Furthermore, among those who listen at least weekly, the average number of podcasts listened to is six:
Some experts even believe that podcasting is the new blogging. But did you know that podcasting can also be an amazing marketing tool for your business?
In this article, we’ll delve into just some of the reasons that podcasting is a marketing strategy you can’t afford to ignore.
What is a Podcast?
To put it simply, a podcast is an audio program. Podcasting is a lot like talk radio, except that once an episode is released, listeners can download it and listen to it whenever they like.
Podcasts are typically based around a specific topic or theme, and episodes come out anything from monthly (or less often) to daily.
Just a few of the most popular podcasts at the time of writing include The Daily from the New York Times, true crime show My Favorite Murder, The NPR Politics Podcast, and Stuff You Should Know, an informative general-interest show. There are podcasts on just about every topic you can imagine.
While some are professionally produced, hosted, and edited, many others are produced at home or work on a tiny budget.
Is it Hard to Start a Podcast?
It’s easier than you might think to start a podcast. It’s also possible to do it very inexpensively. To get started, all you’ll need is:
- A good microphone. The one that’s built into your computer will do in a pinch, but invest in a decent mic if you can.
- An editing software solution to help you increase your sound quality.
- A platform on which to host your podcast.
- A little patience and a lot of good ideas!
You’ll also need to choose a format for your show:
- Will you host it alone, or have a co-host?
- Do you have a studio or do you record a remote podcast?
- Will your episodes follow a specific format, or will you mix it up each time?
There are no right and wrong answers to these questions, but you should consider them carefully before you get started. While you can always change things up later, your early episodes will be stronger if you have a good sense of what you’re doing before you get started.
I always recommend that new podcasters line up 2-3 episodes before launching. This shows your listeners that you won’t be a one-episode wonder!
The beauty of podcasting is that, if you listen back and you’re not happy with the results, you can re-record before you release your episode.
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Why Your Brand Should Start a Podcast in 2020
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that launching a podcast is easy and entirely within your capabilities. Now let’s look more closely at some of the reasons you might want to start a podcast as a promotional strategy for your brand in 2020 and beyond.
Let’s dive in!
1. People consume content in different ways
Not everyone likes to consume their content in written format. Some people like to read, others prefer to watch a video, and some prefer to listen.
Of course, many people also enjoy a mix of formats, you could even convert your podcast into a youtube video. People have different learning styles and can best absorb the information from the content they consume in a variety of ways.
The beauty of podcasts, unlike written content like blog posts or visual content like Youtube videos, is that it’s easy for your audience to consume your content while they do other things. One member of my team likes to listen to podcasts whenever she’s driving.
She’s not alone – one study showed that the car, the gym, work, and airplanes were just some of the most popular places for podcast listening:
By producing audio content like podcasts as part of your content marketing strategy, you make your content accessible and appealing to a wider range of people. And for a business that is trying to grow its customer base, that can only be a good thing!
2. Podcasting helps build a connection with your audience
Since your audience can hear your voice, podcasting feels like a more personal medium than written content.
It gives your audience an opportunity to really get to know you, and allows you to build a personal connection with them.
Building a connection enhances trust and, since people prefer to buy from people they trust, will inevitably help you to grow your customer base. But just putting a podcast out there isn’t enough to build a connection – you need to approach it with intentionality.
The first and most powerful way to build a connection and establish trust is through providing great content. We’ll explore offering value to your audience in more depth a little later. You must ensure that you provide useful information and interesting insights, and that your points are well presented. If your approach seems disjointed or you seem unsure of yourself, your audience will pick up on it and switch off.
Authenticity is also extremely important when it comes to building a connection. Your audience wants to get to know you. Many podcasters start their episodes with a “host chat” segment where they discuss their week, what they’ve been working on, or their opinions on an issue relevant to their industry or niche. By being yourself, you create a stronger bond with your audience. In other words, you become a person, not a brand.
Marketer, coach, and entrepreneur Latasha James runs one of the most popular podcasts for freelancers, named Freelance Friday podcast. This weekly show offers practical tips, advice, and inspiration for aspiring freelancers:
James uses her podcast to show her personality, get to know her audience, and build a connection with those who might eventually hire her for her coaching services.
You can also use your podcast to signpost people to other places where they can connect with you further. For example, why not send them to your social media channels and email newsletter? You could even have a private Facebook group just for podcast fans to get more access to you and your content, if you wish.
3. Podcast listeners are a highly engaged audience
According to Websolutions, 80% of people who start listening to a podcast episode will listen to all or most of it.
What’s more, most podcast fans subscribe to the shows they like and listen to each new episode.In other words, people who listen to your content are likely to consume a lot more of it, overall, than those who only consume written content such as blog posts and articles.
Because podcasting is a means of providing regular content, you’re effectively creating touchpoints with a highly interested and engaged subsection of your audience. The result? A highly engaged audience that hangs on your every word!
Podcasts often create communities of listeners who are then ideally placed for you to nurture them into becoming customers. It’s not unusual to see social media fan groups and podcast-specific hashtags spring up. All of this gives you additional opportunities for connection and more ways to convert your listeners to customers.
The trick to creating the most engaged audience possible for your podcast? Go niche. Choose a specific group of people to cater to, and provide highly relevant content to them. Trying to create a show for “everyone” is a recipe for failure.
Katrina Ubell, MD, runs the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast (pictured).
This seems like an extremely specific section of the market – because it is. Why not just do a generic weight loss podcast?
Ubell has identified a specific target audience with specific needs, and creates content that is highly relevant to those people to keep them engaged. The result? According to Cashflow Podcasting, Ubell’s show is “wildly effective as a client generator”.
4. Podcasting is a way to establish thought leadership
Podcasting provides you with another way to establish your credibility and position yourself as a thought leader within your niche.
Since you can say much more in an average podcast episode than you can in a typical blog post, it also allows you to go much deeper into your subject matter in less time.
You’re not constrained by a time- or word-limit, within reason.
Therefore, if you really want to establish your thought leadership, podcasting is a fantastic way to do so.
Break Through the Noise (pictured above) is a podcast for marketers by entrepreneur and content marketing expert, Jon Morrow, creator of smartblogger.com.
In his short episodes (all of them are under an hour, and many are under 20 minutes), Morrow provides his listeners with valuable insights and actionable takeaways.
Here are a few of my top tips for using podcasting to display thought leadership:
- Come up with your own thoughts and theories or your own spins on existing ones. Regurgitating other people’s ideas will only get you so far.
- Invite renowned experts onto your podcast as co-hosts and guests.
- Go deep into niche areas of your subject matter.
- Improve and expand upon what others in your niche have done.
- Offer proof. If you have come up with a new solution or way of doing things, what evidence do you have that it works? Provide evidence and get specific.
If you want to show that you really know your stuff, podcasting is a fantastic way to do it.
5. Podcasting gives you another avenue to provide value to your audience
All good marketers understand the importance of providing added value to their audiences. Whatever niche you’re in, chances are you’re competing with numerous others who are doing something similar to what you do.
The solution? You need to stand out by offering amazing value to your audience.
Podcasting gives you another avenue to provide that value. However, you must ensure your podcast is packed full of genuinely useful, entertaining, and actionable information.
Since podcasts are generally available to audiences for free, they offer a low barrier to entry for a new audience member to get to know you and your business.
Fitness and nutrition coach Kyle Hunt runs the Absolute Strength podcast, in which he provides valuable information and insights to the fitness and bodybuilding community:
Many of Hunt’s audience members will simply listen to the podcast and never engage with him in any other way. Others, however, will be interested enough to check out his shop, buy one of his training programs, or even sign up for personal coaching.
Not sure how to provide value to your audience? The first step is to get to know them really well and understand their needs and pain points. Here are a few ways you can deliver amazing value every single episode:
- Tell stories that illustrate the points you’re making.
- Share stats, results, analysis, and concrete information.
- Break down a complicated concept into easy-to-follow steps.
- Share case studies from your industry, with your own commentary.
- Provide actionable how-to guides to help your listeners achieve their goals.
- Share exclusive previews of content they won’t be able to find anywhere else.
- Invite experts to appear on your show as guest speakers.
- Include an “Ask Me Anything” section where audience members can send in their questions for you to answer on your podcast.
Not sure what your audience wants and what they’ll find valuable?
Ask them! Conduct robust audience research before you release your first episode, and regularly as you go along.
6. Podcasting can bring new traffic to your website and products
Marketers and business owners know that attracting new customers and driving new traffic to their websites is a constant challenge. So with that in mind, why wouldn’t you want to use every channel at your disposal to bring new prospective customers to your business?
The great thing about podcasting is that people don’t need to have even heard of your business to find your podcast.
Many listeners search for podcasts based on their interests, using particular keywords. If the description, episode titles, and summaries are enticing, they’ll subscribe or at least listen to an episode, even if they’ve never heard of you or your business.
Did you know that podcasts show up in Google searches?
You can give yours the best chance of success by ensuring your titles, descriptions, and summaries contain the relevant keywords your audience will use to find your show.
Therefore, make sure you upload your podcast on a platform like Libsyn, Blubrry, or Buzzsprout.
Optimize it for the appropriate keywords, and new audiences will be able to find it through their favourite podcast apps. Keywords Everywhere is an amazing keyword research tool that you can use to find the right high search volume keywords to target.
You might wish to use a podcast analytics tool to keep track of how your show is doing and whether it’s driving the kind of traffic you’d like. You can track metrics like number of downloads, average listen time, and clicks to your website from links in your episode descriptions.
Many podcast hosting services, like the ones I mentioned above, offer robust analytics functionality. Buzzsprout’s advanced statistics function is fantastic if you want to track trends over time as well as looking at granular information like listener location and devices used.
You could even create a unique discount code for podcast listeners for your online store, allowing you to see how many of your listeners have converted into customers. Make sure that you mention this at the end of every episode and include it in your shownotes, too.
Finally, podcasts are also a great tool for attracting journalists and building high valuable PR links from high authority websites. They should be included in every good digital PR strategy.
What Are You Waiting For?
Now that you understand the myriad benefits that podcasting can bring, I hope you’ll seriously consider giving it a go. It’s easy and inexpensive to get started, meaning that if you do it right, the return on investment can be substantial.
Podcasting opens up your content to more people, since different people have different preferences for how they learn and take in information. More ways to engage with you means that more people will be willing and able to do so.
Podcasting also allows you to build a more personal connection with a highly engaged audience, provide great value to them with every single new episode, and nudge them along your sales funnel until they convert into customers.
Finally, podcasting allows you to establish thought leadership, positioning yourself as an expert in your niche. Who knows – you might even find that it’s more fun than you expect!
Remember: like anything else, you can’t expect to be an overnight success. It takes time to get to grips with podcasting and to build an audience. So stick with it, and don’t be afraid to try things out to see what works.
Good luck with releasing your first episodes!
About the Author
Eduard Klein is an international digital growth marketer, blogger, and entrepreneur with a global mindset. He guides people through the process of starting and growing a digital business, showing them how to ride the wave of digital technology and marketing without getting swept away.