As the number of UK podcast listeners has doubled over the last five years, so to has the demand on podcast production companies to help businesses share good quality branded content. Our job is to find innovative ways of making your story stand out and get heard in a noisy market place.
Take the European Investment Bank for example. They have an incredible portfolio of countries they've helped for several decades. Multi-million euro projects which have changed lives and cities by the very nature of EIB's investment.
They wanted to create the Future Europe podcast series, to capture some of the great finance case studies they've built over the years.
Often Marketing Directors are up to speed with social media marketing strategies and have a couple of high quality videos under their belt. All things which contribute positively and significantly to raising their website's credibility and SEO presence on search engines.
But a short tweet, a summary blog post and punchy video don't give opportunity to allow marketing teams to show the narrative of what their organisation is about, and why they stand out from others.
In comes podcasts...
There are no rules when it comes to podcasting. You set the agenda in deciding how long, how often and who will be a part of your series. You create time and space to tell your story in full - either with a one-to-one interview, a discussion panel or - as EIB chose - something a little different.
Soundscape and docu-storytelling is not for everyone.
But if your budget affords it, then your podcast is guaranteed to stand out a mile from your competitors.
The concept focuses on taking your listener on a journey. They in return - simply put their headphones on, close their eyes and are taken on a tour to hear, meet and picture a scene wherever you wish.
As a podcast producer, it's my favourite type of project. The room for creativity is enormous. With an open mind and good quality microphones, the final mixed down package can be as good a product as would appear on a BBC Radio 4 documentary.
But it takes time to plan, time to record and time to edit.
What catches most people out, is thinking too narrow right from the offset of planning a podcast series.
What should come first is your story.
And that's whether you work in the soft services industry, or sell a hard product.
When first sketching out your ideas think about who are you talking to? Who is your audience? What message are you trying to convey about your organisation? And who can tell it for you best - your exec board, or perhaps your case studies?
How you choose to tell your story then follows. Then comes budget.
We lent our good friends, Earshot Strategies a hand on this episode, to showcase EIB's story of the University of Cyprus.
It was an honour to meet those impacted by the European Investment Bank who chose to investment more - not less - at a time when the country was facing a huge economical crisis.
What came out of the final story was a clear demonstration of how the money had changed youngster's lives, staff's careers and the overall economy - and confidence - of the country.
More interestingly, it wasn't an obvious piece of content marketing and overly salesy piece.
At the heart was just a good story - people face hardship, people help, people look back in amazement at how they did it.
Throughout the piece (which you can hear and read about right here) I collected lots of SFX to build in the edit to recreate the atmosphere of being there. For example, the building site, walking through the student canteen, a lecturer hall, the staff arriving for the morning meeting at the rector's office... All tricks I've learnt in the trade of radio production over the years.
The whole process took 7 days - here's an idea of how my time on the project broke down:
1 day to prepare and schedule guests,
1 day to research material and relevant statistics for the final blog content and interview preparation,
3 days recording and travelling in Paphos and Nicosia,
1 day to edit and mix down the podcast,
1 day final write up with edited photos and URL headers.
What I think most people will find surprising in this series is that there is no presenter. There is no narrator. There are no hard scripted links and sales pitches within this series.
It is simply based upon the quality of the story of the case studies.
So if you're thinking of another way to build branded content into your marketing strategy, maybe storytelling could be your solution. Question is, who will you find to tell your story best?
Listen to the European Investment Bank's podcast episode about the University of Cyprus on itunes and Acast.
ASFB Productions offer podcast coaching for your businesses and individuals. From online courses, to live group training to one-to-one bespoke workshops. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.