Zooma's podcast, The Onlinification Pod, has been running for a few years now. Over that time, we've developed a good understanding of how to launch, create and promote a company podcast to an audience of business listeners.
Here, we'll try to condense that information into a concise guide that should give you a solid foundation of knowledge if you're considering experimenting with podcasts at your own company. Whether you want to get going with a one-off season of a few episodes, or dive straight in with a weekly show, this guide explains why you should do it, how you should start and what the impact on the rest of your content can be.
What is a podcast?
According to Zooma's list of digital definitions, a podcast is:
"An audio file distributed online, subscribed to, streamed or downloaded through RSS."
In the last ten years, there has been a boom in the number of podcasts published online. But it isn't a new technology. Already back in the 1980s, you could listen to an earlier version of a podcast, then called an audio blog.
At that time, they weren't as easy to consume as they are today. But with the rise of streaming and investment from major players like Spotify, almost everyone has at least two or three podcasts that they listen to on a regular basis.
The audio format may seem pretty one-dimensional, but there's a range of ways to produce and publish podcast content:
- Ongoing, regularly-scheduled podcasts — Many of the most popular podcasts run this way. With a weekly or monthly release schedule, episodes are published without any particular long-term narrative or end goal. A new listener can pick up the most recent episode and get straight into things, without having to listen from the beginning to understand the context.
- Seasonal podcasts — These kinds of podcasts are becoming more and more common, possible inspired by the binge-like media consumption trends that services like Netflix have helped create. Here, the podcast is broken up into seasons of around 10 to 15 episodes, each focusing on one particular topic. Once the season is over, there's often a pause of weeks or months until the next one. Sometimes, there's no second season at all, if the creators just wanted to make a one-off piece of standalone content. Episodes in a season can either be released all at once, or on a regular basis.
Why your company should have a podcast
In the article, Content creation: The benefits of podcasting for business, Qarin Lövgren explains why and how a podcast can be an effective way of providing answers and solutions to your personas’ questions and problems.
If you work in B2B, your potential buyers are most likely not to purchase your services or product on impulse. Instead, they go through a buyer's journey, starting with awareness, to consideration and evaluation before deciding on what to purchase. A podcast lets you establish authority and reach and convert your audience in several parts of the buyer's journey.
Search engine optimization
The fact is that podcasts are a perfect opportunity for SEO. By transcribing the dialogue and publishing it as an article, the content can be indexed by Google. We use Sonix to transcribe all our podcasts and publish the text as articles. This is a very efficient method for producing SEO content.
A while after you start podcasting you will be surprised by how many possibilities there are to re-purpose your podcast content. Once you have recorded the episode, you can e.g. create;
- Short teaser videos for social media
- Articles based on transcription
- Video episode
Are you wondering whether your company should have a podcast or clubhouse? In this article, you'll find everything you need to know.
How to start a podcast
In the article, how to start a podcast, you can find every detail you need to know about how to get started with podcast production. If you want to have an overall idea, it can be good to be aware of the following steps.
- When and how often have you planned to publish?
- How long should an episode be?
- What topics have you planned to publish in the next six months?
- What should the listener get out of each episode?
- Who should talk in your podcast, is it just you or someone else as well?
Once you have a plan, you're ready to go. The next step is to make sure you have the right equipment.
Your podcast will often get judged by the sound quality. Thus, make sure to buy a proper microphone. When recording The Onlinification Pod we use the Rode Procaster, together with a K&M 23956 Popkiller.
There are different ways of recording sound. If you have a round-table podcast in the same physical room, where you want separate sound files, the best way is to use a portable recording device. At Zooma we use the Zoom H6. If you do remotely recording, you can record through a USB microphone.
There are different ways to store the recordings. If you have a physical podcast we recommend using a portable recording device that you can store your sound files and transfer to your computer after the recording. If you do remote r-recording like we use most when recording the Onlinification Pod, we recommend using a podcasting platform, such as Zencastr.
There are multiple programs for editing your podcast. We have tried several, and are constantly experimenting with new software. Yet, we haven't found any better software than the powerful audio workstation; Adobe Audition.
To master adobe audition, you need some skills, but once you are over the learning curve you will be able to create, mix, edit and restore all types of audio content.
Where do you want to publish your podcast? By considering where our listeners consume their content we have chosen the following platforms:
Our listeners can also watch the video episodes on YouTube.
Once you've published your podcast, you need to promote it. Social media is a great channel for attracting new listeners. We usually edit a 1-minute teaser, also known as an audiogram, with voice, video, and subtitles. As we promote the audiogram on LinkedIn and other social media, the number of listeners increases.
How to maintain and run your company podcast
Alexander is one of the hosts of The Onlinification Pod. In his article, how to maintain and run your company podcast, he claims that starting a podcast is relatively easy; the difficult part is maintaining and running the show.
At Zooma, we have assigned a podcast team, who has the responsibility to make sure we publish an episode per week. The group of people meets 30-minutes every week to plan topics, invite guests and make sure everyone has what they need to contribute to the weekly production.
Recording a weekly podcast is time-consuming. A good technique for streamlining the production is to record multiple episodes during one session, also known as batch recording. For example, if you need one hour to record an episode, schedule a day and try to produce five episodes in a row. This way, you'll also be able to work more efficiently with editing as you can do all editing at once.
What software to use for podcasting
If you google 'Podcast Software, you'll find endless top ten lists of various programs. In this article, we've included the software that we tested at Zooma. We try new software regularly to find and don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you have questions or want us to test software for you.
Since we started with Zencastr in 2020, a lot has happened. Today Zencastr offers an all-in-one podcasting platform, and according to themselves, it's the 'easiest way to make high-quality podcasts. Even though they might not be entirely objective, we support the statement.
With their easy interface, you're able to:
- Record in 16-bit 48k WAV audio track per guest
- Record each track locally for maximum quality
- Automate post-production
Before we used Zencastr, we recorded through Zoom. When we discovered that it was possible to record each track locally, the quality increased. However, Zoom is first and foremost a video conferencing platform and compresses the audio and video which result in a lower quality. Thus, we prefer recording in Zencastr over Zoom.
Since we started podcasting, we have edited the audio in; Adobe Audition. Although the learning curve is quite steep, you'll save a lot of time in the long run as you'll be able to create, mix, edit and restore all types of audio content. Recently we discovered a competitor, Descript, which you read more about below.
We publish all podcast episodes as videos on youtube. To edit the recordings we use Adobe Premier, which offers intuitive, precise, and customizable editing tools.
Quite recently we started experimenting with Descript, an all-in-one audio & video editing software. They claim it's as easy as editing a document, and we can confirm that. Here you get the audio file transcripted to text, you can delete middle words like 'uum' and 'eehm' through one click, and the coolest thing might be the function to overdub. The text-to-speech function means that the software clones your voice, and you can change your own words by changing transcripted text. Yes, it's a bit scary, but saves a lot of time.
How to come up with podcast topics
If you're a content creator, you've might come across writer's block. When you've recorded a weekly podcast for a year, you might run out of topics.
Here are the tactics we use to come up with new podcast topics every week:
What, how, why, when, and who
These five words can help you find new unique angles on different topics. Choose a topic and put one of these words in front, you'll have a new episode idea in no time. For example, if I'm about to record episodes about business blogging, then I can record five different angles:
- What is business blogging?
- How to business blog?
- Why business blogging?
- When to start a business blog?
- Who should have a business blog?
Invite external guests
If you've recorded multiple episodes with your colleagues, you might struggle with coming up with new knowledge and expertise. To increase the perspectives and knowledge, a good idea is to invite external guests. Even if you've already recorded an episode with a colleague about a specific topic, you can record that with an external person. Each conversation will be unique.
Keep track of all types of communication that your company publishes. Articles, news, or product launches. Most things can be made into a podcast episode.
How to re-purpose your podcast content
After a while of publishing our weekly podcast, we were amazed by the endless opportunities of repurposing podcast content. In this article, you can get some tips on what you can do with your podcast recording.
Once you have the audio file, you can do audiograms. It's a short video, a teaser for the episode. Find a 30-60 second interesting discussion or quote from the recording, add an image or video of the participants, add audio in the background, and subtitle in the video. Then you can use this content piece on all your social channels to promote your podcast episode.
When you transcribe the full conversation, you can easily create an article based on the conversation. Just go through the text document, restructure make some headlines, and change some grammatical wordings, and voilá - you got an interesting article to publish on your blog.
A lot of people prefer to watch podcasts. Thus, we recommend always recording a video from the conversation which you can edit and publish on youtube.
How to be a good podcast host
There are millions of different podcasts, and thus a variety of host personalities. There is no 'one way to be a good host. The most important thing is that you find a style that works naturally for you. However, there are some parameters that determine whether the host does a great job or not.
Here are some tips on how to be a better podcast host:
A clear structure for obtaining interesting conclusions
As a listener of a company podcast, you want to walk away with new insights. Thus, as a host, you should have a clear structure for how to reveal new insights and listeners.
A good way is to structure the conversation into three parts. First, talk about the challenges of a topic. Then, present the solutions. The last part is about summarising the conclusions.
Do your research
The most important thing as a host is that you know what you're talking about. Of course, you don't always need to be the expert on the topic. But if you're interviewing a guest, you need to know enough to dive deep and steer the conversation in the right direction. So do your research, listen to similar podcasts on the topics, read articles and talk to experts to get the knowledge.
Connect the dots
A conversation can take unexpected turns. You ask one question, and before you know it, you're talking about something else. If this happens too many times it might be hard for the listener to follow the conversation. A good host always connects the dot of the conversation. Stops and reconnects to what was talked about earlier. In this way, it becomes easier to receive the information as a listener.