Producing a podcast for your brand takes more than a single employee and a microphone.
Podcasting has the potential to produce significant ROI for your business. Your show can establish thought leadership, open doors to relationships with ideal clients, and create a source of endless content to fuel your content marketing strategy.
But to see these returns from your podcast, you need a collection of people with various skills that can execute everything from prospecting to promotion.
Here’s a quick summary of everything that needs to happen to make your brand’s podcast successful:
- Reach leaders in your industry and bring them on your show
- Schedule times to record each interview
- Decide on topics that will resonate with your audience
- Host the interviews
- Record ad spots and intros/outros so your show sounds legitimate
- Write show notes and blog posts based on each interview
- Design graphics to compliment each episode
- Publish and promote each episode on your website and iTunes
- Nurture the relationships with your podcast guests
Whew…I got a little winded just typing that.
So if the thought of adding that laundry list of to-do’s to your plate is already making you sweat…we understand. But there’s hope.
The secret ingredient to producing an incredible podcast, without pulling your hair out, is simple:
You need a team.
But understanding that you need a team is the easy part.
As the marketing leader, now you’ve gotta figure out two things:
- Who needs to be on the team
- The specific roles of each person on the team
Once you have a handle on these two things, you’ll be in a position to lead your team toward the incredible results that a podcast can deliver.
We’ve spent a ton of time and money building a well-oiled machine to produce podcasts for our clients (and our own daily podcast). So I’ll spend the rest of this post defining the specific roles you’ll need on your podcast team.
1. Ring Leader
This role is the captain of the ship, the maestro of the orchestra, the leader of the pack.
The ring leader is detail-oriented and functions as project manager of the podcast. They also keep team members focused, organized, and energized. You’ll see why this is a vital role as you read through this post.
He or she is ultimately accountable for a new episode going live each day, week, month, or whatever frequency you decide.
2. Outreach Manager
So you’ve decided to launch your own podcast. Great! The first natural question is – who the heck will we feature on the show?
This is where the outreach manager takes the reigns.
They are responsible for prospecting new podcast guests.
In order for your podcast to enhance your brand, guests should be industry experts, thought leaders, or “boots on the ground” practitioners in your industry. You want each guest to be full of valuable experience and wisdom that will be helpful for your audience.
The quality of your guest list will ultimately determine the quality of your content, so finding the right guests is a crucial part of the podcasting equation.
But what does podcast outreach actually look like?
Guest prospecting is similar to sales prospecting in the sense that you’re sending cold emails; however, your goal isn’t to sell – it’s to start a conversation.
Here are a few tools that your Outreach Manager can use when prospecting guests:
1) PersistIQ, Outreach, Connector, or Hubspot Sales
It’s important that you don’t use tools like Mailchimp to send your guest outreach emails.
Because when you send an email from a tool like Mailchimp it’s like putting a giant sticker on your email that says “I mass emailed you!”.
Each of the tools listed above allows you to send sequences of emails directly from your email account. These sequences allow you to follow up with potential guests several times without having to manually send follow up emails.
When a potential guest responds to your email, they get kicked out of the sequence and they won’t receive any more emails from the sequence.
If your outreach is effective, you should be getting a lot of responses from potential guests.
Getting the guest to respond to your initial email is the first hurdle, but getting them to lock down a day & time takes even more follow up.
Streamline your follow up emails using FollowupThen.
This tool works by simply BCCing the time frame in which you want to follow up with the person (ex. [email protected]), and FollowUpThen will bring that email to the top of your inbox in 3 days.
We still keep it classic and use LinkedIn as a primary tool for finding podcast guests.
The most helpful tool we’ve used paired with LinkedIn is Email Hunter, which scans profiles to find email addresses in seconds.
Crafting the Message
So what does it take to write a great guest outreach email?
The goal of an outreach email is simply to get a response, so write it as such.
To get more responses from your guest outreach emails, here are a few tips:
- Lighten up on the lingo – If the goal is to get a response from this person, then the email should sound conversational. Cut any stuffy business language.
- Keep it short- Use no more than 3 lines to clearly communicate your ask. Get to the point, keep their attention, and write a short enough email that they can read the full thing without scrolling on a smartphone.
- Make your call-to-action casual and easy to answer- it’s best if it requires a yes or no response.
Once you get a response, give them a clear overview of what they can expect including length of interview, how the call will work, and audience information. Use Calendly to schedule the interview to avoid the dreaded back and forth of scheduling emails.
The Outreach Manager is also responsible for nailing down each episode’s topic.
When it comes to topic selection, free yourself of thinking you have to come up with ideas.
Ask the expert you’re interviewing to choose a topic that they’re passionate about, a problem they’ve overcome, a strategy they’ve mastered, or maybe a way of thinking that reshaped their mindset and approach.
Once you nail down a topic they’re excited about and one that hasn’t been talked about before, get them to tell you 3-5 big ideas (related to the topic) that they’d like to share during the interview.
The best tip here is to have them get specific. You don’t want them to talk only on the surface at a level that’s been regurgitated a thousand times on the internet.
3. Show Host
The next role you need on your team is your show’s host.
This person is charismatic, a great conversationalist, well-educated in the industry, and able to ask insightful questions.
The show host is the voice and representative of your brand to the audience and your guests.
The host will conduct the pre-interview, interview, and post-interview.
The pre-interview is your company’s chance to build rapport and get to know the guest.
During the pre-interview, your host should review the 3-5 main points you touched on over email and review the format of the show.
Interviewing people is an art, and can be mastered with practice.
Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way:
- Set the context by asking them to introduce themselves, share their background, and a little about their company.
- For the interview, your guests have given you 3-5 big ideas, so ask tactical questions mapping to those main points. You want to avoid overarching themes and topics that come off as too tailored to that specific company. You want the content to be applicable to your entire audience.
- Try and avoid topics already covered on the show. If they come up in conversation, we suggest to reference the episode that dives deep into the topic and then move on.
- Ask explorative, open-ended questions instead of yes/no questions.
- When it comes time to wind down the interview, ask the guest if they have any final thoughts and how people can get in touch with them. If they have a complicated name, spell it out for the listeners. This is also the time for them to share any of their content that might be useful to your audience (webinar, blog post, course, free trial, ebook, etc).
- Record the interview using eCamm Call Recorder for Skype.
When the interview is over, the pressure is off, and now it’s time to build a relationship with the guest.
This is the time to get to know them as a person, their company and it’s pain points, and understand their overall needs.
This is an opportunity for you to offer help, resources, and contacts.
4. Writer & Editor
Your podcast is an incredible source of content for your content marketing strategy.
Podcasts give you rich, original content to pull from to create things like blog articles, social media posts, graphics, Click to Tweets, and a truckload of micro-content.
One of your biggest assets in milking podcasts for all they’re worth is a great writing and editing team.
Your writer is responsible for crafting click-worthy headlines for each episode. The more captivating the headlines are, the more exposure your show will get.
Your writing team also writes iTunes & website descriptions of the show, intro/outro and ad scripts, and show notes for each episode.
The show notes are short descriptions of each episode to give people an overview of the episode. This framework gives you a detailed outline of what goes into writing show notes.
Last, but certainly not least, the role of the writing and editing team is to create blog posts, guest posts, and roundup posts.
Blogging is the meat of your podcast content strategy, because you not only have content for your own blog, but you also have original content to pitch guest posts on larger publications.
Blog posts serve a few different purposes.
- They’re a vital element to becoming a thought leader in your industry, because at current time, blog posts are more widely consumed than podcast episodes
- Blog posts allow for a hard touch point with your guests after the episode goes live. This is especially beneficial if your guests double as your ideal clients, since a blog post serves as a touch point that adds value to the relationship.
If you don’t already have a writer on your team, we highly recommend investing in a part-time or freelance writer to ensure high quality content.
Make sure your writer knows how to write in a conversational tone, and understands how to format content for the web. Feel free to give them this resource: 12-Point Checklist to Never Writing a Bad Blog Post Again.
Once you get a fair number of episodes under your belt, you’ll be able to turn your existing content into roundup posts that you can pitch to larger publications. Backlinks from major sites in your industry will do wonders for your SEO, and it also further positions your brand as a thought leader.
5. Voice Over Specialist
The voice over specialist plays a small, but crucial role. Their voice is the first impression people have of your podcast.
They are responsible for recording the intro/outro and ad scripts. This can also be done by the show’s host, but in our opinion it sounds more professional to have a different voice introducing the host.
6. Audio Engineer
The audio engineer’s responsibilities include tuning, mixing, and leveling the audio.
This means removing any “ums”, awkward pauses, background noise, or hiccups. If you’re conducting an interview over Skype, your sound quality will inevitably be different from the sound on your guest’s end. So leveling the audio helps bridge the gap.
Your audio engineer will also mix the audio with the intros/outros, ad spots, and show music to polish each episode into a professional-grade piece of content.
Show hosts: let your guests know that they don’t need to hit it perfectly the first time through.
It’s best for your guests to be relaxed, and to not worry if they need to pause or if they have a slip up, because your audio engineer will come to the rescue during the editing process.
7. Graphic Designer
A podcast is an extension of your brand, so you’ll be working hand in hand with your graphic designer to create an overall look for the podcast.
Your designer will be responsible for creating a logo, headline image template, quote image template, and the podcast landing page on your website.
In addition to building the graphic templates, the graphic designer will also be customizing those templates for each episode, based on the specific headlines and quotes that come from each interview.
Our episode headline images include the podcast logo, title of the episode, episode number, guest name, and guest headshot.
Our quote images have the quote, episode number, and name or Twitter handle of the guest.
When the writing team repurposes each podcast episode into a blog post, your designer will then be tasked with creating separate headline images, body copy images, charts, quote images, and infographics to complement each article.
If anyone deserves a gold star on a podcast production team, it’s this role.
The administrator of a podcast must be organized, focused, and a clear communicator, because their role casts a wide net.
Your administrator is responsible for:
- Registering the podcast domain, setting up the website and/or podcast page on company website
- Setting up the hosting for your show (We use Libsyn)
- Launching the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, & TuneIn Radio
- Publishing episodes to Libsyn and your website
- We love using Smart Podcast Player to publish podcast content on websites
- Promoting the podcast on all social media channels (company and staff accounts) and through your email list.
- Sending notification emails to guests (episodes + blog posts) to notify them that their episode and/or blog post has gone live.
- These emails should include links to their episode on iTunes and your website. We like to also include a pre-written social media update, so it makes sharing super simple.
Administrators, here’s a tip for launching your podcast:
Once the first episode is live, email colleagues and contacts to listen and leave a review on iTunes.
We’ve found that if you can get about 20-25 iTunes reviews in the first 8 weeks of your show’s launch, it’s likely that your podcast will be featured in iTunes’ New & Noteworthy category (free exposure for the win!).
9. Guest Relationships Manager
Podcasting is one of the most human forms of media that exists.
It gets you on a call or face-to-face with your guest, giving you the ability to actually build a genuine relationship.
The relationships with each of your guests can turn into a variety of benefits for your brand:
- New revenue opportunities from ideal clients that you feature on the show
- Referral partnerships that your business development team will love
- Exposure to new audiences when your guests share their episode with their audience
The Guest Relationships Manager is typically the show’s host, but it’s relatively easy to expand this relationship from the host to other members of your team.
For ideas on how to nurture these relationships well, check out another blog post we wrote here: 23 Ways to Nurture Relationships with Your Podcast Guests.
As you can see, producing a podcast takes a team.
But your marketing team is already juggling a ton of other responsibilities, so the thought of asking them to produce an entire podcast might seem laughable.
That’s where Sweet Fish comes in.
We understand that you and your marketing team are ridiculously busy and want original content that appeals directly to your audience.
So we’ve created a turnkey podcast production service that delivers a well-branded podcast, 100% owned by your brand, without all the hassle.
If you’d like to learn more about our done-for-you podcasting process, click here to let us know how we can connect with you. Someone from our team will reach out within 5 minutes.
James Carbary is the founder of Sweet Fish Media, a podcast agency for B2B brands. He’s a contributor for the Huffington Post & Business Insider, and he also co-hosts a top-ranked podcast according to Forbes: B2B Growth. When James isn’t interviewing the smartest minds in B2B marketing, he’s drinking Cherry Coke Zero, eating Swedish Fish, and hanging out with the most incredible woman on the planet (who he somehow talked into marrying him).