You are about to get a masterclass in podcast marketing from a content creation company who use podcasts to build their own brand authority.
Vistatec’s CMO Simon Hodgkins is a true industry innovator. He uses in-depth interviews with leaders from top brands like HubSpot, Microsoft and Vodafone, to directly connect with his customers on a personal level. He shares best practices on podcast creation and dozens of practical tips for promoting your show to gain initial traction.
He also shares invaluable insights, which he has learned over years of successful podcasting, about why consistency and quality content are keystones to your success.
Whether you’re just getting started or looking to refine your existing show, this engaging discussion offers a goldmine of strategic guidance and actionable strategies worth their weight in marketing gold.
THINGS WE SPOKE ABOUT
- 03:00 Getting the cut through to your audience
- 04:09 Building relationships through podcasting
- 07:18 How to build your own workflow
- 11:06 Why consistency is important
- 13:18 Tools to launch your podcast
- 14:52 Creating value for your audience
- 17:37 Measuring success outside of metrics
- 22:35 Advice for those considering a podcast
Simon Hodgkins is Chief Marketing Officer at Vistatec, HQ in Europe, with operations worldwide. Simon is the Founder of the Think Global Forum, the Think Global Awards, and Editor in Chief for VTQ magazine. Prior to this, Simon held the position of Country Manager, Marketing Director, and leadership of the global SaaS/cloud services with Sage Plc (FTSE 100).
From a challenge perspective, it’s about getting the cut through making sure that your message is heard by your audience that you’re trying to target. Now that sounds simple on the face of it, but actually, it’s a very, very difficult game. – Simon Hodgkins
How does the podcast help? Well, it helps with engagement because you reach and you build relationships with people. It helps because you’re sharing information out into the community that you want to talk to. So you’re building a listenership. You’re building real relationships. That’s the secret sauce, that people listening to it go, I want to get closer to this organization. I want to get closer to this brand. – Simon Hodgkins
I do think that we’ve seen more traction since we’ve got very, very firm on consistency. It was like the trajectory went north rapidly, it was an upward curve. – Simon Hodgkins
If you’re constantly chasing downloads, and you’re constantly chasing the likes, and the comments and the growth, you’re gonna miss the more important factor, which is build value into your content for the long term. Deliver meaningful content that you’re passionate about, and it will start to happen. – Simon Hodgkins
In your first year of podcasting there is so much learning that you get while you’re in motion that you will never get from the planning stage of it. – Simon Hodgkins
Think bigger than you’re thinking today. I wouldn’t say we’re going to give it a try, view it in a manner that this is going to be a core part of your strategic plan to deliver meaningful content to your audience. – Simon Hodgkins
Podcasting is a really good way of not only helping people to promote and show more support for your brand, but also to reach new audiences that you maybe are not reaching through your other traditional marketing channels. – Simon Hodgkins
If you would like to find out more about how a brand podcast could work for your business visit our website www.dustpod.io.
You’ll find guides on how podcasts work specifically for brands, along with lots more examples of award winning brand podcasts to inspire you. Working with us means you do all the fun stuff, and we do everything else. Find that information on our website www.dustpod.io.
#brandpodcast #podcasting #awardwinners #tech #businesspodcast
For your convenience, we include an automated AI transcription
Dusty Rhodes 00:02
We’re about to put the phrase tasting your own medicine to the test. As we discover how a content creation company uses podcast content marketing, to successfully drive new business, and pick up some awards along the way.
Worldwide brands are engaging with customers through podcasts. These are the stories behind outstanding brand podcasts. So you can listen, learn and be inspired by the best. These are the award winners from dustpod.io.
Dusty Rhodes 00:37
Hello there. My name is Dusty Rhodes, and you’re very welcome to our award winners podcast. Vistatec are a global content solutions provider who provide text audio and video content across many languages for multinationals worldwide. So when you see a website, which asks What language do prefer, that’s the kind of thing that Vistatec does. They’ve used podcasts to successfully drive new business. And to tell us more about how they did it. We’re joined by their chief marketing officer Simon Hodgkins.
Simon Hodgkins 01:06
One thing that we learned as we went through the episodes and we grew the podcast was that if it’s the same flavor all the time, it resonates with the same people all the time. And sometimes you need to just slightly, you know, slightly go outside those boundaries, to make sure that we bringing those those extra sort of adjacencies in. And that really helps because even our regular listeners and our regular supporters, they love it when there’s a slight variant to it, because it helps them think differently, too.
Dusty Rhodes 01:35
Simon is a marketers marketer. And in our podcast today, he shares really practical information, which has worked for him from basics, like how long episode should be and how to cut down on the work in making them to revealing the secret sauce that makes listeners want to get closer to a brand. But first, we started with the marketing message that Simon needs to get across for Vistatec.
Simon Hodgkins 02:04
From a Vistatec perspective, the message really is about the content creates activity, it drives engagement, it helps companies to really reach and connect with the consumer, the buyer, the purchaser, the supporter, the person that’s within their global community, it helps companies to deliver that message correctly, to make sure that their brand essence is honored that it is delivered with integrity and that it is also well received by their customer, we would work at any moment in time with about 300 different languages, they would sort of be the sweet spot. And if you add dialects on top of that it gets very complicated very, very quickly. So without going into brand names, but if you just consider the biggest brands on the planet, they’re pretty much customers of VISTA tech at this stage.
Dusty Rhodes 03:00
So that’s the message that you’re trying to get across to the world. From your point of view as a marketing person, what’s the hardest part of marketing that message?
Simon Hodgkins 03:10
Well, I don’t know whether I would sort of frame it in the hardest part. But I suppose the challenge lies in awareness cut through. It’s a busy environment. There are so many social media channels popping up all the time, we’ve got a new one at the type of recording popping up on and growing very quickly. So I suppose from a challenge perspective, it’s about getting the cut through making sure that your message is heard by your audience that you’re trying to target. Now that sounds simple on the face of it, but actually, it’s a very, very difficult game. Because it’s noisy. We now have artificial intelligence, we have bot farms, we have content that maybe isn’t helpful. We have user generated content, which has exploded. It’s not just brands talking to consumers. Now it’s consumers talking to consumers, that the brand is no longer something that you own. It’s the thing that gets said about you when you’re not in the room.
Dusty Rhodes 04:09
Why did you think a podcast would help in getting your message across?
Simon Hodgkins 04:15
The reason we started it was because a I think we had a different story to tell. And we knew it would be talking to the kind of companies that were interested in engaging with the more big brands in my case that you talk to, the more people who aren’t in that community want to be part of that community. The more people start listening, the more people start recommending it, the more companies actually want to talk to us. So back to your question. How does the podcast help? Well, it helps with engagement because you reach and you build relationships with people. It helps because you’re sharing information out into the community that you want to talk to. So you’re building a listenership. You’re building real relationships, and I think that’s a very important part. Sometimes they’re actually stronger relationships. The other thing that we found, and I’ll finish on this, it also levels up the relationships that we have with people. So if we’re already doing business with somebody, and we get them on the podcast, we find that that relationship is enhanced by that discussion. And it’s, that’s really the sweet spot. That’s the secret sauce. And it’s that secret sauce, that people listening to it go, I want to get closer to this organization. I want to get closer to this brand. But we have we have been very fortunate it’s been very successful from day one.
Dusty Rhodes 05:37
That sense of relationship works because Simon delivers interesting people with interesting stories, like in this episode example, where he speaks with HubSpot, Beth Dunn, whose journey saw her assist the company’s growth from 50 to 1000 employees. And like all great stories, Beth didn’t start at the top.
So my my journey really did start at HubSpot. I mean, I My background is in writing and editing and then into marketing. In the nonprofit world that was a I was a proofreader for Random House Publishing for a really long time, as a freelancer as a work from home from way back. And then I was a nonprofit in marketing and communications. And then, you know, in the early 2000s, when that social media revolution was really starting to happen, that was when I know sorry, late 2000 arts, right. That was when I really wanted to get involved in that I saw what HubSpot was doing in that world. And so I decided, You know what, I really belong in tech. And so I joined HubSpot. And it was one of those things where I didn’t care what role I was in, you know, and back then, they onboarded Basically, everybody hired basically everybody in a customer support role just about everybody. That was like the entry level role. And, and there’s no better training in my experience, than to start off on the front lines, helping customers every day. So I was onboarding customers every day, with no thought of anything called UX writing, or content or anything like that. I was just helping customers grow their businesses using our software.
Dusty Rhodes 07:18
You’ve got a terrific lineup of guests now. And as you say, you’ve more people lined up that you could possibly even talk to. But when you were starting the podcast, and it was brand new and had no track record, how did you get guests for the podcast?
Simon Hodgkins 07:32
Yeah, that’s a good question. And I think initially, we had a couple of people that were quite warm and friendly to us. So we kind of asked them would they would they like to be involved in helping us kick this off, and that kind of work, we also interviewed a few of our key members of our own organization. And that helped get a little bit of traction initially, too. And then within a few short months, we really have never had a problem getting really good guests.
Dusty Rhodes 08:02
What kind of time commitment do you have when you’re preparing an episode?
Simon Hodgkins 08:06
Well, I don’t know what you find. But the longer the episode is recorded for normally, the more great content you end up with if you’ve got the right guests, and therefore the more editing that needs to be done the book, the more show notes that need to be done, the more articles need to be written. So we try to limit it now to about 30 minutes as the sweet spot. Now, I’m the worst culprit because sometimes if we get really into something it will go over. And I will get reminded by my great team behind the scenes that you know, I’m not helping. But I think having having a process in place is something that we really had to do. I wouldn’t say initially, but it became very obvious as the months clicked by that unless we put this into a proper business process, a proper workflow, we were going to be in trouble because it is just it’s a lot to keep a regular show going. And everything from inviting the guests the process of how that works, the information you share ahead of the episode, the topics that you want to talk about. And then there’s the editing. And then there’s the writing and of course with the organization and this one podcast we’re speaking about today, you know, making sure that that has the right feel that it’s on brand that the titles are right the age ones the h2 is the SEO, the article that accompanies it, the promotion of it, whether that’s organic, or paid or social media, all that goes on the back of it and I don’t want to frighten people off because I think if people want to get into podcasting, they should. It is a great medium for reaching people and for communicating and for building community. But I think the earlier you can implement at least my my two cents would be the early you and implement an effective workflow that works for you and works for your audience, the better. Otherwise you will think you’ll be on top of everything but you won’t.
Dusty Rhodes 09:57
Do you work your system on your own. Do you get outside help,
Simon Hodgkins 10:02
we have a small team internally. And we also have some external help, too. So we’re a little bit a little bit from column A, and a little bit from column B. But right now, we’re pretty much on autopilot. When it comes to the workflow process, we pretty much know what works, we know how to produce the content that our audience likes, we know how to grow, we’ve always got five or six in the can ready to go. We have a calendar of guests throughout the year. But I don’t think it’s something that comes natural to people, the minute they get into it, because you that you’re kind of excited to get into podcasting, you kind of have a bit of a passion about it. And then all of a sudden, you realize that it is kind of a business. Yes, you can have fun. Yes, you can enjoy it, yes, you still need to keep the passion alive. But there are certain tasks that must be done on certain times. And young, you’ve got to host it everywhere. And then you know, all that stuff has to be taken care of. And if you’re a one person band doing that, it’s possible. How much of that you can do and what the frequency is? And do you need to do all the things in your day? That’s the key question. But yeah.
Dusty Rhodes 11:06
When it comes to frequency, how important do you think frequency is when you’re publishing a podcast?
Simon Hodgkins 11:12
I’m a convert, I’m a convert on the frequency rules. So I think it’s exceptionally important that people know that your podcast drops on this day each week. Because some people, not everybody, but a growing percentage of people know that a certain podcast is coming out on a certain day, and the new episode will be there. Yes, the podcast tool that you use to listen to it on will tell you when it’ll go to the top of your feed, whether you’re listening on a podcast app, or Spotify, or Google podcasts or Apple pocket or wherever you’re listening to. But I do think that we’ve seen more traction, since we’ve got very, very firm on consistency. It was like trajectory went north rapidly. I mean, it was it was an upward curve. It played such an important role. That it’s just something that’s hardwired in at this stage. Now I have spoken to podcasters who do even better than I do. And there’s quite a lot of them out there. who say, Well, when I get around to it, I’ll publish the episode. And if somebody’s got to wait another week for the episode, because I’m too busy, that’s okay. But we saw rapid growth when we got to frequency, consistent frequency, I should say.
Dusty Rhodes 12:25
Still to come, Simon talks about how he promoted the launch of the podcast, the number of different ways he measured success. And the one surprising thing that worked better than all else to drive audience growth.
If you feel a brand podcast work for you, here are three simple things you can do today to get started. One, visit our website to get more information and guides on how podcasts work specifically for brands, along with lots more examples of award winning brands podcasts to inspire you to you can call us with your questions, and we’re happy to help. Three, you could consider working with us. So you do all the fun stuff. And we do everything else. Find that information on our website as DustPod does IO
Dusty Rhodes 13:18
back to our conversation with Simon Hodgkins Vista Tech’s chief marketing officer, who believes that delivering consistency and value will help you achieve big goals. But first, he tells us how he launched the VISTA tech podcast and grew the audience.
Simon Hodgkins 13:33
Well, I suppose we we use some well trodden paths here in terms of press releases and social media promotion and a little bit of paid promotion. But the power of newsletters really works as a complement to our podcast because we have this ever growing community that has very high open rates on heard of open rates for newsletters today. We have more people joining it every month every time we push out the episode it grows. And that has been a great vehicle to be able to continue to grow the messaging and to share. Here’s the latest episode, here’s what we’re talking about, you know, here’s who’s coming up, etc. And at the moment, the frequency for this particular podcast we’re discussing is two episodes per month. So we have two short messages that go out to our community every month, that tells them about the latest episode. But then we have other newsletters that they also cross pollinate into, which then helps us to get wider messages across to various groups. And I suppose as well, having guests that are part of large communities doesn’t hurt either. Because if your guest is in a company that’s got 30,000 employees, that kind of help straightaway, you know,
Dusty Rhodes 14:52
can I ask you, Simon about your experience and building an audience because a lot of people when you go out there in the world first You’ve for the first two, three episodes like, Yay, we’ve had loads of downloads, and then it kind of drifts off because people do you know, and then it starts to build again. What was your experience?
Simon Hodgkins 15:11
Yeah, that’s a great question as well, because it’s kind of a bit like riding a roller coaster being a podcast host or a podcast promoter. Because one minute it’s euphoria the next minute you go, Well, that was a disaster. So some episodes, the only way I can answer it, honestly, dusty is to say, some episodes that you think are gonna be the episode, this is the episode that’s gonna make me it doesn’t work. Nobody’s interested in it. And you’re kind of blindsided by it. So with all your wisdom, and all your expertise, and all the love and attention you’ve poured into a particular episode, sometimes that one just doesn’t work. And then sometimes the episode where you think, Well, that was alright, it’s okay. You know, and it just goes, boom. So luckily, when you build up enough episodes, and you know this over time, you then start to see trends. And you can start to see, well, these kinds of conversations work a little bit better. So we’ll maybe lean into that a little bit more, and maybe lean out of this a little bit less. And that kind of helps. But the thing I would say is, honestly, I wouldn’t get too hung up on the vanity metrics. Meaning if you’re constantly chasing downloads, and you’re constantly chasing the likes, and the comments and the growth, you’re gonna miss the more important factor, which is build value into your content for the long term, deliver meaningful content that you’re passionate about, and it will start to happen. Because otherwise you become metric hungry. And then when things don’t go well, or things take a change, or the algorithm change or something goes wrong, something happens. You haven’t built that solid foundation of providing value to your audience. And your audience, I find Wilken will come back. If you consistently share value, if you share value, they will show up a little bit for you the host, but mainly for the value that you’re sharing with them. So for me, they are important, and you have to make sure those metrics are headed in the right direction. But when they take a dip, don’t worry about it too much. Because there is that roller coaster effect. And as long as the trend over time is ticking upwards, it’s going to be okay. downturns happen in every market. You know,
Dusty Rhodes 17:37
let me ask you then about time, because you know, we understand this, but you always have people upstairs in the C suite. And they kind of want the numbers. That’s all they care about. timewise what what advice would you give to people to for what kind of time to dedicate to a podcast before you kind of evaluate it?
Simon Hodgkins 17:55
politician’s answer is it depends. So that’s what we said, what if you were a comedian, and you were just starting off and you booked a venue? And you sold 300 tickets? And the venue only held 200? How excited would you be about turning up to that show? And I kind of went, you know, the penny drops and then when he had got it, but I think the question is more related to what happens when you’re you’re doing a podcast for a business, you’ve got a board of directors, there’s a C suite involved, why are we spending this money doing this type of activity? What’s the benefit to the bottom line? How does this help us move forward. And for that, you really have to position it correctly. Setting the stall out for podcasting in a short term measure, I would personally advise against it. Because if it’s if it’s, well, we’ll try it for six months. And if it doesn’t work we’ll stop doing it is I would suggest not the right way to go about it. Because in your first year of podcasting, there is so much learning that you get while you’re in motion, that you will never get from the planning stage of it. This is a particular medium that I think you have to learn, you have to study you have to understand. And it’s a direct connection. What I mean by that is whether you’re watching us today, or in most cases with podcasts, you’ve got some earbuds in or some earphones, and I am talking directly into your ear. That’s where the magic happens
Dusty Rhodes 19:15
for yourself. How do you measure the success of the podcast? Where do you kind of go grant that’s worked because boom, what’s the one thing that you would measure this success against?
Simon Hodgkins 19:26
Yeah, so I suppose we have all the usual analytics, right? And various podcasts platforms have various analytics tools built into them. So we build our own dashboards to measure certain things. Things like how long did the episode last? Who was the guest? What was the topic? How many people listened to what people listen to all the way through? The other thing I was going to say that we’re quite fortunate about is we’re at an event recently, and one of the people at the event said, Oh, I was talking to and mentioned three really big potential customers. And they were speaking to them about the podcast episode that had dropped in the previous month. Now, you can’t really measure that in an analytical dashboard. But that in person feedback about, well, three of the world’s biggest companies was reciting some of the conversations that we were having that anecdotal additional feedback we tried to build that into. The last thing I wanted to say on this topic is we’re more interested in what we get wrong than what we get right? If you tell us that it’s going great, and the podcast is working, and everybody likes it. And that person who we met at that event said, it was fantastic. We don’t actually learn anything from that. It’s just Oh, that’s brilliant. We learn most from the things that don’t actually pan out the way we want it to. So we try to analyze analyze that a little bit more. Yes, of course, we double down on our strengths, and we do what works. But we tried to figure out why things aren’t working. And I think sometimes when you are successful to a certain degree in one area, you can often take your eye off the ball and miss all this great learning that’s over here. So we tried to focus on that.
Dusty Rhodes 21:14
And it’s amazing what you do learn in his podcast. In this clip CTO with a global elevator giant con a magic Kranz reveals how your smartphone can get you to the top floor even quicker.
For example, if I if I go to a high rise building where let’s say corner office is located, my phone and my app would would be able to interact with the infrastructure. And the building infrastructure would recognize me and say, Okay, well, this is my check, he works for con and he used to be, you know, come here a couple of times already. So we will give a Fastlane to him. So you can go through the turnstile. Welcome much I can, by the way, much like there’s an elevator waiting for you is elevators. See, because we also checked with your permission, of course, that your first meeting is on the 12th floor, it will take you directly to the first floor. Right? Technology exists where you can do these things today. And it would be nice if we could roll out these types of solutions for all of us so that we can enjoy the smooth people flow experiences, as you mentioned.
Simon Hodgkins 22:25
Yeah. And that, you know, hooking up that whole transportation logistics of moving humans around the planet. It’s a fascinating subject.
Dusty Rhodes 22:35
One last question for you, Simon, what what advice would you have for a marketer who’s just kind of starting out and wants to make an impact with a podcast,
Simon Hodgkins 22:44
I would say think, bigger than your thinking today. I wouldn’t say we’re going to give it a try. I would say view it in a manner that this is going to be a core part of your strategic plan to deliver meaningful content to the to your audience types. Ultimately, what we are building here is something we don’t have today, which is a direct connection into here. Most businesses need to convince people on an individual level right? Most organizations are selling to people on a one on one basis, whether that’s e commerce, or whether that’s through retail, you know, retail bricks and mortar stores. You’ve got to build relationships to some degree, whether that’s through the packaging, or the product or the advertising, in order to get that consumer to part with hard earned money to buy your products or services and to keep us new and to recommend you. And I think podcasting is a really good way of not only helping people to promote and some more support your brand, but also to reach new audiences and reach new listeners that you maybe are not reaching through your other traditional marketing channels.
Dusty Rhodes 23:57
Simon You have gone and reignited my passion for podcasts. It’s just challenging you has been absolutely brilliant, brilliant. And you’ve been so giving of your time. I can’t thank you enough for joining us on our award winners podcast.
Simon Hodgkins 24:09
It’s been my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Dusty Rhodes 24:10
If you would like to listen to VistaTalks, or some of the episodes featured here on the podcast today, you’ll find links to it in the description area of this episode on your player right now. Of course if you’re considering a podcast for your own company or brand, do remember you’ll find some great resources on our website at dustpod.io You can also arrange a call to chat about how podcast could work for your brand specifically, or you could consider working with us so you do all the fun stuff. And we do everything else until our next Award Winners podcast, from myself, Dusty Rhodes, thank you for listening.
The Award Winners is it DustPod production from dustpod.io