Podcast Maps EP 31 - The 4 Designs for a Business Podcast
In this section, I'm going to talk about podcast design. Solid, well-researched designs are like the foundations of your podcast. You can't build a house on quicksand. It's the same as starting a podcast without researching who your audience is and what the right design is to achieve your business objectives. That's why anecdotally, a large percentage of the podcasts that do fail, fail because they aren't set up right from day one.
No matter how successfully you build their house, if the foundations aren't sound, at some point it's going to collapse. So, how do you create sound foundations for your podcast? We use four designs for business podcasts, which you can find out more about in the guide that accompanies this audio. If you don't have a copy of this guide you can download it from the Pikkal & Co website, which you can find atwww.podcastingforbrands.com.
The four podcast designs for business are effectively each objectives for that business. They are one campaign awareness, two brand or authority, three business development and four news and analysis.
Think of these designs, like blueprints for the house. It's a lot easier to build a house that has an established, tried and tested design than build one from scratch. That design contains many factors inherent to the success of the podcast long-term. Just as any blueprint would give you indication about how deep to build the foundations, a podcast design should also give you indications about the length of a podcast, who should be the host, who should be the guest, what the call to action on the podcast should be, how often you should publish a podcast and what the content narrative of said podcast should be. If you want to build an apartment block to house 100 people, you don't start building a house. And if you want to build a holiday home by the sea, you don't start building an office block. But that is what happens when many people start podcasts, especially for brands and do it without an informed design.
So, how do you choose a podcast design? This process is like working with an architect. Here is my idea. Please make that possible. How do you choose an architect? Well, I imagine if you're choosing an architect to build a house for you, you choose somebody that has experience. Have they done this before? Or are you bankrolling their education? Just in the same way that, because you love eating food, doesn't make you a good choice for a restaurant manager. The fact that somebody likes podcasts or has a podcast himself doesn't necessarily make them a great choice to turn your podcast idea into a business success.
And are they a specialist? A landscape gardener may know the basics of design and be able to use tools and equipment but can they actually architect and build a house. The danger here is that you respect their designs and trust them to create beautiful landscapes. However, put to the test on bricks and mortar, it might be a risk too far. Those landscape designers, maybe PR agencies, digital agencies, creative agencies. They may have ideas about design, but once again, you're bankrolling their education. In choosing a partner to design and execute and grow your podcast successfully, you should look at a couple of factors. Does this partner actually have a podcast themselves? Secondly, what kind of results have they delivered for their podcast clients in the past? Show me the metrics.
Good podcast partner, ideally a specialist podcast agency is defined by the quality of the questions that they ask you in the introductory stage. Your architect's first question should be what's the objective? Why are we building this? And in the context of podcast, it's the same. One of the first questions we want to find out is how does the brand see itself? Is it leader? Or is it an enabler in its industry? Is it an enterprise or is it a startup? Because each has its own different voice.
An enterprise that sees itself as a leader, for example, is well-suited to a brand or authority podcast. This is the design we use for the McKinsey's Future of Asia podcast. Future of Asia won McKinsey nine communication awards last year, including one award for the podcast episode, with the United Nations Director of Inclusivity and Diversity. That podcast episode was about parity in the pandemic and it won a Platinum MarCom's award.
But if I said to you that was all planned in the design from day one, I'd be lying. Because day one was 2019, not 30 episodes later, as it is now. We learn those designs from producing thousands of podcasts and not all of them were successful. That's what architects do. They learn from their own mistakes. They put in years of practice. They study the patterns of success so clients don't have to. And if there's one thing that we have learned in all of this time it's this - the best podcasts have their success baked into their design and this all starts with the right choice of metrics. Peter Drucker, the management guru famously wrote that 'What's measured gets done'.
So the goal, the metrics that you choose for your podcast will ultimately define how it sounds and how it evolves. Take the business development design for a podcast, for example and you'll see that it's fundamentally different to the brand authority podcast. And this can be different even within the organization. We manage the Future of Asia podcast for McKinsey and we also manage The Venture for that bespoke venture building arm Leap by McKinsey. The objectives are very different.
So let's take a minute to go back to the podcast design planning quadrant that we have in the guide. The brand authority podcast design employed by McKinsey's Future of Asia is well suited to an enterprise and as a leadership communications podcast. Rather than being a leader Leap by McKinsey are an enabler and they are an internal team within the brand. These mean fundamentally different designs for each organization and with that different conversation, topics and different metrics employed to measure podcast success.
In the brand or authority podcast, one of the key metrics we use with clients is chart category leadership. How does this podcast rank amongst its peers in that category? I'm pleased to say we helped McKinsey guide their Future of Asia podcast to the number one spot in the management category in Singapore, in December last year and the Future of Asia has consistently ranked in the top 10 alongside Harvard Business Review and Ted ever since.
These metrics also apply to our news and analysis podcasts. Beyond markets by the investment bank Julius Baer recently entered Hong Kong investment category a number one. That was for an episode specifically produced in Mandarin by us for Julius Baer and you can see why having an eye on the metrics as opposed to simply counting the audience is vital. When it comes to business objectives. In this case for Julius Baer, it was an effective way to open up new markets. .
Think about the comparative market entry costs. I have a producing a podcast in the local language versus be sending your team out there and setting up an office. For our business development podcast however, the metrics are different. One of the engagement metrics we employ with clients. For business development design podcast is the reach out. Within this metric, there are a number of different instances of when people reach out to the podcast host or the team. One such metric is the meeting and it's important for a business development podcast to help drive business development meetings with that team. Once again, what's measured gets done.
When the objective of the podcast is to drive high level quality meeting with aligned prospects and partners then the content, the call to action and the ongoing narrative of the podcast will evolve and change to meet that objective. When we started our podcast agency here in Singapore in 2018, servicing global clients, there really wasn't a playbook for podcasting for enterprise brands. We had to learn it through our own mistakes so you don't have to. Then we found a good design saves time. Getting the design right day one provides the foundations you need to build a long-term successful podcast.