Following a recent study, since the COVID-19 crisis started back in March, the podcast business has experienced an increased of 69% on uploads solely on Spotify. Pandemic aside, a wide range of businesses around the world are looking at new ways to approach their public. Many are asking themselves if they should be producing their own podcast, or how can they can create their own quality content. In this episode of Watchtime, Keren Haynes, radio PR- expert from Shout! Communications joins us to answer those questions, and to help give your PR strategy a huge push in the right direction.
Keren comes from a journalistic background, as she worked in both radio and television as a broadcaster on BBC Radio 5 and BBC Radio 4. “I was once the pitcher but now I am the gatekeeper by moving into PR”. And she hasn’t looked back since then! Seventeen years after Keren founded Shout! Communications, her team works across a wide range of companies and clients. “Most of our clients want to promote themselves on radio and therefore podcasting,” she says.
When producing a podcast, Keren remarks on the importance of creating high-quality content, as the competition is higher out there. “Our main goal is to engage the audience”. Pre-production planning is essential, where approaching the overall goal of releasing a piece must be addressed first. Why do you need to produce a podcast? Should we produce a unique piece, or maybe should make it part of a series of podcasts? And last but not least, what am I trying to achieve?
Keren outlines the importance of addressing these questions before the production process starts. In her own words, production with a purpose is the key factor, which can even influence your ROI.
When comparing amateur podcast creators versus professional podcast creators, Karen thinks that you may find some good non-professional podcast that has good content. “Some professionals are not even producing such a quality work”, she states. In the pre-production process, we record the interviews and put together all the calls to action to create “the perfect sound”. This is extremely important here, as we work on Zoom first. Afterwards, in the post-production, we put together all the details from the audio content, and then the music is added.
In terms of professionalism and quality, we pay attention to all the small details that potential listeners can see before listening to the podcast. Choosing appropriate images are also an important part of the process. The design must be of the highest standard possible. “This is all part of your corporate image”, Karen states.
Nowadays, every company wants to produce a podcast, from a small company to a big media group, podcast series are on the rise.
On the other hand, when talking about the role of the client within the production process, Keren says that her clients are in control of everything. “When the basic premises are agreed, then we look for a suitable guest”.
As a recommendation, Keren believes that having a podcast series as part of your PR campaign is essential, as it will give your audience an “extra post”. To finish up, she shared with us her top three tips to anyone who is thinking of producing a podcast series:
- Plan and plan again.
- Use music.
- Be creative.
Listen to the full podcast here:
Aleksandra King (00:02):
The watch time show sponsored by digital agency mint twist. Welcome to watch time. The show for marketing industry influencers, looking for creative and digital ideas. We’ll be exploring new technology developments and sharing the stories behind some high profile industry players. I’m an exoneree King from MintTwist. And in this episode, we’ll be looking at podcasts why you need one and how to go about producing a quality podcast that sets itself apart from the rest. Podcasting is the practice of using the internet to make digital recordings of broadcasts available for downloading to a computer or mobile device. It is focused on a topic or theme and normally broadcasted in episodes. So should we be creating podcasts of our own? And if so, how do we go about producing quality content to answer this question and many more around the subject of podcasting, we are joined by the absolute best in the field of communications, Karen from the London broadcast PR agency, Shout Communications.
Keren Haynes (01:09):
Hello. And that’s a very, very kind introduction. Thank you,
Aleksandra King (01:13):
Karen. Welcome to the show. Could you tell us a bit about your background and business?
Keren Haynes (01:20):
Well, I started my career as a broadcast journalist, so I’ve, I’ve worked in radio and television. By the end of my journalism career, I finished up at the BBC in the business unit there. So I was a broadcaster. SPJ senior broadcast journalist working on radio stations, including BBC radio five live and BBC radio four on the state program. In fact, it’s always good. For tutors really that my fairy last broadcast was the today program, the eight o’clock news. And I basically switched over to a different side of the fence. I was once the poacher and now I’ve become the game keeper. So I moved into PR. Haven’t looked back since I’m 17 years since co-founding shout communications and we specialize in broadcast PR including podcasts, production as well as video production, media training, broadcast media relations. So we work across a whole range of brands and clients, a lot of household names, some new startups that you won’t have heard of all sorts, really who we’re all I suppose the common theme is, is they want to promote themselves on radio and within radio where it includes podcasting or television or online.
Aleksandra King (02:45):
Well, you obviously have a wealth of experience. So could you talk us through what goes into producing a quality podcast?
Keren Haynes (02:52):
We would say because the law has let’s face it millions of podcasts out there. We would say that to get a quality podcast, which you need don’t you to, to in order to engage an audience that it all starts really with the planning with the pre production. Sometimes I think clients and podcast enthusiast too, who are making their own podcast rush into a podcast production without actually thinking of some of the key questions first. And so I see a really good starting point before you’ve walked into the studio is to say, why are you doing this podcast series? And we would say, do a podcast series rather than a standalone podcast to make this really work as a, as a PR tool. So, you know, what are you trying to achieve? Who are you trying to reach? And I think it’s interesting that the biggest demographic listening to podcasts are actually quite young people, 25 to 34.
Keren Haynes (03:51):
So you’re, if you’re a big brand and you’re trying to reach as many people as possible, it might make sense to, to go for that group then because that’s going to have the biggest number of listeners in, but perhaps you’re doing something a bit more niche. And that’s one of the things I think podcasting is, is, is so good for that. You couldn’t, you can zoom in on a S on a subject, it can be niche and you couldn’t, you can get that to reach a very targeted audience, but I digress slightly. So we were thinking, you know, in the pre production, who’s the audience, what am I, what am I trying to achieve? And then you start to bring together, I suppose, a plan it’s like a concept of, of what your podcast is going to be, you know, maybe starting with roughly how long should it should a podcast be less is more, we always say, so maybe 15, 20 minutes.
Keren Haynes (04:43):
The average podcast is 43 minutes, but that would include some podcasts that are more narratives than perhaps corporate podcasts. So I think that the corporate podcast, it’s good to keep it a bit shorter. So you’re thinking, well, what’s the style and the side is going to be dictated by the answer of some of those other, other questions. And that it’s at that point that you start to put together stings and think about the music to think about how a podcast could, it could be broken up because even a 20 minute podcasts, that’s quite a lot of time. Thinking about the news, you know, news at 10 sort of 25, 30 is 30 minutes long though, that would have several stories in it. So it’s the same thing for podcasts. You want to fill it with really good content, because obviously you want people to engage and hopefully listen by the way.
Aleksandra King (05:32):
Great. So you’ve hit the nail on the head there really about the planning and asking yourself why you would like to produce the podcast. And it can’t just be, Oh, I want to get more publicity for what, what is, what is the reason that you’re doing this? And you’ve got to really think about that and you’ve got to offer something of value you don’t use.
Keren Haynes (05:52):
You’re absolutely right. That it’s got to be production with a purpose rather than just publishing. And whilst we are talking about podcasts, you can have fantasy publishing with podcasts, people who want to, I suppose, hear the sound of their own voice. And, and think that by putting a podcast out on a platform such as iTunes, that somehow miraculously it’s going to take off and people are going to listen. So I think you get much more value for money and an, a return on your, your whole effort and investment by, by sinking, right at the very start, what, what do you want to do with this?
Aleksandra King (06:30):
So what is the difference between an amateur podcast versus a professionally produced one?
Keren Haynes (06:37):
Well, look, you can have some very good amateurs producing some very good, good contents, and you can have some professionals not, not doing such a soft approach, but largely I would hope that if people came to us that they, that they would consider that they were having their, I suppose, their handheld, right from the very start so that we would guide people through those questions that we’ve just been discussing : Who do you want to listen? Why do you want them to listen? What, what is the call to action at the end? What would you like them to do? Ordinarily we then take them into our studio. Of course, it’s funny times at the moment, and we’re recording this on Zoom, but even on Zoom, we would produce the podcast. So by ‘produce’, I don’t just mean we’re recording it.
Keren Haynes (07:25):
I mean that we’re listening to the interviews and the presentation, and we’ve been putting in on that so that the end result is as interesting and engaging as possible. And obviously it goes without saying that when it’s a professional production sound, quality’s going to be really good. Cause I think it’s so annoying. You know, we’re getting so used to Zoom calls now, and isn’t the most irritating thing about a Zoom call when you know, it drops out or you can’t hear, or there’s a technical problem. And it’s the same. If you were listening to a podcast, it was happened to have to be absolutely riveting for you to bear with creaky sound, if you have to struggle to miss it. So without saying, that’s, that’s got to happen and then it’s in the post production too. So that, so that’s when you add the detail to the, the audio content.
Keren Haynes (08:12):
So it’s having nice to listen to engaging stings. So that’s the little of music that might set divide one part of the podcast from another and the titles based at the beginning and the end and the design as well for, for the some nail. Cause they say that, you know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but actually you do initially most people do judge a podcast by the thumbnail that you see when you scroll through a podcast directory, looking for something to, to miss it. And I suppose it’s that whole package that we try to put together.
Aleksandra King (08:45):
Yeah. And I think you do an excellent job and a professionally produced beautiful podcast is definitely going to add credibility to a company to their name. You know, if you have produced under your name and you’re involved in it, do you want it to be as professional as possible? Don’t you mean,
Keren Haynes (09:00):
Of course, because you know, if you were doing a brochure, you’re not going to want to do something. That’s looking a bit tatty with you know, slightly inappropriate images and the design is not very good. It’s, it’s the same thing you work when it’s corporate. You want it to be the highest standard as possible because it’s all part of your, your corporate image.
Aleksandra King (09:17):
Okay. So what types of people or companies are typically interested in creating podcasts?
Keren Haynes (09:22):
Everybody! I mean, it’s such a thing, isn’t it? It has, it’s like a Renaissance in podcasts over the last couple of years. And so many people are getting it getting in on the, on the action from journalists wanting to sort of ex extend where they place their content to, to corporates companies wanting to add a podcast, a podcast series to their PR arsenal. So it’s, it’s, it’s all sorts of companies. And that’s one of the delights about, about the whole sector that you can find a broad audience if, if you want with a podcast or actually you could really tailor it down. So if you will, the brand was promoting a men’s health product and you wanted middle aged men. You would be able to find that within, within the podcast listening audience,
Aleksandra King (10:11):
What steps would a typical client go through from deciding that they want this professionally produced podcast to actually executing one?
Keren Haynes (10:20):
Well, the most of the time is actually going to be spent upfront. With the initial communication and making a plan for the podcast before it actually goes into, into production. That’s chatting about all the topics we want to cover, the messages we want to present, the hosts of the show, the sorts of guests that want to take part. We would write that down as a plan. So it’s almost like you’re getting an audio edit, but it’s, but it’s on paper so that before a client starts investing time and money into actually producing a podcast, they’ll have a really good idea of what they’re going to get out (before we’ve actually started recording). So that means that you are in control that the CLA the clients, is it going to hear the end product? And they go, Oh, well, I wasn’t really to keep this going to be like that because actually all that’s been agreed by.
Keren Haynes (11:12):
So it’s like a storyboard really. But, but it’s, which is what we would do for video production, but it’s at it’s for audio. And so, you know, when that’s been agreed, then it’s, it’s trying to find suitable guests and we will guide, and perhaps the guests or clients and case studies, in which case they might want to deal with them direct, or we can help with some of the sourcing of spokespeople too. So we would record all the interviews. I kind of think if you’ve managed to record, lots of interviews in one goes, and it sort of flows better. And particularly until you get into the swing of a podcast series but they can be done at different times, you know, depending on people’s timetables. And then we would edit. And once we’ve edited of a project together, we would send it to the commissioning person for them to approve and to go backwards and forwards a couple of times, if, if need be until you get the perfect cast,
Aleksandra King (12:06):
Do you recommend having a podcast as a standalone thing or as part of a bigger
Keren Haynes (12:12):
PR campaign? Well, post work, don’t they, and there’s plenty of people that producer or have a podcast series produced to, and it stays on the various podcast platforms, but, you know, with a PR agency background, I think a podcast series works even better if you can really integrate it as part of a PR campaign and S and so it just gives your, it just gives your audience an extra push doesn’t it, if you can, you know, perhaps the spokespersons on the radio and they can say, well, a radio interview would be quite short just a few minutes and they could say, well, if you’re interested in hearing more about this, I’ve actually got a podcast on this and it’s called dah dah, dah, dah, dah. And, and then it’s additional content in, in, in the podcast because a podcast would be longer than a radio interview.
Keren Haynes (13:02):
But I think there’s such a lot of flexibility with it, with the podcast, because just because of the whole digital thing that it’s so easy to put a link and, and put a problem, promote a podcast on, on social media, or to host it on your own website, or put a link into it, use that so that you’re sending out to clients, you know, there’s infinite possibilities and different ways of promoting it. So I would say why keep it as this secret little thing on iTunes or wherever if you could get more people to it. So I would say use it as part of an integrated campaign in order to really encourage audiences for, from different places to gravitate towards the podcast.
Aleksandra King (13:42):
I know that many of our listeners are keen on producing their own podcasts.
Keren Haynes (13:46):
What are your top three tips to those listening and interested in either starting or improving their own podcasts? Well, it’s all about making a podcast as appealing as possible to your target audience. So I would say tip number one, plan and plan and plan again. Number two, do you use music music’s really good for setting a scene suggesting to a listener that something’s about to change or something new is going to be introduced and be creative. You know, if you’ve got a podcast and it’s, and it’s split up into different sections, you know, mix it up, try it, try it, perhaps try something new the next week for one of the sections and see what sort of response you get back from that from the audience. I mean, it’s a podcasts podcast, fantastic opportunities for doing your own thing, trying things out, testing your audience, testing yourself too. So I say, mix it up and be creative. Okay,
Aleksandra King (14:41):
Karen, it was great chatting to you. Thanks so much for joining us.
Keren Haynes (14:44):
Well, thank you for having me. I hope that’s given some helpful tips for your listeners.
Aleksandra King (14:52):
For anyone who wants to chat through ideas Shout Communications would be happy to oblige. That was Karen from Shout Communications, broadcast PR agency. It is at this point in our podcast that we’ll answer the question of how we can use podcasts in our marketing. I’ll be speaking to an expert in the digital marketing field who can help us take a deeper dive into this subject. I’m joined by Elliott King CEO of mint twist digital agency. And it’s great to have you on the show.
Elliott King (15:30):
Aleksandra, thanks for having me.
Aleksandra King (15:32):
Right. So can you shed some light on how many podcasts there are out there and how to get your podcast to stand out from the rest?
Elliott King (15:42):
Well, as of today, there are nearly a million podcasts out there with about 55 million episodes. And the number of podcasts are growing by a rate of about 20% year on year.
Aleksandra King (15:55):
Life is never straightforward, is it? That is why we’re giving you our podcast listeners, the opportunity to ask our experts, any burning questions, right? Elliott a question has come in from Adam from the brighter group. And his question is how can a podcast help me to market my business? What are your thoughts on this?
Elliott King (16:18):
Well, it’s a very good question. And in the first part of the show, Karen spoke quite eloquently about how podcasts can be integrated into a PR campaign. And I think my answer would be in the same way, in a similar way, you can integrate a podcast into your marketing campaign and marketing. Really, as many people listening to the show will know is a, is a process. And we quite often talk about the marketing funnel. So for brands to be able to nurture customers, first of all, at the top of the funnel, they need to create awareness with their customers and in the middle of the funnel, they need to nurture that awareness and build up this concept that we can sometimes talk about as know, like and trust. So a customer can come to know a brand, but in order for them to like, and trust that brand, that brands needs to create communications. The act has touch points and facilitators for creating a relationship between the brand and that customer. And it’s in exactly that point where our agency see the power of podcasts sitting in the middle of the marketing funnel, nurturing, they know like, and trust factor with new and potential customers.
Aleksandra King (17:37):
Thanks Elliott, that was Elliott King CEO of MintTwist. And if you have any burning questions of your own, please do send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to include questions in our next podcast. And that completes today’s episode. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. And if you have do subscribe to get subsequent episodes automatically, in the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about digital marketing, please visit minttwist.com. Thanks so much for joining us and see you again soon.