Podcasting is a great way to build a relationship with your ideal customers. At Motion, we view a company’s podcast as a “conversation flywheel.” And for many of the tech companies we work with, it fuels their company’s entire content marketing strategy.
But not all companies are able to produce a podcast consistently. For a few key reasons, B2B organizations fail after the distribution of the first few episodes (a majority of podcasts don’t make it to the 7th episode). And they end up suffering from a term called podfade.
What causes podfade and how can you prevent it from happening to your company?
In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:
- Top 5 reasons a company’s podcast fails and suffers from podfade
- How your marketing team can avoid podfade & produce a consistent podcast
Top 5 reasons a company's podcast fails (podfade)
1. Company relies too heavily on a single person to produce the podcast
It takes a lot of different skill sets to produce a company’s podcast. If you’re marketing team wants to get the most out of a video podcast, you need the following types of skills:
- Podcast strategy
- Graphic design
- Script development (or, creating an episode structure)
- Podcast guest outreach and coordination
- Live or remote recording production
- Podcast host
- Audio editing
- Video editing (podcast episode trailers and video clips)
- Motion graphic design
- Writing (show notes, social media posts)
- Distribution (podcast content calendar management)
With the wide variety of skills required to produce a podcast, it’s rare to find all of these wrapped up into one person.
However, a lot of companies still try to assign all of these tasks to a single individual. And in most cases, they rely too much on one person and don’t establish processes to scale or transfer the workflow.
Then when the sole podcast resource finds a new opportunity and submits their resignation, it takes too much effort to build out the processes needed to pick up the podcast and carry it forward. So as a result, the company publishes the few episodes that are already “in the can” and the podcast fades away.
2. Leadership doesn’t “get it” and focuses too much on downloads
One of the biggest red flags we see during discovery calls is when a prospect says, “what type of download metrics can we expect to see in the first few months?”
When your company’s leadership starts off the podcasting journey with a focus on downloads, you’re going to fail. Your podcast will fail because it’ll never have a chance to succeed.
In episode 57 of Recorded Content, Elizabeth Hillfrank of Drift said it best, “Don’t underestimate the time commitment to make your podcast successful. A lot of people think you can kind of hop on, hit ‘Record,’ and that you’ll instantly have a thousand downloads. That’s just not the case. There’s a lot more prep work and post-recording work that goes into it, so make sure you have all your steps in place before you start hitting ‘Record.’”
“Don’t underestimate the time commitment to make your podcast really successful.”
Content Marketing Manager
3. Marketing team doesn’t repurpose content & distribute it effectively
When we work with customers, we help them implement a 3-phased approach to podcast distribution. Here’s a quick rundown of the three main phases:
1. Repurpose and break down – Involves the development of a variety of podcast assets to share across different distribution channels. An episode is repurposed into audio, video, and written content.
2. Distribute – In this phase, a marketing team focuses on primary distribution channels. These include your company’s social profiles, website, and podcast platforms (Apple podcasts, Google podcasts and more).
3. Enrich – During this phase, your team starts to bolster other marketing content with assets created from your podcast episode. Your team can embed video clips in blog posts, create ads from interviews, and use podcast snippets in email campaigns…just as an example.
Podfade typically creeps in when a company doesn’t get the most out of each episode. Rather than using their show as a way to drive their content marketing strategy, companies create an .mp3 file and upload it to their podcast hosting platform.
Then, after 5 or 6 episodes, the podcast gets canceled because there’s not enough ROI.
4. The podcast doesn’t help an ideal audience
When we launch a podcast for a tech company, we encourage them to answer two major questions as part of their overarching podcast strategy:
- Who is the show for?
- How does it help them?
Podcasts fail when one or both of these questions aren’t answered. The show fails because it’s aimless and teams can’t use the content to support the company’s revenue objectives.When podcast episodes can’t be used to help customers across marketing, sales, and customer success teams, then you’ll have a tough time maintaining the show. It’ll just be a passion project with a limited lifeline.
5. Podcast relies on external guests
One of the best ways to establish a foundation for your company’s podcast is with an interview-style format. And many of our customers start off this way, too. The show gets off the ground using a single host who is responsible for interviewing industry experts, prospects, and customers.
But companies often run into a problem when they can’t coordinate the schedules with guests fast enough. Teams then face a major bottleneck that’s hard to recover from.
How can your marketing team avoid podfade & produce a consistent podcast?
Even though it may seem like there are a lot of reasons a podcast fails, each major obstacle can be overcome if you know what options are available to you.
As of right now, we produce nearly 50 different shows for B2B organizations (most of them are tech companies). And we have quite a bit of experience helping companies navigate these types of challenges to create breakthrough shows.
Here’s a rundown of the most helpful ways to prevent podfade within your organization.
Make one person accountable, but stack talent
Successful podcasts are resource-intensive. And if you want to keep your show running, you need to make sure you have the right people in the right seats.
The best way to ensure your podcast keeps running is to limit the risk you have with one person. If your team relies too much on the skills of a single resource, then you need to change up your approach.
The companies that have the longest-running shows have two key approaches to resources:
- Make one person accountable for the show – Rather than piling the entire workload on one person, companies make one person accountable for the workflow. Essentially, this person is the project manager or producer responsible for checking off each task. They’re not responsible for editing or hosting necessarily… their job is to make sure everything gets done.
- Stack different types of talent using a variety of internal or external resources – Because there are so many different skills involved with podcast production, it helps to divide & conquer. The companies that have success use several internal resources or hire a podcast agency to execute the creative work. This approach limits the exposure your team has if one resource leaves the company. And it also helps avoid burnout when there’s too much work piled on one person.
Develop a podcast theme statement
Podcast listeners have a lot of options. There are hundreds of thousands of shows out there. And B2B buyers have so many choices to get information. It’s a crowded field.
In order for your company’s podcast to cut through the noise, you need to stand out. Be specific.
The best shows supported by brands have a very clear mission. At Motion, we call this a theme statement.
When we produce shows for tech companies, we work with marketing teams to craft a theme statement and this becomes a part of a Strategic Action Plan. The theme clearly identifies WHO the podcast is for and HOW it helps them.
The theme statement is used in a lot of places, including:
- Podcast description (which is visible in all podcast apps)
- Guest guidelines
- Website (section dedicated to the podcast)
- Pre-recorded intro and outro
When you have a very specific theme statement, it makes it easier to create episodes for your listeners. Every single conversation relates back to the theme.
Establish clear objectives for your show before launching
If your CEO asks, “how many downloads per episode can we expect within the first 90 days?” then you need to establish better objectives upfront. Before you record your first episode, you need to make sure everyone has realistic expectations.
Once you have a rock-solid theme for your podcast, it’s important to outline the objectives. And the objectives aren’t just for your marketing team, they are also key for setting the tone with management.
So how do you set clear objectives for your podcast?
Every major initiative should have a “why” and a podcast is no different.
The objectives of a podcast usually fall into a few buckets:
- Increased efficiency in content marketing by adding repurposed written, audio, and video content
- Improved quality, consistency, and variety of content
- Connecting with and featuring the best and brightest people in your space
- Creating relationships with target accounts
- Developing content that enables sales and customer success teams
Identify the major reasons your company is producing a show and create metrics that make sense for those objectives.
And don’t forget, objectives aren’t measured just with numbers. A lot of times it’s the qualitative feedback that helps keep your show going. Save screenshots of comments, emails, reviews, and any other feedback you receive so you can share them with your execs.
Create once & distribute forever
When your team puts a lot of research and effort into a podcast episode, you owe it to yourself to make sure you spend the time to distribute it effectively.
Don’t just generate an .mp3 file and upload it to Buzzsprout and YouTube. Instead, focus on getting the most out of each conversation. This includes creating audio, video, and written content.
When you commit to producing a podcast for your company, make sure you establish a list of assets you for each episode. Create a publishing schedule and stick to it.
Collaborate with other members of your organization
Most content gets created in a silo. Whether it’s a blog post, video, or even a company’s social post.
With a podcast, you can break down the silos in your organization & get several different teams involved with content development.
A podcast allows you to work across different functions of your business and source ideas to help customers.
When you involve other teams with your company’s podcast, you:
✅ Create momentum & excitement
✅ Produce content employees enjoy
✅ Obtain fresh ideas from teams who are focused on the customer
When you lead the podcast at your company, you:
✅ Build rapport with other team members
✅ Demonstrate leadership
✅ Naturally focus on the customer
The tech companies I see with a successful podcast are often led by marketers who involve other teams within their organization.
And they create an environment where everyone helps customers.
Start with an interview-style show and introduce new formats
What if a guest cancels their recording session? Or, what if you’re having trouble coordinating a guest to come on your show each week? Should this prevent you from having an active podcast?
To avoid podfade because of guest issues, it’s helpful to integrate other video podcast formats.
Even though consistency is crucial to the success of your show…you don’t have to conduct interviews for each & every episode.
A podcast can power your company’s entire content marketing strategy. And it can serve as the core foundation for all of your audio, written, and video content.
In a recent episode of Recorded Content, I went through six different video podcast formats you can use for your company’s podcast:
1. Industry expert conversation (one host and one guest using an interview format)
2. Panel discussion or roundtable format
3. Internal conversation with your company’s subject matter experts
4. Solo story
6. Live event with Q&A
As of today, ListenNotes has 133,352,316 podcast episodes available in its database.
But don’t feel like you have to compete with this many episodes by doing the same thing each and every week.
Focus on the strengths of you and your team. And find one or more formats that work for your company.
Summary: How to avoid podfade and create a show your customers love
If you’ve committed to doing a podcast and have gone through the launch process, don’t give up. Put some of these resources to work for you and keep your company’s show out of the podcast graveyard.
And if you run into a scenario where you can’t overcome one of the major challenges with running a podcast, we’ve got your back. Check out the podcast packages we have available.
Every day, we help companies consistently produce high-quality video podcasts that solve problems for specific audiences. Maybe we can help you too?
Want to see how other B2B marketers get the most from their podcasts?
Recorded Content is a show for small, scrappy marketing teams who are looking to launch & grow a successful B2B podcast. In each episode, we provide stories on how to overcome the challenges of launching, running and growing a show. We tackle issues with technology, content marketing, distribution and more. We help you become a B2B podcasting hero with an amazing show.
Written by Tristan Pelligrino
Tristan Pelligrino is the Co-Founder of Motion. He’s a serial entrepreneur who started his career as a consultant with large IT companies such as PwC, IBM and Oracle. After getting his MBA, he started and grew one of the fastest video production companies in the country – which was listed on the Inc. 5000. Tristan now enjoys leading the content marketing strategies of some of the most innovative B2B technology companies in the country. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook.