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Common Branded Podcasting Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them

If you’re on the fence about starting a branded podcast in 2023, one reason you’re hesitant might be fear of failure.

Because while it’s relatively easy to get a podcast started, it’s much harder to keep it going. And you don’t want to put a lot of time and effort into starting a show only to see it die on the vine after only a handful of episodes. 

That’s a bad look for your company … and a bad look for you. I get it.

Maybe it’s better to not take a chance on podcasting and just stick with what you know.

Or … Maybe it IS worth giving podcasting a shot. Because if you go about it the right way and avoid the mistakes that doom some shows to failure, a branded podcast can be a really powerful weapon in your content marketing arsenal … And bolster your reputation, and your company’s reputation, as an industry leader.

In this segment I’ll break down the most common reasons why branded podcasts sometimes fail, and how you can avoid the mistakes that lead to failure and make the moves that result in branded podcasting success.

I’ll cover:

  • Having unrealistic goals … And what realistic goals look like
  • Focusing your show too broadly … And how to find the right niche
  • Choosing the wrong name … And tips for finding the right name
  • Getting stuck with the wrong host … And how to find the right host
  • Failing to publish consistently … And how to stick to a publication schedule

Ready? Let’s go!

Reason #1: Having unrealistic goals

To succeed with a branded podcast, you need to know what success looks like. And given the eye-popping numbers associated with some podcasts, it’s easy to get the wrong idea. (For example, the Joe Rogan Experience, the consensus most successful podcast in the world, gets around 11 million listeners/viewers per episode.) Unlike podcasts meant for general consumption and designed to reach the largest possible audience, a B2B branded podcast is by its nature a niche product meant to engage a very specific audience.

For example, say your company sells software built to make supply chains run better and your typical buyer is a VP of Supply Chain. A podcast aimed at that audience is doing well if it attracts a few hundred listeners per episode. Which takes time. Joe Rogan has been podcasting since 2009, and it’s taken him decades to build his audience. It will most likely take at least a year of regular publishing to build a respectable audience.

Also consider that the number of listeners you gain is only part of measuring podcasting success. There are also the relationships you create with the guests you bring on your show as well as the content you create by repurposing podcast episodes as video clips and written content. 

The solution:

In short, have realistic goals. For example, a realistic set of goals may look like this:

  • Publishing new episodes consistently for 1 year
  • Turning every episode into at least three pieces of content
  • Getting at least 50 downloads per episode within the first six months
  • Converting at least two podcast guests into customers

Your goals may look different and they may change over time. But starting with realistic and achievable goals is crucial for setting your show up for success.

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Reason #2: Failing to distinguish your branded podcast

One of the biggest challenges facing content marketers is cutting through the noise. Because, as content marketers are quick to lament, there’s too much content out there already! And that’s true … There’s a ton of b2b content cluttering up the interwebs, and most of it is totally forgettable. 

If your podcast covers the same ground already covered by other podcasts, if you use the same format, adopt the same tone and don’t have a particular point of view … it’s going to get lost in the dreaded “sea of sameness” and fail to really engage your audience.

The solution

The solution, of course, is to distinguish your show from what’s already out there. The first step is to search on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or wherever you get podcasts, for shows in your industry. Let’s say your company sells software to help solve supply chain problems. Take a look at which podcasts are focused on supply chain stuff and do a bit of a deep dive to see which topics they cover, how they approach them, and what sorts of guests they have on to discuss them.

Your purpose is to find ways to differentiate your show. You might find opportunities to focus on a particular part or parts of the supply chain. Or perhaps you can feature guests who don’t normally get to share their views. 

Arguably the best way to make your show stand out is to channel it through the lens of your organization’s particular point of view. What’s your company’s reason for existing? How do you think about supply chain issues in ways that are different from your competitors? Where do you stand on the most important issues facing the industry? 

Focus your podcast on your company’s unique point of view, and you’ll have a show that stands out and that offers your audience something new and unique.

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Reason #3: Choosing a Weak Name

The biggest mistake B2B brands make when choosing a podcast name is naming the show after their company.

For example, I might have called our podcast about branded podcasting Connversa Conversations, or something like that. But that’s a weak name because it has zero SEO value, because B2B marketers looking for podcasts about branded podcasting aren’t searching for “Connversa”.

Another example … My podcast about B2B content marketing was originally called Engage Your Tribe. Which wasn’t a terrible name … But it wasn’t great, either, because according to SEO data, B2B marketers aren’t looking for podcasts using terms like “audience engagement” or “engage your tribe.” The search volume for keywords like “B2B content,” “B2B marketing” and B2B Content Marketing” is much higher … and so I changed the name of the podcast to The B2B Content Show. And it’s resulted in the show gaining more listeners, because it’s easier to find in podcast directories. 

The Solution

The takeaway is that the name you give your podcast should map directly onto what your audience is looking for. If your show is about motivating sales teams, the name of the show should probably include the words “sales” and motivation” or close synonyms. 

Choosing this sort of straightforward name will also make it easier to recruit high-quality guests. People you invite will be much more likely to accept if they can see at a glance that the podcast is a good fit for who they are and what they do. If I’m a sales leader whose job it is to motivate and train my sales team, being invited to be on a show called “The Sales Motivation Show” would make immediate sense … Whereas being invited to be on a show with a more obscure name, like “The Motivator” or “Motivationally Speaking” or something like that, might not seem like an obvious fit.

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Reason #4: Getting stuck with the wrong host

The person (or people) who hosts your show are crucially important to its success. But it’s all too easy to get stuck with the wrong host, or with a bad host, by handing hosting duties to the first person who volunteers.

That person may be very enthusiastic … they may be a big podcast fan … But that doesn’t mean they’re the best choice for hosting the show. And it can become a big problem if they turn out to be stiff and wooden, or talk too much, or are just generally low energy and boring … Depending on your organization’s culture, replacing the host may cause hard feelings and resentment.

The solution:

It’s much better to choose a strong podcast host from the beginning. First, you have to know what you’re looking for. You want someone who’s:

  • Energetic and has an outgoing personality
  • Good at conversation and drawing people out
  • Comfortable doing more listening than talking
  • Knowledgeable enough about the industry to have an in-depth conversation with subject matter experts

The only way to really know if a host is going to work out is to give them a shot and see how it goes. If you’re fortunate enough to have multiple people who you think would be good hosts, try them out for a few episodes before promising anyone the position. You might end up going with co-hosts, or with two or three hosts who can trade off episodes.

Reason #5: Failing to publish consistently

There’s an argument for making this reason the first on the list, because publishing consistently is arguably the single most important factor in success with podcasting. 

Why is consistency such a big deal? 

Imagine you’ve subscribed to a podcast that’s supposed to come out with new episodes every Wednesday. Wednesday comes … but there’s no new episode! Instead, it’s published the next week … on Friday. You may be willing to tolerate a little inconsistency, but if this continues, and you’re never sure when the next episode is going to come out, there’s a good chance you’ll lose interest and move on.

Inconsistency is also a problem because it makes the show look unprofessional, which in turn makes it harder to get guests. When a potential guests sees that episodes are published erratically, they’re less likely to take it seriously and spend time on it.

The Solution

The best way to publish consistently is twofold: 1) Create a publication schedule, which can be a simple spreadsheet with dates for prep calls, recording, and publishing, and 2) Always be working at least one episode ahead.

Before launching your show, you should have at least 5 episodes in the can … Three to be published when you launch the show, and two more ready to go, giving you time to record and produce the next episode without having to rush at the last minute. 

Keys to success

So, summing up, the keys to success with B2B branded podcasting include:

  • Setting realistic goals
  • Finding a niche for your show
  • Choosing the right name
  • Finding a strong host
  • Publishing consistently

With those elements in place, your podcast will be on firm foundation and have every chance to succeed.

If you’d like to learn more about B2B branded podcasting, contact Connversa for a free consultation.

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