Podcast Production Companies: How To Choose The Right One
Podcasts are no longer a new concept in brand marketing. Instead, more and more businesses are investing in podcasts to gain visibility, showcase their thought leadership, and encourage new audiences to get on their side.
But brands looking to create a podcast for marketing purposes can find themselves in a bind. The production value of some of these branded podcasts is outstanding, and is pushing the quality bar ever higher. Today's listener's expect engaging, quality content that sounds high-end. Brands that are looking to somehow stand out and maintain an engaged audience are finding this new podcast landscape tough to navigate.
Anyone looking to hit that higher production value-bar will instantly realize that quality often comes at a cost. Not only financially but also in time and manpower.
What is a Branded Podcast and Why You Should Create One! Read the Full Article HERE
Podcast Production Companies
The best podcast production companies act as your creative confidant and will strive to set you up for success. They take the guesswork out of the process, help build podcasts from the ground up, reduce the learning curve, and offer a wealth of expertise you can't often find from Google searches, blogs, and "how-to" podcasts.
But where do you even begin looking for such a miracle? How do you choose the right podcast production company that will take care of everything from strategy planning, mic technique, recording, guest research and booking, publishing, and even marketing?
This article explains what you should look for when selecting a podcast production company.
How Can A Podcast Production Company Help You?
Simply put, a podcast production company is a team of seasoned podcast experts ready to help you plan, create and publish an engaging show. These experts can help you with podcast production aspects such as refining your ideas and defining your strategy, recording and editing audio content, finding and prepping guests and promoting the podcast.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Finding the right podcast production company for your needs involves understanding a few essential points behind your podcast.
A good podcast agency will take the time to sit with you and ask lots of thought-provoking questions. They will want to know the what, when's and why's behind your podcast's concept. It's in your best interest to answer those questions confidently so that they can tailor their services to your brand's mission.
Here are a few aspects to consider:
What is your goal? Why are you creating a podcast in the first place?
Who is your target audience? New business owners?
What does podcast success look like for the brand? Thousands of downloads? Three new leads per month?
What kind of help do you need? Editing? Production? Scripting? Promotion?
When are you looking to launch your podcast? To coincide with a company or global event? Before a product launch?
What is your niche? Do you have expertise on a specific topic? Is the host an expert in their industry? Can you envision a podcast based on that niche?
How to Start a Podcast for Your Business: Read the article HERE
What Is Your Goal?
Having goals and direction is often a catalyst for success, especially within podcasting. Establishing your podcast's goals will positively affect your decision-making, from the kind of content you need to create and the format of your show to your marketing efforts.
Naturally, your goals will be brand specific and tailored to suit your needs. For example, some possible podcast goals might be:
Brand Awareness: Is your goal to generate visibility for the brand, the podcast, and the type of content you're creating? Brand awareness establishes how many ears (and eyes) you can get on your podcast and how far you want your podcast to reach.
Thought Leadership: Setting the brand up as a credible source of information on a specific topic or industry. Having a thought leadership podcast goal can help define the type of guests you have on the show and the overall format.
Lead Generation/Sales: Creating revenue, building a more extensive and robust portfolio, or having your podcast positioned as another point within your content marketing funnel.
Networking: Are you trying to increase the brand's professional network or encourage a specific set of people toward your brand?
To Teach and Educate: People tune into podcasts to be entertained or educated o a topic. Intellectual property is very much a commodity within podcasting. Is your goal to address a challenge or problem within your industry? Or inform audiences of a specific topic?
Who is Your Target Audience?
In the early stages of your podcast's development, you will have an idea of the audience you want to attract. But content planning and creation become so much easier once you know precisely whom you want to be talking to. When discussing your podcast with prospective production companies, one of the top questions they will ask is, who is your podcast for? The more in-depth you can go, the easier it will be for them to tailor their recommendations to your goals.
To re-establish or define your ideal podcast audience, be as clear and specific as possible. Create a listener persona (that one person you would ideally love to have tuned in and engaging with your show) by thinking about the specifics; who are they, what do they do for a job, are they male or female? What's this person's name? Age? Occupation? Education? Family situation? Income?
What Does Success Look Like for Your Brand?
In podcasting, success doesn't just mean thousands of downloads per episode. Instead, there are multiple levels of success depending on what you want your podcast to achieve.
For example, download numbers will be a great indicator of success if you strive to increase your visibility and brand awareness. Or, if your podcast is a tool you want to use to generate more leads or sales, success could be measured by a predetermined percentage increase in both those avenues.
So, what does success look like for you and your brand? Downloads, subscribers, increased website traffic, newsletter subscribers, reviews, increased social media interaction, high episode completion rates, invitations to speak, or even monetization and sponsorship agreements?
How to Source a Podcast Production Company
Type "podcast production company" into Google, and you'll find thousands of results. Sometimes it's worth engaging in some community snooping; by that, we mean seeing the word on the street.
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to understand which type of service to choose. Do you have an acquaintance or someone within your network that has a podcast, is using a podcast production company and has had a good experience? Do these podcasters outsource their production? Can they recommend their podcast company to you?
Check podcast-specific forums. There are plenty of people discussing the industry, and many more willing to advise on who to work with and who not to work with
Blogs outlining the top production companies are an excellent resource for checking which agencies crop up repeatedly. In many cases, these blogs will break down the services they provide and the type of brand or individual they tend to work with.
LinkedIn is an exceptional resource for finding production companies, both locally and further afield.
Are They Right for Your Business?
As we established, there are so many podcast production companies, and they all can have different specialties for different types of businesses. For example, some may focus on high-production narrative storytelling; others can help develop and produce B2C business or B2B shows. So, ask yourself, what are the services they offer and what do they specialize in?
Do your homework. Researching a production company's website and speaking with a representative can give you a good overview of the types of podcasts they create and their services.
Are they a small enterprise or mid-to-large company? Some top-end agencies have sophisticated teams that can handle the entire podcasting process from start to finish, including planning, producing, editing, marketing, and data tracking.
Are They B2B or B2C?
We'd say that most brands looking to create and release a podcast want to generate some return on their investment (ROI). In these cases, ROI generation strategies vary wildly between B2B and B2C podcasting.
B2C (Business to Consumer) podcasts focus on maximizing visibility and downloads, which will trickle down to help push that desired ROI. Usually, this is done through ad revenue or sales.
B2B, however, should focus on the smaller, more niche audiences that swim in similar circles to you. Networking, relationship building, and thought leadership are often the name of the game here.
Why are we mentioning these two camps? Because most podcast production companies will have a stronger understanding and experience within one of these two. Your podcast's goal and direction will dictate your show's content, so try to discern which companies specialize in which type of podcast production.
Listen To Their Previous Work
An obvious point, no? While you may like the look of the testimonials on a PPC's website, the proof of whether a company is right for you is definitely in the pudding. An agency should be proud of their work and in most cases, will display the brands or shows they have worked with on a dedicated page.
Listening to a production company's podcasts will give you a sense of the kind of shows they can achieve. For example, the music, editing style, and scripting - most productions have a signature sound or approach to the content they create with clients.
Are there significant differences between the shows if a company has an extensive catalog? Variety is an excellent indicator of creativity, which means there is often a willingness within the agency to listen to clients and explore new ideas to create stand-out pieces.
Do They Specialize in a Podcast Format?
Podcasting is a highly creative medium, but not all topics suit specific formats. Therefore, when looking for a podcast company to partner with, try to establish their format specialty.
The are multiple formats within podcasting, but the three that dominate the medium are:
The narrative-style podcast that focuses on compelling storytelling
In researching the perfect podcast production company for you, there will usually be telltale signs of the kinds of formats that that agency embraces and specializes in. For example, here at Lower Street, our specialty is narrative storytelling for brands.
A Clear Strategy & Concept Plan
Any qualified production company will conceptualize and develop a comprehensive strategic plan outlining the production steps. A agencies strategy, when done well, should outline multiple areas of a podcast before production begins. Such as helping you refine your target audience, goals, your podcast concept, episodes, and show format. Not only that, but they should also look ahead towards any marketing opportunities you could utilize once your show is ready to launch.
Podcast Distribution: The most successful podcasts have their shows distributed across all the major podcast platforms. A podcast production company should ensure that you publish and upload a podcast as far and wide as possible using all the podcast directories available.
Marketing and Promotion
Effectively marketing your podcast can be a significant challenge for podcasters. It's sometimes unclear which channels will be most effective, so you will want to find someone that can help you strategize and initiate a quality marketing plan. While social media can play a prominent role in a podcast's visibility, having a solid strategy that utilizes multiple channels is often needed to get in front of your target audience.
A good production company should be able to guide you or even manage a podcast promotion strategy. Whether that's creating Audiograms, finding podcasts for guesting opportunities, or even crafting a plan that includes paid advertising options such as in-app banner ads, programmatic ads, and host-reads.
A robust promotional strategy is necessary for any podcast to succeed in increasing visibility, and the production company you choose should be able to help with that.
Podcast production companies help manage multiple scenarios in the podcast creation process, such as recording, editing, booking guests, publishing episodes, setting up distribution channels, and promoting.
But companies are built in different ways. Fees can differ between agencies, as well as the options they offer. So before you start your search, ask yourself what you want to get out of your podcast. Why are you making it? What are your goals? Then, find the right company that aligns with your success idea, budget, values, and vision.
A podcast is an investment and a commitment, so finding the agency to help carry out your goals and ambitions is critical. So, find a production company that will be in your corner!