Podcasting has been around for a while, but as of late, it has been attracting a lot more attention than usual. Today, it’s easier than ever to leverage a podcast audience to gather more attention and interest around your brand. In this article, I’ll show you a few tips and tricks for doing just that.
What’s the Big Deal with Podcasting?
Imagine you saw an ad for a brown bag lunch lecture. You heard there would be an excellent speaker discussing something you enjoy. You go to the event, sandwich or salad in hand, and listen. During the lecture, the speaker involves everyone in the discussion. You feel happy as you listen to her message and want to buy the fantastic product she promotes. As part of her marketing strategy, you got useful information and an excellent discussion.
This same concept can be recreated with podcasting, with the main difference being that you can download the lecture and listen to the conversation on your smartphone during a commute, on a long walk, or at the gym. Podcast technology makes it possible to reach your customers in an interesting and potentially energetic audio format.
Things Marketers Love about Podcasts
Podcasts are easy to record, edit, and publish. They are easy to download or stream, and even easier to listen to. You can even embed them on a website or send them directly to your subscribers. Since they are in an audio format, you do not need a fancy recording studio or a stunning location to record in.
The basic tools you need in order to get started are a microphone, recording/editing software, and a hosting service to store your files.
For starters, a great microphone is the Audio-Technica ATR2100. Another top contender would be the Blue Snowball. But there are plenty more to choose from. Just don’t go all out for an expensive microphone if you’re just beginning. It won’t make that much of a difference.
As for recording/editing software, if you’re on a Mac, check out Audio Hijack which allows you to record from applications such as Skype, your web browser, or any external source. Another popular program that works on both Windows and Mac is Audacity. Those are the two programs I personally use for my podcast.
Lastly, for hosting, you’ll want to choose a service that lets you upload and syndicate your episode files with ease. One of the most popular platforms is Libsyn. But you can also check out SoundCloud, Blubrry, Buzzsprout, and Podbean. There are many others in this space as well.
Now that we have some of the tools out of the way, keep in mind, podcasting isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. To balance out the pros with some cons, one of the drawbacks to podcasting is that consumers decide whether to listen or not. And sometimes it can be quite difficult trying to get someone to hit that “play” button for the first time.
Just like listening to the radio, your listeners can choose among many different podcasts to listen to. This is a problem facing marketers regardless of whichever platform they’re trying to publish on (blogs, videos, podcasts, slide decks, infographics, etc.), so it’s not a podcast-specific issue.
Nevertheless, if you have a great website and an active social media presence for your brand, then podcasting can become another great tool in your marketing toolbox.
Some of the ways to use podcasts are similar to other media campaigns. The most important thing to remember with podcasting is to be consistent. Consistency in your podcasting style, tone, and frequency can make or break your entire podcasting campaign.
How Can I Get Started?
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at some specific ways you can leverage podcasts to take your marketing efforts to the next level.
1. Identify the Right Audience
If you know your audience already, determine what they respond most positively to. If not, do a marketing study to figure out what your target audience would ideally want to hear about. Technology makes it possible to research marketing strategies and get hard numbers on what is useful for a particular niche. Use that information to gather ideas for topics and shows before you even begin recording.
2. Provide Valuable Content
The best podcasts are programs that your audience listens to all the way through and takes action at the end. You get to choose if you give your audience something educational, informational, inspirational, or just fun and entertaining. Whatever the case may be, make your listeners feel compelled to do something at the end, whether it be as simple as sharing the episode or as complex as downloading an additional resource.
Remember; your audience wants to listen to podcasts that are appealing to them, but you won’t know what that means until you test a few different formats. If you have been producing educational podcasts for example, you can try a humorous one and check if you get positive feedback. The best podcasts usually include a mix of informational and entertainment value.
Most podcasts are between 15 minutes and 60 minutes in length. Make sure that you select a period of time that fits your listener’s schedules. Use your podcast minutes carefully too, because listeners will quickly drop your show if you use only filler instead of something worth their time.
3. Use Podcasts to Build Trust
Podcasts are an excellent way to build a sense of brand trust and credibility with your listeners. Dynamic voices, guest speakers, and surprising or interesting conversations can help you develop that sense.
Bring in an expert to dive into a particular topic, or invite associates to contribute. Speak in a professional yet friendly tone and add music or background sounds to give a professional first impression. These are all simple tips and tricks that can help you build trust among your listeners.
4. Get People Sharing and Talking
After your show is recorded, edited, and published, your work is not over. Now it’s time to promote, promote, promote! One of the greatest parts of podcasting is the amount of social activity each episode can generate.
Make sure to share your show on all of the major social networks that you’re active on. Also, if you or your guests mention any products, services, brands, or influencers on a show, give them a shout-out on Twitter, Facebook, etc. as well. This is a great way to get on their radar.
5. Ask Your Listeners to Act
As I mentioned earlier, getting your listeners to take action is also an important goal to strive for with each episode. Whether you’re trying to get new blog subscribers, more sales, or just trying to generate a few additional social shares, there are tons of ways to activate your audience.
It really all comes down to asking them to do something without coming off as just another salesperson. The closer your call-to-action is to the subject of the show, the better your chances!
For example, If I were just wrapping up an episode about “getting started with podcasting,” I could offer a free downloadable resource called “The New Podcaster’s Checklist.” Because it is directly related to the subject of my episode, there would be a high probability that my audience wants this type of guide.
Simply make a custom landing page where your listeners can download it, and create a very short, memorable URL that can be mentioned a couple times throughout the episode. If you’re trying to build an email list, don’t forget to require that your visitors opt-in before they’re able to download the guide.
Other examples of highly-relevant CTAs include: free eBooks, mini courses, one-to-one consultations, swipe files, access to members’ areas, and more. Just make sure you’re tying your resource specifically to the subject of your show.
6. Get Feedback
Lastly, make sure you’re getting as much feedback as possible from each episode. You should invite your listeners to leave reviews, email you with questions, post comments on your blog, connect on Twitter, or whatever else you feel would get a solid response. Just remember to actually follow up!
Ready, Set, Record!
Hopefully, these tips will help you get started with podcasting. Remember; there will never be a better time to launch your show. Don’t aim for perfection; aim for delivering value to your audience in a fun, interactive, and dynamic way.
Podcasting can help you grow your overall marketing strategy in both direct and indirect ways, just like blogging can. It’s just a different medium with a few different rules. Once you jump in and begin podcasting, you’ll see that it can open up an entirely different world for your brand.
Do you have questions about podcasting? Have you recently started one of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll be sure to reply!