Updated: Dec 3, 2022
The February 2022 Marketing Group Chat was packed full of valuable insights on leveraging podcasts to extend marketing reach for VARs and ISVs. Were you there and now your memory of the event is a little fuzzy? Or would you like to glean some of those gems in summary form? Read on and we’ll share some of the key points with you.
Introducing the Discussion Leaders
Our three experts are not only well-known in the Microsoft Dynamics channel but are also experienced podcasters, have each garnered large followings, and have helped others to do so as well. Let’s tap into that knowledge.
Content is essential to marketing, and podcasts provide another valuable medium to produce content. People have varying preferences in how they digest content, and it’s important to cater to them – all of them if possible. It creates a warm, informal, conversational atmosphere that is conducive to listening, and it’s convenient to listen on-demand.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. In fact, it’s a great way to reuse existing content. If you’ve already written a blog on a suitable topic, you can use that as the outline for your podcast, matching it up with the right guest.
It’s also a content format that naturally lends itself to interviews and interviews equal networking opportunities. Inviting high-profile personalities from the ERP space helps you connect with them and their audience and adds credibility to you and your own brand. That’s one of the best benefits of having guests – they’ll help to promote your podcast as well.
Why do these pros keep doing it?
PartnerTalks became a household name in the Dynamics community in under 18 months – a real brand builder.
The ISV Society Podcast is Amiee’s passion project. Interviewing different people every episode can be exciting, and it is a way of giving back to the community, giving ISVs a voice to reach a larger audience.
The Enterprise Software Podcast is a similar outlet for Darcy, keeping her on her toes and up to date with the ERP industry in order to deliver interesting content.
How to Get Started
First things first: Know that it’s stressful in the beginning. Try being a guest a few times. Being a guest on other podcasts brings mutual benefits. It draws more attention to your own channel, and you can observe what they do and integrate those good ideas into your own episodes. Getting in the door can be tricky. An excellent way to stand out as a potential guest is to send a 3-minute video introducing yourself and summarizing the topic you’d like to discuss. Be friendly and show them you’re not a boring person!
When you record your first episode, don’t worry about how you’ll look and sound; it doesn’t have to be perfect! As you produce more episodes, you’ll find your own style and get used to it.
Knowing that content is no good without an audience, Rick looked to his large LinkedIn following. Since LinkedIn has a 10-minute limit for videos, he tailored his podcasts for that platform – short and sweet. More extensive content is posted to his YouTube channel and website. Steady efforts bring results – he’s managed to produce over 100 episodes in the last year and a half.
Repurposing these podcasts is a great way to draw more value from the effort to create them. For example, creating and posting blog articles from the podcast material is driving as much traffic to the PartnerTalks site and channels as the original podcasts did. Over time, it opens up new doors. With enough social reach, people start seeking you out to get on your show!
How to Choose a Topic
Repurposing works both ways; you can, for example, turn a blog into a podcast, as mentioned earlier. But selecting a topic should be done with care, following the trends of what your audience is most interested in. Ask yourself, “Who do I want to reach out to? What do we want to talk about? What is my objective for this episode?”
Do research. Social media is an excellent tool. Amiee uses LinkedIn polls to start a discussion with her audience, gaining valuable insight into what they’re thinking and what they want to know. She also searches Google using keywords from the industry to see where the current trends are.
How Long Should My Podcast Be?
This can depend on the platform you’re using. For example, it was mentioned before that Rick kept many of his episodes to 10 minutes to accommodate the limitations of LinkedIn. However, another factor is the valuable time of the listeners. An hour-long podcast might be too daunting; either they will skip it because of a lack of time, or they might try to multitask while listening and not get the full benefit. Thirty minutes seems to be the sweet spot – telling the guest you’re aiming for 15 to 20 minutes helps to keep the time under control and allow for the extra content that surrounds the interview.
Consistency and Planning Are Key
It’s relatively easy to start blogging and podcasting… But sticking to it is another story. About 4 or 5 years ago, it was common to see most Microsoft MVPs with a podcast. These days there’s only a handful. Most find it to be too much work. The key is to develop a system to reduce the effort needed for each episode and obligate yourself to stick to your plan.
Darcy’s experience is a great example. While in the beginning the podcasts were more impromptu and produced in-person, after about a year and a half it was decided to commit to two episodes a month and to interview guests remotely. Of course, that meant a lot of planning; choosing topics, selecting appropriate guests, scheduling them according to availability, and preparing questions that put guests in a favorable light while drawing out their best tips and insights are among the crucial tasks for each episode. Keeping it conversational and unscripted helps reduce the workload. And of course, including an opening segment on industry trends in each episode requires further research.
Aimee finds it helpful to make a plan for the upcoming months. She tries to do one episode by herself, and one with a guest each month. But so that it doesn’t get ahead of her, she schedules a specific day or two to record several episodes, keeping her queue full. That leaves her free to handle the social promotion afterward.
Delegate to Avoid Burnout
Delegating tasks is essential to avoid becoming overwhelmed and losing momentum. For example, the video editing for Darcy’s podcast is done by a freelancer for a fixed fee. And of course, don’t forget the work to promote it all on the website and social media! Have a plan, assemble a team, and keep the pace.
Rick also finds value in using freelancers. To repurpose the podcast content, he delegates the heavy-lifting to a capable writer. And it doesn’t have to be an expensive subject-matter expert. That’s your job. The freelancer’s product might take 30 minutes or less of your time to polish, but it saves you hours. And if you use the same writer, over time, they become more skillful on your subject matter, further reducing the time you need to invest in the article.
Tools the Professionals Use
So how can you automate the process of getting your podcast to the masses?
Anchor.fm is a podcast platform by Spotify that Amiee recommends. Their app allows you to record anywhere from any device, reorder segments, add an intro, music, transitions, and more to create a more professional product. The final product can be uploaded to the platform and automatically transcribed, and pushed to all the major podcast networks. It also integrates with WordPress, giving you a direct connection between your podcast and your blog site.
Libsyn is a big player in this space, offering similar functionality.
BuzzSprout is another service with a free tier to get started.
Canva is an excellent tool for the easy creation of visual content (social media imagery, thumbnails, etc.)
Rev is a great resource for transcription.
Startup costs don’t have to be high. A decent camera and microphone are essential, but you don’t have to purchase the most expensive one to get quality. Bear in mind that over the last two years, people have grown accustomed to seeing podcasters in their “natural habitat”.
Do make sure that your internet connection, and that of your guest, is stable and fast. It detracts from the professionalism of your production if someone is frequently breaking up. Another good idea, since guests may not own a quality microphone, is to invest in an extra one; ship it to your guest, and provide a label to forward it on to the next one.
So many gems! We thank our three guest speakers for all they shared with us on the call. We hope that the tips you learned from this group chat will help you launch a successful podcast.
We hope to see you in the next session, “How to be Successful with In-Person and Virtual Events”, on Thursday March 3, 2022, from 2:00-3:00pm. Register Now.
by Matthew Alexander, CMA Staff Writer, www.channelmktgacademy.com