Okay, I’ll make a bold statement here. The future is in podcasting.

Let me explain why.

In the beginning, there was the blog. And the blog was good.

With a blog, anyone with internet access can easily carve out their own little slice of the web to grow their audience, share their expertise and interact with new communities. The ability to establish trust and credibility with engaging blog content gives businesses and professionals a clear advantage, no doubt.

Then, there was streaming video. And streaming video was good.

As computers, laptops and smartphones continue to ship with built-in high-quality video cameras, users are engaging even further with their audience through streaming video. Video providers like YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia gave content creators a venue to share snapshots of their lives, and express their point of view in a new medium.

Now there are podcasts. And podcasts are very, very good.

It’s no surprise that Entrepreneur deemed 2014 the year that podcasting broke through to the mainstream. Listening statistics are through the roof. We’re entering an age of audio, my friends.

If you haven’t developed a podcast strategy for your personal brand, business or service offering, now is the time to start thinking about it. The barriers to entry have been lifted, and the benefits are plentiful.

Let’s take a look at a few key advantages of starting your own podcast.

Be where your blog or video isn’t

Your prospects and customers are consuming content all day, every day. Users with a computer or phone will seek out or stumble upon your content and read, or watch it. But what about when the same people are driving in their car, going for their morning walk, or even mowing the lawn and can’t digitally be in your presence? Can you offer their headphones a more engaging experience than the local radio stations’ repetitive hits or public radio news?

The answer is yes. Yes, you can.

With podcasting, you can give your audience the unique opportunity to take you with them whenever and wherever they go.

Grow your audience

Some prospects and customers only listen to podcasts, or have a small set of blogs they read exclusively. Being in the podcasting arena gives you an opportunity to appeal to those individuals and grow your general audience.

Many podcasters team up with other podcasters and experts in their industry to be on their shows too. This allows them to gain even more exposure by presenting the episode to someone else’s audience – kinda like guest blogging. So if you can strategically partner with the right people, your following could skyrocket.

Podcasts also lend themselves to creating personal relationships with your listeners. Show them an engaging side of your personality and brand that they may not see in the average blog post. Building a stronger bond with your audience increases your trust and credibility, and if you’re selling a service or product this will help them make a buying decision quicker.

Establish a voice in your niche, literally

Let’s say you are blogging about being a parent. Do you realize that you’re part of (and I’m exaggerating here) a billion other parent bloggers competing for the same audience? Even if you had a different “edge” and blogged about being a parent of six kids, for example, you’d still be competing for attention.

Since podcasting is still a relatively small pond, you can host a high-quality podcast and develop traction in your niche by being one of the few podcasters doing what you’re doing.

This “first to market” approach to podcasting may be the opportunity you have been searching for to catapult your online marketing to the next level. If you can develop the go-to authority podcast in your niche, you may eventually drive enough traffic back to your site or blog to become the authority on other mediums as well.

Complement your current strategies

The nice thing about podcasting is that it doesn’t have to replace anything else you’re doing. Your blog won’t go anywhere, your Twitter activity remains the same, and email tactics may not change. Adding a podcast to the mix simply complements your current strategies. Many podcasters take existing blog content and turn that into an episode. This cuts down the effort needed to create the content, which is always helpful!

As far as recording, editing and hosting your podcast, there are a wide variety of tools (here are a few to get your search started) to make this as easy as possible – so you don’t need a $1,000 microphone or a hefty monthly hosting fee to kick the tires. Start with a test, and use your current channels for promotion and regularly ask your listeners for feedback. Tweak to perfection.

Want to learn more about podcasting?

Join us for a special webinar with Jerod Morris, VP of Rainmaker.FM and host of the Showrunner podcast on July 2, 2015 at 2 p.m. EDT. We’ll be covering some essential questions for podcasting newbies.

If you have specific questions about podcasting, please share them in the comments and I’ll try to have them answered during the webinar.

Sign up now for Jerod Morris’s free webinar

Already a podcaster?

I’m interested to know how you are using email and podcasting together to grow your audience. Please share in the comments. Also, be sure to check us out at this year’s Podcast Movement!