AppFolio is one of the biggest players in cloud-based management solutions built for the real estate industry, and they wanted to expand their presence as a thought leader in the field. Their goal was to become the go-to resource for the sensible specialists, opportunistic owners, hometown professionals, and ambitious managers of large residential, community association, and investment management companies.

Beacon Digital stepped in to help AppFolio achieve their thought leadership goals by constructing a podcast grounded in strategy and careful planning. By creating a podcast, AppFolio would establish their team as thought leaders and build connections with their audience. However, they had never produced a podcast before and needed a strategic production partner to help bring their vision to life.

AppFolio is one of the biggest players in cloud-based management solutions built for the real estate industry.

Our Approach

Recording a podcast is the easy part — anyone can do it with practice and the right tools. Making a podcast that people want to listen to is the hard part. While Beacon Digital Marketing gave the AppFolio team a crash course in recording sound and video for The Top Floor (complete with a recommended toolbox), the work began way before the mics came out. To get to the recording phase, you need strategy, creativity, and a production team to make sure all the pieces fit together before you take it live. Here’s how we helped AppFolio produce an award-winning podcast and live rent-free in listeners’ ears. 

Location, Vocation, Ideation

Months before anyone would sit down in front of the camera and switch on the microphone, the Beacon Digital team began working with AppFolio to build the foundation for a successful podcast. That included identifying goals, ideal listeners, content planning, and more. 


Any good marketing content is made with a goal in mind. Great marketing content is made with a purpose behind it. Beacon Digital set community building as the key purpose behind The Top Floor, with thought leadership and expanded brand perception as tertiary drivers.


After taking a close look at AppFolio’s purpose and resources, we decided they would best be served with a story-driven podcast using two hosts and two or three guests per episode. This allowed us the flexibility of being able to change over to one host if needed and allowed us to make use of multiple SME viewpoints to flesh out the topics AppFolio needed to cover. This choice naturally flowed into building a profile for AppFolio’s ideal hosts, which spanned industry knowledge to speaking style. When you produce a podcast, you have to be as specific with your speaker voices as you are with your choice of written words in your blogs and website content; it’s all part of the brand, and if it’s inconsistent with the rest of your content, it will feel alien or insincere. Consistency is key, and creating consistency is part of what we do to build better brands.


A podcast should be branded in a way that resonates with your audience and gives them a sense of what they’ll gain from tuning in. Beacon Digital worked with AppFolio to craft a name and a tagline, arriving at “The Top Floor.” We knew we needed a name that conveyed big picture thinking, confidence, and a focus on the future. We also chose music that would evoke the proper response from listeners — it doesn’t seem like much, but without music, a podcast sounds extremely empty and detached. It’s part of the sound design, and getting it right is the difference between keeping your audience engaged and jarring them out of the experience.


In addition to figuring out how The Top Floor would sound and what topics it would cover, we had to plan for hosting and distribution; it doesn’t matter how good your podcast is if no one can find it. 

We pulled together a few different offerings for hosting, broke down their costs and benefits, and helped AppFolio pick the one that would best suit their needs. We factored in file size, distribution platforms, and data analysis capabilities to find the optimal choice to get their voice out there.

Getting the Top Floor Listed

No matter how good your podcast is, it’s only relevant if it has listeners. The goal is to build a community around your brand, and the Beacon Digital team used various channels and tactics to get The Top Floor to be top of mind with its intended audience. These pieces were all part of our larger strategy to get AppFolio’s podcast recognized by industry minds. 

Audiogram posts

We took bite-sized chunks from episodes and added a visual element, like an animation of the words being spoken against a branded image, to draw potential listeners in. These also played as strong social media posts because, as we’re all aware, video and audio always does better on social than plain text. 

SEO impact

Not only did we produce the podcast, we helped AppFolio repurpose the content into blogs on their website with huge SEO value. With every episode, we wrote a corresponding blog intro and then uploaded the complete transcript with every post. The length of a podcast transcript (5,000+ words!)  matches pretty closely with a pillar blog, and talking industry means talking in the lingo that users are searching for. Every podcast published increased AppFolio’s search rankings for important keywords and gave the audience another avenue to find the podcast and their website.   


Content from the podcast was easily reusable in AppFolio’s email newsletters. Good content remains good content no matter what form it’s originally made for, and that holds true with podcasts.

Spotify and Google Display ads

We created advertisements to bring in listeners from both Spotify and Google to help spread the word that AppFolio was spreading the word about property management.


We built an avenue for AppFolio to engage influencers and thought leaders while nurturing their existing partners and employees by inviting them to be guests on the show. 


The Top Floor established AppFolio as a thought leader in the property management industry and continues to deliver value as a means for the company to reach peers, potential customers, and anyone who wants to learn about real estate management. 

The podcast won the Bronze award for Podcast Series and Regional/National Radio Commercial in the 2021 Coastal California American Advertising Awards. We took Appfolio from interested communicators to award-winning podcasters in record time and built them an avenue for thought leaders, conversation starters, and, ultimately, a community that everyone in their space can be a part of.  

And, if you’re here for the tangible benefits, here are a couple of rock-solid items that The Top Floor contributed to AppFolio’s business:

  1. A ton of reusable content. Since we had industry influencers speak on the podcast, AppFolio has quotes from them in arm’s reach. We were able to mix clips from already released episodes to create throwback episodes on specific topics. Most notably, a podcast doesn’t go out of date. New listeners join in all the time, and most of the ones that get interested are likely to go back and catch up from episode one. Like blogs, podcasts stay relevant for a long time. 
  2. A bigger, better community. Podcasts represent another avenue to reach people on, which creates a whole new channel of content to go along with social media, websites, and everything else that makes up a brand’s narrative. A well-produced podcast like The Top Floor adds to the content ecosystem and helps support the brand by opening up new doors. Bringing in guests like Donna Block, President of Lux Communities LLC and Paula Munger, AVP of Industry Research and Analysis for the National Apartment Association, brought more interest to the series and firmly established AppFolio as a thought leader by proving that they were engaged in the same space as other thought leaders.  In addition to great insights, AppFolio was able to build strong connections with other companies and individuals in their space.

Closing Thoughts 

Podcasting presents a way for businesses to interact with their customers and industry minds in an authentic way. They’re built around genuine conversations, and that resonates with people. Listeners get to be privy to what thought leaders in the industry are talking about with one another. The only barrier between you and the literal conversation is the little space between the drivers in your headphones and your eardrums. That’s why AppFolio approached us with this project and why we believe podcast production is a critical space for brands to extend into — as a medium, podcasts present an authentic means of engaging listeners in industry discussions.  

If you’re interested in starting a podcast for your own business, check out our podcast production page to learn more about getting started. And maybe give The Top Floor a listen if you’re uncertain about the altitude you can get from a well-written, well-produced, well-executed podcast.