You didn’t think we would launch a podcast network without a new HubSpot show, right?

We’re excited to announce our new flagship podcast, Shake it, with actor Alex is gay and venture capitalist Brianne Kimmel. It is produced by Senior Producer Matthew Brown and presented by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

Shake it gives business leaders an unfiltered snapshot of companies that have dared to be different. Alexis and Brianne chat with business leaders from disruptive companies like Square, Daily Harvest and Nerdwallet about their investments and go-to-market strategies.

Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? Well, now we’ll walk you through how we did it, including:

  1. Our planning process
  2. Building the format of the show
  3. The structure of a successful podcast team

Let’s dive in.

How can we be better and different?

Once we know our business goal, audience, and budget, we strive to put together a show concept that will resonate with our audience and help us achieve our goals.

To do this, we needed to know what our audience is listening to today.

According to Chartable, there are over 8,334 branded podcasts on Apple Podcasts.

While we couldn’t audit them all (we’re just humans), we wanted to understand the tactics used by the best in-class podcasts. So we did an audit.

We reviewed 20 high performing business podcasts and got five insights.

  • Male voices: 87% of the hosts were men.
  • News & Reviews: 18 out of 20 podcasts provided commentary on industry news.
  • Broadcast communications: Very few shows have used audience engagement tactics to connect audiences with hosts.
  • Business & Academic: The tone of the shows was lackluster and many used the lingo.

This audit gave us the context to define our strategy.

How would our show be better and different?

business podcast differentiators

  • Various voices: A commitment to diverse voices among hosts and guests.
  • Research and stories: Focus editorially on relevant stories with added depth.
  • Public engagement: Featuring our hosts and implementing tactics to engage audiences on social media.
  • Business entertainment: We don’t have to be boring and old-fashioned to talk business.

These became our editorial guidelines for the rest of the show.

Decide on the format of the show

Next, we define our show format.

There are a few common podcast formats that have the ability to grow an audience.

  • Interview: A type of show that brings in an expert guest for a question-and-answer session.
  • Chat casting: A co-hosted format where hosts provide commentary and review on a variety of topics.
  • Debate: A co-hosted format where hosts take one side of the argument. Discuss facts, figures and opinions on a given topic.
  • Story: A journalistic style podcast that includes research, scripts, and a solid storyline.

After exploring various formats, we opted for a hybrid format: Chat Cast + Interview.

Bringing together the energy of a cast cat with the expertise of an interview.

Sample Episode Subject: Why is Every Business Suddenly a Media Business

Segment 1: The context

In the opening segment, our co-hosts will provide context and talk about fun facts and stats on the topic of the episode.

Ex.) HubSpot acquired The Hustle

Segment 2: The Debate / Discuss

In this segment, we will ask our hosts a series of questions on the topic and questions that we offer for off-the-cuff opinions on both.

Ex.) Should more SaaS companies follow suit? What happens to media companies if all companies are media companies?

Segment 3: The interview

In this segment, we will appeal to the business leader of the business / topic we are discussing to get the real story behind the decision and other decisions that made them successful.

Ex.) Kipp Bodnar on the acquisition of Hustle

Finally, we had to figure out how we were going to do this thing.

Your podcast team

To create a high quality podcast, you need to invest in a team.

There are countless things that must happen in making a show. We have broken down these responsibilities into eight main roles, but there are often much larger teams, and there are also much smaller teams that perform 3-4 tasks each:

  1. Executive producer – The showrunner. Head of Operations, creates a vision for the entire show, leads pre-production to post-production and manages staff and logistics.
  2. Senior Producer – Establishes the content and the narrative arc of each episode, writes and edits the scripts, coaches the host, manages the production schedule, research, preparation; as well as producing interviews, editing on tape and doing preliminary sound design.
  3. Producer – Booking, research, interview preparation, transcriptions, tape editing, create plans and work on scripts.
  4. Editor – Oversees the development of story ideas and provides critical feedback on story frames and scripts.
  5. Host – Storyteller who shapes the show through his editorial decisions and his personality. They prepare for interviews and write / edit scripts.
  6. Managing producer —Development of new podcasts and creation of management processes / channels necessary for the success of a program.
  7. Engineer —The first and last step in the production process. Creates the soundscape of the show by editing and mastering the audio to create a seamless listening experience.
  8. Managing Editor – Shapes the vision and leads all planning and execution of podcasts. Drives creative design from ideation to execution. Collaborates with business leaders on distribution.

This list does not include people involved outside of podcast creation, including the creative team involved in creating the promotional assets, the person responsible for the show’s communication plan, etc.

Another layer of difficulty here is the decision to build an in-house team or find a podcast production agency that can fill these roles for you.

Resources have been one of the biggest challenges in creating The Shake Up. We will take you behind the scenes of some of our decisions:

  1. Internal or external talent for hosts: A host will make or break a podcast. As easy as that. They can either attract an audience or repel it. We had a very precise vision for the hosts of our show and for this reason, we chose to conduct an external talent search. We chose Alexis and Brianne for their combination of dynamism and experience, among other things.
  2. Hire a sound engineer or use an agency: Engineers perfect the sound of your show. Due to the sound quality we wanted for this show, we decided to hire an agency due to the strong expertise of their team and the resources they have for the job.

We were also fortunate to have on our team a lead producer, Matthew Brown, who has won awards for previous shows like The growth fair.

So if you’re looking to invest in a team to create podcasts, use this list as a starting point to understand the different moving parts, and think carefully about whether to hire for these roles or bring in outside help.

But the list is just a starting point, and if there’s anything we can recommend about creating podcasts, it’s Lao Tzu’s quote, “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent. ” And your opponent, in this case, is the amount of work involved in creating a show.

Invest in the resources to get it right and understand that it takes a village.

What are you waiting for?

Podcasts aren’t a new medium, but they have a moment.

  • Spotify has heavily invested in the podcast portion of their platform, making exclusive deals with podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience and designing a total overhaul of the podcast’s user interface.
  • Statista predicts that the industry will have a 17% CAGR, reaching 164 million listeners in the United States by 2023.
  • Apple, not to be outdone, is betting on podcast subscriptions.

Will podcast marketing become as standard as content marketing? Will having a podcast become as ubiquitous as having a blog?

Time will tell, but it’s clear this is the “wave” that many podcasters have predicted.

At HubSpot, we’ve chosen to invest heavily in media going forward, and podcasts are a big part of that strategy. The HubSpot Podcast Network and The Shake Up are the first parts of it.

If after reading this you choose to invest in construction, here is a checklist to follow:

  1. Define your audience and their issue.
  2. Decide if a podcast is a good medium to solve this problem.
  3. Audit podcasts in your target space, find out how you can be better and different.
  4. Suggest the theme and format of your show.
  5. Create a podcast team: host, producer, sound engineer.
  6. You go for the races.

We are incredibly proud of the hard work that has gone into launching The Shake Up. Listen to it here on your favorite podcast platform.

hubspot podcast network


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