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How to launch & run a company podcast with a small team featuring Meredith Metsker

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Episode Summary

Launching a one-woman show already sounds challenging. Aside from finding guests and searching for the right questions, a solo podcaster has to think about the production, the recording tools, and the best ways to keep the audience interested in the podcast episode.

In this episode of Recorded Content, our host Justin Brown welcomes Meredith Metsker, the Content Marketing Manager at Stonly and the host of Beyond the Queue, a podcast for customer experience (CX) leaders. Justin and Meredith have an exciting chat about creating a successful podcast, whether you’re recording at a professional studio or at your home.

Meredith reveals why it is better to start an episode with conflict-type questions instead of asking the guest to tell us something about themselves. In fact, she believes it is one of the ways to help the audience avoid boredom.

Tune in to find out more about the tools needed to start a podcast, whether or not to write a script before an interview, and the best methods to measure episode success aside from numbers.

Guest Profile

Name: Meredith Metsker

What she does: Meredith Metsker is the Content Marketing Manager at Stonly and the host of the Beyond the Queue podcast.

Company: Stonly

Noteworthy: Besides hosting the podcast, Meredith is in charge of its production from beginning to end. She reaches out to potential guests, schedules the interviews, edits the episodes, and manages its distribution.

Key Insights

  • My goal is to always keep every interview as organic and smooth as possible. Although she researches and writes the questions before the episode, Meredith likes to keep the interview and conversation with the guest as natural and smooth as possible. The list of questions is more of a recent trend because guests were asking for that. But I’ve always been used to going into an interview. I share that list with the guests, but I always let guests know that the order of the questions might change depending on the flow of the conversation. And I can guarantee them that I will come up with follow-ups throughout the process. That’s how my brain works.
  • A podcast studio would be nice but the apartment works too. Meredith hosts her podcasts from her apartment and she has no problems with it. In fact, she believes that recording in real-life circumstances makes the podcast more authentic. The pandemic and quarantine made us all a lot more forgiving of real life. I have some of my episodes where my cat’s tail is wandering behind me on the couch. But whatever, it’s authentic.
  • We don’t need metrics to measure an episode’s success. Meredith does not always use actual metrics to see whether her episode was successful or not. Rather, she relies on things that show whether the audience really liked it and engaged with it. Primarily, I’ve been looking at the number of downloads and streams, but also I consider it may be more of an anecdotal success if the guest shares it on their LinkedIn or Twitter and they get lots of engagement. For example, their colleagues are coming in and commenting, “Hey, I watched your episode. You’re awesome. This is great.” And they’re feeling that love.
  • We’re a startup so we’re just starting to build awareness. So what better way to produce content than by going directly to the source.

Episode Highlights

Conflict-type questions vs tell-me-about-yourself questions: Which type solves boredom issues

Pulling from my journalism training, I’m trying to go with the inverted pyramid, which is the concept where you start with the most important information up top and you go down the pyramid to the least important information at the bottom. In the first couple of interviews I did, I made the mistake of asking, “Tell me about yourself or your career” at the beginning. And I quickly learned that I want to get right into it. I’ll introduce them later in a separate recording. But when I start the interview, I like to lay out the problem if there is one or the conflict. I just want to get right into it and ask them right off the bat, “What do you think about this? Why is this important? How can people fix this?”

Start right off the bat with a question that gets right into your topic. Avoid the tell-me-about-yourself question because you can cover that in your intro. People can read about that in the show notes. They can go to that person’s LinkedIn page. Jumping right in, doing research ahead of time, posing good questions — not just yes or no questions but questions that will evoke some good answers — and then things like being an active listener and coming up with good follow-ups as you go along are a couple of ways to avoid the boredom issue.

How do I do post-production of a podcast

First, there’s the full-length video. That’s the whole episode in video form. I edit that in Adobe Premiere and I try to keep it as simple as possible so that it doesn’t take too much time. I do a split-screen — me on one side, guests on the other. We have a background image with our logo in the top corner and it’s got our colors and our design. I don’t do a ton of editing to the video. But to make that look a little more professional, I add some bookends to the beginning and end. But that’s about it for the video side. There’s also the full-length audio and I do a little bit more editing for that.

With the audio, I will cut out as many “ums,” awkward pauses, or anything like that as I can. I do a little bit more work there to make it flow better. I record an intro and I add that to the beginning. There’s also intro music that I layer in. And then at the end, there’s an outro like, “That’s all for this episode. Thanks for listening. Make sure to rate us,” and the basic stuff. There is a music outro there as well. There are also all of the assets we use for sharing on social media. There are usually a couple of short video clips. They range generally from 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on the subject matter. And then I’ll create some audiograms and use a headliner for that.

Your equipment does not have to be fancy, it has to work

I try to keep it equipment pretty simple. I mostly ask guests to use anything but their laptop speaker. So I’m fine with them using AirPods or their buds. I purposely tell them it doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to work well. So a lot of them will use AirPods. But I actually got the inspiration for this headset from one of our guests or a couple of them I noticed were using similar headsets because this is what is common in customer support, which is where our target audience is working.

It is hard to find where customer support leaders are

Our target audience are senior managers, directors, vice presidents of customer support and customer experience. And a lot of them hang out in a Slack community called Support Driven. I discovered that community, joined it, and tried to embed myself in it so that when I post it’s not super creepy or salesy. I think we’re going to try to lean a little bit more heavily into that because what was challenging for us is trying to figure out where customer support leaders are. Marketers and sales folks are all on LinkedIn and they’re there all the time. Support leaders are there but they’re not quite as prolific, at least from what I’ve observed. In the future, we’ll lean more into communities and some partnerships.

There is more we could do to get feedback on our podcast

Oftentimes, my guests will give me feedback at the end of the interview. They’ll say, “Hey, that was great. That was a really smooth conversation.” Yay! That’s my goal. But honestly, I think there’s more I could do to get feedback. And maybe that’s just asking the guests, “Hey, how was this experience for you? What could I do better as the host? What could I do better about preparing you, communicating with you?” Maybe I will start doing that.

I look at the trends with downloads and streams and I’ve been seeing that there’s a good momentum going. And that tells me that I’m doing something right and that interest is growing. I will look and see how many downloads I got as soon as that episode dropped. And that gives me an idea of how many subscribers we might have. What makes my day is if I see somebody from Support Driven share one of our episodes, whether it’s the guest or it’s somebody else organically in a conversation. I say, “Yes, victory. That’s exactly what I want.”

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Schedule a call with us

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step 2

We'll discuss your requirements

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step 3

We'll scope out your ideal program

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