32% of Americans participate in the same activity on a monthly basis. Any guesses what it could be?
The answer: People are listening to podcasts.
But with thousands of podcasts available, which are worth a listen? And if you’re already a listener, what other shows should you add to your roster? It can be hard to find a podcast that really piques your interest, so we put together a list of suggestions to help — from business and tech to comedy and true crime.
Table of Contents
Best Podcast Suggestions
- Planet Money
- CEO School
- My First Million
- Business Made Simple
- How I Built This
- Business Wars
- The Goal Digger Podcast
- WorkLife with Adam Grant
- Entrepreneurs On Fire
- Masters of Scale
- Side Hustle School
- Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
- Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
- 2 Dope Queens
- The Dollop
- WTF with Marc Maron
- Comedy Bang Bang
- You Made It Weird
- How Did This Get Made?
- Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People
- R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE:ME?
- Stuff You Should Know
- TED Talks Daily
- 99% Invisible
- This American Life
- Lex Fridman Podcast
- Lexicon Valley
- Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
- Every Little Thing
- Revisionist History
- Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
- Brain’s On! Science Podcast for Kids
- Wow in the World
- Dream Big
- What If World
- The Daily by The New York Times
- Pod Save America
- BBC Global News Podcast
- Today, Explained
- Rough Translation
- The Axe Files with David Axelrod
- Modern Love
- Keep It!
- Ear Hustle
- Weird Work
- Song Exploder
- In the Dark
- My Favorite Murder
- Death in Ice Valley
- Maintenance Phase
- Ten Percent Happier
- The Art of Manliness
- Sleep With Me: The Podcast That Puts You To Sleep
- Savage Lovecast
- Good Life Project
- Hidden Brain
- The Hustle Daily Show
- Recode Decode
- Crazy / Genius
- Note to Self
- Gadget Lab
- The Vergecast
- Marketing Against the Grain
- Call to Action
- Marketing Made Simple
- Copyblogger FM
- Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
There are hundreds of business and management-related podcasts that will help you stay on top of the latest industry trends, lead in the most effective way possible, and keep your fellow employees excited about coming to work.
It’s like sitting down with a friend who tells you everything you need to know about the economy… and you actually enjoy yourself.
Did you know less than 2% of female founders break 1 million in revenue? Join host Suneera Madhani each week as she interviews incredible mentors and trailblazers who’ve made it to the 2% club, as well as women who are forging their own path. Class is officially in session.
This podcast is like one big brainstorming session. Follow along as hosts Sam Parr and Shaan Puri discuss new business ideas based on trends and opportunities that they see in the market.
Tune in each week to learn tips and tricks from Donald Miller on how to optimize your business like an airplane — yes, really!
Guy Raz discusses the story behind some of the top companies in the world and the entrepreneurs, businesspeople, risk-takers, and pioneers who made them so successful.
Ever heard the saying “business is war?” It certainly appears to be that way for some of the biggest competitors in the world, such as Google, Apple, and Samsung.
Host David Brown takes listeners through the ways these battles shape businesses, what they produce, and how consumers are impacted.
Building a business from the ground up is a scary feat. You may ask yourself, can I really turn my passion into profits? Am I ready to leave my 9-to-5 for good? Jenny Kutcher explores these questions (and more) on the Goal Digger podcast — which never runs out of productivity tips, business hacks, and inspirational stories.
Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, helps listeners uncover the keys to success and happiness in the workplace through descriptions of some of the most unique and impactful businesses. Grant provides listeners with advice that encourages them to view their work in a new light.
With over 100 million listens, host John Lee Dumas offers bite-sized episodes full of wisdom and inspiration for entrepreneurs on the go. JVD has interviewed thousands of entrepreneurs, including Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Barbara Corcoran — so if you need inspiration to light your entrepreneurial spark, look no further.
How do certain companies grow quickly and substantially? Host Reid Hoffman interviews some of the top CEOs today — such as Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and Eric Schmidt — on how their companies made it big.
Is there a product you’ve been thinking about creating? Or a passion project that will help you enter the career you actually want?
Side Hustle School gives entrepreneurs who have jobs — that they want to keep for the time being. The host interviews guests who successfully created their own side hustle to inspire listeners to make the leap.
For more on which business podcasts you should listen to, check out this blog.
Comedy & Entertainment
These humorous and engaging podcasts will make you laugh and smile wherever you are listening.
After 25 years on late night, comedy legend Conan O’Brien enters the podcast-sphere to chat with his friends, including fellow comedians, actors, and musicians. It takes an unpretentious and delightful spin on the typical celebrity interview. If you’re looking for laughs — without sacrificing substance — this podcast is for you.
Are you up to speed on current events?
This podcast quizzes you on your news knowledge. With questions and statements that are both real and fake, it’s your job to determine what’s correct and what’s fake.
Hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams perform a live comedy show in Brooklyn and talk about real issues, share humorous stories, and discuss their personal lives, as well as the lives of their fellow comedian guests.
If you prefer A-list celebrity hosts, look no further than SmartLess — a podcast by Jason Bateman, Will Arnott and Sean Hayes. The premise is simple: each week, one of the three brings a surprise guest on the pod, leaving the other two to interview the guest without any prep. As you can imagine, hilarity and chaos quickly ensues.
Stand-up comedian Bobby Lee — along with co-host Khalyla Kuhn — share unbelievable (and often absurd) stories about working the LA comedy circuit. Often joined by another comedy heavy hitter, such as David Spade, Bill Burr, and Theo Von, you quickly realize nothing is off limits — the funny, embarrassing, cringy, and personal tales always float to the surface.
Are you a history buff? If so, you may love The Dollop. The entertaining, comedian-hosted podcast takes important moments in history and examines them in detail.
Maron interviews other comedians, celebrities, and public figures about specific situations in their personal lives and their work. Maron is one of the best interviewers out there, and he always makes learning something new about his guests fun.
Scott Aukerman chats with celebrities and some of the funniest comedians around in this weekly podcast. Guests answer fun interview questions, play games, and engage in comedic banter. Aukerman’s open door policy always allows for entertaining and eccentric guests to join the show.
Everyone has that thing that makes them a little weird — a talent, interest, obsession, or hobby that they may keep secret from others. Host Pete Holmes invites other comedians and celebrities on his show to uncover their weirdness.
Do you ever find yourself loving a movie even though you realize it’s actually a bad film? The three hosts of this podcast will watch these movies with some of their comedian friends and report back on how they felt about the flick.
Host Chris Gethard opens the phone line once a week and picks up for one anonymous caller. That person can talk for an hour about anything – embarrassing stories, self-promotion, family problems, serious personal issues, or a funny incident.
The best part: Gethard can’t hang up the phone first.
Any R.E.M. fans out there? How about Parks and Recreation fans? Adam Scott (of Parks and Rec) and co-host Scott Aukerman discuss the impact that the band R.E.M has had in the music industry through album and song analysis.
Looking to learn something new? Need some interesting trivia questions? Stump your family and friends with fun and important facts that you’ll learn from these educational podcasts.
This award winning podcast covers a wide variety of topics – pop culture, historical events, crime, and more. The SYSK hosts are a hilarious duo, keeping this education podcast light and entertaining.
This is the podcast version of the popular TED Talks, which are viewed by millions of people around the world and cover every topic — from science to creativity to psychology.
Whether we realize it or not, design is everywhere. This podcast brings forward the design and architecture that surround us all and explores the power behind their method, process, and form.
This journalistic podcast stems from the This American Life weekly public radio program and features nonfiction reviews of essays, memoirs, historical content, and current events.
The show has won several of the top broadcasting awards and 2.5 million people download the podcast every week.
Praised as a sharp and insightful interviewer, Lex Fridman dives into complex issues about AI, consciousness, love, power, and philosophy with the brightest minds of today (think Sam Harris, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk — to name a few). It’s a thought-provoking experience that may change your entire world view.
Lexicon Valley is about words, vocabulary, and language — as you may have guessed based on its name. Hosted by a linguist, topics covered include current and dead languages, syntax, meanings, and pet peeves.
Carlin — podcast host, journalist, and broadcaster — examines major historical events with his unique and often unorthodox way of thinking.
This Gimlet-produced podcast will answer your most interesting, specific, and random questions such as, “do dogs have belly buttons?” and “how old is Winnie the Pooh?” Listen to ELT to get some of the best trivia questions to ask at your next family dinner.
Malcolm Gladwell explores events, people, ideas, and more from the past to try and gauge whether or not people got it right the first time around. He takes listeners through moments in their pasts that may have been ignored or forgotten and highlights the decisions that were made around them.
This podcast has one simple goal: review any topic that host Jonathan Van Ness is curious about in detail. All fields and subjects are up for discussion in the weekly show.
Invisibilia is Latin for “invisible things.”
The podcast reviews the invisible things, or unseeable forces, that drive human behavior and decisions. It gives listeners insight into how their brains work and why they feel tempted to act in certain ways or make specific decisions.
If you’re looking for some entertainment while you drive your kids to school in the mornings or if you’re heading out on a family vacation sometime soon, these educational podcasts may be of interest — and you might just learn something too!
Both children and adults will love this science podcast fit for those with curious, wandering minds. Every week a new science-related question is asked and both kid scientists and adult radio hosts work their way through answers and conclusions together.
Classic fairy tales, short stories, poems, myths, and more are read by Storynory’s narrators every week. These audio stories are great when traveling with children or for some simple, educational entertainment around the house.
Stories about some of the world’s most exciting places, people, events, and buildings are discussed in this fun podcast for inquisitive children. The two hosts make audio learning fun.
This family friendly podcast teaches children the importance of following their dreams and finding their passions at every point in their lives.
Eva Karpman — the 7-year-old host — along with her mother, Olga, interview some of the world’s best performers about what motivates them to stick with what they love and become successful.
Children and their parents are encouraged to use their imaginations to come up with the wackiest and most exciting questions for the hosts of What If World to discuss on their show. These can be unrealistic and fun questions such as, “What if there was never-ending recess?”
News and Politics
In a society where the news cycle runs 24/7, it is easy to miss important stories and breaking information. These podcasts will help you stay on top of the current news cycle so you never fall behind on the latest breaking news or political story.
The New York Times produces this 20-minute current events and news podcast five days a week. The shows are ready by 6 a.m. Monday through Friday so listeners are able to catch the biggest stories prior to or during their morning commutes.
Four of President Obama’s former aides discuss a wide range of political topics with journalists, comedians, and influencers about the current situation in Washington D.C.
BBC is one of the most trusted news sources in the world. Their Global News Podcast provides listeners with coverage of the top current events around the globe.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by current events? Or that you’re not getting important the news-related information you want throughout the day?
This podcast is produced every evening for listeners to enjoy after a day of work and catch up on the news they may have missed or misunderstood.
Embedded host Kelly McEvers takes specific news stories and dives into them one at a time. She goes into great detail about one recent event per show so listeners can get all of the facts they need.
Have you ever wondered how news stories are translated throughout the world? How is a story, conversation, or event being talked about in another country?
Rough Translation will walk listeners through these changes and renditions.
David Axelrod is the founder of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and his podcast is produced by CNN. He interviews important members of the political world and gets the details on newsworthy events.
Places, people, and jobs you know little to nothing about explained — these podcasts will make you smile, laugh, and cry.
Modern Love gives listeners a quick glimpse into the complicated love lives of real people. Each episode brings stories about love in all of its messy, puzzling, agonizing, and beautiful glory.
Keep It host Ira Madison III discusses the importance of the intersection of politics and pop culture in today’s society. Madison invites journalists, politicians, celebrities, activists and more onto his show, which airs every Wednesday.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like living in prison?
Ear Hustle is created and produced by people actually living within the prison system. They share information about their lives, mistakes, and other personal stories to give listeners an accurate view into the American prison system and the humans who are living behind bars.
Another awesome podcast — if we do say so ourselves — produced by HubSpot. Not everyone sits at a desk from 9-5, five days a week. This show highlights some of the weirdest jobs people have, how they got started in the field, and what it’s like to have an unconventional career.
It’s no secret that every song has a meaning — that’s why people create and listen to music.
Song Exploder interviews musicians and has them explain one of their songs in detail. The artists give listeners background information on why they created their song, what went into the production, why certain decisions were made, and more.
Do you like thrillers and scary movies? Spooky stories — both fiction and non-fiction? The following true crime podcasts will give you the chill you’re itching for.
Have you ever heard the name Curtis Flowers?
Over the course of 21-years he has been tried six times for the same crime — the murders of four people in Mississippi — and has been found innocent every time. Reporter Madeleine Baran investigates the case and examines the reasons behind Flowers’ innocence.
This podcast — which is part of the This American Life production — uncovers the truth behind one real crime story every season. The host of the podcast — Sarah Koenig — learns the details of the crime in real time, so listeners are able to follow along as the case unfolds.
The two female hosts of this podcast have been fans of horror stories and true crime for as long as they can remember. During the show, they share their favorite thrillers along with stories of horror and crime from their friends, family, and fans of the podcast.
As part of the BBC World Service, Death in Ice Valley brings listeners a crime that has been unsolved for nearly 50 years.
An unidentified woman’s body was found in Norway — but who was this woman? Why has no one come forward with information about her life or disappearance? How has no one ever reported her missing?
This award-winning, bi-weekly podcast reviews non-fiction scary stories and thrillers that are perfect tales to share around the campfire or during the Halloween season. Superstitions, crime, unknown creatures, and haunted places are all talked about on this podcast.
Organized crime has changed the way certain cities in America have grown and developed. Crimetown, another popular podcast produced by Gimlet, reviews the ways organized crime has left a mark on different cities throughout the U.S. A new city is discussed every season.
Criminal has been in production since 2014. With a new story every episode, the show tells listeners about people who have committed a crime, have been the victim of a crime, or are affiliated with a crime in some way.
Personal, Health, and Wellness
Whether you need help relaxing, motivation to stay active and healthy, or inspiration to find your next career move or hobby, there is a podcast to help you reach your goal.
Here’s a not-so-shocking statement: the wellness industry is polluted with junk science, fad diets, and misinformation. Maintenance Phase takes a closer look at these misconceptions with revolutionary honesty (backed by science). No topic is safe — from celery juice cleanses to the problematic history of the Body Mass Index (BMI).
There’s a reason why it regularly earns the number 1 spot in the health and fitness category on Apple podcasts.
After having a panic attack on live television, journalist Dan Harris found solace in an unexpected way: through meditation. Now, in his podcast Ten Percent Happier, Harris ruminates with prominent meditation teachers and top scientists on how people can achieve a greater sense of happiness.
This podcast — which is targeted at men — was created to promote kindness, strength, love, and understanding in boys and men of all ages.
The show reviews studies on manliness and parenting, philosophy, biology, and more to explore ways that all men can become better men.
High strung or wound up? Thinking about a million things when you are trying to sleep?
This podcast will help you get the rest your body wants and needs. Listeners hop in bed, close their eyes, and listen to a story that gets progressively more boring with time so they can drift off and get to sleep faster.
Advice columnist Dan Savage answers fans questions about sex and politics. Listeners can also call in and ask Savage a question that he will answer on his show, so it’s about real people and real “love” problems.
Good Life Project will inspire you to live your best life, find what you’re passionate about, stay productive, and learn to be fully-engaged. The conversations between the podcast’s hosts and guests are relatable, touching, and honest.
Whether or not we realize it, brain patterns drive the way each of us think, react, and behave every day.
Hidden Brain — produced by NPR — takes listeners through a multitude of reasons why they behave in certain ways. This podcast will help you better understand yourself and the people you interact with.
Learn about the newest developments and innovations happening every day in tech and media with these podcasts.
Introducing the perfect podcast to pair with your morning coffee. The Daily Hustle Show cuts through the noise to give you the top business and tech news you need to know. With funny-but-true insights delivered by hosts Zachary Crockett, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Jacob Cohen, and Rob Litterst, it’s dangerously addicting.
Host Kara Swisher — a well-respected technology journalist — teaches listeners about the biggest names, developments, and innovations in tech and media. She interviews industry leaders about their experiences, plans, and achievements.
This podcast — produced by The Atlantic — poses questions, possible conclusions, and ideas regarding the culture and innovation happening in the tech world today.
Online dating, blockchain, Facebook, space, and smartphones — are human interactions with technology actually sustainable? Listen to find out.
The relationship between humans and technology these days is a complicated one. We rely on technology in so much of what we do — but when is it too much?
Note to Self looks into this situation and asks questions about the way technology fits in our lives today, and how that relationship may change in the future.
Experts in tech, business, media, and news discuss trends, developments, and cultural changes within their industries. This podcast — which is produced by a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley — includes interviews with some of the most prominent figures in the tech world.
This podcast covers the latest tech information about social networks, entertainment, mobile, services, and more.
The Vergecast provides listeners with an overview of what’s new and changing in the tech industry with a rundown of the week’s latest stories, developments, successes, and failures.
The way companies market their products and services has changed dramatically in recent years — consumers have all of the resources they need to make an informed purchase at their fingertips.
The following podcasts will help you reach your target audience and keep up with the latest marketing trends.
HubSpot’s own CMO and SVP of Marketing, Kipp Bodnar and Kieran Flanagan, share their marketing expertise — and get in a few arguments — in order to give you the best game plan on how to move your business forward.
Online marketing successes are explained in this podcast so listeners can take the lessons and apply them to their own businesses.
Interviews with campaign managers and digital marketing professionals provide people with tactical advice on how they can improve their marketing campaigns and overall online presence.
Need a podcast that’s easy to digest, and even easier to implement? Look no further than Marketing Made Simple, a no-nonsense podcast packed with practical strategies and tips to hit the ground running.
Content marketing, copywriting, digital marketing, and lead and conversion optimization are only some of the topics discussed in this weekly podcast. Experts chat with host Sonia Simone and analyze the changes within the marketing industry.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just getting started, host Amy Porterfield shares all things marketing to accelerate your business. The podcast is grounded with real life examples along with a healthy dose of inspiration.
In a world where everything seems to be getting faster – and where more is expected from people in less time – it’s easy to fall behind on the book you’re reading or miss a story in the news.
Podcasts are a great solution for those looking to stay informed while on the go – or even those of you who would rather sit back, close your eyes, and listen to a story in bed rather than read a novel, watch TV, or listen to music.
Stay entertained, learn something new, keep your brain sharp, and remain informed with podcasts.
OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons
A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.
No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.
But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?
Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?
Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:
For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.
We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.
Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.
Let’s have Robert explain.
The right structure and governance matters
OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.
That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?
That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.
First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.
Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use.
Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big
Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.
It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.
In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.
With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)
They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.
The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?
Why you should care
With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.
They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)
They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader
Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.
Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.
Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.
Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.
Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.
5. Establish communication channels (How)
Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:
Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.
Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.
Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.
Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.
Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.
6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts
As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.
Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:
Build awareness about your brand
Highlight the problems you solve
Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions
Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.
How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips
Collecting high-quality data is crucial to making strategic observations about your customers. Researchers have to consider the best ways to design their surveys and then how to increase survey completion, because it makes the data more reliable.
I’m going to explain how survey completion plays into the reliability of data. Then, we’ll get into how to calculate your survey completion rate versus the number of questions you ask. Finally, I’ll offer some tips to help you increase survey completion rates.
My goal is to make your data-driven decisions more accurate and effective. And just for fun, I’ll use cats in the examples because mine won’t stop walking across my keyboard.
Why Measure Survey Completion
Let’s set the scene: We’re inside a laboratory with a group of cat researchers. They’re wearing little white coats and goggles — and they desperately want to know what other cats think of various fish.
They’ve written up a 10-question survey and invited 100 cats from all socioeconomic rungs — rough and hungry alley cats all the way up to the ones that thrice daily enjoy their Fancy Feast from a crystal dish.
Now, survey completion rates are measured with two metrics: response rate and completion rate. Combining those metrics determines what percentage, out of all 100 cats, finished the entire survey. If all 100 give their full report on how delicious fish is, you’d achieve 100% survey completion and know that your information is as accurate as possible.
But the truth is, nobody achieves 100% survey completion, not even golden retrievers.
With this in mind, here’s how it plays out:
- Let’s say 10 cats never show up for the survey because they were sleeping.
- Of the 90 cats that started the survey, only 25 got through a few questions. Then, they wandered off to knock over drinks.
- Thus, 90 cats gave some level of response, and 65 completed the survey (90 – 25 = 65).
- Unfortunately, those 25 cats who only partially completed the survey had important opinions — they like salmon way more than any other fish.
The cat researchers achieved 72% survey completion (65 divided by 90), but their survey will not reflect the 25% of cats — a full quarter! — that vastly prefer salmon. (The other 65 cats had no statistically significant preference, by the way. They just wanted to eat whatever fish they saw.)
Now, the Kitty Committee reviews the research and decides, well, if they like any old fish they see, then offer the least expensive ones so they get the highest profit margin.
CatCorp, their competitors, ran the same survey; however, they offered all 100 participants their own glass of water to knock over — with a fish inside, even!
Only 10 of their 100 cats started, but did not finish the survey. And the same 10 lazy cats from the other survey didn’t show up to this one, either.
So, there were 90 respondents and 80 completed surveys. CatCorp achieved an 88% completion rate (80 divided by 90), which recorded that most cats don’t care, but some really want salmon. CatCorp made salmon available and enjoyed higher profits than the Kitty Committee.
So you see, the higher your survey completion rates, the more reliable your data is. From there, you can make solid, data-driven decisions that are more accurate and effective. That’s the goal.
We measure the completion rates to be able to say, “Here’s how sure we can feel that this information is accurate.”
And if there’s a Maine Coon tycoon looking to invest, will they be more likely to do business with a cat food company whose decision-making metrics are 72% accurate or 88%? I suppose it could depend on who’s serving salmon.
What is survey completion rate?
Survey completion rate refers to the number of completed surveys divided by the number of total survey respondents. The result is then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage. Survey respondents include those who completed the survey, and those who started the survey but didn’t complete it.
While math was not my strongest subject in school, I had the great opportunity to take several college-level research and statistics classes, and the software we used did the math for us. That’s why I used 100 cats — to keep the math easy so we could focus on the importance of building reliable data.
Now, we’re going to talk equations and use more realistic numbers. Here’s the formula:
So, we need to take the number of completed surveys and divide that by the number of people who responded to at least one of your survey questions. Even just one question answered qualifies them as a respondent (versus nonrespondent, i.e., the 10 lazy cats who never show up).
Now, you’re running an email survey for, let’s say, Patton Avenue Pet Company. We’ll guess that the email list has 5,000 unique addresses to contact. You send out your survey to all of them.
Your analytics data reports that 3,000 people responded to one or more of your survey questions. Then, 1,200 of those respondents actually completed the entire survey.
3,000/5000 = 0.6 = 60% — that’s your pool of survey respondents who answered at least one question. That sounds pretty good! But some of them didn’t finish the survey. You need to know the percentage of people who completed the entire survey. So here we go:
Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.
Completion rate = (1,200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%
Voila, 40% of your respondents did the entire survey.
Response Rate vs. Completion Rate
Okay, so we know why the completion rate matters and how we find the right number. But did you also hear the term response rate? They are completely different figures based on separate equations, and I’ll show them side by side to highlight the differences.
- Completion Rate = # of Completed Surveys divided by # of Respondents
- Response Rate = # of Respondents divided by Total # of surveys sent out
Here are examples using the same numbers from above:
Completion Rate = (1200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%
Response Rate = (3,000/5000) = 0.60 = 60%
So, they are different figures that describe different things:
- Completion rate: The percentage of your respondents that completed the entire survey. As a result, it indicates how sure we are that the information we have is accurate.
- Response rate: The percentage of people who responded in any way to our survey questions.
The follow-up question is: How can we make this number as high as possible in order to be closer to a truer and more complete data set from the population we surveyed?
There’s more to learn about response rates and how to bump them up as high as you can, but we’re going to keep trucking with completion rates!
What’s a good survey completion rate?
That is a heavily loaded question. People in our industry have to say, “It depends,” far more than anybody wants to hear it, but it depends. Sorry about that.
There are lots of factors at play, such as what kind of survey you’re doing, what industry you’re doing it in, if it’s an internal or external survey, the population or sample size, the confidence level you’d like to hit, the margin of error you’re willing to accept, etc.
But you can’t really get a high completion rate unless you increase response rates first.
So instead of focusing on what’s a good completion rate, I think it’s more important to understand what makes a good response rate. Aim high enough, and survey completions should follow.
I checked in with the Qualtrics community and found this discussion about survey response rates:
“Just wondering what are the average response rates we see for online B2B CX surveys? […]
Current response rates: 6%–8%… We are looking at boosting the response rates but would first like to understand what is the average.”
The best answer came from a government service provider that works with businesses. The poster notes that their service is free to use, so they get very high response rates.
“I would say around 30–40% response rates to transactional surveys,” they write. “Our annual pulse survey usually sits closer to 12%. I think the type of survey and how long it has been since you rendered services is a huge factor.”
Since this conversation, “Delighted” (the Qualtrics blog) reported some fresher data:
The takeaway here is that response rates vary widely depending on the channel you use to reach respondents. On the upper end, the Qualtrics blog reports that customers had 85% response rates for employee email NPS surveys and 33% for email NPS surveys.
A good response rate, the blog writes, “ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.”
This echoes reports from Customer Thermometer, which marks a response rate of 50% or higher as excellent. Response rates between 5%-30% are much more typical, the report notes. High response rates are driven by a strong motivation to complete the survey or a personal relationship between the brand and the customer.
If your business does little person-to-person contact, you’re out of luck. Customer Thermometer says you should expect responses on the lower end of the scale. The same goes for surveys distributed from unknown senders, which typically yield the lowest level of responses.
According to SurveyMonkey, surveys where the sender has no prior relationship have response rates of 20% to 30% on the high end.
Whatever numbers you do get, keep making those efforts to bring response rates up. That way, you have a better chance of increasing your survey completion rate. How, you ask?
Tips to Increase Survey Completion
If you want to boost survey completions among your customers, try the following tips.
1. Keep your survey brief.
We shouldn’t cram lots of questions into one survey, even if it’s tempting. Sure, it’d be nice to have more data points, but random people will probably not hunker down for 100 questions when we catch them during their half-hour lunch break.
Keep it short. Pare it down in any way you can.
Survey completion rate versus number of questions is a correlative relationship — the more questions you ask, the fewer people will answer them all. If you have the budget to pay the respondents, it’s a different story — to a degree.
“If you’re paying for survey responses, you’re more likely to get completions of a decently-sized survey. You’ll just want to avoid survey lengths that might tire, confuse, or frustrate the user. You’ll want to aim for quality over quantity,” says Pamela Bump, Head of Content Growth at HubSpot.
2. Give your customers an incentive.
For instance, if they’re cats, you could give them a glass of water with a fish inside.
Offer incentives that make sense for your target audience. If they feel like they are being rewarded for giving their time, they will have more motivation to complete the survey.
This can even accomplish two things at once — if you offer promo codes, discounts on products, or free shipping, it encourages them to shop with you again.
3. Keep it smooth and easy.
Keep your survey easy to read. Simplifying your questions has at least two benefits: People will understand the question better and give you the information you need, and people won’t get confused or frustrated and just leave the survey.
4. Know your customers and how to meet them where they are.
Here’s an anecdote about understanding your customers and learning how best to meet them where they are.
Early on in her role, Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Head of Content Growth, conducted a survey of HubSpot Blog readers to learn more about their expertise levels, interests, challenges, and opportunities. Once published, she shared the survey with the blog’s email subscribers and a top reader list she had developed, aiming to receive 150+ responses.
“When the 20-question survey was getting a low response rate, I realized that blog readers were on the blog to read — not to give feedback. I removed questions that wouldn’t serve actionable insights. When I reshared a shorter, 10-question survey, it passed 200 responses in one week,” Bump shares.
Tip 5. Gamify your survey.
Make it fun! Brands have started turning surveys into eye candy with entertaining interfaces so they’re enjoyable to interact with.
Your respondents could unlock micro incentives as they answer more questions. You can word your questions in a fun and exciting way so it feels more like a BuzzFeed quiz. Someone saw the opportunity to make surveys into entertainment, and your imagination — well, and your budget — is the limit!
Your Turn to Boost Survey Completion Rates
Now, it’s time to start surveying. Remember to keep your user at the heart of the experience. Value your respondents’ time, and they’re more likely to give you compelling information. Creating short, fun-to-take surveys can also boost your completion rates.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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