The podcast is an ingenious digital marketing tool, offering an alternative — and highly effective — means of promoting your brand, demonstrating your authority, and reaching a captive audience. Over the last few years podcast consumption is on the rise with over 57 million active listeners:

podcast-1

So if you are looking for an effective way to reach your ideal buyers, chances are podcasts could be a good marketing strategy for your business.

Whether you’re starting your podcast or already rolling out episodes, these 10 simple podcasting do’s and don’ts will help you capture a new and more engaged audience:

Do: Target a Specific Niche

The podcast landscape isn’t as crowded as the blogosphere, but there is still plenty of competition. Searches for general topics return hundreds of results. Fortunately, there is room for growth in many niche areas. Instead of trying to compete with a myriad of general podcasts, find a specific angle that appeals to your target audience and that you are truly passionate about.

Don’t: Use Excessive Jargon

Although your podcast is targeted at a specific audience, you should assume that listeners know very little about the topic you’re covering. Use clear language that they’ll understand and avoid blanket statements at all costs. Many people use podcasts as background noise and mentally tune in and out, so it may be helpful to redefine terms from time to time.

Do: Maintain a Specific Routine

The best podcasts are easy to follow, in part because they involve a set routine. This routine does not have to be super specific, but listeners should know what to expect whenever they tune in. For example, Stuff You Should Know begins with a brief chat, expands into coverage of the selected topic (interspersed with a few sponsored messages), and then ends with reader mail. Entrepreneur on Fire follows a consistent routine. Both podcasts are wildly successful, in part because they utilize this winning formula for success.

Don’t: Be Overly Rigid

Routine is crucial, but if you stick too closely to a specific schedule, you’ll destroy the natural feel of your broadcast. It’s okay to occasionally go off topic or spend a few extra minutes discussing an intriguing idea. If you get too far off track, avoid abrupt changes, and, instead, gently steer the conversation back to your selected topic. The more prepared you are about the guest and the topic the more it will feel like a casual conversation, and the less it will feel like a scripted interview.

A great example of this is the podcast Inbound Unboxed. I recently joined Nicholas Scalice on his show to chat about inbound marketing. He had a great conversational approach to the episode while still having structure to the podcast.

Do: Edit Thoroughly

If your chief goal as a podcaster is to market a brand, it’s best to avoid live broadcasts. Instead, record a session and then take some time to edit out mistakes and awkward moments. Limit editing to incredibly long pauses or factual inaccuracies — there’s no need to edit out every “um” or “like.”

Don’t: Make Editing Obvious

Podcast editing is a lot like applying makeup; the goal is an attractive, yet natural product that appears to have been perfect all along. Caked-on foundation makes it look like you’re trying too hard, and so does excessive editing. It’s fine to edit out select awkward moments, but never do so at the expense of a conversation’s natural flow. The less choppy the podcast, the better.

Do: Keep Your Podcast to 30 Minutes or Less

More and more podcast listeners are tuning in on their mobile devices while they commute to work or during lunch time at the office. Studies show that the average podcast listener stays engaged for 22 minutes on average (Stitcher):

podcast-2

So if you are going launch a new episode, keep it bite-sized. Twenty to 30 minutes is a great length for your podcast, allowing you time to cover an important topic, yet short enough not to lose your entire listening audience.

Do: Measure Success

The goal of your podcast is to effectively reach and engage your audience. That means it’s not just about the quantity of episodes you produce but the quality. After you run your podcast be sure to measure key metrics such as number of listeners and subscribers, downloads, social shares, and reviews.

By measuring the success of your podcast, you gain valuable insights into what your listeners are interested in and what topics to stay away from in the future. It also gives you great data to share with potential advertisers and partners – turning your podcast into both a brand awareness channel and a direct stream of ongoing revenue.

Don’t: Make it an Advertisement

People don’t tune in to your podcast to be sold to every 5 minutes with the product of the day. Your community and listeners are engaged when you make it about the topic at hand and give them something valuable to take away and implement. If you are going to advertise to your audience be sure the timing is right, the ad spot fits your brand and your audience, and do it in moderation.

Don’t: Wait for Listeners and Subscribers

Just because you may have a killer podcast doesn’t mean the subscribers will roll in. If you want new listeners for your episodes, you have to go find them. Look to PR, blogging, guest blogging, or social as great channels to grow your audience. Another great way to keep in front of potential listeners and grow subscribers is by capturing their email on your website and using email marketing automation to stay top-of-mind.

A podcast is a great marketing tool that can propel you as an authority in your field and boost your brand awareness. By delivering a natural, yet professional broadcast that focuses on a niche area — you’ll be able to rock out your podcast and grow your subscriber base.