Today’s consumers are multitaskers. They read their smartphones while they’re waiting in line. They check social media updates while grocery shopping. And they listen to podcasts while driving, while exercising and, yes, even while working sometimes.
A podcast is an audio program, sort of like a radio show, but usually with a single theme uniting the show and a linear progression of the program – think less random pop songs, and more storytelling. Podcast formats can range from interviews to talking head formats, to shows similar to National Public Radio programming that cover a variety of topics in a single program.
Podcasts are everywhere these days. In June 2018, Apple reported there were more than 550,000 podcast shows to choose from, and there are more than 18.5 million episodes to listen to.
Podcasts aren’t just for celebrity hosts in the entertainment and sports worlds. They’re also useful for businesses. Brands use podcasts to educate customers about products, interview subject matter experts, and present entertaining information that delivers value to the brand’s target audience.
If your business is new to podcasting, here are some things to consider when making a decision to start your own.
Who Are Podcast Listeners?
Data reported by Nielsen in 2018 shows 44% of Americans have listened to a podcast, up from 40% in 2017. Podcast listeners tend to skew in higher income brackets, with 45% of monthly listeners having a household income of more than $75,000, compared to 35% of the total population.
Nielsen reports podcast listeners are 45% more likely to have a college degree compared to non-podcast listeners. Podcast listeners have money, they’re more likely to be active on social media, and they’re more educated. If these are your type of target consumers, they might respond to a thoughtful podcast from your brand.
How Do Podcasts Work?
Podcasts can be as simple as talking into a recorder and uploading the content online, to as sophisticated as using a podcast studio complete with full audio equipment and editing tools to create a more polished program.
Even bare-bones podcasts operations can be successful when the content is high-quality. Once a podcast is recorded, the creator uploads the content to an online platform like Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud, then promotes it to get listeners.
Podcasts can be embedded into blogs to create a richer multimedia experience. They can be shared on social media. They can be transcribed into search engine optimized posts. They can even be uploaded to a video sharing site like YouTube to get more reach.
Reasons to Consider Podcasts for Your Business
Adding another form of content to your marketing strategy may seem too time-consuming. But podcasts are relatively easy to produce, and they can provide several benefits to your business. These include:
- You can create them anywhere. Podcasts, like Instagram Stories, can be created on the fly, wherever you have a microphone and uploading capability. You don’t have to spellcheck or grammar-proof them. Just deliver valuable info, upload and share.
- Podcasts show off a brand’s personality. Like videos, podcasts are a great tool to show off the company culture of a business. A 5-minute interview with someone from the C-Suite can give more insight into your company and humanize your brand. Listeners build trust in your brand, since they’re listening to those directly involved.
- Podcasting can be a lead-generating machine. You don’t have to limit your content strictly to programming about your products or services. For example, project management system Slack created a podcast all about meaning and identity in the workplace. The podcast speaks to a broad audience, and the entertaining content is a way to attract leads who have never heard of the brand but are interested in the topics the podcast covers.
The world is currently saturated with podcasts, but there is also a growing interest in them. If your business can think of a unique angle that provides worthwhile content to your target customers, you can grow a following.
Tips for Podcasting for Your Business
If you decide podcasting is right for your business, here are some tips to create solid podcast content.
Choose a Theme, and Stick to It
Give your listeners an idea of the content they can expect to hear from your brand. You can cover a variety of topics under one theme, but try to be as focused as possible. A disjointed podcast schedule that jumps from product education to a random interview can leave users confused and disengaged. Use buyer personas to pinpoint the top problems and needs of your target customers, and use your podcast to provide solutions.
Create a Schedule
Aim to create at least one podcast a week. Consistent publishing keeps users engaged and gives them something to look forward to.
Use an Outline
Before you record a podcast, outline the content. If you’re doing an interview, write out questions beforehand. Preparation is a crucial element in podcasting. It helps increase the professionalism of the content, it helps the host avoid rambling or getting off track, and it keeps the format concise and full of value.
Once you publish a podcast, get it heard. Use the content in other ways to attract more leads.
- Embed the podcast in relevant blog posts and web pages.
- Transcribe the podcast. This is beneficial for both reaching hearing-impaired prospects with your content and for SEO purposes.
- Share the podcast on social media.
- If you feature a guest on the podcast, ask them to share it with their networks, too.
Some podcasts inspire full series, where new topics that come up are further examined more in-depth. Use analytics to monitor which podcasts are most listened to, where your listeners are coming from, and which podcasts are most engaging (listeners stick around and listen to the whole thing). Use your most popular podcasts to drive your podcast strategy as it evolves.
Is Podcasting Right for You?
Podcasting does take some time and effort, but it can provide plenty of rewards in helping you reach broader audiences. If you try it and find the investment is worth it, your business can enhance the technology you use for recording and editing. To get a feel for what it’s like before you start, reach out to your professional network and offer to be a guest on any podcasts where you can share your expertise.