Digital Blog: How podcasts can help grow your business
Have you thought about starting a podcast for your company? Maybe it’s time to.
The last few years have seen a veritable explosion in the podcast arena. Now, 22 percent of the U.S. population listens to a podcast on a weekly basis, with a projected 132 million monthly listeners by 2022.
These numbers represent yet another audience that your business could be reaching. Though podcasting may seem more like a form of entertainment than a marketing tool, it can and should be both.
Blog posts, social media images and video content are well understood tools, but what they all lack is the capacity to reach people while they are engaged in other activities. Podcasts fit into all the spaces that visual content can’t fill—while working out, cleaning the house, or on a commute, for example. Podcasts also offer a way for you to get your voice straight into your audience’s ears and position yourself as an expert.
By adding podcasts to your content arsenal, you can promote your brand, grow consumer awareness and cement your brand’s market position, all rather simply. Like any other marketing effort, a podcast is another way to strengthen your business and shows that you are at the forefront of developing trends.
Starting a podcast is simple and cost-effective for both creators and consumers. As a business all you really need is a microphone and a way to upload your audio, which can range from using your smartphone and a free SoundCloud account to a USB microphone and editing software. All the audience needs is access to the Internet through any device.
Unlike other content formats, podcasting is a more slowly developing frontier. Even with the current podcast explosion, it’s still a fairly new medium, and with higher barriers to entry than other content forms like social media and blogs, you can get in while the field is still relatively empty
That’s not to say that you can just go out and say whatever you like and you’ll be guaranteed an audience. In this way, podcasts aren’t really so different from any other content you produce and share for your business.
You still need to consider what gaps the current market aren’t filling. What’s particular about your brand or your expertise that you could offer your audience? Are you looking to connect more deeply with your current audience or reach out to a broader population? All of these questions are important considerations when you decide to start a podcast, because even though it’s a growing field, it’s not completely bare, and like with all content creation, you have to distinguish yourself
Strategize your message and audience. Just like with your brand and other content, you need to be unique with the content you offer through your podcast. Consider your current audience and what they respond to, as well as the market as a whole. What can you add through the podcast that will make your brand stand out?
It’s also important to understand that podcasts tend to be geared towards a younger demographic. 58 percent of those over 60 years old never listen to podcasts, while 31 percent of those aged 30-59 and 45 percent of 18-29 year olds listen several times a week or more.
Promote, promote, promote. If you want your podcast to help grow your brand, first you need people to listen. Unlike blog posts or video content, podcast episodes aren’t going to be called up through a Google search or social media algorithms. Social media and word of mouth are the two most frequent ways listeners discover new podcasts, so at first, you need to do the work of publicizing your podcast as much as possible. Create websites and social media profiles for the podcast and cross-promote it in your other content.
Monetize. Since you’ve created a strategy for what you want your podcast to achieve, you know what you’re working towards with the content. Maybe it’s increased brand awareness or stronger brand loyalty, but because you get to control this space, use the opportunity to drive listeners to your other products and services, including websites, blog posts, or a physical store.
You can also monetize your podcast through advertising and sponsorships. Podcast advertising is its own niche area, with powerhouse brands like Squarespace and Casper almost exclusively favoring the format at the start. Use the personal relationship you build with your listeners carefully and considerately with the knowledge that 63 percent of listeners have bought something based on a host’s recommendation.
Short and steady. Podcasts do best when they’re of average length, around 20-30 minutes. Episodes should be long enough to transmit important information but not so long that they become a burden on the listener or ramble on forever. You should also attempt to post episodes on a consistent schedule. This gives an air of professionalism and sets clear expectations for your audience.
Looking to start your own podcast? Or maybe you’ve never listened before and want to see what it’s all about? Here are some popular podcasts that consistently rank in top lists for business and personal development.
The GaryVee Audio Experience – Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk releases a variety of Q&As, speeches and interviews about his experiences and thoughts on business and marketing.
How I Built This – Guy Raz hosts this NPR podcast that highlights how renowned businesses got their starts.
Call to Action – This podcast offers insights from a variety of guests on everything to do with digital marketing, with handy tips from strategy to optimization and more.
Skill Up – One of HubSpot’s many podcasts, Skill Up focuses on a specific marketing, sales or customer service skill each season and teaches you how to use it in your business effectively.
The Tim Ferriss Show – Author Tim Ferriss interviews high achievers in a variety of industries on how they continue to succeed in life.
Business Schooled – This podcast offers a look at successful start-ups and entrepreneurs that don’t conform to the typical Silicon Valley, millennial-owned mold.