Podcasting for Business 101
As a business owner you know how busy you are doing everything you need to do to make a living. You are no different than the business owner next door who has so little time in a day that she can no longer watch the evening news. More and more busy people are turning to podcasts to obtain current and relevant information about the news, trade information, and entertainment. With these steps you can tap into that busy audience and expand your customer base.
Podcasting is just one more tool in a business owner’s toolbox that provides a way to reach your customers that compliments and expands your existing efforts. It’s another way to cross-channel promote your brand. Plus, it’s a cheap valuable resource that can sometimes even be free.
Listen to Others
According to veteran podcasters, the best way to learn to podcast is to listen to others. Listen to well established podcasts to learn what they do and listen to new podcasts to hear the mistakes they make. Take notes and decide what you want to do in your podcast and, more importantly, what you don’t want to do.
Select Your Topic
You could focus your broadcasts on products or services that you offer. You could also establish yourself as an expert in your field and offer advice to clients and colleagues. No matter how you decide to go with your podcasts carefully select your topics. This ensures that you get the message you want to portray across to your listeners and that they follow a logical order. A successful podcast builds from one episode to the next.
Equip Your Studio
Podcasting does not require a dedicated production studio but you do need a quiet area in which to record your episodes. Your office with the door locked and a sign saying “Do Not Disturb. Recording in Progress” should suffice. You then need to equip that area with the following items:
- Audio recording and editing software. Editing your recording is vital to a successful podcast. When you begin podcasting you will likely make speech errors that you need to fix. You want your podcast to sound natural but you want to avoid a lot of errors and stutters.
- USB headset, digital recorder, and microphone are essential to a successful recording.
- Ensure your computer has a high-quality sound card and that you have the fastest internet connection you can get. DSL is a minimum for podcasting; dial-up connections just will not work.
Have Some Backups
Do not, in any circumstance, go live with only one recording. Have a minimum of ten episodes, 20 is better, recorded before you make your podcast available to listeners. You want to engage your audience and keep them listening and one episode will not accomplish that goal.
Natural is Better than Scripted
Imagine the last time you were in the audience at a speaking event. You could probably tell which speakers were more comfortable with their topics from those who were simply reading a script. Reading a script sounds like you are selling something and people do not like to be sold, they like to be informed. Or image when you’re in a conversation with someone you aren’t familiar with and there is an awkward moment of silence during the conversation between the two of you. To avoid either of these problems, have some talking points but keep your tone natural and conversational.
Schedule Your Podcasts
You set your DVR to record your favorite show at certain times and trust that when you want to watch it the recording will be there. Your podcast is the same as that show. As you build followers they will expect consistency and if you are erratic you will lose them. Decide if you are going to broadcast daily, weekly, or monthly and stick to it. Keep in mind that daily and weekly broadcasts build followers much quicker than monthly.
Find a Host for Your Podcast
Your host is like your network affiliation for a television show. This tells your audience where to go on a consistent basis to listen to your words of wisdom. There are several podcast directories for you to list your podcast on. Some of them are: Talk Shoe, PodcastAlley.com, and Podcast 411.
Concentrate on Exposure Not Money
When your podcast is new it is more important to gain exposure than to make money from the venture. As you build exposure you will build revenue from advertisers and direct sales resulting from your podcasts. Incorporate your podcast with your marketing plan and work on your website, blog, and podcast. Don’t forget your social media aspects and you will reap the rewards of true online marketing.
Not Comfortable, Then Get Help
Many people are not comfortable speaking into a microphone and even if they are they do not like the sound of their recorded voice. If this is the case with you then hire a professional podcaster to help you. They are not cheap, but like television and radio personalities they are selected for their voice talents.
Podcasting is a great way to expand your customer base and should be included in your marketing plan. It is a natural companion to your social media efforts and a logical flow from your blog. It allows you to reach busy people who don’t have time every day to read blogs and those who just don’t like to read on a computer screen. Incorporate this valuable tool into your marketing plan and you are certain to receive viable dividends.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor of ChamberofCommerce.com. Search from over 1,000 business categories to find a local business near you.
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