Test your assumptions when making your podcast. Experiment with format, length, and structure.
Production value matters, but content matters more.
Before you start a podcast, define the value you’re bringing to the conversation.
Can you tell our audience a bit about yourself and what you do for ‘nuffsaid?
I lead marketing here at ‘nuffsaid. I was the first marketing hire here, and before that I was the first marketing hire at a company called GitPrime which ended up selling to a company called Pluralsight for $170 million.
How did the podcast ‘wellsaid get started?
Last year we noticed a couple of different things about podcasts in general.
First, we understood that people at a high enough level in any department are incredibly busy, but most podcasts are 20 to 30 minutes, and it often takes a long time to get to the meat of the interview. Plus, with COVID and everything locking down, the commute that many people use as an opportunity to listen to podcasts was gone.
We decided to try a format that’s much more condensed and gives people the information they need on a topic in a short amount of time. The idea is that someone could listen to it between meetings. So every podcast is between 5 and 10 minutes. It’s focused on customer success leaders and the kinds of challenges that they face.
How do you determine the content calendar for the podcast?
The podcast is being managed by Natalie Reiter, and she’s doing an amazing job identifying experts on topics that are important to our customers. She schedules them a full month in advance and onwards, and constantly updates the schedule based on guest availability and audience feedback.
We look for guests who are passionate about specific topics within Customer Success, like developing an effective low-touch model, designing better relationships with other departments, or evolving their hiring process.
What’s the most challenging part about running a podcast?
The most challenging part of running a podcast is the feedback loop. People might be talking about your podcast on social, but those are usually the people who are very excited about your podcast and who are active on social. You don’t often get to hear from the people that are actively listening to the podcast but aren’t sharing it on social, unless they write a review.
You can know that the podcast is growing an audience by looking at the data, but looking at the data alone doesn’t tell you the full story.
We haven’t fully solved this challenge, but one of the ways we’ve made headway is by user-testing our podcast. Chris, our CEO, was previously the president and COO at the company UserTesting, so he brought this heavy testing culture into ‘nuffsaid and now we pretty much test everything, podcast included.
We test things like whether the topics are interesting, format, episode length, and things like that. It’s definitely helped us get more visibility.
How do you distribute and advertise the podcast?
We focus mainly on social and our newsletter, which highlights one perspective from a top CS leader each week. It’s important to include good descriptions when sharing so we get it in front of the people who would be most interested in the current week’s advice.
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If you had to start a new podcast from scratch, what would you do differently?
We’ve done a lot of iterations to get the podcast where it is today. In the beginning, we thought people would just want to listen to the guest. We wanted to get out of the way and have it completely focused on the guest - no host, no intro.
We ran a couple of episodes in that format and it turned out that people aren’t used to that type of podcast. It’s not what they would’ve expected when they hit “play.” So an early lesson we learned is how important context setting and production value are. Having the intro music, the branded stuff, the host… That all matters a lot more than you would think.
What would you say to companies or individuals who are worried about production value?
Again, production value matters, so I’d say it’s great they’re thinking about it, but it doesn’t take a lot to get started.
Chris, our podcast host, has a nice microphone, which is an important piece of equipment for the host to have. With guests, we encourage them to use a quality microphone if they have one, and we always ask that they find a quiet space for the interview. We also invested time in creating an intro with music, but that was a one-time investment. So in short, aim for quality audio and make sure you have some tooling for editing the episodes.
What are the common podcast mistakes you’ve seen others make?
The first is when the host takes forever to get to something interesting. They talk about things that don’t relate to the podcast topic, which I think is something that’s more common with business podcasts. I prefer podcast hosts that get to the point.
The second is podcast hosts that talk too much. It depends on the genre and the goals of the podcast, of course, but if I’m there to hear a guest, then I’d rather the guest do most of the talking.
If a company or person wants to start podcasting, what’s the first thing you recommend they do?
A big part of podcasting is figuring out what themes or types of stories you want to highlight, and how you can be different from all the other shows in your space. You first have to define the value that you’re bringing to the conversation, and whether or not you have anything new and different to offer.
Once you have that, you can work out the tactical and technical details like distribution, hosting, and audio quality, but understanding how your podcast adds value to listeners’ lives is crucial to the show’s success.
As app usage has increased at work, so has the never-ending firehose of tasks and notifications from email, chat, social media, project management tools, and CRM systems that we're expected to consume. ‘nuffsaid is a Proactive Intelligence platform that centralizes your work apps, prioritizes work that matters, then makes it easy to take action.