So, you’ve decided it’s the right time to add podcasting to your marketing mix. Now, one of the most important questions remains: Who should you work with to create it?
For many companies, building an in-house podcasting team simply doesn’t make logistical or financial sense, especially considering hiring and equipment costs. And utilizing pre-existing teams (like your marketing department) typically does not work because podcasting requires a highly specialized skillset.
Often, the optimal choice is to hire a podcasting company that already has the staff, expertise, and equipment to create your new show. You can capitalize on the efficiencies of hiring an outside firm for the services you need, freeing up your time and mindshare to continue focusing on your other work.
There are many podcasting companies to choose from – how do you know you’re hiring the right one? Here are six dimensions I often advise folks to keep in mind:
Nothing trumps experience. Podcasting is a nuanced craft, rewarding attention to detail and forethought, and there is no substitute for time and practice.
A podcasting shop run and staffed by experienced professionals will save you hours of frustration by planning ahead, anticipating pitfalls, making contingency arrangements, and more. In turn, this allows creativity to flourish (both for you and your podcasting team) by creating a safe and well-defined space in which to execute your work.
The takehome: Hire people who have years of real-world, practical experience.
Jumping off our focus on experience, it’s crucial to hire a podcast shop that can plan, build, launch, and run your podcast from A to Z.
For example, beyond simply recording and assembling your podcast, do the companies you’re considering offer:
- Launch planning
- Professional equipment and studio access
- Coaching for your hosts (speaking into a mic is an artform!)
- Cover art creation
- Professional voiceovers
- Planning and arranging episodes
- Custom music
- Complete audio editing and mastering
- Show notes, episode transcriptions, and SEO optimization
- Graphics and clips for social media
- Field recording and other services outside the studio
- Establishing podcast directories
- Posting your episodes and more
Not having these services available means that you will either a.) Need to invest the time, money, and resources to do them yourself, or b.) You will need to work with other companies to execute them, adding time, cost, and complexity to your project.
The takehome: Simplify your workflow and save time by hiring a full-service podcasting company.
Podcasting is inherently personal – it involves real, human interaction both in building and sharing our work (and we literally get inside our listeners’ heads!). Chemistry is critical to bring out the best work from hosts, guests, producers, and all people involved in the podcast.
Do you enjoy the people running your prospective podcast company? Do you value and respect their opinions? Have they done excellent work in the past that helps you trust their judgment calls? Are they collaborative and supportive?
In the creative world, it’s sometimes challenging to do exceptional work when you don’t click with your team. When interviewing podcasting companies, make sure to take the time to hear about their services and work and get to know the people involved to ensure you’ll have a collegial environment.
The takehome: You’re going to spend a fair amount of time together – make sure there’s a creative spark!
We all know what it feels like to be “just another customer,” waiting on hold for eons to talk to someone, sending emails to a customer service inbox that seems only to get answered once in a full moon, and simply not being made to feel like a priority.
Because podcasting is a time- and labor-intensive endeavor that requires much coordination and forethought, rapid response times and having access to key players on a regular basis can make or break your production.
While I’d never encourage you to overspend on your budget, it’s not always prudent to hire the cheapest option available because they are (more than likely) dealing in bulk and won’t have the time to give you specialized attention.
Instead, opt for a company that can focus on your needs, address any emergent issues in a timely fashion, and has the hours available to feel like a natural extension of your team.
The takehome: Ditch the churn-and-burn mentality and invest in a podcasting shop that invests in you in return.
If you’re unsure whether a company is the right fit for you, uncover what past and current customers are saying. This step might require a tiny bit of homework, but it’s worthwhile to ensure you’re investing in a trustworthy partner.
Do they have positive reviews on Google? Do they showcase testimonials from companies or organizations you trust or respect? What about their portfolio of work – have interesting or reputable organizations worked with them in the past?
Seeing positive feedback from clients is also helpful in selling your top choice for a podcasting partner to the higher-ups in your company because it demonstrates that other, trusted organizations have made the same choice you’re proposing and found success.
The takehome: Let others do the talking for your prospective podcasting partner.
Bonus: Diversity of Perspectives
The world we live and work in today is more rich and nuanced than ever. Voices that would typically be harder to hear now have the ability to be raised and amplified in ways that we couldn’t have imagined even just a couple decades ago.
More than likely, your potential audience is also full of distinct perspectives. Is the team creating your show reflective or understanding of this group? Can it anticipate and understand their unique needs?
For example, Open Conversation is a female-led initiative that makes shows that represent a diversity of ideas, communities, and interests. We believe this enriches the human story and creates moments for shared experiences that we’d otherwise miss as a society.
The takehome: Hire a company that can empathize with and amplify your unique POV.
If you’re looking for advice on finding an ideal podcasting partner, I’d love to have an open conversation with you about it. In the meantime, join me on Instagram or LinkedIn, or ask a question about anything podcasting, anytime (I might answer yours in an upcoming blog!).