WHAT Are Podcasts & WHY Should I Care?
So… what is a Podcast?
Basically, podcasts are the internet’s version of radio. Unlike traditional radio, where you catch whatever happens to be on when you tune in, podcasts episodes are consumable at your command (on-demand radio). You can also find them for free on many of today’s streaming services, like Spotify, iTunes, and more!
57 million Americans listen to podcasts and on average, listeners consume an average of 5 episodes per week. Podcasts consumption is not slowing down, in fact, it’s emphatically on the rise given the number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled in the past five years. This is some serious business and I’m a huge fan (understatement, more like an unpaid spokesperson).
Essentially, podcasts are convenient, audience-specific, and the best part, largely free. The content available in the podcast-sphere is expansive, to say the least- From talk radio formats, to comedy, current events, opinion/ advice, and storytelling… it’s as varied as your television networks and shows. If you’re not listening to podcasts, you’re missing out on FREE entertainment and education.
Launching a Podcast for Small Business
These reception statistics are excellent news if you’re interested in creating your own podcasts. Listeners of podcast want content that connects directly to their needs. There’s no need to satisfy a broad audience, just your audience. Podcasts function much like YouTube’s application, minus the visual component (which is even better because you don’t have to dress the part- sweatpants welcome!). The overall goal of your podcast is to increase your brand’s reach, further your reputation as an expert or industry leader, cultivate and strengthen customer relationships.
Organizations and business leaders are ideal podcast creators due to the content advantages you may not even realize you have! Need some topic starters or writer’s block relief? Here’s a list of potential episode topics:
- Talk to your audience about why your service or good will benefit them. You can take this subject even further by breaking the benefits into categories and producing an episode for each area.
- Interview satisfied customers, manufacturers/ partners, or experts in your field.
- Give your take on trends, case studies, or current events in your vertical
- Provide tips/tricks/hacks/misconceptions
- Seasonal implications
Doctors, retail, finance/ investors, professional development, and technology are just a few of the many fields that can produce content around these topic structures.
Podcast Equipment & Publishing Resources
Before investing in podcast equipment, we recommend testing your level of commitment and find a sound studio to record at. Many studios have packages where they’ll take care of the technical side for you. If the idea of going to a studio doesn’t float your boat, here’s the complete list of necessary podcast equipment and a guide on microphones based on your budget.
After you’ve recorded your audio and edited the episode, it’s time to submit to podcast directories and apps. The list of podcast directory options is long and requires more of your time than you’re likely to give. If you submit to: iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play you are adequately covered. If that’s 2 too many, iTunes is your must-have.
Measuring Podcast Success
The means to achieve your overall branding goals is through obtaining subscribers. Subscribers are more valuable than the average episode listener. Podcast subscribers have indicated they’re committed to receiving your continued content. Yay! They like you, they really like you!
How do you get podcast subscribers? There’s no single method, rather it requires a layering of several tactical executions. That’s Marketing 101 folks: conversion requires multiple touchpoints.
Podcast promotion tactics:
- Start from Home Base – Take advantage of the properties you already have. Promote on your website, social channels, in-store, and business collateral.
- Podcast Nomenclature – This applies to both the actual name of your podcast and podcast episodes. Find a balance for your podcast’s name, somewhere between distinctive/ memorable and applicable to your overall theme. Title your episodes based on their content. Abiding by these tips makes your podcast searchable from branded recall perspective and audience search interest. Existing customers will likely search for your business’s name and your relevant audience will be searching for topics you should be producing content for.
- Advertise – As with all things, the beginning is your testing stage and it’ll take practice to refine your format. Eventually you’ll feel establish and after consistent positive reception, consider ramping up your audience beyond your existing customer/ partner base. Paid Search, Paid Social, and Paid Sponsorships with relevant and popular podcasters and, or bloggers are the next steps to audience amplification.
Keep in mind, you’re not shifting your business model into podcast celebrity (unless you are, then disregard the following).
Don’t concern yourself about the number of subscribers, aim for overall subscription growth, near episode completion, and avoidance of negative ratings… it’s rare for people to take the time to write a positive review but they will take time to complain.
If you experience any of these unfortunate signals, adjust your content coverage, delivery, or sound quality.
While we don’t produce podcasts, we can sure help you get started and grow. Reach out and we can help put you in contact with affordable sound studios, develop a research-based content strategy, website integration, and podcast marketing.