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How entrepreneurs can benefit their startup by creating a podcast – and tips to get you started

Podcasts have become a global phenomenon increasingly used by business.  Did you know that in the UK, over 21 million people regularly listen to podcasts? And the audience is not just the young; 22% of people over the age of 56 listen to podcasts.

Given the popularity of this relatively new medium, you may wonder whether starting a podcast will benefit your startup. As approximately 50% of all listeners tune in to learn and develop their understanding, podcasting can be an excellent way of demonstrating your industry sector knowledge and positioning yourself as a thought leader. Even short podcast series have attracted hundreds of thousands of listeners.

The difficulty with podcasting is the learning curve required to get the content right. Of course, it has to be interesting and engaging, but there’s also lots of technology and production to get right as well. Additionally, most podcasts now combine audio and video content, which increases the complexity.

With these challenges for the busy startup founder in mind, lets look at four key benefits of starting a podcast along with some tips to get you off to a good start.

  1. Leveraging the popularity of podcasts

The key reason to look into starting a podcast for your startup is simply that people like listening to them. Also, they are borderless as you can publish to Apple Music, Spotify etc. and reach a global audience.

The challenge is in cutting through the noise, something you will already be familiar with as an entrepreneur. It’s hard to pin down a specific number, but estimates suggest that there are three-five million podcasts worldwide.

So how do you get noticed by your target audience? For example, a way is to demonstrate your commitment is to release 3-5 episodes in one go. That way you’re much more likely to be featured in the ‘New and Interesting’ section on Apple Music and Spotify.

Another way of getting found is to use podcast SEO. Just like regular SEO, you need to understand your target keywords and use them in a well-curated podcast description as well as your episode synopses. It’s always good  to include transcripts of the podcast as well, not only for great SEO but also to benefit those who are hard of hearing (or who just prefer written content). The transcript can also be converted into captions for video content.

Adding timestamps and other markups to your YouTube videos also makes them more searchable. Again, knowing your audience and keywords is essential to ensure that your podcasts speak to your audience’s questions using searchable words and phrases.

If you really want to gain traction fast, you should consider some advertising. Create some short clips and trailers for your podcast and funnel some money into advertising on YouTube, Spotify and/or Apple Music. Make sure your ads are no longer than 15 seconds in order to grab interest and tease the content.

Finally, a great way of attracting a new audience is by featuring guests on your podcast…

  1. Cross promotion opportunities

Including guests is a great way to cross-promote your podcast and piggyback on your guest’s existing audience. Featuring guests also enhances the perception of you as both an entrepreneur and as a thought leader.  It also adds variety to your content.

However, guests can pose a number of challenges. If a guest cancels at the last minute or is a no-show it can be embarrassing, especially when you will have been trailing their appearance.

A top tip is, once you have booked the guest, to immediately book their travel and accommodation ─ even when this is just an Uber to the studio. The benefit is that it locks them into a commitment, and they will be much less likely to back out.

One way of dealing with a guest who can’t make it is to switch to a remote interview. While video calls may suffer from connection difficulties or from low quality, they are clearly better than nothing. If you are working with an established studio, you might also have the opportunity to send the guest to their local studio to do the recording, thus avoiding loss in quality.

If all else fails, have a backup plan. If you pin all of your content ideas on your guest showing up once in a while you’ll be caught short. Always have backup content ideas and a host who knows how to adapt on the fly.

If you are featuring a guest, always have an introduction meeting before recording. The meeting will help you get to know the guest and form a relationship between the guest and the host ─ translating into a warmer, friendlier relationship on air.

  1. Podcasts are interactive and engaging

Of all forms of content, podcasts are one of the most interactive. Whether your startup’s product or service lends itself to a podcast that is incredibly niche or fairly broad and generic, there will be people interested in listening and learning more.

What’s more, people will have opinions on what you are sharing which means that you can get genuine interactions with your listeners. Interaction tends to happen in either as: asynchronous interaction via comments, instant interaction via livestream commenting, or real-time interaction if you have call-ins.

Find ways to include interaction within your podcast and you’ll create a lot of audience engagement. Comments can also be very useful when coming up with new content ideas, or you could include a Q&A segment within your regular podcast. All of which will help you share your entrepreneurial vision and attract interest in your startup.

  1. Podcasts are multi-format

One of the best business cases for podcasts that entrepreneurs should bear in mind is that the content can be easily chopped into a multitude of formats for different channels. A long-form podcast can be turned into clips for social media and YouTube, segments for marketing/advertising, and even repurposed as blog posts.

And if you are working with a tight budget for your start up its good to know that among all content types, podcasts are perhaps the most multi-purpose, making them one of the most cost-effective too. A single 30-minute episode could produce a hundred pieces of content as social clips, soundbites, and blogs.

Getting content that can be chunked down into pleasing soundbites is, however, harder than you might imagine. It’s all down to your pre-production ─ it takes a lot of planning to find the ideal structure for the episode. You also need a good host who knows how to summarise things neatly, when to pause and when to move things along.

If you are featuring a guest, let them know the questions in advance so that they can prepare useful and concise answers that are far richer in information. It’s always hard to think of everything in the moment. It is then the job of the host to make the questions seem natural and organic despite the preparation.

It can also be useful to coach less experienced guests on how to minimise filler words like ‘err’ and ‘erm’ and when to take pauses. A guest who talks at length, with lots of filler words and very few pauses, makes for a difficult editing process. How can you chunk up an endless stream of speech?

One idea can be to have an agreed signal, such as the host raising their hand slightly, so the guest knows when to bring their sentence to a natural end so the host can speak. This also helps minimise crosstalk ─ another nightmare for the editing room!

If you are setting up cameras to record video content at the same time, it’s always best to have a few different angles set up. Then, when it comes to editing, you can simply switch between angles to make the cuts appear seamless.

A final tip to help with editing is to have someone off camera making note of the times when particularly interesting things were said. This makes the editor’s job a lot easier and means you know how to market the episode before the final edit is complete.

Podcasts can be an amazing marketing tool for startups. They do, however, take a lot of planning to get right. Between content, production, marketing, guests, hosting and editing, there are lots of pieces that need to align.

These tips should help you get started. However, it is always useful to have at least one person on your startup team who has experience in producing podcasts, or alternatively, use an agency who’ll help you to get everything right the first time.

Production quality really does matter ─ not only does it keep your audience engaged but it ensures that the content can be used for a multitude of channels, giving you the best value for money as you take your startup forward


Michael Olatunji is co-founder of Outset Studio, a full-service podcast and video production studio in London. Outset specialises in pod- and vlog- casts, live streams and live shopping. The team works collaboratively with the client to make high-quality content that attracts an audience and increases engagement. Recording can be done at their studios in London or on location. Whether a client simply wants studio space or would prefer someone to manage the full production, Outset’s experienced teams have it covered.

Web: www.outsetstudio.com

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