Podcasts nurture leads, meaning they nurture revenue — especially when it comes to younger audiences. When Peter Jukes, creator of the podcast Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder, asked a lecture hall full of college students if they read a newspaper, only three hands rose. But when he asked how many of them listened to podcasts, nearly 70 percent raised their hands.
Stories like Jukes’ point to the increase in podcasting, which has seen more than 30 percent growth in recent years. Celebrity thought leaders like Tim Ferriss have gained significant traction with audiences through this mode.
Podcasting is a two-way street
Indeed, a podcast is a great way to give your clients, prospective clients and partners a voice — literally. By hosting a podcast interview, you and your guests can connect and share ideas in a public forum, unconstrained by publication or PR guidelines. Plus, it’s fun!
Guests appreciate providing their expertise to a new audience, and you get to remind them, in a genuine way, how smart and innovative they are. The best part? Involving stakeholders in a podcast doesn’t just make for better podcasts; it also creates stronger business relationships.
By implementing podcasting at my company, we’ve seen referrals go up more than 20 percent; and each new guest on our show expands our network.
Working with the best
Cultivating the right lineup takes forethought because the key to creating incredible podcasts is incredible guests. Here are three ways to drive your podcast’s reach even further:
1. Home-in on the talent. Targeting is just the beginning — getting guests on board is another task altogether. Ask yourself, “How can I reach this person? Is there someone in my network who can connect us? Most importantly, is this someone I could do business with in the future?” The beauty of producing a podcast is that cold-calling potential clients with “Would you like to be on my podcast?” is much more amicable than “Let me tell you about our services.”
If possible, find influencers with large audiences who can draw listeners to your podcast. Keep in mind, though, that a big name doesn’t always equal a great fit. Likewise, don’t pass on someone who is a strong choice but lacks notoriety. I like our guests to match our company culture, so I look for people who embody our core values. Once I know the type of people I want to interview, making my target list is easy.
2. Stalk your stars. I once interviewed a guest I’d never heard of named Redg Snodgrass. Before the interview, I looked him up and learned everything I could about him. It got me even more excited for the interview than I had been, and that enthusiasm came across in the podcast. Neither guests nor listeners want to suffer through an awkward interview in which the host knows nothing about his or her interviewee.
If I hadn’t done my homework beforehand, the interview wouldn’t have been nearly as engaging. Remember, podcasting isn’t just about getting to know interviewees — it’s also about guiding listeners to them and back to your podcast. Research them on social media. Read everything the guest has written. If possible, talk to mutual friends. Chatting with guests directly prior to the interview is even better.
3. Get their buy-in on the topic and scope. The band members of Van Halen famously banned all brown M&Ms from their rooms in their tour contract. If a member of the band discovered a brown M&M in the green room, indicating that the venue had not paid close attention to the request, the band would back out of the engagement for fear that safety concerns had also not been addressed.
Your podcast guests likely won’t be as specific or demanding, but the principle remains the same: Respect your interviewees, their brand and their expectations for the interview. Before the recording, outline the topic and a few talking points, then send them to your guest to review and approve ahead of time.
Be respectful of guests’ time, and let them know how long the entire process might take — for me, it’s usually about 15 to 20 minutes, which aligns with the 22-minute average. When guests arrive for the podcast, stick to that road map to avoid surprising them with questions or topics they didn’t agree to in advance.
Inviting stakeholders to be showcased on your company’s podcast is beneficial for everyone: You, as the host, get a more diverse podcast with fresh perspectives; your guest has the opportunity to share his or her expertise; and both of you are able to better connect, strengthening a partnership or perhaps turning a strong lead into an active client.
Recruit a solid, intriguing guest, and your podcast will be well on its way to becoming a rewarding experience all around.