How to Repurpose Your Content into an Engaging Podcast: Insights from HubSpot‘s Podcast Expert

Podcasting has exploded in recent years, and the momentum shows no signs of slowing down. In 2024, an estimated 164 million Americans will listen to podcasts each month, a 20 million increase from 2023. With one-third of Americans now tuning in, podcasts have become a mainstream medium for entertainment, education, and brand-building.

For content marketers, this presents a massive opportunity. Repurposing your existing high-performing content into podcast episodes allows you to expand your reach, deliver more value to your audience, and get more mileage out of the assets you‘ve worked so hard to create.

At HubSpot, we‘ve seen the power of repurposing firsthand. Our Skill Up podcast, for example, has generated over 1 million downloads and ranks in the top 1% of business podcasts – and many of the episodes were adapted from existing HubSpot blog posts and YouTube videos.

So how can you follow in their footsteps and breathe new life into your content as audio? We sat down with HubSpot‘s resident podcasting expert, Matthew Brown, to get his top tips.

Why Content Repurposing is a Podcaster‘s Secret Weapon

Before we dive into tactics, let‘s look at some of the key benefits of building your podcast episodes around content you‘ve already created:

  1. Efficiency. Coming up with original episode topics and outlines from scratch eats up a lot of time and mental energy. When you repurpose, the core idea and structure are already there, so you can focus on adapting it to an audio format.

  2. Reach. There‘s very little overlap between podcast listeners and blog readers. In fact, only about 10% regularly consume both, according to a recent Edison Research study. Turning blogs into podcasts allows you to connect with a whole new audience who may prefer audio content.

  3. SEO. Google now indexes podcasts and individual episodes alongside traditional web pages. Including transcripts and optimized show notes creates more ranking opportunities for your target keywords.

  4. Authority. Going deeper into the topics and stories you‘ve already published, and offering fresh takes, reinforces your credibility and expertise in your niche.

"When it comes to creating a podcast, you really have two options," says Brown. "You can start from scratch, or you can work with what you already have. I always recommend the latter to teams that already have a wealth of blog posts, videos, and other assets. It just makes everything so much easier and more scalable."

What Types of Content Work Best for Podcasting?

So what existing assets are the best candidates for transformation? According to Brown, almost any content can be adapted into a podcast episode with a bit of creativity – but some formats tend to work better than others.

Blog posts and articles are a natural fit, especially if they have a strong narrative or clear structure. List posts like "10 ways to do X" can easily become "10 part" episodes. How-to guides can be talked through step-by-step. Opinion pieces can become lively rants or debates.

Video content like webinars and interviews can also be very powerful when converted to audio. "The intimate, conversational nature of video translates really well to podcasting," says Brown. "You get all of the engrossing storytelling and useful takeaways, without the visual component that people often don‘t have time to sit down and watch."

Case studies are another strong option, as you can bring the story to life with more color and context. Adding client interviews lends social proof. If you have presentation recordings from conferences or events, consider how you might extract the key insights into a podcast highlight reel.

To decide which content assets to prioritize, Brown recommends a few key criteria:

  • Engagement: Look at view counts, read time, social shares, and other engagement metrics to see what‘s already connecting with your audience. Those pieces clearly have a compelling hook or story that will likely translate well to audio.

  • Evergreen potential: Opt for content that will remain relevant and useful for a long time to come. Trend stories and news-based content can work well if you add additional analysis, but you‘ll generally get more mileage out of evergreen topics.

  • Depth: Choose content that digs sufficiently deep into the subject matter. You want to be able to speak authoritatively for at least 15-20 minutes without running out of things to say. Thin content will be tougher to adapt.

"One low-hanging fruit is to look at blog posts that are already ranking well for high-volume keywords," advises Brown. "Those are proven winners in Google‘s eyes. With a little refresh and added commentary for the podcast version, you can get even more SEO juice."

Step-by-Step: How to Convert Content to Podcasts

Once you‘ve identified some prime repurposing candidates, it‘s time to map out your episode format and recording process. Follow Brown‘s step-by-step playbook:

1. Create an episode outline

"Think through the key points you want to hit, and how you‘ll bring the content to life in an audio format," says Brown. "What quotes, examples, or stories can you pull out? What needs more context? How can you put your unique spin on it? The outline is your chance to ensure a tight narrative flow."

Most podcast episodes run 20-40 minutes, so aim to have at least 4-5 main talking points, with 3-4 minutes of discussion each. A simple structure might look like:

  • Intro [1-2 min]
  • Point 1 [3-4 min]
  • Point 2 [3-4 min]
  • Point 3 [3-4 min]
  • Point 4 [3-4 min]
  • Point 5 [3-4 min]
  • Recap/Outro [2-3 min]

2. Extract audio from your source content

If you‘re adapting a blog post or article, read it aloud and record yourself (or get a voice actor to do it if you prefer). Practice speaking slowly and clearly, with good diction and emphasis on key phrases.

For video content, rip the audio using a tool like VLC or Audacity. Trim out any irrelevant bits at the beginning or end. If it‘s too long, cut it down to just the most important points. The beauty of podcasting is you can always link to the full video in your show notes for those who want to dive deeper.

3. Record your episode intro, outro, and segues

Once you‘ve got your main content pieces ready, it‘s time to record the glue that will tie it all together. "The right intro and outro can make a huge difference in how professional and engaging your podcast sounds," notes Brown. "You want to hook the listener right away and give them a reason to stick around."

Some tips for nailing your episode intro:

  • Quickly tease the main topic and why it matters
  • Hint at the key takeaways the listener will get
  • Introduce yourself and establish credibility
  • Keep it brief – 30 seconds is plenty

For the outro, recap the main points and issue a clear call-to-action. What should the listener do next? Subscribe, leave a review, check out the original blog post or video, etc.

Finally, record any segues or transitions you need between main content sections. "A quick line like ‘Next up, we‘ll hear from so-and-so…‘ can work wonders to smooth out the episode flow," says Brown.

4. Mix it all together

With all your elements recorded, fire up your podcast editing platform of choice and start stitching them together. Free options like Audacity and GarageBand work great when you‘re starting out. For an even easier solution, check out Anchor, which is owned by Spotify and lets you record, edit and publish right from your phone.

Copy your narration and interviews into a single project, then arrange according to your outline. Trim any awkward pauses or filler words. Layer in your music and intro/outro. Aim for a smooth, seamless flow.

5. Add show notes, transcriptions, and promotional assets

"Many podcasters overlook show notes and transcripts, but they‘re essential for discoverability," says Brown. "Taking the time to write keyword-rich titles, descriptions and transcripts can pay huge dividends in terms of organic reach and SEO."

In your show notes, summarize the key points from the episode and highlight any links or resources mentioned. Use target keywords naturally throughout. Get a full, accurate transcription using Rev or Trint, and embed it on the episode webpage.

Finally, create promo images (aka "audiograms") featuring quotes and visuals from the episode. These work great for teasing the content on social media and blogs.

6. Publish to your hosting platform

When everything is mixed and ready to go, export your finished audio file and upload it to your podcast hosting provider (PodBean, BuzzSprout, Transistor, etc.). Schedule it to publish on the cadence you‘ve committed to – consistency is key in the world of podcasting.

"As a general rule of thumb, aim to publish at least 1-2 episodes per week," recommends Brown. "That strikes a good balance between maintaining a steady output and giving yourself time to continue generating new content."

How to Blow Up Your Podcast Reach with Repurposed Content

Adapting your existing content is just one piece of the puzzle. To get the most mileage possible out of your shiny new podcast episodes, you‘ve got to spread the word far and wide. Here are a few of Brown‘s top tips for distribution and promotion:

  • Leverage existing channels: Notify your email list about each new episode. Add a link to your podcast in your email signature. Share clips on your social channels. Embed the player on relevant blog posts. Squeeze every ounce of reach from the audience you already have.

  • Cross-pollinate your content: Use your podcast episode as a springboard for even more content. Turn quotes and stories into blog posts, infographics and social videos. Optimize it all to drive back to the original episode. It‘s a virtuous cycle.

  • Tap into influencers and guests: If your episodes feature outside experts or voices, make it easy for them to amplify the content to their own followings. Create pre-written social posts and graphics they can share. Make it a win-win.

  • Paid promotion: Put some paid social budget behind your episodes, especially in the early days. Use audiograms as creative, and target lookalike audiences based on your current fans and followers. Even a small spend can help you gain crucial early traction.

"When it comes to promotion, think beyond the obvious podcast channels," Brown advises. "Of course you‘ll want to optimize for Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts – but don‘t stop there. The real power of repurposing comes from distributing your podcast content everywhere your target audience is already consuming content online."

The Proof is in the Pudding

To illustrate just how effective podcast repurposing can be, let‘s look at a real-world example from the HubSpot content team.

Back in 2021, the team published a blog post on "How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business." It performed well, attracting over 10,000 views in the first few months and ranking on page one for several relevant keywords.

Recognizing the post‘s evergreen appeal, they decided to turn it into a podcast episode. The team recruited HubSpot Academy‘s content marketing professor to provide additional context and examples. They kept the same outline and key points, but refreshed it with a conversational tone and new stories. They even recorded a few dramatized sketches to bring the buyer persona examples to life.

The resulting episode, "Creating Buyer Personas That Actually Work," quickly became one of the most popular to date. It attracted thousands of downloads in the first week and ranked as high as #27 in the Business category on Apple Podcasts.

Even better, it gave the original blog post a huge SEO boost. Rankings for "buyer persona" keywords jumped several spots. Organic traffic increased 65% month-over-month. Conversion rates ticked up too, as podcast listeners clicked through the show notes to access HubSpot‘s buyer persona templates.

"That episode was a real turning point for us in terms of connecting the dots between our content formats," says Brown. "It proved that audio and text can work together in powerful ways to attract a wider audience and drive meaningful results."

Podcasting with Purpose

Repurposing may be an efficient podcasting strategy, but it still takes time and effort to do it well. As you‘re building out your episode pipeline, stay focused on the bigger picture.

"Too many brands simply chase vanity metrics like downloads without regard for the impact on their overarching content goals," warns Brown. "Yes, a podcast is a great vehicle for expanding your reach – but it needs to align with and support your other content initiatives to be truly effective."

When planning which assets to repurpose, always tie it back to your core objectives. Will this episode showcase your expertise on a key topic? Provide real value to your target customers? Drive measurable traffic and engagement? If not, keep brainstorming.

"At the end of the day, your podcast should be a natural extension of the content brand you‘re building, not an island unto itself," says Brown. "The more you can integrate it into your overall strategy, the more impactful it will be."

Conclusion

Podcasting may be a brave new world, but you don‘t need to start from zero. By strategically repurposing your existing high-performing content into binge-worthy podcast episodes, you can fast track your growth and make the most of every asset.

Just remember – successfully adapting content for audio isn‘t as simple as reading something verbatim into a microphone. Take the time to outline a compelling structure. Add context and personality. Splice in music and original commentary. Optimize your show notes and transcripts. And promote, promote, promote.

The opportunity in podcasting is immense for content marketers who are willing to put in the work. Follow the tips and examples outlined here, and you‘ll be well on your way to creating a show that not only entertains and informs your audience, but drives real results for your brand.

Happy podcasting!