Lessons from our 5-year journey building an award-winning podcast

Lessons from our 5-year journey building an award-winning podcast

Podcasting has developed into one of the most popular content forms available, but podcasting for business is only just beginning to gain traction as an accelerator to companies' corporate content marketing strategy. 

Podcasts have been frequently pushed aside as boutique tactics to promote thought leadership for a brand. Blogging and social networking have been the go-to’s for marketing teams. I have personally battled a few times in the past four years to make podcasting a key tenant in the overall marketing strategy. 

But here we are in 2022, 200 plus episodes in our library, hundreds of thousands of downloads and listens, content marketing repurposing episodes as blogs, podcast guests offering further learning outcomes in our online community and academy, the bet we made on podcasts continues to pay dividends. If you have yet to jump on the bandwagon, you are still early to the party when it comes to podcasting as a corporate marketing key tenant.

When we created the vision for the multi-award-winning Conquer Local Podcast, we didn’t know we were on the leading edge of this movement. Now entering our fifth season of weekly podcasts, the vault of episodes has become a huge part of the corporate content strategy. Let’s take a look at the visual album cover art over the past four seasons courtesy of our Sr Graphic Designer, Rory Lawford.

We have created over 200 episodes living on all the major podcast platforms. These episodes are promoted weekly on our social media platforms for Vendasta corporate, our sister brand for Conquer Local, and my personal Linkedin profile. Consistency in our promotion of the episodes and cross-promotion by the guests ensures we continue to drive new eardrums to the episodes.

Awards are cool and build HUGE authority

The podcast was awarded two awards in 2021. Winning an award drives authority to the brand. One thing we have learned about awards over the years is that you have to apply to win awards, and no one is better at award applications than our very own Cat Barcoe. The research and work Cat puts into extending the authority of our brand is immense. This year the Conquer Local Podcast was awarded a Finny — B2B Marketing Exchange 2021 Killer Content Award — and in late December we received a silver for Best Sales Podcast from the Top Sales Awards. 

We are incredibly proud of the awards we’ve won because we share those accolades with the amazing guests that appear on each episode. The awards and the reach wouldn’t be possible without our guests, and sharing the spotlight is good for all parties. 

Organic reach can feed other content creators appetites and this helps us gain new eardrums

Also, we have noticed that having a top-performing podcast with gain the attention of other company's content strategists and you could earn “shoutouts” in their content narrative. Here are a few of ours over the years

Our episodes and brands become part of our Guests corporate or individual brand strategy

We have found that this opens the floodgates for a ton of additional reach of your brand and message when your podcast guests promote “their” contribution to the win. Our guests share and shout out their episodes on social media and other platforms

Podcast content strategy can help accelerate your overall corporate content calendar

Every episode becomes an idea starter for our corporate content team’s blog content topic. We have found our corporate content team is more than willing to take the podcast episodes and turn them into blog content which is shared and reshared by our sales teams with their social media audiences for greater reach. Here are some examples of episode content that became blogs.

By attracting guests to your podcast you are opening relationships with their organizations and following as well

A compelling roster of guests that live on in our online community sessions and spotlights. Podcast guests double as guest instructors in our academy. which was built to educate and inspire our customers in a scalable manner. Some examples of this cross=promotion include:

Even your SEO leader loves podcasts, as they increase organic search

Very strong SEO authority has been established by the brand from the publishing of podcast episodes on virtually every available platform.

“The Conquer Local Podcast has done great things for the Conquer Local brand and SEO. For example, 10% of the traffic to the Conquer Local website is due to the interest that the podcast brand has generated through its distribution across the multiple platforms it is hosted on. Not only that, almost 50% of the total site traffic comes from the individual episodes, which are transcribed and posted to our website. Massive value to our users = massive dividends paid from Google in terms of traffic.

Additionally, from an SEO perspective, the podcast has helped generate many organic backlinks to the conquerlocal.com website, which has helped boost our domain authority, furthering our ability to rank for valuable content and bring in new audiences. A great reason for any company to include a podcast as part of their content marketing strategy.” - Tudor Stanescu, Website Manager and SEO Expert

Here are the seven reasons why you should consider developing a podcast as a driving force behind your content marketing strategy.

An ever-evolving strategy as the company grows

When you launch your podcast I highly recommend establishing a clear goal. We have evolved our goal over the years to grow with the companies strategy. We started just trying to get people I had a relationship with or met on a panel at a conference or we interviewed customers to dig into their brains to extract and broadcast their knowledge. In season two we started bringing “teaching episodes” to our listeners in the form of the Master Sales Series. These episodes matched the demand in the market for soft skill development with our customers. We still did interviews, but the guests aligned to the teaching episode content, so a serial listener would hear the teaching content and then have that content validated by our guests in their stories or overcoming struggles or growth. We have evolved in seasons three, four, and five to the following strategy.

  1. Guests that match our content plan with large followings on social 
  2. Guests from our Ideal Customer Profile that have crafted or adopted our winning tactics
  3. Vendors who are solving challenges with their products and services
  4. Whales, punching above our weight we seek out well-known guests with massive followings or even their own podcasts 

I highly encourage you to clearly define your strategy and episode plan. Early on we rode by the seat of our pants, totally a gut-feel based on my years as a broadcaster and journalist. As we evolved the strategy to map to the overall corporate goals the podcast success grew exponentially. It is important to note that once you have established the strategic plan for your podcast, you can work out how much time should be spent on each type of content.

Boost Brand Affinity
I can’t tell you how many times I have met customers, people in our industry, or just random folks who say “I listen to your podcast, and I love it.” It feels pretty damn good to hear your content reaches folks and it resonates with them. I believe these mentions and understanding what your listeners appreciate from the podcast content strategy is what keeps you going when the grind kicks in.

The constant research, prioritizing the hours to prep, perform, assess every weekly episode can be daunting. But those word of encouragement, and watching the listener count grow, from virtually all over the world keeps the team pushing to win.

When looking at acquiring guests treat this pipeline like every other one in your business

In season two I realized we were going to need to look deeper and harder for podcast guests, so we added a sales development rep to reach out to a pipeline and do some old-fashioned sales shit. This proved to be a much-needed resource for growth. Now without having to be an exec producer, researcher, booking agent, and host, I could focus on the strategy and work on being a better host. I feel late in Season three and four we have a much better product for our audience and a closer tie to the corporate content goals of the company.

Numerous monetization strategies are available for your podcast

Podcasts are an effective way to promote your brand and services, and those of your clients and business partners. Research shows podcast listeners don't mind ad breaks or sponsored messages. We have found when you have ads on your show it actually drives authority with listeners, if people will pay to run ads in your show, listeners seem to feel that the content has a greater value. Podcasting is a fantastic supplement to your existing content marketing strategy. It can be used to provide more information about your products and services, or it can be used as a way to connect with your audience on a more personal level. They also are an excellent way to reach out to new audiences and provide them with valuable information. They are also great for building trust with current customers by providing them with exclusive content that they cannot find anywhere else. We also offer every guest to become a part of our Affiliate program to drive new leads for our sales teams.

Podcasting gains you Access to the Other Side of the Mic

By having your own podcast, you are far more likely to get invited to other podcasts. As a guest on other broadcasts, you can grow your audience by leveraging an established audience.  You and the other host have much to gain from this type of brand partnership. Here are a few of the shows I have been on in the past. We offer reciprocal podcast appearances in every guest request in Season 5, by leveraging our brand equity we can reach these new audiences.

Outside Sales Talk with Steve Benson

Pavillion Podcast with Brandon Barton

The Sales Development Podcast with David Dulany

Leadership Beyond Borders with Kimberli Lewis 

BIG5D TV Episode Five: Wayne Bischoff & George Leith

The last five seasons of the podcast have been a blast. Producing and hosting a weekly show of this kind is a ton of work. Thank goodness we have a team of eight who all contribute to making every episode amazing my heartfelt thanks go out to each and everyone on the team. 

  • Colleen McGrath, Exec Producer
  • Bret Klarenbach, Producer
  • Tbone, Sound Engineer
  • Rory Lawford,  Graphics
  • Catorina Barcoe, Public Relations
  • Karissa Klassen, GM of George
  • Zoey Schneider, Research/Bookings
  • Nicole Lauzon, Research/Content Writing


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