community. Engage your audience by incorporating interactive elements, such as Q&A sessions, listener mentions, or discussions on topics suggested by your audience. This not only makes your listener feel valued but also steers the content away from being self-serving.
Transparency and Authenticity
Authenticity breeds trust, and listeners can quickly sniff out content that lacks sincerity. You likely already have a blog or insights section on your website that serves a valuable purpose. It’s important to remember that the tone of voice and approach to how you communicate needs to be quite different with a podcast.
As we mentioned, listeners have high levels of trust in podcasts and their hosts, to harness that you need to be genuine. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through, shy away from being vulnerable or hide away from discussing topics that are sometimes difficult or uncomfortable. We totally get that this might not come naturally to some businesses though so set expectations from the start (remember your podcast DNA) and get buy in from stakeholders so there’s no shocks or surprises along the way!
Transforming your business podcast from sounding like an infomercial to becoming an influential content channel requires a mindful strategy centred on authenticity, storytelling, and value for the listener. By focusing on these elements, your podcast can become a powerful tool to engage and grow your audience, while subtly reinforcing your brand’s presence in their minds.
Remember your podcast is not the only touch point for your brand – it’s most likely the open door with the warm welcome that makes people want to revisit time and time again.
We love getting under the hood of what makes a great podcast so get in touch to ask for your free podcast health check.