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How to launch & distribute 100 podcast episodes with a small team featuring James Gilbert

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Episode Summary

Podcasting has been around for about 18 years. But the podcast industry as we know it today was shaped in the past two years as we were all forced to move social interactions online due to the pandemic. Consequently, companies focused on the digital space made podcasts an integral element of their content marketing strategy, just like our guest’s former employer CRMNEXT did.

In this episode of Recorded Content, host Justin Brown welcomes James Gilbert, the CMO of RedRoute. James was the Head of Marketing at CRMNEXT, where he created the Banking on Experience podcast alongside his team.

James and Justin discuss what it was like launching a finance-focused podcast at the pandemic’s peak, his team, the thinking-outside-the-box principle in hiring, and how to prevent burnout yet meet the demands of producing a podcast that constantly brings value.

Guest Profile

Name: James Gilbert

What he does: James is the CMO of RedRoute

Company: RedRoute

Noteworthy: Prior to joining RedRoute, James was the head of marketing at CRMNEXT where he built an internal team that worked on the Banking on Experience podcast and led it for over a hundred episodes before taking on his next venture.

Key Insights

  • Podcasts should be about quality, not quantity. The challenge creators face when starting a podcast is how many episodes they should release per week or month. But these numbers are irrelevant. As time goes by, you get more experience, especially from a technical standpoint, enabling you to produce more episodes. But in the beginning, allow yourself to work on one episode as long as you think it is necessary. Every step is critical—from finding a guest to preparing the questions, recording, and post-production, not to mention distribution.
  • Realistic expectations save you from burnout. But unfortunately, many concerns arise when you start a podcast. So much work is involved and sometimes it is hard not to feel overwhelmed and stressed. However, the well-being of your team is a priority because one, you care about them, and two, as long as you’re all feeling good, the podcast will grow. Therefore, clear but realistic expectations and scheduling ahead whenever possible is the formula for preventing burnout.
  • Pre-podcast interviews help you shape the episodes. Podcast creators take different approaches when preparing episodes. Some create a structure and prepare questions and religiously stick to it. Others make it more of an informal conversation. Some, however, mix these two methods. Still, one thing has proven beneficial to many hosts: a pre-podcast interview.

Episode Highlights

The Story Behind the Banking on Experience Podcast

We started the podcast at CRMNEXT in the thick of the pandemic. We had a skinny team that did not have a lot of skills with podcasting. So I had a very small team, number one. Number two, we had a vision for the podcast and what we wanted to talk about was the banking and finance world. But we launched our first episode and it was an intro to it and then the pandemic just hit us.

And we were like, “We can’t talk about these topics because one, no one is going to want to be a guest on our show and number two, no one’s going to care to talk about finance.” So we made a shift; it was a risky shift. And from the very beginning of the podcast, we started inviting doctors, we started inviting medical professionals, not politicians.

The first month of our podcast was focused on the pandemic and things that people could do because we knew we needed to provide immediate value. It was still not part of the long-term vision of our podcast. We shifted once we started seeing that things—I wouldn’t say they died down because they didn’t die down by any means—but they started having a downward trend as people knew what they needed to do during the pandemic.

So then we started inviting people that could potentially buy our product onto the show and talking about things that they were passionate about in the finance world. And so we had a few questions that we would ask them in a pre-podcast show. And that’s what got fun.

How to Create a Winning Team: Advice for New Podcast Creators

I didn’t build the team for a podcast. I built a team to tackle many things. I truly believe in being unconventional, and that includes new hires. I think too often people go and they hire somebody who has a narrow skill set. And so they can’t think outside the box and it’s almost impossible for them to think outside the box because that’s the way they’ve done it. So I recognize that as an opportunity right away.

I inherited a couple of people already that had the skills of writing. It’s a necessary skill to have within your team to consolidate the material from an audio or video file into text that could be searchable with SEO. But we lacked somebody who had expertise with video. So I found a YouTuber; she did book reviews. I saw her style and what she was doing on Instagram and TikTok. And I was like, “She can be our video person and our social person.” So I hired her and I told her, “You’re going to own this.”

I had somebody that had the skills of project managing content across everything, including writing social posts and design. That PM ran the show behind the scenes. And then we recognized a need for a unique set of skills in design. We brought in this designer. Also, it was very unconventional because they had zero experience at doing anything with graphic design. This person happened to be an amazing painter and artist and wanted to learn graphic design but had never gone down there. So we hired them—one of the best designers I’ve ever found in my entire life and I’ve worked with some incredible designers.

You Want the Right People on Your Show but You Also Need to Make the Content Conversational

The hardest part is getting guests and coordinating with them. So I did all of that myself. And the reason I did that is that I know how much the back-and-forth sucks. And set the team up nicely. So that when we had a guest, we knew when it was going to launch, the topic we were going to be talking about, and the questions we were going to drive the conversation with.

I think the content of a podcast needs to be conversational and less about, “Oh, we’ve got to get through these questions.” Don’t do that. Don’t let your creativity be stalled by the fact that you want to get through certain questions. Because if your guest is riffing on a particular item, that is likely going to be more valuable to your audience than any other thing they say.

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