Should I do a podcast?
The year is 2024. The popular culture landscape is dominated by online content, and for better or worse, podcasts are the star of the show.
In fact, as of late last year, there were over three million active podcasts in existence worldwide. But there’s more to this phenomenon than just numbers. There’s no escaping the influence a good (or bad) podcast can have. Just look around you. Joe Rogan is everywhere, jokes about “Podcast Guys” fill your TikTok feeds, and at least one of your friends will have already started their own series (have a think about it, then tell me I’m wrong, I dare you).
In our audio-saturated world, it’s easy to feel pressure to join the party. And as a result, many of us find ourselves plagued by a question that echoes through the corridors of marketing departments all around the world, a question as inevitable in 2024 as death and taxes — should I do a podcast?
And it may be hard to hear — but sometimes the answer is no.
Not all podcasts are engaging, interesting, or necessary. When produced effectively, however, they can be a cost-effective and engaging way to promote yourself and your business.
Let me be clear. We can’t tell you whether to go ahead with that series where you and your friends rate Grey’s Anatomy episodes in your down time — nobody can. But, we can advise when it’s a good idea for your organisation to consider a branded podcast, and how to go about it when you do.
So let’s get into it.
When you should do a podcast
- When you genuinely have something to say
Creating your own podcast shouldn’t be about echoing what’s already out there, but rather adding a new tune. If you feel you have something unique and substantive to say, then this is your cue to step up to the mic, quite literally.
- When you’re passionate about a subject
Podcasts thrive on authenticity. If you don’t have a clear passion for the subject and a well-informed, interesting point of view, your listeners will see right through you.
- When you have time to invest in a series
Podcasts can be produced without a huge amount of budget, but they are time-intensive. The most downloaded episodes are often found over 30 episodes into a series. It takes time — and effort — for a show to find its groove and build an audience.
When you shouldn’t do a podcast
- When you want to sell a product or service
If your only goal is to sell, then kindly step away from the soundproof booth. Podcasts are not adverts; they’re more like those long, meandering, conversations you have at 2 AM. Yes, they can certainly drive business objectives, but the hard sell doesn’t play well in this format.
- When you don’t have a clear vision
If you’re directionless in your podcast strategy, it’s time to rethink. You can be as niche as you want (this podcast, for example, is dedicated entirely to discussing bad Yelp reviews), but you have to have a clear vision and a theme that makes sense to your potential audience.
- When you’re looking for a quick marketing fix
Ask yourself, do you have the stamina for the long haul? If the answer is no, or if you’re looking for a quick fix, chances are there are much better ways to get your brand out there than starting a podcast (and as a side note, we’d be happy to help with this, feel free to get in touch).
Making your podcast great
So, you’ve thought it through, and you’ve decided you’re ready to take the podcast plunge. Here are our top tips for getting it right:
- Differentiate or Die
It’s a saturated market. Your podcast must offer something unique, or you’ll struggle to find people who care. Think about why your audience should choose you over the myriad of alternatives? Is it down to your guests? Your level of expertise? Your sense of humour?
- Plan for Permanence
A successful podcast requires long-term thinking. It’s a commitment, a relationship you’re building with your audience.
- Strategise, strategise, strategise
Your podcast should not exist in isolation. It should be a part of a larger symphony, in harmony with your blogs, social media, and overall marketing strategy.
- Report, rethink, repeat
It’s crucial to plan your reporting strategy ahead of time, and to define how you’re tracking ROI in a way that allows you to consistently refine your output based on actual data. Remember, download numbers are just one metric; also watch for mentions, inbound links, and sales influenced by podcast content.
Work with us
When the time is right, starting your own podcast isn’t just another marketing challenge, it’s also really fun. And if it seems particularly daunting, or you’re still not sure whether it’s the right step for you and your organisation, don’t hesitate to reach out for help, we’d love to chat.
Alternatively, for an example of a podcast done well (and to placate our weekly AI podcasters, Simon Cliffe and Rhys Harker, who consider this entire blog a personal attack), tune into Branch Road’s very own series.