Why your business podcast (probably) won’t get any listeners

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A friend in marketing told me the other day his company had decided to make a podcast. ‘Great’, I said, ‘but why?’

He looked a bit confused, ‘Because everyone is making one!’

At this point I backed off but it made me think. It seems to me lots of people are recording podcasts just for the sake of it and few are really considering the listeners.

There are lots of listeners out there – it’s claimed that the Joe Rogan Experience has 190 million downloads every months and that each episode makes $800k.

That’s what a talented, star-name presenter and interesting guests can get you. But the average business podcast is in different territory so if you start one you probably won’t have any listeners and here’s why:



Too many business podcasts think that people are interested in simple facts and figures. They’re not – not unless you wrap them up in a story. Pepper your insights and observations about your industry with anecdotes. Data rich, PowerPoint presentations rarely make interesting listening.



The best podcasts involve people talking about their personal experience while sharing their knowledge and insights. Not many companies are blessed with inspirational talkers so, if you try to do it in house, it’ll be tough. However, a good option is a professional presenter who can bring out the best in your contributors while weaving the stories into a coherent whole.



Research shows that listeners who invest their time with a podcast want to gain something out of it. If you can promise them the next 30 minutes will change the way they think about their industry or the way they approach work, then they’re more likely to listen. So when you’re planning think what’s in it for the listener.



Don’t let management speak kill your podcast. Allow presenters and guests to talk freely. The danger with corporate podcasts is that all personality is driven out of them because of fear a middle manager will refuse to sign it off. But if your podcast sounds like a game of boardroom bingo or a corporate report no one will listen anyway.



Podcasts, like the best radio shows, benefit from research and creative planning. Keep the audience on their toes, introduce audio surprises and be ruthless with your editing. We all have a habit of rambling – if someone is talking without adding anything that contribution must be cut out.


These points aren’t aimed at putting you off producing a podcast; if anything I hope they inspire you to give it a go. But please don’t make a podcast because everyone else is doing it. (By the way most of the above also applies to webinars too)


Matrix Marketing can support your podcast development and offers courses in media training, which are advisable if you plan to get serious about your podcasts, webinars or public speaking. During lockdown they can also be provided virtually.


Paul Curran is an experienced communications professional, Paul leads on media training and content production at Matrix Marketing.

Since 2012, he has trained senior management teams around the world in the art of how to excel in interviews and how to make the most of any presentation opportunity – e.g. conference, panel or webinar.

Paul previously worked at the BBC for 23 years; in radio and then for 17 years in TV as an on-screen reporter.  In that time, he conducted thousands of interviews including Prime Ministers, cabinet ministers, CEOs and the odd celebrity (most of them are odd).

As a seasoned TV hack, he knows the tricks of the trade and can bring authenticity and relevancy to all scenarios.  He prides himself on teaching trainees how to stay in control of the interview and deliver their key messages. In addition, Paul is experienced in how to communicate in a crisis and regularly leads bespoke courses on how organisations can perform their best when under the worst of scrutiny.

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