The popularity of podcasts has soared in recent years, with more and more entrepreneurs now incorporating them into their marketing strategy to connect with their audience, personalize their brand, and grow their business.
The decision to launch a podcast should not be taken lightly. It requires a lot of planning and preparation, and the necessary time and effort can detract from the running of the business. It also needs to come from a passion to champion an issue and give value to your audience. When that aligns with a company’s marketing goals, a podcast can reap enormous benefits for the business.
Recruitment subscription service Talentful was launched in 2015 as a disruptive recruitment solution for the tech industry. It resulted from founders Chris Abbass and Phil Blaydes recognizing a widespread need for a scalable, in-house hiring solution operating on a subscription basis rather than the commission-based pricing model favored by other recruitment service providers.
Talentful launched its podcast, Hiring On All Cylinders, earlier this year and discusses a wide range of topics, from remote working to complex strategic planning, and explores how leaders are redefining the role of talent acquisition within company leadership and repositioning talent at the forefront of their organization’s success.
Finding and securing guests has been the number one challenge, as CEO Abass explains. “In the early stages, without the guarantee of a massive audience and a track record, there was a reliance on the goodwill and open-mindedness of guests,” he says. “This is where alignment of guests to the themes and topics of your podcast is so important. If they believe in the topic, they can be confident that the audience will come.”
To other entrepreneur’s considering a podcast, Abass recommends building a support network around them to share the workload. “I’ve been able to lean on Talentful’s marketing team for editing support, as well as our partnerships team and my own EA for input on branding, production, editing and scheduling.”
Collaboration and community
DagsHub is a place where data scientists can host their machine learning projects, including code, data, models, experiments, etc., and collaborate on them effectively based on open-source tools. The business was launched in January 2021, followed by The MLOps Podcast three months later.
Cofounder and CEO Dean Pleban says: “There is content about machine learning, focused mainly on the research side, but less on taking models to production, and some great learnings that aren’t documented anywhere and could be helpful to the community. To create a successful company in this field, you start with the community and the individual data scientists by creating interesting content. That’s why we started our podcast.”
Finding podcast guests is one of the biggest challenges cited by podcasters. However, Pleban found it easier than expected. “Some people are hard to get, but most are open to having a conversation, as long as it’s authentic and the topic interests them,” he says.
Planning is another challenge since, by definition, podcasters are working around the schedule of different people. “One option is to record a lot of episodes and release them over a longer period,” says Pleban. “Another is to have ‘wildcard’ guests. If you think you won’t make a new episode on time, they are willing to join last minute, and their ideas are still interesting to the community.”
The podcast has increased Dagshub’s recognition as a brand and a thought leader and enabled the team to connect more easily with industry experts and thought leaders.
Visibility for validation
Sports tech business Sport BUFF’s podcast, Ahead of the Game, features famous sports and broadcast industry faces and has become a vehicle for the gamification and on-screen engagement specialist to promote its product in a space that’s visible to investors, competitors, peers and partners alike.
Founder Benn Achilleas says: “This visibility gives us a validation that is important for such an innovative solution. It’s delivered leads and exposure to the guests’ networks and given us a voice in the congested, often misunderstood topic of fan engagement. It also provides great content for our Twitch channel, our website and our social channels.”
The challenges of producing such content in such a busy startup are a shortage of time and resources, as creating the podcasts takes staff away from their day-to-day responsibilities. A balance needs to be made between benefit and business detriment. “Booking guests, scripting interesting content and questions, etc. are all standard issues with running any kind of publication or podcast, but they are amplified when creating the podcast is not the main part of your business,” adds Achilleas.
Tom Fairey, founder of gaming startup Stakester, started his podcast, The Back Yourself Show, not as a mechanism to grow his business directly but to meet investors. The company was launched in April 2019, and the podcast followed two months later.
“It didn’t take long to realize my network was woeful,” says Fairey. “I dug into the community, attended conferences, accelerators, and slack groups, all the time trying to gain insight into what people were talking about. And I found the largest voices were investors.”
The podcast strategy proved successful. Stakester has raised over £6 million, including more than £500,000 from people who’ve appeared on or listened to the show. “Additionally, those that have been on the show have referred me to investors that have investors. I didn’t have this network before, and now I would say my network is strong. From a credibility perspective, it makes a positive difference if you can refer to relationships with notable people within a community.”