We get asked a lot what the secret sauce is for podcast success. Companies see the impact we are creating for our clients and are wondering if, by working with us, they get access to the secret formula that makes a podcast stand out from the more than 1 million podcasts available.
The truth is, there is a sauce but it’s not that secret. Podcast success comes down to telling compelling stories and promoting them well. Our recipe for success is the best illustration of that concept and it is simple, intuitive but very hard to execute.
The closest thing that we have to a secret sauce is experience. Clients that work with us get the benefit of hundreds of best practices that we have developed throughout the years. By being focused exclusively on creating podcasts with brands we have developed a very specialized and unique craft and our clients get full access to that. And of course to the team’s hundreds of combined years of storytelling, marketing and business experience.
Our best practices could be considered our rulebook. It keeps changing, we add to it all the time but we typically have firm recommendations on how to approach creating a new show and marketing it.
And then a client comes along who helps us break our rules. Successfully. And we’re loving it.
Citrix brought a unique business problem to us. During the COVID-19 crisis they want to bring useful, educational and compelling stories to the world that add value to the discussion around remote working. This demanded a unique solution, a solution that involved rethinking our best practices in order to best solve their problem.
Citrix’s Remote Works podcast deals with the current major transformation in the way we work. There are many indications that working remotely will be the norm for many of us in the future and this show helps us understand and embrace this rapid evolution.
Ultra short development time
Working with new clients we aim to have at least three months between kicking off the project and releasing the first episode. During that period we spend a lot of time with our clients as part of our strategy sessions, developing and prototyping the show concept, creating a full marketing plan and producing a few episodes ready to be released.
The requirements that Citrix brought to us were unique and different. Given the fact that many of us have still not returned to the office and the pandemic was far from over, we all agreed that this is a conversation that needs to happen now. This podcast is a forward-looking story that inspires action in all of us to collectively develop the future of work, how we interact and where we spend our professional lives. In other words, this had to come out as soon as possible. And so, only five weeks after receiving the go-head, the first episode was available to the public. A record for Pacific Content.
How do we do it? Part of it simply comes down to resources. The Remote Works podcast has more Producers involved than most of our other projects. We did not have time to find an external host so our very own amazing Melanie Green is guiding us through each episode. The other part is being quick and ruthless when it comes to making decisions. In the absence of long deliberation we just have to move forward with what we see the best direction at the time.
Our default recommendation is to release podcast episodes every two weeks. We’ve learned that a weekly release cadence can be very taxing on the marketing teams as past and upcoming episodes need to be promoted simultaneously. Additionally, the marketing strategy for each episode can be very unique based on the guest or theme.
Another reason for a fortnightly release cadence is to be ‘in market’ for twice the time. This might seem counter-intuitive since of course all podcasts episodes will be available to the public in perpetuity. However, it’s a lot easier for our clients to execute a marketing campaign about a project that is being released now as opposed to in the past.
With Citrix’s Remote Works project, the brief was very different. This was not about being ‘in market’ longer but instead about shaping the future of work locations right now. So we all agreed that this needed to be released on a weekly basis. These stories had to be heard now.
Again, resourcing is a key factor to make this work. We essentially have two teams working in parallel to produce stories to keep up with the release schedule. Many of our Producers have experience working on daily radio programs so this is not unfamiliar territory for us.
Changing scope mid-production
For all our clients we are very deliberate to ensure everyone has a full understanding what the scope of the project is from the onset. This includes basic details like the number of episodes, episode length, show format and key dates but also business objectives and tone. This is to ensure we can all collaboratively make the project a success.
The Remote Works project had to be executed a bit more nimbly. We had some very tight delivery deadlines and things were bound to change at some point during production. Additional episodes were added. Release schedules were changed.
We will all remember 2020 as the year where things changed very quickly and unexpectedly and that’s the attitude we all took with this project. Being agile was a requirement for the production of the show and this is reflected in the content: many of us had to work from home with pretty short notice, some of us were better prepared than others and we all had our unique challenges.
Let’s be clear: we developed our best practices for podcast success for a reason. They work. Deviating from those cannot happen just for the sake for being nimble or because they are not convenient at the time. Trying something new is always fun and insightful but it also comes with risks and our job is to minimize risks for our clients. There need to be specific reasons why we are trying a new path and those reasons need to be carefully examined.
Our rulebook was developed in normal times, for the old conditions. Not for global pandemics or very uncertain futures. Like every company in the world we look at our practices and embrace the fact that how we created podcasts in the past might not be the same in the future.
But there is something else that’s required for successful ‘rule breaking’: the collaboration between us and our clients is always a key driver of success and even more so when we are taking risks. The Citrix team has been an amazing partner that has been smart, thoughtful, passionate, open and fun. Healthy collaboration came to this project very naturally and we love how Citrix helped us break our rules.
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