Lately, I’ve been reading a number of posts imploring marketers and communicators to start podcasts on behalf of their corporate clients.
The numbers make sense. Recent Edison research says podcasts “share of ear” has increased 18 percent in the last six months. Podcasts now have a total “share of ear” of 30 percent (for context, AM/FM radio is at 21 percent and streaming music is at just 12 percent).
Serial’s recent success is also a signal. Seemingly everyone tuned in.
Podcasting has literally never been more popular. The numbers add up.
But, is podcasting the right fit for you as a marketing or communications tool?
That’s an entirely different question.
Just because the numbers are there, and just because podcasting is about as hot as Meerkat at the moment (oh, wait a minute, I typed that last week; please replace “Meerkat” with “Periscope”), doesn’t mean you should jump right in.
In fact, I could make a pretty good argument most companies should NOT start a podcast.
I’m not being a Negative Nellie here. It’s more realism than negativity.
After all, I get paid by clients to produce content that could be a part of a corporate podcast.
But, sometimes the best advice you can give a client is “don’t do that–and here’s why.”
For most companies, I firmly believe this is one of those situations. Here’s five reasons your company should NOT be podcasting.
1 — You don’t have *enough* to talk about.
Have you really thought through what you’re going to talk about on your podcast? I mean, if you’re going to start a podcast you probably have to shoot for at least monthly to start. Ideally, weekly or bi-weekly. You’re probably looking at half hour to an hour’s worth of time. How are you going to fill it? What do you have to talk about? Have you mapped that out? Most companies struggle with blogging for this same reason–podcasting is the exact same when it comes to content.
2 — You don’t have the budget/time to get it done.
A podcast isn’t something you just rip off in 10 minutes. Podcasting takes time. Time to plan each show. Time to line up and coach guests (including your own corporate guests, by the way). Time to actually record the show. Time to edit and produce the show. And, of course, time to promote the show. For each show (assuming an hour long show), I’d probably budget at least five hours of time. That’s not a ton, but remember, if you’re shooting for a weekly or bi-weekly podcast, that’s 10-20 hours a month. Do you have that much free time right now?
3 — You don’t have the technical expertise.
This probably isn’t a huge deal, as you could easily outsource this piece of the production process. But, it’s a key piece nonetheless. And, many agencies might have to scramble given the request. It’s not like all PR/marketing agencies have someone on staff who’s familiar with how to put a podcast together. And, more often than not, you rarely have the talent and expertise internally.
4 — You don’t have the support you need (yet) internally.
If you’re going to produce a weekly/bi-weekly show, you definitely need internal support. Any corporate show is only as good as it’s SMEs. And to start a show, you need big-time buy-in from those folks. Are they good “on air”? Do they have anything interesting to say? Do they have the time to participate? Do they WANT to participate? All key questions to ask before you start. And, if I had to guess, all questions that are going to be met with some level of resistance initially.
5 — You don’t have the patience.
Raise your hand if you’ve started a corporate blog in the last five years. Now, keep your hand raised if that blog is still going on a weekly basis? A lot of hands went down, didn’t they? That’s because corporate blogging is hard. Really hard. It requires a lot of patience and will. And continuity of resources, by the way. Most companies just don’t have the stomach for it. Blogging is a long-play. Podcasting is the same thing. You need to have a LOT of patience. You won’t have a big listernship out of the gate. Heck, you may not have 20 listeners in the first six months. So, you have to be realistic–and extremely patient. Most companies aren’t either.
So, have I convinced you yet? Have I dished out a healthy dose of realism for you?
Again, I don’t say this to be overly negative. I say it to be the voice of reason.
Podcasting simply isn’t a great tactic for most mid-sized to large companies. It takes a decent amount of time. It need a lot of internal support. It takes an extreme amount of patience. And, the truth is, good podcasts are really hard to produce. For anyone.
Let alone corporate America.
So, I just ask that you put yourself through these paces before jumping in. Be realistic. Set expectations. And go in eyes wide open on the time required and risks.