Despite its origins as a guerilla-style method of broadcasting, creating a podcast today can require a sizeable effort. The question for many at the decision-making stage of whether to proceed or not is whether the effort is worth the potential return. When it comes to producing a podcast series, the work grows in step with one’s ambition. It is no easy task, and when the goal is to be one of the best business podcasts 2019 has to offer, the bar is set high.
The data shows that podcasts are far from obsolete. Nearly one-third of the US Population listens to a podcast at least once each month. Listeners subscribe to an average of 6 podcasts shows, and the amount of time dedicated to enjoying podcasts exceeds that of all audio sources, including AM/FM, owned music, and streamed music!
Still, the question remains whether the publishing of a podcast will produce a positive result. The definition of “positive result” here could vary widely. Some common objectives might include:
- Revenue generation
- Enjoyment of the process, self-published content
- Helping, teaching, sharing expertise with others
- Personal recognition, respect, authority, fame
- Performing, entertaining
When setting out to produce a successful podcast, or even one that could qualify as one of the best business podcasts 2019 listeners can enjoy, the goals must have certain qualities. As George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham wrote1, “There’s a S. M. A. R. T. way to write management goals and objectives.” Today, the acronym SMART frequently translates into goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Before starting on the podcast voyage, a serious evaluation of the “costs” to benefits is warranted.
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Any veteran podcast producer will confirm that plenty of preproduction is needed before recording, editing, and uploading an episode. This is especially true when a host has a guest during an interview podcast. The subject matter or topics of discussion need to be outlined, at least, before going “live to drive.” With all this work involved, why do podcasts continue to exist, and what would be the incentive to keep one in production with no end in sight? The answer, from one producer, is straightforward and simple.
“You might just get back a portion of what you give, so why not give more?”
What Does the Best Business Podcast 2019 NOT Sound Like?
Tastes vary and can even sway from one end to another depending on the season or time of day. As a threshold for “acceptability,” however, there are some standards that should be non-negotiable. Unfortunately, they eliminate a large portion of podcasts from a potential subscription list. The traits that can kill a podcast include:
- Poor production.
I do not listen to podcasts with bad audio. Too loud or too low, inconsistent or polluted with ambient noise—these things are within reach of all producers today. There is no excuse other than laziness, and I cannot respect that. Also, Skype interviews are likely to sound over-compressed and are not so impressive.
The same tools that clean up a podcast, making it sound professional, can in the wrong hands destroy one. Too many sound effects, over-the-top opening music and voice-overs, trying to be “different” in many cases simply sounds annoying.
- Mixed formatting.
An information-centric podcast should not try to be comedic, dramatic or anything other than informational, in my humble opinion. Good comics often bomb on-stage—and they practice it for a living!
- Over-marketed lead generators.
A podcast that is hyped higher than a Wallenda tightrope is usually a bust for me. I can smell it a mile away. Trying to hard-sell me something? Say so. Don’t try to slip a half-hour of pitch material by me while disguising it as the information I need.
- Poor vocal quality or control.
A host doesn’t need massive pipes to hold my attention, but vocal control and variety is important. A monotone, nasal-driven report on stock indexes will turn me into an FM Country music fan faster than you can say “beer, girl, truck, sweet tea.”
- Poor Host.
A host needs to do the basics: Prepare some questions, pay attention to the answers in order to ask insightful follow-up questions, don’t get distracted while conducting an interview where the guest is not on-site, react to answers appropriately (don’t laugh if it isn’t funny), do not use fluff-words. Don’t interrupt your guest or co-host. Be real! I am astonished at hosts who allow obvious noise distractions in the program while conducting an interview—it’s just plain rude.
- Inaccurate Episode description
The podcast environment is full of space to describe your episode clearly and completely. Use the space and be accurate. No one likes being duped into downloading an MP3 that isn’t what they expected.
A Chat with a Podcast Producer
“Giving” is a dominant part of what motivates podcast host and producer of “The Daily Drive,” Ken Knorr. Knorr has been at the microphone, hosting the ongoing podcast series since the summer of 2018. He is a business owner and CEO with a big heart for community service and mentoring his staff. Today, after over 150 episodes, he feels the “edge to podcast” is still sharp. In my opinion, he produces one of the best business podcasts 2019 has on the rack. In August (2019), I had a chance to ask the host a few questions about his motivation, goals, and lessons learned along the way to podcast “stardom.”
JW: What does it feel like to host your own podcast?
KK: I love hosting “The Daily Drive.” It’s mentally stimulating. I look forward to each new episode because of the guests I interview. There’s always the possibility of hearing something completely original and inspiring—from my guests, anyway [laughs].
Knorr’s “office” for much of his working day at Leesburg, Florida internet marketing firm, That! Company is an outdoor picnic table beside a garage door. Under the shade of a large green umbrella, he sits in front of his laptop, with a 1950s shop fan mounted six feet away to keep the air moving. The air is heavy with humidity but the August skies above are clear. He takes a long drag on his cigarette, pauses, then continues.
KK: The show is a perpetual-information machine. I ask questions, I get answers—listeners hear answers or approaches to handle challenges they might be facing. Wisdom spreads and feeds back into the lives of those touched by the program and hopefully, those around them.
JW: Why did you start “The Daily Drive?”
KK: It started out being a business coaching podcast—and it still is—but the coach was me. After a decent run sharing my own business experiences, I found myself wanting to hear what others had to say. Maybe I got tired of hearing myself, but either way, there was a limit to what I could form into a full show, and it was approaching.
JW: So, you were running out of things to talk about?
KK: It’s a quality thing. I want the podcast to be rich with usable content, worth listening to, you know? I could talk for weeks, but right out of the gun, I felt like I wanted each episode to be solid, with substance. I am tough on myself, and I want each show to be the best. Business podcasts, 2019, 2018 or 2010 for that matter, are usually high-quality programs. After a year or so, it was either time to shut it down or take a new direction.
JW: So, you changed the format?
KK: Right. Not completely—it’s still about business—but it’s not just me, sharing my experiences. I host other successful business leaders and tap into their expertise, business models, innovations and even failures.
Knorr’s cell phone keeps pace with my questions, announcing a text or voicemail every minute or so. He speaks rapidly while reading the text or seeing who called. He doesn’t miss a beat.
KK: Of course, we don’t end the show with ‘failures.’ [laughs] The ‘meat’ is what comes after the failure.
The subject of failure is not at all uncomfortable to Knorr. Though perhaps easier to reflect upon once established and in a more successful position, some past ventures did not work out exactly as he’d hoped. He offered details freely.
KK: The world is filled with what people call ‘failures’—I, and others, call these learning opportunities. It’s no joke. Failing sucks, but not learning from failure…it’s a missed opportunity. THAT is failure to me.
JW: Back to “The Daily Drive” for a minute. How has the format change been received by listeners?
KK: Oh no doubt it has expanded the audience, for one. More subjects, businesses, and experiences reach and appeal to a wider audience. The feedback has been encouraging, and quite candidly, I enjoy it much more.
JW: Making it, or listening to it?
KK: Listening. Participating. From a production point of view, it’s more complicated. It takes more time. But it’s totally worth it.
JW: How so?
KK: You know—and this is something I never expected—I often find myself and my guest forming some deep level bond by the end of the interview. Maybe it’s the questions I ask, or how I ask them. I don’t know, but on a personal level, it really feels like we have connected.
JW: Why do you think that is important to you?
KK: Well, the subject is formally business-related, right? Getting into a discussion about personal motivations, though it may be related to business, gets closer to the individual. I like to explore further. Many times, we’ll share similar perspectives on things that never get included in a business plan or annual report. It’s just truly amazing.
JW: Any guests or episodes that impressed you as worth remembering?
KK: Come on, they’re all worth remembering! [laughs]
JW: Of course, but any that you could say, “Hey, that was one of the best business podcasts 2019 listeners can enjoy”?
KK: The earlier shows featured good business practices, not just ‘the basics,’ but lessons I learned that really work. I talk about keeping employees motivated, fulfilled, productive. I talk about managing your time as an executive, managing your life outside of the job—human beings are complex, man, there are no ‘easy tricks’ to change everything, but many small steps that can make a huge impact when put together.
JW: How about the newer shows with guests?
KK: The guests have been mostly leaders in their industries, but not all are household names or companies. Great interviews, though. Trust me, you don’t have to be famous to be interesting.
A heavy construction truck thunders by, headed north on US 27, and we pause for a moment to let the noise subside. Knorr takes a big sip of his iced Arnold Palmer. He ponders a bit before the deep richness of his voice reels off the answer he was searching for.
KK: Ah, the inventor of the Pop-Socket, philosophy professor David Barnett—a great experience. This man came up with a cell phone accessory that has become one of the most successful products in the past two years. He took the #2 spot on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5000 Fastest Growing Companies and was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018. We spoke remarkably little about the products his company makes; it was mostly talk about philosophy. Go figure. I loved it!
He went on to tell me the details of Barnett’s story, the origin of the invention and how the company has grown so incredibly fast. However, his eyes really light up when remembering the off-topic dialogue he enjoyed so much. Philosophy. Knorr, for all his own business acumen, was thrilled to have had a chance to take a brain twisting philosophical detour.
It was becoming clear that Knorr’s staff was increasingly desirous of his attention to the details of SEO, PPC, and Social Media Marketing, among other responsibilities inherent in running a business. My time was nearly up.
JW: Last question for now. Is “The Daily Drive” all that you expected it to be?
KK: Not yet, but it’s getting closer. Changing the format a bit has been a good thing. Kept me going. There are many, many more business leaders out there, and I’d like to talk with them.
My Other Picks for the Best Business Podcasts, 2019
In no particular order, my short list of other productions I could easily qualify as a best business podcast, 2019:
- Internet Business Mastery Podcast – A long-lived series of internet business coaching tips, ideas, and lessons. Has guests occasionally. Earlier episodes had two hosts that worked quite well together. Some pitches for education courses from time to time.
- The Smart Passive Income Podcast – Host Pat Flynn is a true asset to anyone looking to prosper with an internet business. His information is generous, the treatment of guests is very cordial and attentive, and production is solid. Flynn gives away more knowledge and experience in 45 minutes than many weekend seminars.
- – Strong mission statement, good production, valuable information for consumers, well-spoken host. Website supports details from podcasts.
- Guild of Sommeliers Podcast – Not as much for business as for the oenophile, this rather high-brow podcast takes a very serious look at all things related to wine, and other fine indulgences, from cigars to Mezcal. Excellent production and information, if you can understand it.
The list could be longer, but it is only my preferences and opinions here. My suggestion is to find a good podcast and the others similar to it (thank you, Google) will eventually find you.
If there is a subject in which you are an expert, why not consider making your own podcast? Pat Flynn hosts an excellent “Tips & Tools” video tutorial on the process, and it’s well worth the time to watch. You might just be the next one on the list of Best Business Podcasts, 2019! For those who want to see more shocking podcast stats, see the infographic below, courtesy of musicoomph.com
1 November 1981 issue of Management Review (vol. 70, issue 11), “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.” by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham
Authorship: Jay W.
Infographic by: MusicOomph.com