What Makes a Great Podcast? 10 Top Tips for Success

By Ian Blake on 14 June 2016 18:04:58 BST


Podcasts are one of the most exciting B2B content marketing trends of the moment. They create a fantastic route for connecting directly with your audience, in your own voice. They’re a great way to share valuable information in a lively, entertaining style. They give you the perfect excuse to start a conversation with the behemoths in your industry.  

… And they’re one of the hardest content marketing formats to get right.

So what does work? Ask a successful podcaster for their top tips and the answers are a broad church, to say the least.

From the general confidence-boosting stuff (“have faith in your voice!”) to incredibly specific practical details you would never have thought of (“Don’t drink milk or fizzy drinks before your show” “Shave off your beard so it doesn’t scratch the mic”), there are a lot of variables out there that can make or break your fledgling show.

Here are 10 top tips to get your B2B podcast off to a flying start.

  • 1. Focus On What You Do Better Than Anyone Else

Don’t just chase trends. A mediocre podcast on a popular topic in an oversaturated market will not win you any listeners – or clients. Instead, focus on your niche. What is your precise area of expertise? What can you talk about more eloquently and knowledgeably than anyone else in your field? What interesting new take do you have on the industry that really makes your brand unique? That’s the basis of your podcast, right there.  

  • 2. Don’t Try to Wing It

Going in blind will NOT make you sound more authentic or natural. It will make you sound like a shambles.

You don’t have to read from a script, but you should never, ever, start recording without clear and well-thought out show notes, mapping out what you’re going to cover, in what order – and, most importantly, where you’re going to end up. It’s essential to finish on a strong note, preferably with a clear call to action, and you can’t do that without a plan.

Plus, do you really want to spend a week trying to edit your podcast into something usable? The more organised you are in advance, the more efficient you’ll be in post-production.

  • 3. Quality of Content Trumps Everything

Nothing makes up for great content. Not a professional recording studio. Not amazing design. Not a 2000-person strong marketing team pushing your podcast. If you’re not saying anything genuinely interesting or working hard enough to engage your audience, they will drop off after episode one.

  • 4. … But Invest in Decent Audio!

That said, your sound MUST be crisp. If your podcast content is good enough, an audience will forgive a lot – a DIY feel, the lack of a logo, a cookie cutter website – but poor audio quality is unbearable. If it’s not clear enough for comfortable listening, they won’t get past the first 30 seconds.

  • 5. Create a Consistent Style

Regular listeners will expect reliability and a consistent thread to run through your podcasts. Following a clear structure through the show, incorporating simple details like a recognisable jingle or background music, and of course releasing your podcast at the same time or on the same day each week or month will all help to encourage regular downloads.

  • 6. Remember Who You’re Making It For

Visualise your audience. In fact, picture someone who represents your idea audience and keep that image in your mind while you’re recording. Imagine that you’re chatting directly to this person. It will make a big difference to your tone and delivery.

  • 7. Have Great Guests

Podcasts can feel someone soporific with only one voice to listen to, and they generally work best when there’s a great rapport between presenters and their guests. Getting awesome people from your field on board not only gives you extra credibility and widens your reach, it also makes your show dramatically more engaging.

  • 8. Remember It’s About Creating Value, Not Income

It’s perfectly possible that your podcast could turn into an additional income stream for your business. But if you start off with that in mind, you’re thinking about it all wrong. Remember that this is a prime piece of B2B content marketing – it’s an opportunity to show off your expertise, to establish yourself as a thought leader, to provide serious value for potential customers. Keep thinking about what’s in it for the listener, not what’s in it for you.

  • 9. Promote, Promote, Promote

No one will find your podcast if you don’t work hard to put it out there. And that doesn’t just mean posting it on SoundCloud and hoping for the best. Tweet it, Facebook it, post it on LinkedIn. Tell your existing clients, colleagues and leads about it. And think about where the podcast is going to fit into your customer’s journey – will you plug it as part of an email campaign, for example? Or offer the free download of an episode as part of your lead capture efforts?

  • 10. Be Prepared to Learn as You Go

As just about any successful podcaster will tell you, your initial efforts will make you want to cringe. It takes a little while to find your voice and to figure out what works, so stick with it.

And remember that your audience is your most valuable asset: ask them for their feedback, ask them what they’d like to hear about next, ask them which guests they’d ideally want to see and what issues are most pressing in their fields. These conversations won’t just make you a better podcaster: they’ll also boost your marketing efforts overall.

Want more top tips on great content marketing? Download The B2B Content Creation Masterclass below.