Podcasting is the new black: Whether or not you ever listened to Serial—a podcast that follows the story of an unsolved murder—you’ve very likely heard of the series. 1.5 million people on average listened to each episode.
It seems as though everyone in the marketing and social media space is doing it. Mark Schaefer, who hosts this award-winning blog, also co-hosts a weekly podcast called The Marketing Companion with Tom Webster. I host a weekly interview series called Marketing Smarts for MarketingProfs. Dozens of new podcasts crop up every day.
But is podcasting right for your business?
I rarely generalize, but the answer is almost undoubtedly YES: Podcasting is right for your business. How can I say this when I don’t know anything about you? Because I know that every business needs to revisit its approach to marketing, and podcasting nearly always presents a good fit. Here’s why.
The Internet is already an incredibly crowded place. Mark Schaefer has written on this blog about how “Content Shock” is rocking our industry as content online continues to explode and it becomes more difficult to fight for limited attention. One way to combat this phenomenon is to create content using different media.
As Mark recommends, “hit ‘em where they ain’t.” If they’re blogging, try podcasting. If they’re doing an audio podcast, try a video podcast. Incidentally, hosting audio or video content on your site can improve your search engine ranking. But that’s not the only reason to podcast!
More people are listening to podcasts than ever before. According to Edison Research, 21 million Americans are listening to 21 million hours of podcasting a day.
And the podcast-listening audience is a potential goldmine for marketers. Edison Research also found that people who listen to podcasts make more money and are 17% more likely to follow a brand on social media.
Sound promising? It is. So why isn’t everyone podcasting? They are. Or at least, they’re going to be. 15% of marketers report that they are currently podcasting, and 30% have plans to start podcasting in the next 12 months. The landscape’s only going to get more crowded, so don’t wait!
Here are some tips to help you get started with podcasting:
Choose a topic you and your audience both care about.
Podcasting is hard work. You need to select something that will help you reach your company’s audience—something that’s relevant and entertaining to them. But if you choose a topic you’re not that into because you think the audience will like it, podcasting will become a chore, and you’ll stop doing it. Pick something that hits the sweet spot in between what your desired audience needs and what you enjoy talking about.
Use a format and frequency that won’t burn you out.
For Marketing Smarts, I write specific questions for each guest, and it requires a lot of research and planning. Other shows ask every guest the same question. Still others don’t have guests at all: just two co-hosts or a single host commenting on topics of interest. Interviewing someone is a lot of work, but so is talking to yourself for a half-hour. Which format will work best for you? Only you can answer that.
A “daily tips” podcast might be great for your audience, but do you really want to podcast every day? Even if you record several episodes in advance, you’d still have to publish one each day. On the other hand, a monthly podcast might not be frequent enough: your audience might forget about your show, because there are so many weekly podcasts. Once again, balance the needs of your audience and your own preferences, and decide how often you want to podcast.
Know your tech limits and plan accordingly.
You don’t have to be an editing professional to produce a podcast. You can get the job done with a mobile app and a microphone. Seriously! If you want to produce something more polished, you can do that, too, but know your own limits.
If you’re not willing to learn how to use editing software, keep things simple: record the introduction and closing comments along with the main body of the episode, and accept that any “ums” and “ahs” will just have to stay. As long as the substance of your content and your audio quality are good, audiences are fairly forgiving of a few filler words.
To reiterate, choose a podcasting schedule that works for you. But once you set the schedule, stick to it. Listeners need to know when to look for new episodes, so podcasting “when you have time” won’t serve your business goals. Be consistent!
And don’t forget to promote your podcast!
As much work as it is producing a podcast, you’re not finished once you post it. Share the link to your podcast across social networks, send it to your email list, and promote it anywhere else you can. People can’t listen to your podcast if they don’t know you produce one! You can distribute the podcast on your own site, but also be sure to post in other places like iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or Soundcloud.
For more information on these points, as well as tips podcast hosting, equipment and software, check out the on-demand version of my Cision webinar on podcasting, or reach out to me on Twitter.
The podcasting universe might seem crowded, but there’s always room for a new perspective, and I’d love for you to share yours!