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A Podcasting and Content Marketing Case Study (Thinks Out Loud Episode 394)

Microphone, audio recording interface, and laptop to illustrate a podcasting in content marketing case study

The Thinks Out Loud podcast celebrates its eleventh anniversary this year. And, overall, I couldn’t be happier about that. This podcast, and podcasting more generally, have been a huge component of this company’s content marketing strategy since its inception. Which is why I think it makes sense to examine Thinks Out Loud as a podcasting and content marketing case study.

Is podcasting a good idea for your business? How does a podcast fit into your content marketing strategy? Does it work? Does it generate meaningful business results? That’s what this episode of the Thinks Out Loud podcast is all about.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you.

A Podcasting and Content Marketing Case Study (Thinks Out Loud Episode 394) Headlines and Show Notes

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You might also enjoy this webinar I recently participated in with Miles Partnership that looked at "The Power of Generative AI and ChatGPT: What It Means for Tourism & Hospitality" here:

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Recorded using the travel rig: Shure SM57 Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone and a IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo IO USB audio interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 25m 34s

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Transcript: A Podcasting and Content Marketing Case Study

 Well, hello again, everybody. And welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital expertise, your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. This is episode 394 of the big show. And thank you so much for tuning in. I really appreciate it. I think we’ve got a cool show for you today. This is our anniversary. This is the 11th anniversary of Thinks Out Loud, which blows my mind.

I, I have to be completely transparent about this. We are on episode 394. We’ve been doing this for 11 years now, and I’m as shocked as you are that that’s the case. You know, it, it puts me in a somewhat. Not contemplative mood, but you know, I thought it would be a good time to revisit podcasting and why we podcast and why it could be part of an effective, I feel like it’s a breakfast cereal commercial right now, why it’s part of a healthy breakfast.

No, why podcast could be part of. A really effective content marketing strategy for your company. I want to be fair, this one’s going to get a little inside baseball, it’s going to get a little, you know, into what I do specifically and whether it’s a good idea or bad idea for us. So that you can learn some lessons, you know, a case study about whether or not it might be a good idea for you.

So one of the first questions I get asked all the time is, why do you podcast? And some of you may know this story, I’ve talked about this before, but it started as a mobile strategy. We’d looked at the analytics for our company’s website for Tim Peter and Associates, timpeter. com, and saw a very large share of mobile traffic, an increasing share of mobile traffic.

Traffic. That had terrible engagement metrics, you know, bounce rate was much higher time on site was much lower pages viewed was much lower and, you know, the team and I kind of figured out people on mobile weren’t getting what they need. We were writing. I was writing and some other folks on the team were writing some lengthy blog posts that were, you know, we thought pretty high quality and the metrics seemed to suggest they were high quality for people on desktop.

But on mobile, it was a lot to take in. And so the goal was to come up with a solution that allowed our content marketing to continue to work well. While also accommodating people on mobile and the podcast was it we thought well people listen on their phones People listen in the car. This could be a really, you know Useful way to engage with people and 11 years later.

I can honestly say this has worked. We’re very happy. I’m very happy with The results we get from this both in terms of our reach and awareness perspective, but also in terms of a business perspective. This does drive some leads for us and a sufficient number to make it worthwhile to do. Which you obviously know this, but all content marketing initiatives really do need to tie back to some business objective as well.

Yes. You know, I was doing this podcast if the team was working on this podcast and there was no business upside that we could discern in any way, then, you know, I probably would say, you know what, we need to try to find something else. I love doing the show. I love everything that the show does, but it does also have to tie back to some business results.

Any content marketing you do should. And we get generally in the range of hundreds of downloads per episode, sometimes into the thousands, we’re well over a thousand listeners every month. So it’s working out really, really well from that perspective. Another reason why we do this is content distribution.

Now, you know, previously people would come to the website, or I would put things on LinkedIn. But that was pretty much it in terms of how people could find out about the business and what we had going on and the like. Now we can put things on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts and Spotify which have broad audiences.

One of these days real soon now we’re going to figure out how to get the podcast up on YouTube in some meaningful and useful way that’s appropriate to that channel. And again, this leads to people finding me, it leads to people finding the company, it leads to people learning what we do, and it gives back to the community.

It helps people learn better how to do what they want to do. So it works out really well. And people find us either on, you know, our site on timpeter. com, or they find us on one of those other sites, whether it’s Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, etc., Spotify. So that’s been hugely beneficial in terms of content distribution, getting more content in front of more people to grow.

The brand and the business. Another reason why we do this is content itself. You’ve heard me say a million times on the show that content is King. This podcast is an opportunity for me to test ideas, to take them out for a spin and see how people react to them. Do they get a good reaction? Do they get a bad reaction?

Do we, you know, get people engaged with what we have to say, or do people go that or do people go. Well, not really, you know, they listen, but they kind of come back and say, that doesn’t make any sense at all. So it allows me to kind of think through things in a way to produce stronger content. I gave a talk earlier this week at a conference and almost every idea in that talk was created and then refined and then honed and polished for this podcast.

This, this show is called Thinks Out Loud for a reason. Because sometimes that’s what I’m doing. I’m thinking out loud. I’m figuring out, does any of this make any sense at all? And with your help, with all of the listeners help, with the community’s help, I’m finding out sometimes, absolutely, that makes total sense.

And sometimes I’m finding out, eh, you gotta go back to the drawing board on that one, buddy. So that’s hugely, hugely beneficial in terms of making our overall content marketing more effective and more useful all the way around. Another factor, of course, is content reuse. The talk was one place, the talk I gave this week was one place I reused this content.

That, that, that podcast, excuse me, that presentation rather, at some point likely will be a podcast episode of its own. LinkedIn will be another place that we can reuse the content in another week or so in terms of some of the social posts that I put up. Our email, our email newsletters generally build off one or more of these weekly episodes and blog posts and writing assignments and occasionally even client reports contain ideas we’ve worked on here.

Content reuse is an enormous component. Of any kind of effective content marketing strategy. So, having a format that readily lends itself to reuse, as this does, is a huge benefit and a huge bonus of podcasting. We can use this as audio. We can use this as text. We can build some of the pithy phrases that I come up with here, or that the team comes up with here, in images, you know, as an overlay.

And of course in presentations and slides, so it’s a win on a lot of different levels there and really, really, really beneficial. I, I would always be remiss if I, if I left out the fact that one of the reasons we do a podcast, and this is a personal thing, I had the gear. I am a musician, I have been a musician for years, that’s what I do as a hobby, so I own some stuff.

It made sense, it seemed to make sense to me to try to put that stuff to use for the business in a beneficial way. So when you see, you know, when I list the microphone that I use, or I list the, the interface that I use, some of that gear is a little better than you probably need. I shouldn’t say probably, is a little better than you, than you need for most people and most businesses to do a podcast.

In my specific case, I had the gear anyway, so I figured why not put it to use. In the spirit of full transparency, I’m using my travel rig. I’m on the road this week, and that should tell you something about my gear habits, that I have a travel rig. Heh heh heh heh. But I’m using something called an iRig Pro Duo IO as the interface, because it’s small and it travels well.

And I’m using a Shure SM57 microphone today. And together, those two pieces will run you You know, maybe 250 bucks to do this. I’m recording using Logic for the Mac, which is about a $200 piece of software. So, I mean, all in, this rig that I’m using this week, you’re looking at about a $450 lift, not counting cables and headphones and all that other kind of things.

And I want to be very transparent, this is the travel rig, I’ve got an entirely different setup at home with a better mic a different interface and the like. So, you know, I’ve put some money into this because I enjoy it for other reasons as well as for its benefits to the business. That doesn’t have to be true in your case, you can get started with a, you know, hundred dollar mic and interface all in one.

And software that’s, you know, less expensive or the like. Though I’m a huge, huge Logic fan. You can do this with GarageBand for some, or something like that. Much more economically. You may have noticed when I listed the reasons why I do this, that I put content distribution ahead of content. And you might ask, why did I do that?

And the reason is because that’s how it works. If we’re tying this back to a content marketing strategy, If we’re tying any content marketing initiative back to a content marketing strategy, we need to think about how do we get that content in front of an audience. Yes, you want it on your website. I’ve talked many times about a hub and spoke strategy where your website and your email list is your hub.

And all of the other places where your content can show up or be promoted are the spokes. But you often have to think about the spokes first. How do I get my content in front of people, so it can lead them back to my website, or lead them to sign up for my email? That is the only way content will work for you.

My my very, very, very good friend Mark Schafer, the brilliant Mark Schafer, always talks about the fact that the value of content that nobody sees is zero. Right? There’s no benefit to you at all if no one ever sees your content. So if you don’t have a place to distribute your content, don’t create it.

Period. I’m going to stop right there. If you don’t have a place to distribute your content, don’t create it. When we started podcasting, we knew Apple Podcasts was a good place for us to be. We saw in our mobile traffic that most of the people who came to the website, most of the people who came to the blog, We’re coming on iPhones, so we thought, well, how do we get in front of not just people on mobile, but people using iPhones and again, Apple podcasts made a perfect place to do that and again, has worked out really well for us today.

We get most of our lessons on Spotify. But, but the point was we started with what existed at the time. And did we have a way to get in front of that audience? And the answer was yes. So, podcasting it was. And of course continues to be. The next question that I would think of, of course, is what have I learned, what has the team learned, what have we gotten from this, that I would pass on to other people who are thinking about doing a podcast.

I was talking with the leader of a company earlier this week and he mentioned that podcasting is hard. You know, someone on his team was suggesting they look at doing a podcast and His take was it can be really hard and I want to be clear It’s no harder than any other form of content marketing Once you have the equipment once you make the investment It’s a little more expensive to start than putting things on LinkedIn or putting things on Twitter or putting things on Instagram It’s a little harder a little more expensive to get started than you know, putting things on your website Or doing an email marketing newsletter or something along those lines.

So that’s absolutely true. As I noted, you can get the equipment you need for maybe about a hundred bucks, give or take. Maybe, you know, find a decent room to do it in. It’s not super expensive, but it’s not just, you know, point your camera at something, take a picture, put it on Instagram, and you’re done.

What is true, and what is true of all content marketing, is doing it once is easy. Sustaining it is where the work comes in, is where it gets challenging. And this is true for any type of content marketing, it doesn’t just have to be a podcast. You have to commit to doing it for real, or I wouldn’t suggest doing it all, you know, at all.

If you put one photo on Instagram or you put one post up on LinkedIn and you see no engagement, that shouldn’t shock you. That’s how it works. These platforms reward consistent effort. You post regularly, you’ll start to get more traffic. That’s a drag on one level. But it makes sense on another, they want to promote content, the algorithms want to promote content that will keep people coming back.

And if you are not consistent in any of your content marketing efforts, then none of these platforms are going to reward to that behavior. So you have to think about if you’re podcast or again, any other type of content marketing. Are you ready to make a commitment to sustain it? We’re at 394 episodes.

At this point, putting it together a new episode that brings a new perspective takes work. And it’s harder than it was in the first episode. It’s easier in the sense that we have some muscle memory and we know what we’re doing. It’s harder in the sense that it takes more thought to bring a new perspective to something we may have talked about before or that I may have talked about before.

It’s work that I’m happy to do, because it forces me, and it forces the team, to think harder, to go a bit deeper into the topic than just hitting the highlights. If you notice over the years, if you’ve listened for some time, our episodes have gotten longer. We used to run around 12 to 15 minutes an episode, and now we’re typically around 20 to 25.

That’s okay. It’s just an unexpected consequence of nearly 400 shows. We can’t hit on a topic and do it justice in 12 minutes because we’re going a little deeper than we used to do. I also believe there’s no way we could have known that 400 episodes ago. We couldn’t have known that 11 years ago. I don’t think.

It’s just this unexpected consequence that we’ve learned. And it’s a perfectly good learning. It’s something that’s working for us now in a way that’s a little different than we would have thought, you know, if you’d asked me 10 years ago. Another thing that we’ve learned is you have to pace yourself.

Maybe we could have only learned this by doing. We probably could have looked at long running TV shows or radio shows or something along those lines to figure out that it is important to pace yourself. The fact is, sometimes you need a break. I need a break. The team needs a break. We need time sometimes to do a better episode and so we have to have a way to break that up.

You’ve seen this, we do reposts of prior episodes when schedules require. We’ve gotten a lot better, I think, at planning around those, around when those are going to occur. If I’m being completely honest, sometimes in the past it was more, “we don’t have anything to talk about… oh crap! Repost! Repost!” Today we’re getting better at scheduling those in advance and knowing, Hey, we’re going to legitimately be able to produce maybe 36 to 40 episodes per year.

I don’t like to post two from the archives episodes in a row. The exceptions being late August and late December. We don’t get a lot of listenership then anyway. So if we want to post a show every week, and we don’t want to post a archives episode two weeks in a row, Then we know that we’re going to do roughly, maybe a 10 to 12 show run, followed by a repost.

If we do that four times per year, plus two weeks off in August and two weeks off in December, then that gets us to 52 weeks per year, 52 episodes. In full fairness, in full disclosure, things like COVID or, you know, crazy travel schedules have occasionally thrown a wrench into that. But you get the idea, you need to plan ahead to make sure you have a schedule that works, not just for the content you want to put out, but for the people involved in creating that content in a way that doesn’t, you know, make everybody want to, you know, punch themselves, right?

In a very related way. It really goes back to having a quality content calendar. We’ve tended to do a pretty good job there over time. We’ve also learned that how to get each episode, we’ve also learned how to get each episode planned out in advance to give enough time for research, building an effective outline, building a script when we want to go deeper.

And again, especially as we go deeper, you know, the 10 to 12 minute shows could be put together relatively quickly. These 20 to 25 minute shows by default take more time to write and record and edit and transcribe. We’re planning to add some interviews from time to time and simply coordinating the discussions with the person we’re talking to, the guest, takes time.

Before you research the guest or read their book or their blog post or listen to their podcast or come up with questions and ideas to discuss with them, even if the team is doing some of that, It takes a certain amount of time, and we need to be very clear about that. You need to plan for that. The last thing I want to put on this point that we’ve learned is that transcripts are super helpful, but they also take a little bit of time.

We’re using a tool called Descript, D E S C R I P T, which is an AI powered tool. We’ve used Rev in the past, R E V. We’re also going to test a couple of others as we add interviews. But the transcripts help with SEO, they give us content and text for email newsletters and social posts, they’re super worthwhile.

The thing you want to be aware is that editing transcripts takes time. The AI based tools help, but they’re far from perfect. They are, they are not as accurate as you would like them to be. Or, if I’m being more precise, they’re not as accurate as I would like them to be. I want the transcripts to reflect what was said.

They don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be good enough, and good enough takes a little bit of time. So, as you’re doing these, if you’re thinking about doing a podcast for your, for your company or for your business, be aware that you’re going to put some time into this. Just to take you behind the curtain a little bit, total production and post production of this show, After outlining the script, which is a whole separate exercise, takes probably an hour and a half to two and a half hours per week person hours per week.

Which includes my time to record the episode, so, you know, this is, this is something that takes a little bit of effort. Obviously, I have argued many times that content is cheap, that it is a myth that content is expensive. So those two hours might cost, let’s say, let’s say that we have somebody who makes $40,000 a year working on the episode just to make the math easy.

That’s $20 an hour. If it takes that person two hours to put the episode together, that’s 40 bucks. That’s actually super cheap, especially for something that’s going to stick around for, you know, anywhere between three months and twelve months, and in some cases much longer. Usually the life cycle of these shows tends to be Not super short, but you know, you get a few months before the traffic starts to die off in a really appreciable way You know, it starts to get down to onesie twosie numbers we do have episodes from five years ago that people listen to all the time So it varies widely but assume that you’re going to get you know, a month or two or three out of it still Forty bucks for something that’s going to take a month or two or three of utility to your business is not expensive at all.

And I think is very very worthwhile. Obviously your specific economic situation is going to drive that decision. It’s not cheap, but it’s not terribly expensive either So just make sure you’re thinking ahead budget wise for what makes sense to you So those are the things we’ve learned, you know, we’ve talked about, you gotta pace yourself.

We’ve talked about how you have to have a good content calendar. We’ve talked about how you have to make sure that you have transcripts. We’ve talked about making sure that you’ve built out a content calendar that works for your needs. And we’ve talked about why we do this overall. Of course, when I talked about why we do this, I left out one reason deliberately.

And that reason is you. I say this on the show all the time, but I wouldn’t do these episodes, we wouldn’t do the work if you didn’t listen, if you didn’t comment, if you didn’t share, if you didn’t reply, if you didn’t engage. I don’t want this ever to be speaking into the ether and hoping for the best. I want people to get value out of it, I want people to engage with it, I want people to feel there is use to it.

And my sense is, based on the emails we get and the tweets we get and the LinkedIn messages that we get, that you do. So I want to say thank you very much for listening for 11 years and 394 episodes. I want to thank you for all your support. And I want to tell you, we’ll keep doing this as long as you keep listening.

So thanks very much. Obviously, you can find the show notes for this episode on You can find us on LinkedIn, you can find us on Twitter, go to You’ll find, figure out where all the details are from there. Just look for episode 394, okay? And with all that said, I want to say thank you so much for listening.

Thanks so much for everything you do. I hope you have a wonderful week. I hope you have a great weekend, and I will look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, take care, everybody.

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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