The popularity of podcasts has risen in recent years, with more and more entrepreneurs now incorporating them into their marketing strategy to connect with their audience, align 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 time and effort required can impair the operation of the business. It must also come from a passion to champion a cause and provide value to the public. When aligned with a company’s marketing goals, a podcast can reap huge business benefits.
Recruitment subscription service Talentful was launched in 2015 as a disruptive recruitment solution for the technology industry. It was a result of founders Chris Abbass and Phil Blaydes recognizing a widespread need for a scalable, in-house recruitment solution that operates 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 work to complex strategic planning, and explores how leaders are redefining the role of talent acquisition in business management and repositioning talent at the forefront of organizational 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 openness of the guests,” he says. “This is where aligning guests to the themes and topics of your podcast is so important. If they believe in the theme, they can be confident that the audience will come.”
To other entrepreneurs 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 planning.”
Cooperation 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 efficiently based on open source tools. The business launched in January 2021, followed by The MLOps Podcast three months later.
Co-founder and CEO Dean Pleban says, “There’s machine learning content, mostly focused on the research side, but less on taking models to production, and some great learnings that aren’t documented anywhere and can be useful to society. 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 podcasters cite. However, Pleban found it easier than expected. “Some people are hard to get a hold of, but most people are open to having a conversation, as long as it’s authentic and the topic interests them,” he says.
Scheduling is another challenge since podcasters, by definition, work around different people’s schedules. “An alternative is to record many episodes and release them over a longer period of time,” says Pleban. “Another is to have wild card guests. If you think you’re not going to make a new episode in time, they’re willing to jump in at the 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 technology company Sport BUFF’s podcast, Ahead of the Game, features familiar faces from the sports and broadcast industry and has become a vehicle for the gamification and on-screen engagement specialist to market their product in an area visible to investors, competitors, peers and partners like.
Founder Benn Achilleas says: “This visibility gives us a validation that is important for such an innovative solution. It has delivered leads and exposure to our 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 is a lack of time and resources, as creating podcasts takes staff away from their day-to-day responsibilities. A balance must be struck between benefit and commercial damage. “Booking guests, writing interesting content and questions, etc. are all standard issues with running any kind of publication or podcast, but they’re amplified when creating the podcast isn’t the core 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 launched in April 2019, and the podcast followed two months later.
“It didn’t take long to realize that my network was woeful,” says Fairey. “I dug into the community, attending conferences, accelerators and slack groups, all the while trying to gain insight into what people were talking about. And I found that the biggest voices were investors.”
The podcast strategy proved successful. Stakester has raised over £6 million, including more than £500,000 from people who have attended or listened to the show. “Also, those who have been on the show have referred me to investors who 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 reference relationships with remarkable people in a community.”