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Whether it's a friend, your employer, or a prospective client, if you think someone has the potential to make a great podcast series, how do you approach the subject with them?
Matthew: Big thanks to Ronnie for this episode's question. How do I convince someone to start a podcast? I suppose the starting point for this is what's your motivation for wanting to get someone to start a podcast? There's a couple of different reasons why that might be isn't there?
Colin: Yeah. Is Ronnie a producer? Is that what you think it's come from?
Matthew: I'm not sure. Yeah. Is he trying to convince someone to start a podcast because he wants to offer a service? Maybe kind of doing what we do so he wants to maybe coach or mentor them or produce it for them or even host it for them. That would be going in from a sort of services point of view where you're selling the podcast as a service essentially.
Colin: We always ended up doing that at events. Well I certainly did. Going along to networking events and talking to people and they'd say “What do you do?” Well, we produce podcasts and they're like well, why? That basically launches into the spiel about why they should run a podcast. It's always a sales pitch. How do you go about that when you meet somebody and they say “Well why would I want to do that? Why should I spend the time and the money?”
Matthew: You've got to be ready to explain. Not just explain the benefits of a podcast but actually ask them questions because you're starting with them. There's no one size fits all pitch that you could give to someone. You turn it back on them and you start to ask them questions about what they do, who are their customers, what do they do for their customers, questions their customers ask. Then you could use that information and go back to them and say “Okay, well here's actually a really good way where you can achieve that. It's very scalable, you could reach an international audience.” You kind of turn it round to them and get your data from them.
Colin: The classic is that you start asking those questions and they say “Well, yeah, we're doing well but we're struggling to reach new people. There's some big competitors in our space. Where we independent and there's some big national companies,” and you're like well, actually, funnily enough podcast, media in general is great way to stand out, to show your personality, for small companies to build trust and compete with the big companies. That's the big starting point for me and then they quite often come up with a whole thing around we've tried writing blogs, we've created videos and we don't get much traction with it. You say to then “Well, are people looking at them regularly? How regularly are you doing them? They say “Well, once a month.” That leads into the fact that podcasting lends itself to a regular weekly format and you get much more attention as well because people subscribe and then they spend half an hour with you or an hour with you as opposed to three minutes or five minutes on a video. That is what builds the engagement and the trust really with their fans and what really makes podcasting powerful. That's the pitch I tend to go through.
Matthew: Obviously it would be relevant sometimes where you'd have to briefly touch on what a podcast is as well, how it works, things like that. We've talked about it a few times on this series but the classic getting somebody's phone out, asking them what sort of shows that they like and having a look that way. I suppose as well, going in not assuming that someone knows what a podcast is. On the contrary. Being prepared to explain it to them as well.
Colin: Stats can help actually. I did a report on last year's podcasting stats. It's on the website. We'll put a link in the show notes for that. You can find the show notes by the way at podcraft.net/711. This is episode 11 isn't it? Am i getting that right?
Matthew: I think it is, yeah.
Colin: I don't often get that right the first time. Podcraft.net/711. Series seven, episode 11. We'll put a link in there to the report and basically, that shows the growth in podcasting. How many people are into podcasting just now, how many people listen on a regular basis, how the growth is looking in the UK particularly so if it's a really local audience they're looking at. There's plenty in there that you can convince people that this isn't just a niche content medium. It's something that they should be thinking about.
Matthew: Before we move on to more, are these details about convincing people, just looking at the motivations again. What about if someone's approaching someone, maybe it's a friend who owns a business or somebody who's got a certain hobby and you're a podcast listener and you say to somebody, and I bet we've all done this, “You could make a really good podcast.” You're motivation there is just genuinely you think they have the expertise to make a really good podcast.
Colin: You're passionate about the medium so you want more good shows to be out there.
Colin: I suppose the other one as well is if you're actually working for a company and you might want to convince your boss to let you start a podcast. Actually, you're having to sell your boss on the benefits of podcasting because you want to run it yourself. You want to have the fun of creating a podcast yourself or actually, you just think it would help you in your job. I mean the benefits aren't just limited to small companies or people who run companies. If you're a sales person, a marketing person within a larger company, a podcast still massively helps you in your role to sell or market that company. I suppose all those roles could be trying to sell podcasts at some point.
Matthew: If you are in the position where you work for maybe a decent sized company then, and you have the thought that our company could do a good podcast, it's something I'd like to get involved with, who do you approach? Is it sales, is it marketing, is it direct to the boss himself or herself? What do you do?
Colin: I mean, I think if you want to get technical about it, podcasting is a content marketing method so marketing is one of the first stops. It's probably easiest to convince marketing that it's a good approach. If they're a good marketing department they should know about the benefits of content marketing, they should know about the benefits of media marketing and podcasting in particular. Then sales tend to be the one that can actually put more money into things as well or they can be sometimes. They maybe have more credibility because they're actually bringing money in whereas marketing gets a bit of a hard time sometimes, because marketing puts a lot of money out, they spend a lot of money but sometimes it's harder to track the tangible benefits. You can't directly link an advert to sales in some ways. Sales and marketing are definitely the first stops but I think it's whoever's got the purse strings isn't it. It's the stake holder in the company that can fund this endeavour. The one that's got the money that can pay for it.
I suppose that's the next thing isn't it. It's the time and the money you've got to invest in it. How do you tell people about that?
Matthew: I think it's all about going to them with a plan. First and foremost, I wouldn't just reach out. This is me personally speaking. I wouldn't just reach out to someone in the company with this massive email with all my data just completely out of the blue and they're like whoa, where did this come from? I would probably try and at least get a meeting where you could talk to someone face to face and, if necessary, if you want to get really serious, you could bring a PowerPoint presentation or you could at least bring some sort of data with you. You want to go in there with a plan and show them some hard stats.
Another wee thing before we get to that that you could maybe have a look at is, are there other companies, your works competitors or anything like that, or people podcasting in the niche that you're going to be podcasting, who are already doing it? If so, check how they're doing. Go on their iTunes page, have a look, see if they've got a few five star reviews. Print that out and show it to them and say “Look at this. Look what they're doing. Here's a screen shot of the episode titles that they're putting out. These are the people they've interviewed. This is what they talking about. This is the feedback they're getting.” That's great evidence that if you put that content out there, this is what you can achieve.
Colin: There's people looking for that material. Yeah, definitely.
Matthew: The big two really that they're going to be wanting to know from you are going to be time and cost. I think you've got to be very open and honest and not say to someone that “It's all right. If we do a podcast it won't take that much time, it won't cost that much and we can just wing it.” Even if they agree to that, it's not going to be a very good podcast. You need to be honest and upfront and say “Look, yeah we're going to have to put a bit of money to this, we're going to have to put a bit of time to it but here's the benefits. Here's how much it might cost us and here's how much time it might take.”
Colin: It can vary as well. It depends how much buy in you can get from your company. If they can budget 500 pounds for the start up of your podcast then you can actually afford some pretty decent kit but if they're saying “Well, we can only risk maybe a hundred quid to start off with,” you can still get a decent set up. It depends a lot on that. You can form the show around the time you have available. If you've got an hour a week, maybe you have to make nice, short and sharp and easily planned. If you have more time, you can put a bit more production value into it. Depends a lot on what you're allowed.
We've got articles on both of these actually. We've got an article on how much does podcasting cost and we also have one on the time cost of podcasting. We'll put them in the show notes as well. Again podcraft.net/711. You'll find both of those. That will give you an idea. The stats article, the cost article and the time article will give you a good basis for the proposal that Matthew's suggesting that you put together. Is there anything else you think we should go in there?
Matthew: One more wee thing. If the discussion's going well and sometimes you have a meeting with somebody, it seems to go well, they say they'll get back to you and then you chase them up a few times and it doesn't go anywhere. You take the next step and just say “Look, give me a couple of hours. I'll go away, I'll make a pilot episode. We'll interview somebody from the company and I'll talk about a topic for a wee while as well. I'll come back with you and just let you hear this pilot episode,” and you never know. They might listen to it and think well actually, this sounds really good. It's something that we'd like to put out there. At least you're taking a bit of action and giving them something, I know it's not tangible literally but an end product that they can review.
Colin: We've kind of been talking the last five minutes about this proposal being maybe internally focused like if you're working for a company but that's exactly what you would do for a client too, if you're a freelancer. You put together a proposal with pretty much all of the same elements as we've just talked about. Time and cost, the benefits you're going to get, the return you might get on it, all that kind of stuff. That's how you sell a client on podcasting as well.
What happens if you don't launch with 3, 5, or 10 episodes? Will your podcast be doomed before it starts?
Matthew: Great question that's came in from Mary on the website. How many episodes do I need launch a podcast? One. Is that us done now? End of the episode?
Colin: Done and finished.
Matthew: Yeah. It's true isn't it?
Colin: Yeah, absolutely.
Matthew: There's a lot of different information out there about this sort of thing. You only need one podcast and that's you up and running.
Colin: One episode. Don't mix up the terminology.
Matthew: One episode.
Colin: We might as well clarify that actually, just in case there's any quite early stage podcasters listening. When we talk about a podcast, we're talking about the whole series aren't we? We’re talking about an entire podcast which could be one episode, it could be 50 episodes. One episode is actually just that one listen. A lot of people mix that up as well.
You can launch. You can submit to iTunes as long as you have one episode live in your podcast feed, in your RSS feed. What's the advantage of doing it with just one then?
Matthew: Because you're up and running. That's you in the game. With every week that passes that you don't launch your podcast, there are people out there, your competitors if you like, who are putting out content, they're getting downloads, they're climbing those iTunes rankings and the longer you hold back, the further you fall behind. Even if you've got 10 amazing episodes recorded, they're not out there so you need to be getting them out there basically. That's why I'm quite a big proponent of just getting it done, getting it launched.
Colin: Just getting something out there.
Matthew: There obviously are benefits from going with the likes of three episodes as well aren't there?
Colin: The other benefit I would say of one episode is that as soon as you've got one out there, like you say, that's you started at least but it's motivation. You've got one live and suddenly, if you think that it's going to take you two weeks to create another episode then that's quite a big gap so it motivates you to get on and just start creating the next one. There's no procrastination.
Launching with three. The first thing that always comes up when you talk about launching with three is the fact that if somebody subscribes to your show then if there's three episodes there, then if they like the first one, they're more likely to listen to the second one and the third one straight away. That is what starts to build engagement. They spend more time with you and therefore, they're more likely to become fans of your show straight away, subscribe and keep listening next time. They're more likely to just become addicted almost to your content. What else is there do you think about going with three episodes? I say three but it doesn't have to be three. I just mean multiple episodes.
Matthew: If people are spending a bit more time with you like you say, they've just got a chance to settle in with you don't they? If you just listen to one episode of someone, might be a decent episode, there's always a chance that you might just if it's a 10 minute episode, just move on.
Colin: And forget about it. Never listen to it again. I think actually, the bigger question, this is probably one that suits you really well because you've helped a tonne of people launch shows particularly. Launching with three. We're talking about having three live when you launch but actually, is that all you're going to have ready?
Matthew: Well if you're doing something like an interview show I suppose it might be a good idea but again, I'm wary of using this as a procrastination thing. Doing some interviews in the lead up to it. Again there's so many pitfalls with this. You start doing interviews, you start putting them away, you end up with this massive bank of recordings. Another thing as well is, is your podcast evergreen or is it time sensitive because a lot of people if they're doing time sensitive stuff, don't have the opportunity to be getting stuff in the bank. As soon as they're putting out content, maybe it's a sports show or a politics show or a news show.
Colin: It needs to be really up-to-date.
Matthew: There's no point in recording stuff for like three months ago because if you're not putting that out there, it's gone.
Colin: I think the vast majority of people can benefit from having a few episodes queued up at least. Gives them a bit of a buffer. More likely to stay regular I would have said so yeah, it's a good idea. What do we aim for? We tend to think about three live and maybe three or four in the bank so it gives you up to a month buffer.
Matthew: Yeah, and again I think, sounds like I've got no consistency here but, a benefit of doing three is that you've got the experience of recording three podcasts. You probably know more that it is for you. it's something that you want to do. Literally, if you're entire podcasting experience is recording a 10 minute episode, you're still very inexperienced. Maybe it will be halfway through episode two that you realise that you hate it but you've already signed up, you've already launched the podcast, you've told everyone about it. There's that as well. I guess there's no right or wrong answer is there?
Colin: When it comes down to it what we're saying is don't procrastinate. If creating three is going to make you hold back for ages on launching then don't bother. Just put one out and see what happens. If creating three and not having another three ready is going to make you procrastinate again then just create the three and get it ready and then actually just try and keep up beyond that. Whatever helps you get your show out quicker is better. Any last thoughts on that?
Matthew: Just the whole New and Noteworthy thing as well. Don't obsess over that, getting featured on iTunes and that. That's all great.
Colin: It's a wee boost but not much.
Matthew: Exactly but don't make that the crux of your podcast launch. When you're doing a podcast it's a long term thing. It's like getting a dog. It not just for Christmas. The real benefits that you'll get from your podcast are going to come after nine months, 18 months, five years. It's a slow burn and you've got to put the work in and work hard at it. You're not just going to throw two or three episodes out there, start getting thousands of downloads and make loads of money and retire. That's just not going to happen so I suppose be realistic as well. Know that you're going in to this as a long term project.
Colin: That's one of the reasons people procrastinate a bit over having five episodes ready and five in the bank, because they want to make sure they take full advantage of that first eight weeks. I've seen people putting things off for six months or even a year because it's quite a big bit of work to get all of those episodes ready, to feel like if you don't take advantage of that first eight weeks, I say eight weeks because that's what's known as the new and noteworthy period. People thinking if they don't take full advantage of that then they're podcast is scuppered but it's nonsense because we've had lots of evidence in the past which has shown that it doesn't make that much of a difference. Even if you're on the front page of the entire iTunes store, we've not seen it increasing downloads that much. Don't worry about that stuff. Just get an episode out there, try and keep to a regular period and that's about as best you can do.
This week I'm going to mention that dreaded word: strategy. Don't let images of be-suited men in boardrooms touting management buzzwords put you off. Strategy is one of the few terms that actually means something in the real world. Setting a podcast strategy is one of the best things you can do to ensure your Podcast becomes a success. So, how do we go about it?
In this episode I'm going to talk through the 3 main things I think you need to think about to define your podcasting strategy, and they are:
- Podcast Aims
- Target Audience
- Podcast Definition
I'll go into them in much more detail on the episode, and guide you through working these out for yourself.
Why Do I Need a Podcast Strategy?
A Question for You: Tell Me Your Podcasting Aims
In the podcast I asked the question, what are your Podcasting aims? I list a good number of possible aims for a podcast, but I'd love to know what yours are. If I mentioned them, that's great, tell me the specifics. And if your aims are something entirely different, then let me know that too. I'd love to put together a post on all the different possible aims you can have for a Podcast.
To feedback, drop me a comment in the comment space below, or tweet me at @thepodcasthost.
Thanks again for listening and see you on the next episode!