How to make a podcast, insights by Wayne Parker Kent
It costs about 10k to get started, 3k per episode
No need to explain the popularity of podcasts. Education becomes entertainment, anytime, anywhere, while you do something else. Actually, podcasts are nothing new, the first dates from 2004.
As the origin of this type of broadcasting comes from a passion and not a commercial perspective, podcasts are all about sharing knowledge, experiences, insights, and visions. It is about the content and not the euros. It gives you a stage to go full-blown nerdy on your niche. A unique way to build a relationship with your audience in their own personal time. 'Your podcast is selected by themselves to be consumed at a scarce and valuable moment of their not-working time.' This side effect is creating a community of like-minded listeners. Up to you to set up and use the feedback loop for inspiration or for new episodes.
* What to expect in this blog *
First: requirements for success
Second: business case and costs
Third: behind the scenes by Wayne Parker Kent
Requirements for success
Almost every brand is jumping on the bandwagon of podcasts. How do you create your own podcast and have an impact?
- Find your niche. Set your strategy and define your topic and sub-topics in line with your brand and values. Claim your leadership and display a different sound. Publish your own sonic magazine.
- Have one ‘golden nugget’ per episode. Meaning, one topic. And give a heads up on the catch in the intro so your listeners know what to expect.
- As all content, a podcast must add value for the listener. Why should your audience listen, what is in it for them. Keep in mind, people don’t like to be marketed. The podcast is not about you, it is about sharing knowledge, experiences, or to entertain.
- Have a logical fit with your content on your website. Even better, provide some long read background information to create a consistent experience and emphasize your leadership claim.
- Stick to a format. Steal with pride and cherry-pick what works to create your own format. Do a few dry-runs, test it, ask your listeners for feedback, and improve continuously. Great read on formats, unfortunately only in Dutch available.
- Create a detailed playbook. It becomes easier to stick to your format and to speed up the production. Start with the preparation of the episode, how to invite guests, and prepare them, up till the end of the evaluation of recording and the feedback from listeners and the guests.
- Set up your distribution using your own channels, your guests, your employees, and the obvious podcast channels. Also think about partnerships with thought leaders in your industry, such as a marketing blog or publisher.
- When developing the format, keep all distribution channels in mind. Meaning, make sure you can cut sound snippets or use written quotes to be used in social for the seeding.
- Create an introduction champaign. The first impression counts and there is only one opportunity to launch.
- Yet, give it time. Creating an audience and build your listener base takes time. A podcast is not a campaign asset, it is part of your long term content strategy.
- Circle back around and close the loop. Get feedback from your listeners and guests for new topics and episodes. With your podcast you create a community of like-minded people, use that for inspiration and ideation.
- Have fun! It is always nicer to listen to people who are passionate and who have fun, instead of taking themselves overly seriously.
- Last requirement. ‘A job well done speaks for itself’, there is absolutely no need to have your own commercial sh*t in the podcast. If you really really need to, do it where your listens expect it. In the intro when it is easy to skip. Or even better, at the end. Please don’t have any call to actions or ‘subscribe now’s in the middle of the script. Rule of thumb, don’t mention it more than two times.
I repeat... Don’t use a podcast as a disguised way to promote your product or brand. People listen to a podcast to be entertained and educated, not to be marketed to. No exceptions.
Business case and costs
The business case of a podcast is simple. Don’t expect to generate direct sales. There is no direct attribution. You create reach by sharing your knowledge and insights that add value for your listeners. And you claim your leadership along the way.
Be there for the really long term to see a revenue. That's why you need to spend serious time on your strategy and map out your topics.
As goes for all content: the more effort you invest on the strategy, you more effective and efficient you can produce the actual assets.
Take your time to develop your strategy, set up the format, and define the topics. My gut feeling, you should spend a minimal two months figuring out the details and to do a dry-run. The rule of thumb for the topics, create a list of about 25 to ensure that long term commitment.
Once you have that in place you can produce fast with a short time to market.
Budget for facility
You can start your own podcast facility for a fairly low budget. A detailed breakdown of an in-house production room is about € 1.850 for sound quality: 4 microphones, 1 audio mixer, and sound isolation materials to turn an office room into a studio. Next to the euro’s, they had an intern to buy and set up the equipment and installation of the isolations materials.
Wayne Parker Kent is a hands-on agency. When they started with 'The Brief' they were still housed in their former undersized office building. Their so-called ‘studio’ was a random office and keeps its office functionality, only during recording hours this office is converted into a studio.
They strongly advise to 'invest in a good facility from the first moment as this will improve the quality of your show. Substandard or even worse bad sound quality is absolutely killing, no matter your content excellence.' In the meanwhile, they built a professional studio where they do all recordings, for their clients and their own podcast.
Budget for production
An agency can produce your podcast, the minimal costs per episode will be roughly around € 3k. Add another minimum of € 5 to 10k for the strategy, format, and setup.
Wayne Parker Kent advises developing the concept and format together with your agency. Let them run about 10 episodes. Once you got the show on the road, move the production in-house, and save on budgets.
For their own podcast per episode, they spend about 20 hours, divided over 3 employees and the intern.
- 12 hours for research and editorial work. The key elements are to balance the topics and the outtakes over all the episodes. To be diverse and inclusive for their guest speakers. And to prepare the guests.
- 8 hours to produce: record, edit, and publish.
Please notice these budgets are indications and can vary in line with your podcast; the brief, the format, the presenters, adding music, and the complexity of the topics. In short: the usual agency budget disclaimer.
First is to embrace all common publishing platforms, expending this in line with feedback from your listeners. Next, use your own usual channels as www, social, and email. Last, ask your guests to publish and promote their episode.
Already mentioned in the requirements for success; 'When developing the format, keep all distribution channels in mind. Meaning, make sure you can cut sound snippets, or use written quotes, to be used in social for the seeding.'
For Wayne Parker Kent their most brilliant move is the exclusive cooperation with a leading marketing magazine. Podcast content in exchange for reach. Unnecessary to say, this can be done if the podcast truly adds value for the listener.
Behind the Wayne Parker Kent podcast scenes
A unique behind the scenes and great insights by the award-winning podcast of Wayne Parker Kent. Their podcast launched in 2016, the early adopters. They aim to give a stage to the most influential peers, biggest thinkers and disrupters in the content industry. With the sole focus to add value for their listener, not to promote Wayne Parker Kent as a content agency.
Their main reasons to start a podcast are based on research and insights in the market:
First, there was an opportunity to be the first business podcast on content marketing. The year 2016 was between the first wave and the current second wave of podcast popularity. Not one agency claimed this ‘content domain’ and Wayne Parker Kent grabbed this opportunity.
Second, the belief ‘to practice what you preach’. ‘Do not trust a content marketing agency that lacks its own content strategy’. You cannot be credible if you do not have your own content in place.
Third, their target audience of senior marketing management is hard to reach. Wayne Parker Kent defined a gap in their agendas and time allocation, the commute between home and the office. This daily hour can be used to entertain and educate their audience on the content industry. A podcast is for that specific commute the most accessible and easy to consume content format.
Last, not least. They themselves are huge fans of the podcast from the very beginning. For their format, they did their homework: have a top 3 favorite podcasts, analyze and dissect to cherry-pick the elements for their own. Their recommendations: Joe Pulizzi, Joe Rogan, and Tim Ferris.
On and off thinking and brainstorming about the concept, finetuning, developing the actual format, and getting all the details in place, took a runtime of about four months. The actual production of the first episode was one week.
If you are going to produce a podcast, do it well or do not do it all. Get the creative agency on board and please do not do any DIY. ‘Sounding shitty never looks pretty’.
My own experience with Wayne Parker Kent
It was great fun to be a guest in their podcast in 2017 on ‘how to develop your content strategy’. They nudged me a few weeks upfront and send me a list of questions. Nerdy as I am, I prepared all my super-detailed answers to the exact questions. Never could I have guessed they asked me totally different questions in the recording. Yet, by being prepared and their way of interviewing me, we had a natural flow and a real conversation instead of a stiff ‘talking heads’ interview.
Your first time recording is a bit exciting. Big headset, impressive microphone, three guys around me in a small studio: one to interview, a second interviewer and to moderate, and one guy for technical stuff. You do not know whom to face in the beginning. Gentlemen as they are, they helped me with tips and tricks. With the test run, they put me at ease before getting into the actual recording. Though, in all honesty, I still haven't listened to the recording as I am still anxious to hear my own voice :).
Being a guest in their podcast was a party and I loved to share my knowledge and experiences. Businesswise, I had some great feedback, and still, after 3 years people are reaching out to me.
With thanks to the insights and knowledge from Matthijs Tielman Head of Strategy at Wayne Parker Kent, an ‘audience-first content marketing agency’. For transparency, I am not affiliated with Wayne Parker Kent. I like them as an agency and I have worked with them a few times. In my opinion, they are one of the best content agencies out there and really put the audience first and brand second. https://www.wayneparkerkent.com/.
Don't be too serious, people love it when you are having fun
Start with an agency and after 10 episodes take it in-house to save on costs. And please, don’t use a podcast as a disguised way to promote your product or brand. People listen to a podcast to be entertained and educated, not to be marketed to. No exceptions.