I ran a video agency for over a decade. But when I decided to start a podcast for the first time, I didn’t know where to begin.
And if you’re a marketer on a small, scrappy team, you might be in the same position. Podcasting probably isn’t a part of your core set of skills. Instead, I’m guessing you come from a background in content marketing, paid advertising, demand generation, or a handful of other disciplines. And if you’re tasked to start a podcast, it’s unfamiliar territory.
With a new podcast, there’s a lot of “stuff” involved. You have to consider a lot as part of your strategy. Things like your podcast’s theme, story structure, cover art, interview techniques, hosting, episode length, podcast sound design/editing, recording platforms, and podcast recording equipment.
Figuring out where to start with this long list is sometimes the hardest part.
The very first time I launched a show, I googled things like:
“What’s the podcast’s RSS feed?”
“What’s an audio interface?”
“What podcast platform is the best?”
But I’ve come a long way since then. At this point, I’ve been a producer on over 50 shows and I focus mostly on podcasts designed for B2B technology companies.
And in this article, I outline the entire process required to get your company’s podcast off of the ground. Here’s a breakdown of what we’ll cover to help you start a podcast:
- Podcasting for business: how is it different from other podcasts?
- Crafting a theme statement
- Developing a structure for your podcast episodes
- Identifying a format
- Developing a great guest experience
- Developing a podcast name
- Establishing a visual framework
- Outlining a podcast post-production workflow
- Developing a distribution & promotion process
- Managing podcast content
- Acquiring podcasting equipment
- Purchasing podcast software & tools
“With a podcast, the goal is to always stay 8 weeks ahead.”
Podcasting for business: what's different?
For most podcast producers, the north star metric for a show is the number of downloads. A producer uploads an .mp3 file to Apple podcasts or Google podcasts and tries to get as many listeners as possible.
Podcasts definitely have listeners. But I have a secret to share.
Your company’s podcast has viewers and readers, too.
In fact, if you start a podcast specifically for your ideal customer….
Your podcast audience and your ideal customer are the same exact thing.
So as a company, rather than focusing on building a podcast audience, focus on building a connection with your ideal customers in a lot of different ways.
Connect your podcast with the other marketing initiatives you have going.
Here are just a few ways your small team can connect your podcast to other “things” you have going on as a marketing team:
✅ Use keyword research (which is driving your blog posts) to drive the topic or issue to explore within a podcast episode
✅ Develop a featured article/blog post from a podcast episode and include this within your blog
✅ Think of someone you met at a conference (virtual or in-person) and invite them on your podcast to extend your conversation
✅ Capture video highlights from your podcast, develop a series of dynamic video ads and integrate them within your paid strategy
✅ Pull quotes from podcast guests and sprinkle them into an updated sales deck
A podcast for your business is so much more than an audio channel.
When you start a podcast for your company, it can help you power your entire marketing flywheel.
The key steps involved with starting a podcast
Crafting a podcast theme statement
Podcast listeners have a lot of options. There are hundreds of thousands of shows available in your favorite podcast app. And B2B buyers have so many choices to get information. It’s a crowded field.
A rock-solid theme statement helps your brand cut through the noise. And creating a theme is one of the first things you should do when you start a podcast.
The two most important parts of a theme statement are:
- Who is the show for?
- How does the podcast help them?
- Creating a podcast description to use in your show’s RSS feed
- Developing an intro or outro for your show
- Sharing information with potential guests before they commit to participating
- Getting buy-in with management & other stakeholders
Developing a structure
Many business-to-business podcasts sound like the host and guest just got together to talk about a podcast topic for 30 minutes without any clear plan. However, just like on social media, stories are an important way to break through the noise in podcasting.
People are social creatures and we use stories to make sense of the world around us. If there is no story, a listener does not see how the information relates to them.
But having a story structure for your podcast does not mean having your guest come on and “tell stories.” After all, not every guest has good stories to tell or is even a good storyteller.
Instead, you are looking for the best part of a story: the conflict.
When you incorporate conflict within your podcast episode structure, you accomplish three things:
- Create a foundation for your story
- Provide guardrails to keep your conversation on track
- Tell your listener exactly what they’ll gain from your podcast episode (this also helps you craft a catchy podcast title, too)
In addition to the story element, your structure also considers the different segments involved. Here’s a breakdown of the primary segments we include with a lot of shows:
- Cold open
- Pre-recorded intro
- Struggles & wins
- Lessons learned
- Pre-recorded outro
Remember, a solid structure doesn’t mean you need a podcast script. It just means you have a path to follow and your audience understands where you’re going.
“With the structure of my podcast episodes, I like to start with conflict right away.”
Identifying a podcast format
As anyone who has ever listened to a podcast can attest, there is a vast array of different formats out there. Some start a podcast with two people chatting, while others are highly produced audio dramas.
From my perspective, there is no right or wrong podcast format. But when it comes to producing a show for your company, I believe there are six podcast formats most helpful to your audience:
- Industry expert conversation (one podcast host and one guest using an interview format)
- Panel discussion or roundtable format (one podcast host/facilitator and multiple guests)
- Internal conversation with your company’s subject matter experts (one host or a co-host)
- Solo story
- Live event with Q&A
The important thing is to experiment and find what works for you. And just because you start off your first episode with one format doesn’t mean you need to stick with it for all of your company’s podcast episodes.
The initial format you select will help dictate whether or not you need one host or if you incorporate more of a co-host style.
There is no right way to tell a story. And there’s no ideal episode length or format. Find the best approach using the resources you have available on your team.
Developing a great guest experience
A podcast can be a great way to share your company’s story with the world. But a big piece of a successful podcast is ensuring your guests have a great experience, too.
In fact, a big part of being a podcast producer is preparing podcast guests for an amazing conversation.
In my view, guest preparation includes three main areas:
- Develop a plan for an episode and share it with your guest
- Set expectations with your guest
- Build rapport with the guest
A positive guest experience is all about communication. If you communicate well beforehand, the actual conversation will be so much better.
“The podcast guest experience is so important because it’s a direct reflection of your company’s brand.”
Developing a podcast nameChoosing a name for your podcast can be overwhelming, but it’s important to take the time to find a name that reflects the content and tone of your show. A good place to start is by brainstorming a list of potential names that capture the essence of your podcast brand. Once you have a list of possibilities, narrow it down by considering how each name will look and sound in marketing materials and on social media. When you look to start a podcast, there are 3 important questions to ask when settling on a podcast name:
- Who are you targeting and why?
- What are your podcast’s mission and values?
- Who are the “guides” of the show (hosts and guests)?
- What tone do we want to establish with the podcast listeners or viewers?
Establishing a visual frameworkPodcasts are more than an audio channel. But what happens if you don’t factor in both the audio & visual elements when you start a podcast?
You typically end up with cover art and an audio file.
So more and more, we have customers coming to Motion to add a visual layer to their show and go beyond what you see in the RSS feed.
How does a visual framework help your podcast?
Creating a visual identity helps bring the show to life on LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, and your own company’s website.
But to bring the show to life, you don’t just start moving pixels around in Figma or Illustrator.
Instead, you revisit the theme of your show and factor in who is guiding the audience in each of your podcast episodes (podcast host, co-hosts, guests, etc.).
When you establish a visual framework for a new podcast, you design samples for:
✅ Podcast cover art (“podcast logo”)
✅ Episode art
✅ Video thumbnails
✅ Quotecards & social images
✅ Video clips
✅ Logo intros & outros
✅ Episode trailers
When you start a podcast, it’s important to think about the “look & feel” from the very beginning. This is what will help your show stand out from other podcasts in a podcast directory or anywhere else online.
Outlining a podcast post-production workflow
When it comes to podcasts, consistency is key. After your first few podcasts, listeners tune in week after week because they know what to expect: great content that is delivered on a regular basis.
However, consistent podcasting can only be achieved if there is a well-defined workflow in place. Your company’s workflow should include script development, podcast recording, audio editing, video editing, review, quality assurance, publishing schedule, and distribution.
By following these steps and aligning the proper resources, you can be sure that each episode of your podcast meets your company’s standards. And most importantly, you can make sure to help your listeners with all of your new episodes.
Developing a distribution & podcast promotion process
Just because you hit the “publish” button doesn’t mean your work is done. In order to ensure that your podcast episode is heard by your target audience, you need to have a podcast distribution and promotional plan in place.
When I start a podcast with customers at Motion, we implement a 3-phased approach to podcast marketing:
1. Repurpose and break down – Involves the development of a variety of assets to share across different distribution channels. In this phase, your team focuses on the development of audio, video, and written content.
2. Distribute – In this phase, you focus on primary distribution channels such as your company’s social profiles, podcast website, and podcast platforms (Apple podcast, Google podcasts and more).
3. Enrich – During this phase, your team starts to bolster other marketing content with assets created from your podcast episode.
By taking this approach with your own podcast, you can start to build a very intimate relationship with your ideal listeners.
“Not everyone is going to listen to that 45-minute podcast episode. And that is perfectly ok.”
A branded podcast involves a lot of different content. You have a combination of audio, video, and written material with each conversation.
But a lot of companies don’t get the most from each episode because they don’t manage the content. They start a podcast and focus on recording new episodes. And they forget all of the gold that is in their previous episodes.
After your first podcast episode is released, you should start to implement a content management process. As you produce multiple episodes, a content management system will help you organize your assets (audio files, video files, images), keep track of your publishing schedule, and help you go back and repurpose material from previous conversations.
Over the years, we’ve seen companies use platforms like Notion, ClickUp, or other file management systems to track their podcasts. At Motion, we use Digitile to tag and categorize the shows we produce like Recorded Content, Content Logistics, Rep Your Brand, and Taking the Lead.
Acquiring podcast equipment
When you start a podcast, there are a few pieces of equipment you’ll need to ensure that your presentation is professional and engaging.
First, you’ll need a podcast microphone. Podcast microphones ensure your voice is clear and easy to understand. The microphone and recording environment are the two biggest factors involved with sound quality. You can’t expect to have professional audio quality if you record audio with your computer’s onboard microphone.
In addition, you’ll need a video camera if you’re producing a video podcast. This will allow you to show your face to your audience and add visual interest to your podcast. Recording video and audio using remote recording software will give your team more flexibility in post-production.
With these major pieces of podcast equipment, you’ll be ready to start recording high-quality episodes that your listeners will enjoy.
Purchasing podcast tools & software
If you’re interested in starting a podcast, there are a few essential tools you’ll need.
First, you’ll need a remote recording platform. Recording software allows you to record your podcast remotely, which is essential if you have guests who are located in different places. Platforms like Squadcast, Riverside, and Zencastr go beyond the features of audio recording software and allow you to record video, too.
Second, you’ll need a digital audio workstation (DAW) for editing your podcast. A DAW will allow you to edit your audio, add podcast music and sound effects, and more. There are a number of podcast editing solutions available like Audacity, Garage Band, and Adobe Audition. At Motion, we actually Descript and it serves as the foundation for our entire video podcast editing workflow.
Once you’ve done your podcast recording and editing, you’ll need a podcast hosting platform. This is where you’ll host your audio files and make them available for listeners to download or stream through their favorite podcast apps. A podcast hosting service like Buzzsprout, Captivate, Supercast, or Anchor makes it easy to connect to podcast directories like Spotify, Apple podcasts, and Google podcasts. These hosts format your RSS feed and help you map your show to the appropriate podcast categories.
There are many different podcast hosting platforms available, so be sure to do your research to find the one that’s right for you.
Lastly, if you produce a video podcast for your company, you’ll need a way to host the video, too. Most traditional podcast hosting services don’t offer video hosting. And the video content is separate from distribution on Apple podcasts, etc. For video, you’ll need to lean on Youtube, Vimeo, or Wistia. Youtube is a “free” solution and this will give you access to one of the largest search engines in the world. If you don’t like the options Youtube provides, you can elect to roll with a more robust video hosting platform like Wistia.
With these essential tools in hand, you’re ready to start recording your very own podcast.
Put your podcast strategy to work & get your company's show started
Now that you understand the steps to start a podcast and how to make it successful, don’t wait any longer. Start a podcast for your company today.
Figure out what your show will be about, confirm exactly who the show is for, and what format you want to use for your first podcast. Once you have all of that nailed down, start recording episodes and distributing them to your ideal customers.
A podcast typically takes a little time to gain traction. But once you get the first few episodes in place, you’ll get your groove. And you’ll soon find out that your company’s podcast can power your entire content marketing strategy.
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.