So, you’ve decided to start a business podcast. And it’s no wonder – last year Deloitte released a study stating that more than 1.6 million Australians are now actively downloading and consuming podcast content. Even more staggering is data released by Edison Research showing that 68 million Americans listen to podcasts at least weekly.
With those figures representing a significant increase in audience engagement (up 70 per cent since 2015 in Australia, for example), it’s unsurprising that more companies are dipping their toes into the podcasting pool. But in order to plan and produce a successful business podcast, you need two things: high-quality sound and high-quality content. Without these, your audience will tune out as fast as they tuned in.
Obtaining the appropriate recording equipment and space is probably the easiest part of the process. Writing a podcast script that’s going to engage, inform and keep your audience listening episode after episode is a bigger ask, so here are some tips.
Decide what you want to achieve
Before you begin, think about what you want this podcast to do for your business. While a podcast can serve more than one purpose, there are three main roads your company could travel down.
Podcasts are an efficient way for businesses and employees to communicate their knowledge and thought leadership in a way that is easily consumable for their audiences – both B2B and B2C. The medium allows you to create content that demonstrates your expertise within a field while helping to build your business’s brand.
Developing an internal podcast for your business is an excellent way to foster a strong company culture and deliver business-specific communications and education. The nature of a podcast means that listeners can consume it whenever, wherever and however they choose, giving employees the flexibility and freedom to engage at their leisure.
Some businesses are even opting to include a short podcast from their hiring manager in job postings. A Canadian study of this trend revealed that although application numbers declined after candidates listened to the podcast, those who did apply were higher quality. This suggests that, by providing an accessible and concise overview of an available role, podcasts can help candidates evaluate their own eligibility more effectively.
Choose the right format
Although very few people will actually see your podcast script, it’s important to choose the format that works best for you.
What will help you most – a word-for-word script, a detailed outline or just some rough talking points? Are you going to have guests? If so, will it be a one-on-one interview or a panel featuring diverse voices? What kind of questions will you ask to get the answers you’re looking for?
And while you can’t fully script a podcast featuring guests, you’ll still need to include an introduction to the topic and panel, questions for the panel and some concluding thoughts.
You’ll also need to decide how long you want your podcast to be. If we consider that people speak at 120–180 words per minute, you could end up with more than 5,000 words worth of dialogue in a 30-minute podcast. But remember that you’ll need to leave space for banter with guests and their responses to your questions.
A good tip is to always prepare more questions than you think you’ll need – you never know when a conversation might run dry!
Consider your tone
Serious? Authoritative? Lighthearted? Quirky? Not all podcasts have to emulate the investigative journalism of Serial or the narration style of the incomparable Sarah Koenig, but every podcast should set a content-appropriate tone.
This is a great time to stop and think about how you want to portray your business to the world. If your organisation has a style guide it may include guidance on the tone your company typically aims for.
Consider, for example, the suite of podcasts produced by stockbroking and wealth management network Morgans. With series like Bank to the future, Under the Microscope, Morgans Executive Series and Morgans AM, there is something for everyone’s financial tastes.
By doubling down on its area of expertise and catering to a variety of audiences, all of which require a unique tone and approach, Morgans has successfully employed the podcast platform to enhance its brand. And in casting its podcast net quite wide, Morgans is now capturing and engaging a much broader audience than ever before.
Be consistent with length and frequency
According to digital audio specialist Wavve, an episode’s length, frequency and content are inextricable, and they will differ for every podcast. While you don’t need to cast your net as wide as Morgans to find success, it is necessary to release your podcast episodes at regular intervals and put some thought into their length.
At first it might seem strange that Morgans AM episodes, for example, are only five to 10 minutes long. But when you consider the podcast’s content (a snapshot of the Australian stock market) and frequency (published daily), it’s clear why the producers chose this time frame – anything over 10 minutes would be more than just a digestible summary.
If you’re thinking about weekly or twice-weekly frequency, like Wondery’s Business Wars, you’d ideally produce one 60-minute or two 30-minute episodes a week. Or if you’re aiming for a monthly production, 60–180 minutes per episode is standard. But, again, it all depends on your content.
For example, Analyse Asia with Bernard Leong is a weekly offering with episodes of 30–60 minutes. As a podcast that dissects business, technology and media in Asia, the time frame is deliberately flexible to accommodate its various guests and topics. Or look at Telstra’s Behind the Mic, which is a monthly podcast of roughly 20-minute episodes. While this may seem short, the company aimed to produce bite-sized interviews with enterprising minds – something it could easily do within this time frame.
Read it out loud
While it might seem like a simple thing to do, reading your podcast script out loud is the best way to identify problem areas ahead of recording time. You want your script to roll off the tongue as naturally as possible and the only way to achieve that is to hear it as your audience will: out loud.
This is also the perfect way to ensure you’ve stuck to your time frame. If you’re going to need more content or if you’ve already got too much, you’ll want to know about it well in advance of recording to avoid any unexpected surprises.
Another good tip is to run the script by a colleague to get their input on content and catch any errors you may have missed – you are only human after all!
How we can help
At Editor Group, our writers know how important great content is. Most importantly, they know how to write podcast scripts and interview questions that will make your podcast experience a positive one. With the support of our editors and proofreaders, we can ensure your content is high-quality, polished and error-free.
If your business is ready to step into the growing market of business podcasting, get in touch to find out how we can help.