Corporate Podcast Production: 5 Questions to Assess Vendors

Emily Kingland
April 14, 2020
Corporate Podcast Production: 5 Questions to Assess Vendors

What is love?

Who ya gonna call?

Won’t the real Slim Shady please stand up?

Imagine if these famous questions were never asked. What would they dance to at The Roxbury? Who’d bust ghosts? And would Eminem ever stand up again?

It’s tough to think about the state of the world if no one had posed those pressing queries.

An even worse thought? Hiring a corporate podcast production vendor without asking the most critical questions.

See, I talk with Sweet Fish customers on a daily basis. I’ve come to the realization that corporate podcast production agencies, such as Sweet Fish Media, are kind of a new thing. Many times, people don’t know what the right questions are to ask a service provider like that before hiring them.

You know you want a corporate podcast. You know you want to find a corporate podcast production team. But, you’re not quite sure what to even look for in a production partner.

This being the case, I decided to share what I feel are the top 5 questions to ask a corporate podcast production vendor.

Oh, and full transparency before we get started. Sweet Fish Media does produce podcasts for businesses and can answer ‘yes’ to all of the following questions. However, the intention of this article is to equip you with the best questions to ask a corporate podcast production vendor, not to lead you into a scary, sales-y lair.

What questions should you ask before hiring a vendor for corporate podcast production? 5 questions you should ask before hiring a corporate podcast production vendor:

  1. How many people from your team will be involved in the production of my podcast?
  2. Will you be sending me all the equipment I need to get started or will I need to purchase it separately?
  3. Will your team be repurposing the audio from the podcast for video, graphics, and blog content?
  4. Will your team handle all the guest prospecting and outreach to make sure our show always has a full queue of guests?
  5. Will your team help me plan episodes that are optimized to rank for a specific keyword when the audio is repurposed as blog content?

We hope these questions help you make a well-informed decision when it comes to your podcast production needs.

Now, let’s unpack these.

1. How many people from your team will be involved in the production of my podcast?

One of the simpler questions to ask of a potential corporate podcast production partner, but also one of the most revealing.

We’ve learned that it takes more than 2-3 people to produce a podcast worth listening to. When you think about it, there’s a wide variety of skills needed to make a real five-star podcast.

For example, to produce a quality podcast, our team involves at least one of each of the following:

  • Producer
  • Guest talent coordinator
  • Writer
  • Audio engineer
  • Graphic designer

Plus, we include a videographer and social media specialist for each of our collective shows (B2B Growth, The B2B Sales Show, Crafting Culture, etc.)

It takes a village to raise a kid, right? Well, our village is Sweet Fish Media and our kids are podcasts! (Don’t tell my kids I said this.)

All of this to say that you can pretty accurately predict the quality of a podcast based on how many people are involved. We know from experience that less than five people working on a podcast probably won’t turn out a successful show.

2. Will you be sending me all the equipment I need or will I have to purchase that separately?

Have you ever gone up to an ice cream truck and been told to bring your own waffle cone in order to get the ice cream?

No. Because that would be dumb and bad for business.

Same goes for a vendor offering corporate podcast production services. The recording equipment is an absolute necessity for what they’re offering. So, they should supply you with the tools to get ‘er done.

Equipment set-up

Know what would be the sprinkles on top of the ice cream? If your corporate podcast production partner sent you an accompanying video explaining how to set up the equipment.

When Sweet Fish is bringing a new customer on board, we make sure they have all the essential equipment and send over tutorial videos to make the set-up as simple as possible. That’s why people hire us in the first place — we’re podcasting gurus!

Seamless customer experience

Acquiring and setting up the necessary equipment should be a seamless experience offered by your podcast service provider. Because, just like including the cone with the ice cream, it’d be dumb not to.

Side note: We even help people who aren’t our customers find the best recording equipment. If you or a friend is thinking about starting their own corporate podcast, here’s a process for getting it off the ground (equipment recommendations included).

3. Will your team be repurposing the audio from the podcast for video, graphics, and blog content?

The thing about having your own podcast is that there is A TON of opportunities for repurposing content.

Why does that matter? It matters because you’ll be able to meet potential customers via the channel they prefer. Not to mention, the likelihood of reaching more people is pretty much guaranteed when you repurpose your content.

Repurposed content

Our team repurposes the audio from podcasts in the following ways:

  • Pillar videos
  • Micro-videos
  • Graphics
  • LinkedIn posts
  • Blog posts
  • Emails

Short, engaging videos (we call them micro-videos) can be made from the live recording of the show. Eye-catching graphics can feature quotes by the guest or host. Both of these assets are perfect for posting on social media with relevant hashtags.

Additionally, keyword-rich blogs can be crafted from the main talking points of your show. Your blog posts have the potential to rank for popular search queries on Google and bring organic traffic to your website.

Basically, if your corporate podcast production partner only edits your audio, you should look for a new partner. You want a production team, no?

Growing a podcast audience

I’ll admit it: It’s not easy growing a podcast’s listenership.

There are endless options out there for virtually any topic! Plus, if you don’t already have a following, it’s relatively difficult for potential listeners to find your show.

That’s where repurposed content comes in.

Through blogs, videos, and professional graphics, your corporate podcast production team can help you reach more people. And you already have the foundation for all of it: the audio!

It’d be foolish not to leverage that content gold. Almost as foolish as bringing your own waffle cone to the ice cream truck. (Sorry, can’t get ice cream off the brain now.)

4. Will your team be handling all of the guest prospecting and outreach to ensure a full guest queue?

Generating a consistent stream of podcast guests is a lot of work, even for just one show.

If you’re paying a corporate podcast production team to develop a show for you, shouldn’t they be able to find guests for you? They’re the experts, after all.

We completely agree. That’s why the Sweet Fish team takes care of all the pre-production planning. That includes…

  • Generating lists of potential guests
  • Handling guest outreach on our customers’ behalf
  • Suggesting relevant topics for each episode
  • Constructing episode outlines so everyone knows what’s happening

There’s no getting around it: Scheduling guests and the rest of the pre-production process takes time. Time that — if you had it — you wouldn’t want to be wasting on guest prospecting when you’re already paying a production company to do it.

Before hiring a corporate podcast production vendor, make sure you know their process for guest prospecting and outreach.

Side note: There are excellent opportunities to leverage the pre and post-interview with your podcast guests. Instead of shooting the breeze, ask them about any business challenges they might be facing or if there are any books they’ve read that have fundamentally changed the way they work or live.

5. Will your team help me plan episodes that are optimized to rank for a specific keyword when the audio is repurposed as a blog post?

Wow, that’s a really specific question…

I know, I know. We’re getting pretty technical here. However, from the success Sweet Fish has seen from this strategy, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be one of your priorities.

Of course, if the podcast production vendor says no to question three, you need not bother asking this one.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

See, there’s ample opportunity for your company to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs) for industry-related keywords. That means free traffic to your site.

There are ways to increase the chances of showing up on the first page of Google when someone searches for a term related to your offerings. The idea of boosting the probability of getting on the first SERP is known as SEO, or search engine optimization.

The most efficient way to implement SEO? Plan ahead.

Google Alphabet Soup

Here’s a bird’s eye view of our SEO methodology called Google Alphabet Soup:

  1. Our producers team up with you to create a list of industry topics that you’re an expert in (Industry: pet supplies; topics: fluffy dog beds, catnip, snake food).
  2. From that list, the producer looks for common search queries that relate to your topics. They do this by typing the topic (snake food) followed by a [space] and the letter “a” into Google’s search bar (snake food a). This prompts Google to populate a list of popular search terms starting with “snake food a.” (Google’s first suggestion for “snake food a” is “snake food alternatives,” in case you were curious.)
  3. The producer continues this process for the entire alphabet, making note of relevant key phrases that your content could rank for. Our team also makes note of the results currently ranking in the first three spots of Google’s first page.
  4. After whittling the list of key phrases a bit, you and the producer pick 12 you want to base 12 episodes and blog articles on (“The 10 Best Snake Food Alternatives & Where to Buy Them”).
  5. The producer helps you create outlines for each of your episodes in order to stay on topic. Then, you record the episode.
  6. One of the Sweet Fish writers listens to the episode and produces a keyword-rich blog post with lots of value for the reade

This process helps us help our customers reach more people with one single recording.

Plus, even a year after you’ve published the episode, the corresponding article is still gaining traction.

Free traffic

We’re kind of obsessed with the Google Alphabet Soup methodology because we’ve seen it work. What’s more, is you have an endless list of topics for episodes and blog posts.

All the traffic you’re gaining from the keyword-rich articles is free and it’s compounding. Moreover, if your written content is good, readers will likely be interested in streaming your podcast, too.

Who needs ads?

You won’t if your corporate podcast production partner has a proven SEO methodology. So ask about it!

Finding a corporate podcast production partner

These are the 5 most critical questions to ask a corporate podcast production vendor before hiring them. This idea is new to a lot of people and you deserve to know the questions to ask in order to make an informed decision.

In essence, you want to find out if the service provider…

  • Has the talent and bandwidth to give you what you’re paying for
  • Offers a seamless experience in regards to the necessary equipment and set-up
  • Repurposes audio for other forms of content
  • Handles pre-production duties
  • Has an SEO methodology

Seeing an ROI on your podcast strategy means understanding the value your podcast production team is bringing to the table.

We hope these questions help you assess a provider’s value before signing on the dotted line!

For more tips on producing a corporate podcast, tune into B2B Growth on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.