Podcasting has always been a growing medium. Every day, new shows are launched, and there are now well over 600,000 podcasts available in iTunes/Apple Podcasts.
The motivations and ambitions of those who get into podcasting vary wildly. But for those prepared to put the time and work in, the rewards can be huge.
Business and industry podcasting is one corner of the medium where you'll find many who are reaping the benefits of their content. This ranges from individuals working on side ventures outside of their day job hours, to multinational companies.
As more businesses move towards podcasting though, people are looking at ways to stand out and do something a bit more unique.
So, if you want to make a show for your own company or brand, what sort of things can you do to avoid becoming just another one of many?
Well, the purpose of this post is to provide you with ideas and suggestions that will help you make a business podcast that stands out from the crowd.
Rethink The Format
Let's look at the most common type of podcast format right now.
- Intro music
- Presenter introduces show
- Interview – recorded online
- Presenter summarises and closes show
- Outro music
Firstly, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this format. In fact, this is the perfect structure for a majority of podcasters. Listeners are very used to it, it's practical, doesn't take too much time, and doesn't require a big investment of time or money.
But if you really want to stand out, it's going to be very hard to do that following this format. It's just too common.
If you're throwing in the added factor that you're “an entrepreneur interviewing entrepreneurs about their journeys” too, then you really are entering a competition to be the best grain of sand on the beach.
What's the alternative though? There's a few things to think about here.
Decide Who the Authority Is
It may come as a shock to many, but not all podcasts are interview shows.
There are many benefits of running an interview show, but one big downside is that you're never the true authority on your own show – your guests are.
I know it isn't really as black and white as that, and that there's a way of having in-depth conversations between two experts. But the standard interview approach isn't going to set you apart from anyone else.
I'm not saying you need to stop having guests in order to stand out. But make sure it's a conscious decision rather than something you've been led to believe is a necessity.
Interview Shows: Rework the Conversations
If you will be having guests on your show, consider throwing out the “linear interview” approach.
The conversations you record can be chopped up to fit the narrative of an episode, which immediately presents it as something that is a lot more planned and structured.
Here's a hypothetical example. I want to make a business podcast, and I'm going to start with a season of 12 episodes.
For this, I line up 12 interviewees.
The “conventional” way of doing this is that each episode is an interview with 1 of these 12 guests.
The conversation takes the usual approach of asking them how they got started in what they do, what problems they overcame, how they became successful, and what advice they have for others.
This can work well, but it doesn't really stand out. Especially if my guests are often interviewed on other podcasts where they'll cover exactly the same ground.
Arrange by Topic, Not Guest
Here's an alternative then. Instead, I come up with 12 topics.
Each topic is basically a question, or themed set of questions. These will be similar to the questions asked in a “linear” interview, so you've got things like “problems you overcame,” and “advice for others.”
Then you can throw in things that are a bit different from the norm. Tim Ferris is a good example of this with his reoccurring questions like, “When was the last time you changed your mind about something?”, and “What would you put on a billboard?”.
In each interview, you ask the 12 guests your 12 questions, along with any follow-up questions around each.
The next stage is to produce your 12 episodes, which each focus on answering 1 question, and feature input from all 12 of your guests.
From a listener point of view, this makes it a better experience for them. Your show becomes easy to navigate, and appealing to folks in your target audience who discover the show in a search.
This really helps cut down on the fluff and irrelevant chatter that puts a lot of new listeners off and limits your growth in the long run.
Solo Shows: Planning, Purpose, & Structure
Maybe instead of an interview or guest-based show, you'd like to do a predominately solo or co-hosted style instead.
For the average podcast, you can achieve this by having a few bullet points as a script, then hitting record, and just going for it.
If you don't want to be the average podcast though, it'll need a bit more thought and direction than that.
One option is to split your episodes into segments which differ from each other, but all bring value to your listener.
These could be segments like a tip or lesson of the week, data breakdowns and analysis, or industry news.
This shows that your content is well planned and thought out, whilst at the same time giving a sense of familiarity and routine to long time listeners.
Clips & Contributions
You might not run interviews as such, but your show can benefit from having other voices in it from time to time.
This could range from vox-pops recorded at an industry event to listener contributions answering a specific question, or commenting on the subject of a previous episode.
Of course, it won't be possible to get audience feedback in the early days before you've actually established an audience. But you can invite your team members, staff, or industry peers to record short clips that can be played on the show to get you up and running with something like this.
Music & Sound Effects
Laying a music track underneath a conversation for the sake of it is more likely to irritate rather than enhance.
But careful and selective placing of music amongst your content can really add an extra layer of polish to it.
You can even use sound effects and ambience to demonstrate certain points, or set scenes for the listener in a “theatre of the mind” type way.
Like music, a “less is more” approach works better. Any sound effects should be used in a subtle and non-intrusive manner, and not be over the top or jarring. Unless you want the show to sound like a cartoon.
If you've little or no experience in mixing audio though, I'd definitely recommend hiring a producer for this sort of work.
Stand Out With Your Sound
You or your guests can deliver brilliant insights and advice to the listener, but if it sounds like you recorded it on an old cassette in whilst standing in a cave, this just isn't going to cut it.
It's outside the scope of this article to discuss how to get a good level of audio quality for your podcast, but the good news is that it isn't difficult, and you don't need to spend a fortune.
With the right gear, along with a bit of preparation and planning, you can achieve a high level of source sound quality.
Obviously you have less control over your remote guests (if you're actually running a show with guests) so you'll need to be a bit more strict about who you invite on.
You can put some steps in place to veto potential interviewees though. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Check if they've been on any other podcasts before, and if so, listen to how they sound.
- Do a “pre-call” with them where you can listen to their audio quality, as well as give them advice on their setup if necessary.
For more on improving your podcast sound quality, check out the article I've linked to here.
Again though, if you're not too knowledgeable about audio, get a producer on board to help and advise you on this. It'll be more than worth it in the long run.
Podcast in Seasons
Instead of running on the treadmill of releasing an episode every single week, you can consider running your podcast in seasons. There are a number of benefits of doing this.
Firstly, the type of podcast we're discussing here is going to take more than your average podcast to create on a per-episode basis.
This means it'll require some investment, be that in time or in money.
There's also a benefit for the listener in taking the seasons approach. It can make the content better curated, easier to navigate, an seem more purposeful going forward.
It's a whole subject of its own, so here's a deeper dive into season-based podcasting if you're looking for more insights and info on that front.
Invest In Your Content
I mentioned investing either time or money in your show. If you want to make a business podcast that really stands out in your niche, then you need to decide which one it's going to be.
There's a lot of hats to wear running a podcast like this, from planning the content and recording the audio, to picking out music, editing speech, and layering it all together.
If you can't dedicate much time to podcasting, then the alternative is to work with a podcasting company who can help you create it.
If you've found this post helpful then you might be pleased to know that we do like to work with clients to create more enhanced and highly-produced podcasts. Of course, other podcast producers are available if you fancy shopping around.
But if you're interested in working with us to help you design, launch, and run a series that goes well beyond the “standard” format, you can check out some of our samples below.
Want to Work with Us to Create Your Podcast?
If you'd like to get in touch to discuss your plans and your project, then we'd love to hear from you.