For the last few years, my podcast, Interviews with Experts, has been allowing me to share the expertise of business leaders and entrepreneurs on how to build brands and grow your company by providing content that serves your audience.
For a business podcast, there are five main formats. A question people often ask me is how to choose the ‘right’ one for their podcast. Honestly speaking, these five formats are interchangeable – you don’t have to choose one when you start your podcast, then stick with it for the rest of time. In fact, I’d recommend mixing it up to keep your listeners engaged.
The key is to be clear on the following key points:
- What you want your podcast to achieve
- What your audience wants
- The listening experience for your audience
- How you can best provide value.
Once you are clear on these points, you will be able to mix it up if you want to or stick to the format which meets your needs best.
1 – Monologue or Training Podcast
In a monologue or training-style podcast, it’s just you talking. This can be a really effective way to present information on a specific topic quickly and efficiently to a specific audience.
However, it can also be easy to get lost or off-topic without an audience, co-host or guest to keep you focused. The key for this format of podcast is to prepare. This will require you to do planning and research before sitting down to record.
Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Engage with your audience. Leverage the communities and networks that you are part of to do research. Use the poll feature on LinkedIn, or ask in Facebook groups or similar groups.
- Use websites to identify in-demand topics or keywords. There are a few incredibly useful websites you can use for this:
- Similarweb lets you research the traffic sources for competing organisations, giving you an idea of what your audience is looking for elsewhere online or things they might be looking up.
- AnswerThePublic helps you understand what people are asking online and how often, based on the keywords or topics you search for.
- Neil Patel’s UberSuggest not only gives you an amazing breakdown of your own existing articles and content that’s already out there, but also allows you to do some really effective keyword searches. You can then spice it up with the content that you’re about to put out there.
- Make notes. Some of you might prefer to write out a whole script, for others four or five bullet points will do. The main point is to think of the listener’s experience and give a flow of information that makes sense.
- Focus on what will be most helpful. For example, if you’re listening to a business podcast, you’re probably going to want the information quickly. You won’t necessarily want to listen to a lot of talking around the topic.
2 – Guest Interview Podcast
The key with guest interviews is to be clear on the purpose of the show and only bring on guests who align with it, rather than bringing in guests for the sake of it. Make sure that your guests can provide information that fits with both your audience and theirs.
The advantage of guest interviews is that they are a great promotional opportunity for you and your guests. They will share your podcast with their audience when they are featured, and your audience learns who they are. Every time this happens, your podcast is exposed to a brand-new wider network of people.
Two things to be careful of are time – don’t get carried away by the conversation – and committing to a frequency you can keep to. You do not want unforeseen circumstances causing a content drought and weeks of no interviews.
A way to avoid this is to record several weeks in advance. This provides a safety net in case calls get rearranged or plans need to be changed.
3 – Q&A Podcast
This is a great format because it gives you an opportunity to engage with your audience directly and answer the questions that they are actually asking right now.
Podcasts, typically being weekly or bi-weekly content, are always going to be very fresh. You might not produce a Q&A every week, but once a quarter or so they give a great chance to address what people are concerned about.
Getting the content for a Q&A generally happens in two ways:
- Get people to send in questions. Put out a message through your social media or email list that you will dedicate an entire episode to answering questions your audience puts to you.
- Answer frequently asked questions all at once. I find that sometimes I find myself repeating the same answers to the same questions. This is a great sign that this is content your audience needs! So record an episode answering them, and you can then refer people to it when you get those questions in future.
4 – Co-hosted Podcast
These podcasts, where two or more people discuss a topic, are really good fun. You need to make sure that all hosts are on the same page though. Do this by discussing the relationship beforehand, some things to consider are:
- Having a good rapport. If you don’t have good chemistry or struggle to keep a conversation flowing with your co-host, you won’t be interesting to listen to!
- Motivations for doing the show. Will there be a beneficial result to both hosts, or is one agreeing to help out with the other’s idea?
- Be clear on each host’s role. Avoid cross-talk or awkward silences by establishing cues for when to talk and what each person is bringing to the conversation and episode. This is particularly important if one of you is more talkative than the other!
Remember – for this type of podcast, it’s not just about sharing the knowledge you both possess. It’s also a chance to build relationships, have some fun, and entertain your listeners with banter.
5 – Other pre-recorded content, repurposed
Generating content from scratch every week is challenging. However, one of the beauties of having a business built around content is that it can and should be repurposed. Different people enjoy content in different formats, depending on what works for them.
Pre-recorded podcasts are a nice and simple way of providing your expertise to a wider audience. If you have recorded events, webinars, or even client training, these can be relevant shows. All you need is to edit them as a podcast episode, rather than recording from scratch. No need to waste effort duplicating content you already have!
Has reading this given you inspiration for that podcast you’ve always wanted to start? Still not sure where to go next or want support getting it off the ground? You’re not alone! We give many of our authors and podcasters the support they need to get their message out there.
Why not book a clarity call if you’d like to learn more about how to build your personal brand using content like podcasts and create a community that is excited to work with you.