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It begins to rain. Droplets of water the size of large marbles begin to hit your windshield, blurring the horde of brake lights ahead of you — as if the traffic wasn’t bad enough. There’s nothing to see beyond the sea of vehicles; nothing to do but anxiously await the bright red lights to fade, one by one.
Knowing the rain has further delayed your ETA, you decide to turn on the only thing that makes a traffic jam worthwhile: a podcast.
As you listen to Steve Boese cover the HR tech trends to watch this year — something you’re particularly passionate about, as the marketer for an all-in-one talent management solution — it hits you. Instead of fervently discussing your thoughts on all things HR tech to an invisible audience on your drive home, you’re going to start a podcast of your own.
The exciting world of podcasting is growing — especially within HR. As of 2016, 21 percent of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast in the past month, according to survey data from Edison Research. That may not seem like a whole lot, but when you consider what this number was in 2013 — just 12 percent — it suddenly seems pretty impressive.
And the future looks bright for podcasting. According to a 2016 study by comScore, one in three podcast listeners expect to increase their podcast consumption in the next six months, following a similar increase in their behavior over the past six months.
The opportunity is there, but the question is, where do you start?
Here are seven things to consider when diving into the world of HR tech podcasts and how to get your voice heard — literally:
1. Your Reason
The very first thing you should ask yourself when contemplating starting a podcast is, “What’s my reason for starting it?” Determining what you want to get out of it is the basis for every other step in the process. It sets a solid foundation that informs everything from your topic to the show’s format.
For instance, if you’re simply looking to position yourself as a thought leader within the HR tech industry, a once-a-month show might be enough to achieve your goal. However, if you’re looking to generate leads, you might be better off with a weekly show. These things are best determined based on the overall goal of your podcast.
2. Your Topic
After determining the reason behind the podcast, the next thing to take into consideration is the topic. Because you’re reading this post, that topic is likely HR tech. But what about HR tech exactly? The latest trends and predictions? FAQs and answers from HR professionals?
The best way to narrow down a broad topic and determine if it will be successful is by looking at your competition and your audience.
3. Your Competition
To find podcasting success in HR tech — or any industry, really — you have to bring something different to the table. When determining your show’s topic, take your competition into consideration. Start by consuming as many HR-related podcasts as possible. Here are just a few to get you started:
- HR Happy Hour: If you’re at all into HR podcasts, you’re likely already following Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane’s HR Happy Hour. Touted the longest running and top downloaded HR podcast, it’s a good place to start your research. Topics include human resources, management, leadership, and workforce technology.
- Nine-to-Thrive HR: Brought to you by Human Capital Institute, this podcast dives deep into topics ranging from talent acquisition and analytics to employee engagement and development, and features leading HR practitioners from Fortune 1000 companies.
- TalentCulture #WorkTrends: This live podcast and Twitter chat, hosted by TalentCulture’s Meghan M. Biro, covers everything from workplace technology to workplace culture.
What are these podcasts covering? How often are they covering it? What isn’t being done already? These are just a few of the questions that will help you nail down your topic. From there, you can decide on a unique stance to take within your niche. The more unique, the better.
4. Your Audience
The final — and most important — thing to take into consideration before finalizing the show’s topic is your audience. To define your audience and your show’s topic, ask yourself the following questions:
Who are you hoping to reach?
It’s as they say: if you target everyone, you’ll reach no one. While you want to reach as many people as possible with your podcast, you also want to be sure you’re reaching the right people. If you had to narrow down your target audience to one specific person, who would that person be? In the case of HR tech podcasts, maybe it’s Natalie, Head of People Operations at XYZ Company.
What interests them most?
Once you’ve identified who your podcast will target, take some time to think about what topics interest this person the most. As a Head of People Operations, Natalie is most interested in topics related to everyday workplace issues, such as employee disengagement, burnout, and turnover.
What questions are they seeking to answer?
Finally, determine what questions Natalie is searching for answers to; what problems she’s looking to solve. One great place to start is question-and-answer site Quora. Search through questions related to human resources, HR technology, people operations — you name it, it’s there. This can give you some valuable insight into what’s most important to your audience.
5. Your Format
Your podcasting format will largely depend on all of the above — your reason for the podcast and your topic, competition, and audience. Once those things have been identified, you can then dive into whether you’ll go with an audio or video show, whether it will be interview or a topic-based monologue, if it will have a single host or be co-hosted, as well as the length of each episode and the show’s publishing schedule.
Not sure which format is best for your podcasting needs? Here a few facts to consider, courtesy of Edison Research’s The Podcast Consumer 2016:
- The majority (40 percent) of weekly podcast listeners spend between one and three hours listening to podcasts a week.
- Weekly podcast listeners listen to an average of five podcasts per week.
- A whopping 71 percent of podcast consumers use a mobile device to listen to podcasts. Only 29 percent listen to podcasts on their computer.
- Fifty-three percent of podcast consumers listen to podcasts at home, followed by 21 percent who listen to podcasts in their car.
6. Your Equipment
Having a podcasting plan isn’t enough — you have to have the equipment and software to make that plan a reality.
The wonderful thing about podcasting in 2017 is that it doesn’t require much in terms of equipment. If you have a computer and a microphone, you’re well on your way to having the materials you need to at least get started.
If you’re serious about podcasting, you might want to consider investing in some of the following items:
If your budget allows, consider upgrading the internal mic of your device with an external microphone. After all, audio is one thing you don’t want to cut corners with for an audio show. In terms of headphones, opt for over-ear headphones, as they make it easier to hear only what you’re recording.
If you’re planning to include interviews on your show, make sure to download Skype or a similar video call tool, as it’s something most of your guests will have easy access to.
7. Your Brand
By this point, you’ve thought of most everything — your podcast’s goal, topic, audience, and equipment. But before you officially launch your first few episodes, you need to finalize your podcast’s overall brand.
This includes everything from the podcast name to your logo, show artwork and colors, mission statement, etc. These are all things that will be used in your promotion efforts on social media, your website, and more.
And now you’re ready to dive into the world of HR tech podcasts. Happy podcasting!
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