Coffee & Case Studies Event RecapJanuary 18, 2016
Sponsor Spotlight: Kindly CoffeeJanuary 28, 2016
If you’re one of the many who waited with bated breath for each new Serial episode (or if you’re late to the party like me and binge-listened to Season 1 in a single 24-hour period), you know the power of the podcast. But have you ever considered including podcasting as part of your company’s content marketing strategy?
At the latest #MIMAEvent on January 20, we heard from three companies who are doing just that. In particular, we heard case studies and examples from three brands—General Mills, Mosaic, and UnitedHealthcare—that are using podcasting in very different ways and finding success!
General Mills: A Taste of General Mills Podcast
Kevin Hunt, who manages digital strategy, editorial content, and social media engagement for the Global Communications group at General Mills, kicked off the event with a case study on the Taste of General Mills podcast.
Turn stories they were already doing for the blog into a podcast.
The monthly company-branded podcast—which started in September 2015—is modeled after the format of This American Life, with a quirky story at the beginning to draw the listener in before getting into the interview-style delivery of the 10-30 minute podcast.
The podcast has featured topics such as Gluten-free Cheerios, Cooking Fails, and the History of General Mills. Topics are also occasionally chosen to coincide with timely events including Monster Cheerios for Halloween and the 50th anniversary of the Pillsbury Doughboy.
In terms of development techniques, the Taste of General Mills podcast is built on recorded interviews, which the team had already been collecting for blog content. The interviews are mostly recorded through Skype or over the phone using a high quality microphone.
Once the audio is compiled, the episodes are edited in Garage Band and finally distributed via a number of different channels including the General Mills blog. The podcast is also shared on social media, promoted by email, and posted to iTunes, SoundCloud, and various mobile podcast apps.
- Podcasting takes a lot of work and time—from setting up interviews and scripting questions to recording, editing, and distributing the podcast.
- Audience growth takes time.
- Promotion, promotion, promotion!
Mosaic: The Great Yield Mystery
Wayne Carlson, Content Director for broadhead, followed up with an example of a podcast his creative team developed for their client, Mosaic. The company’s audience is made up of farmers who have a lot of extra time to listen to things and engage on social media during harvesting time. The challenge was to make the Mosaic message rise to the top of a barrage of messages from other brands.
Interrupt the days of farmers during harvest time with something unique and interesting.
The creative team at broadhead drew inspiration from Serial and set their sights on creating a (fictional) mystery rolled out weekly in a 10-episode series. The mystery would feature brothers Darrell and Gerald Fitzgerald as they investigated an “insignificant yield” in the preceding year. Such a unique project required buy-in from the client, so the broadhead team explored how the podcast would work ahead of time and had already developed some material before they pitched the idea to the client.
Once Mosaic was on board with the idea, the project began by building buzz around the podcast even before the first episode was released. Pre-promotion included movie posters, a trailer, a photoshoot with the characters, and prizes. During the 10-episode run, Mosaic also engaged with their existing audience by sharing the podcast on social media, along with a contest giving customers the opportunity to solve the mystery for a prize.
One of the biggest challenges of the project was that no one had done anything like it before, so there was no template to work from. Another challenge was making sure the podcast did not become a commercial. In order to tackle this challenge, the podcast focused on the idea rather than the brand, with the hope that the audience would buy into the idea, which would naturally lead them to the brand.
- Exceeded quarterly interaction goal (on social media) by 379 percent.
- 20 percent increase in Facebook likes.
- More than 2,000 episode downloads and counting.
- 432 pieces of media coverage of campaign.
- Podcasts have a longer tail than anticipated. That is, as the podcast was rolled out week by week, new listeners would go back to episode 1 to hear the beginning. With this in mind, consider the frequency – is weekly too often?
- Consider what metrics will guide the podcast (in this case, social metrics).
United HealthCare: Sales Communication Podcast
Finally, Kendra Klemme, Associate Director of Communications at UnitedHealthcare, shared their take on the podcast. The Sales Communication Podcast provides sales tips and other useful information to an audience of insurance agents as they sell UnitedHealthcare during the annual enrollment period (AEP).
Reach agents in a new way with relevant content that helps them sell UnitedHealthcare.
During AEP, agents are constantly in their cars making them a captive audience, and podcasts offer a unique opportunity to break through clutter and communicate helpful information and sales techniques to these agents.
The Sales Communication podcast, which takes an interview format, is recorded via conference calls using the Brain Shark system. For the 2015 AEP period, monthly topics included Sales Techniques and Closing out Sales and were delivered via 10-15 minute episodes.
Looking into 2016, the goal is to increase the podcast frequency to twice monthly. The first podcast will be a short 3-5 minute highlights and news podcast, and the second will be topic-focused (for example, How to Sell When not in AEP).
- Positive feedback from sales leads and agents.
- 7,000+ listens.
- Continually refining topics is a must. Ask: What does the audience want to hear, and who do they want to listen to?
- Bring listeners into conversation.
- Promote the podcast in multiple ways (e.g., email, newsletter, text, LinkedIn).
- Leverage leadership.