When you podcast as a passion project, you need to have a why that keeps you going. When you podcast with the intent of turning it into a business, you need a plan to generate income to support the work.

When you podcast in support of your existing business you need… well, it depends on your business.

But whatever your business is, and however your show supports it, you need to know that what you are doing is working. So, the question we should all be asking ourselves, is: what is my podcast supposed to be **doing for my business?

In a perfect world, that’s an easy question to answer, and you have clear data to back that answer up. In this world, most company podcasts are doing a lot of things right and a few things wrong. While it’s plainly successful enough to keep doing it – it’s really hard to figure out why.

However, it is possible to identify the specific ways your podcast is generating value for your business and track exactly how much value every month, giving you the clarity you need to make decisions about it.

Listen below or continue reading the blog post!

Tune in to the full episode to learn:

  • The importance of identifying the overarching goal of your podcast
  • Tracking specific outcomes to determine its effectiveness
  • Metrics for different types of podcasts
  • Tracking metrics and optimizing your podcast content
  • Highlights from the State of Business Podcasting Report

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Effective Value Measurements for Podcasts

Here’s how it works:

  1. Identify the most important, overarching goal of your podcast. It will usually be one of the Business Podcast Blueprints: Thought Leadership, Relationship Building, Audience Engagement, Conversions or Content.
  2. Figure out the specific outcomes that indicate how well your podcast is meeting that overarching goal.
  3. Regularly track that outcome as a metric and optimize your podcast to get more of it.

Then do it again and again for every different way your podcast is creating value for your company.

Easy, right?

Easy to say in any case. Doing it when you’re 6 months or a year into production and there’s always something running late is somewhat more complicated.

So, let’s run through a couple of examples here, so you can get a solid idea of how this process works. We’ll start with an Audience Engagement Show.

Audience Engagement

This is a type of podcast that I think is frequently overlooked in favor of the exponential possibilities in Relationship Building Shows, or the outward-facing nature of Thought Leadership ones. But you’ve heard the adage I’m sure that it’s easier to sell more to an old customer than it is to get a new one. Well, by the same token, it’s easier to nurture a relationship with someone who knows your name than make a fresh introduction, and that is where audience-building podcasts really shine.

Shows with an Audience Engagement Blueprint exist primarily to engage people who are already aware of you – it could be clients, email subscribers, social media followers or fans, listeners, or traffic that are entering your orbit from other strategies like paid search or PR campaigns.

So, let’s say that Company A has this as their main overarching purpose – they want to engage and nurture people who, by whatever means, know who they are.

The outcomes that are going to tell them it’s working might be getting input and feedback from listeners on topics that matter to them, and less time spent on customer service because customers are being served and educated by the show.

Now we assign metrics to those outcomes:

For getting feedback and input, Company A has created different webpages or playlists for each of their podcast subtopics so that people can easily access the content they are most interested in, and the traffic to those pages, and downloads from those playlists are going to provide the data about how much of their audience is interested in each topic, informing their future content creation decisions. For an example of this in action, check out Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy landing page, which we’ll link in the show notes, among many other strategically excellent things you’ll see on this page, is a section where you can choose different topics and immediately see episodes relating to it that you can click through, providing that juice data about audience-interest.

For Customer service, Company A already has an idea of how much time they are spending per client on customer service each month, and they have created podcast episodes and segments to specifically address common concerns or problems and trained their team members to provide those segments and episodes to customers encountering those concerns. The change in the amount of time spent on customer service over time will tell them how well their content is helping educate the customers.

Now let’s look at how we might follow this process for a Relationship building show.

Relationship Building

These are podcasts that exist primarily as a networking tool so you can meet the types of people who will be great additions to your professional network for reasons like becoming clients, referral partners, co-promoters, collaborators, and all the other good things that come from knowing lots of great people.

Company R specifically wants their podcast to be a source of new networking partners that will refer business to them, and that will result in invitations to appear on other podcasts.

So, let’s assign metrics to these outcomes, and figure out how we track them.

Some metrics can be found pretty easily, like the website traffic and download numbers we looked at above, but in other cases, things need to be a little more manual.

For new business, podcasters will need to keep track of how many referrals each of their guests sends them every month, and over time look for patterns in the type of guest that was most interested in making those referrals.

So, you might track email introductions from your different guests, or ask your new leads on discovery calls how they found out about you. This is good practice anyway, but the key here is to keep a regularly updated document with the information so you can see how much business your podcast guests are sending your way.

Now, for invitations to your guests’ podcasts, you’ll have to make sure you are interviewing enough people who also have podcasts and adding a request or suggestion about an episode to some part of your guest management workflow.

Just like for tracking referrals, you need a central location to keep track of the guest opportunities that result from the interviews you host on your own show.

All strategic elements of relationship building need to be done with one important thing in mind:

The relationship is the important part, and even when you have specific goals and metrics for outcomes you want, remember to put the human first!

On the subject of doing exactly that, Atiba De Souza gave an amazing presentation at PFBCon in November – all about using podcasting as a tool to generate new relationships and partnerships in your industry, partnerships – it was an amazing talk and he had one particular tip I wanted to share with you today about preparing for when you’re going to be a guest on other shows and how to be the kind of guest that not only gets invited back – but gets invited to do other things.

I love this idea, and not just for when you’re preparing to be a guest, but when you are preparing for a guest to join you on your own show. (And if you want to hear Atiba’s whole strategy – and that thing that happened to him back last January, you should grab a copy of the recordings of the Podcasting for Business Conference at PFBCon.com.) The principle at play here – taking the time to get to know the person you are talking to and what they care about – is the same when you’re a host as when you’re a guest, and investing in that, no matter what your specific goals are, is going to make it easier to reach them.

Now obviously, there is a lot of work that goes into thinking about your podcast in this way – there is strategy and infrastructure required to make it work, and nuances that are going to be unique to you – but if you’re willing to learn that strategy and DO that work, your podcast is going to generate much, much more value for your business – and perhaps more importantly – you’re going to be able to see it happening, and have clarity on what is working and what isn’t.

While we’re talking about clarity…

Data Highlights from the State of Business Podcasting Report

state of business podcasting report 2023

I wanted to share a little insight my team and I gleaned from last year’s State of Business Podcasting report – there was lots of interesting detail, and we’ll be exploring it over the next few months, but there were three particular takeaways that I think can make a big difference to your strategy right away.

As you probably know, every year we pull a list of the top 100 podcasts and evaluate them on about 70 different criteria to help establish trends and baseline best practices for those podcasting in support of a business. There were three particularly interesting takeaways this year:

  1. Social Media Promotion: Quality over Quantity. Both the number of social media channels used by the top 100 podcasts and the frequency of posting on them were down on most channels this year. This seems to indicate that podcasters were not finding enough ROI in really aggressive broad social media posting. (Although there certainly are still plenty of daily and multiple daily posting schedules – it’s less than in previous years) The exception is LinkedIn which saw modest growth in usage but a significant increase in posting frequency. Daily posts have increased from 10% to 22% of the shows using the platform, and multiple posts per week have increased from 11% to 28%.
  2. Hooks are out. The hook, sometimes called a sizzle clip, is a clip from the interior of an episode played at the beginning before the intro and hello. A couple of years ago more than half of the shows we evaluated used hooks, but that number has been in steep decline and now only about 20% of the top shows use one (10% use a host-recorded intro in place of a hook – this trend might increase). My best theory for why this is happening is the popularity of short-form videos – those shorts, reels, and TikTok videos with good moments from episodes are serving the function of a hook in introducing the topic and teasing the value of full episodes. If you promote via short video clips, consider removing the hook from your episodes and getting into the content more quickly.
  3. Podcast Networks. There was a big jump this year in the number of the top shows that were part of podcast networks: 51% to 66%. There are different kinds of networks, topical (shows produced by the network or independently on a single theme) broadcast (news and other organizations that release using a podcast format among other media types), and content (companies whose whole purpose is creating and releasing content – not theme restricted). One of the bigger benefits of being in a podcast network is the cross-promotion to an existing audience – this is why so many are in the top 100 (not all stay!) close to their launch. This is a benefit you can mimic as an independent by collaborating with other shows for cross-promotions.

There is so much more fun detail in this year’s report, and I invite you to check it all out at podcastingforbusiness.com.

Something we’ve got planned for future episodes is deep dives into specific data points we looked at for the top 100, as well as breakdowns of some of the shows that make up the list. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’d love to hear what you’re most interested in – head over to podcastingforbusiness.com and send us a message to let us know!

While you’re there, you might want to check out the Business Podcast Accelerator. This is a brand-new service from the team at One Stone Creative, where we will work with you to identify the metrics that matter most, support you in tracking and analyzing them every month, review your content, help you optimize your show, and provide on-demand email and voice support that will complement your current workflows for planning, production, and promotion. It’s really exciting, and you can find it at podcastingforbusiness.com/accelerator.

Thank you for being here with me this week, The Company Show is Produced by One Stone Creative, and the best way you can support the show is by telling someone about it!

Coming Up Next

Next week I’m talking to Meredith Grundei A speaker, director, actor, and coach with a passion for helping speakers elevate their performance BIO – she shares so many tips on being a good presenter and a good host, increasing your confidence and presence when you’re on the mic or camera.

It is such a great conversation; I can’t wait for you to hear all of it. So, make sure you’re subscribed to your favorite podcast listening app, and we’ll be back next week.

Key Quotes

“Your podcast is going to generate much, much more value for your business – and perhaps more importantly – you’re going to be able to see it happening.” – Megan Dougherty

“The relationship is the important part, and even when you have specific goals and metrics for outcomes you want, remember to put the human first!” – Megan Dougherty


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Podcasting for Business Conference 2023 Recordings

Learn about what other business podcasters are doing


PFBCon 2023 Recordings

Whether you’re a solopreneur, manager of a department, principal at a firm, or a non-fiction author ready to expand into audio, the Podcasting for Business Conference will help you leverage a podcast to meet your business objectives.

Missed PFBCon 2023? Check out the recordings!