By Josh Ledgard
Do you have a face for radio?
I’m just kidding. You’re a star. But if you really want to grow your brand and extend your reach, you should definitely consider podcasts.
I’m willing to bet that when you think of online marketing, podcasts probably aren’t the first thing that pops into your mind.
While podcasts aren’t exactly new, they are growing in popularity. People are starting to see the power of connecting audibly with an audience. Between 2015 and 2016, podcast listenership grew by 23%. And if you go back and compare to the numbers in 2013, podcast listenership has grown by 75%.
More than one in five Americans listen to podcasts every month, and that number continues to increase, which is why your voice needs to be on podcast: people are listening, and they want to hear from you. Only you can lend your unique perspective to the current conversation. Get involved, actively participate in the conversation, share new insights, challenge the status quo, and get introduced to a new audience.
Let’s take a look at the top reasons why you shouldn’t ignore podcasts.
You reach an on-the-go audience. There’s a lot of wasted time in a daily commute. Your audience can’t read your blog posts while driving or jogging, at least not safely. Podcasts are portable and convenient.
Almost everyone has access to podcasts. If you have a smartphone, you’re able to quickly download and listen to podcasts from anywhere.
Speaking is quicker than writing. Writing takes a lot of time. Speaking, on the other hand, is a lot quicker. A 30-minute podcast takes about 30 minutes of your time (plus minor edits and uploading). Whereas, it would take you hours, if not days, to write the same amount of content.
Of course, I’d never recommend that you abandon writing blog posts in favor of podcasts. Honor both by doing both. That way, along with video and social media, you’ll reach different audiences who want to hear from you.
Some people prefer listening over reading. Just like it’s easier to speak to write, for some people it’s easier to listen than read. While 65% of the population are visual learners and prefer blog posts and images, around 30% are auditory learners. This group simply learns better by listening, so podcasts are a natural fit.
Some of the people in your audience are no doubt auditory learners.
Men and women listen to podcasts equally. Hosting a podcast is a good tool to appeal to both genders.
It’s free*. Okay, it’s not completely free– you do have to invest in a decent mic and spend time recording, and editing, but it’s definitely cheaper than other marketing tools.
So, you may be thinking, That’s great, but how can I use podcasts to promote my brand?
Discuss current trends and hot topics. Podcasts are a great way to discuss the most recent news and hot topics with your audience. Likely, if there’s a significant news story related to your niche, your audience wants to learn more about it. Get behind your mic and share your thoughts.
Position yourself as an expert. Cement your authority by hosting a podcast. If you know enough about a specific topic to fill up a series of 15-or 30-minute podcasts, you’re already an expert. But because you’re giving away your valuable insight for free to others, they’ll come to see you as an authority.
It works every time.
Instead of defining an expert as someone who’s spent 50 years doing something, try thinking of an expert as someone who knows a little more about a subject than the average joe.
You can build trust with your audience. There’s something more human and personable about listening to someone else’s voice. Because you can hear the tone and inflection of someone’s voice, that person often seems more real and honest.
Use podcast directories as a new opportunity for exposure. Speaking personally, I’ve found many brands simply because I was searching the podcast directory for a specific topic. And I’m not alone. Quite a few brands have discovered that podcasts increase brand awareness.
Turn podcasts into blog posts. You can definitely repurpose your podcast into a blog post.You don’t even need to type. You can offer a transcription of the podcast on your blog.
Use podcasts to market to your current audience. There are people in your audience who want to consume your content but they just don’t have the time (or temperament) to sit and read lengthy blog posts or view videos or even keep up with you on social media channels.
In addition to writing a blog post, you can create a podcast that goes over the same topic in audible form. Heck, you can even read the blog post and turn it into your podcast. There are no rules yet in podcast, although there are a few best practices you should observe. Let’s take a look at them now.
Just like with your brand and your blog, your podcast should also be niche and targeted to a specific audience. Ask yourself these questions:
You can get as specific as you’d like and reach just a highly engaged audience. Have a goal in mind and determine what you’d like to accomplish in your podcast. That will also help you come up with a winning idea for your podcast.
Not only will your podcasts be more interesting to listen to when there’s two (or more) voices in conversation, you’ll also get one major advantage: that expert will share your podcast with their audience, too.
That’s good fortune. Whether your expert has an audience of 1,000 or 10,000, you’ll definitely get exposed to an audience that may not have known about your podcast otherwise.
Surprisingly, you can get really big name guests to appear on your podcast. It’s simply a matter of asking. The worst they can say is “no”, but often they’ll say yes.
Your podcast doesn’t need to prattle on for three hours. Keep it to 30 minutes (or less).
You need a page dedicated to house all of the information you discussed in a specific episode. Be sure to direct listeners to this page for exact links and more resources.
On your show notes page, offer an email opt-in. This way your podcast listens can be notified whenever you upload a new episode.
Be sure to let your social media followers know about your recent podcast. Take the extra step to market to everyone, even those who you think should already know.
As your podcast grows in popularity, look for the best ways to monetize it. Take on a sponsor that makes sense for your brand and will be useful to your listening audience. Sometimes your podcast host will approach you with sponsorship opportunities, but you can also reach out to businesses yourself and ask for sponsorship. Look for businesses that already advertise on other podcasts, they’re more likely to consider sponsoring you than a business who’s never done podcast advertising before.
Don’t publish podcasts on an erratic schedule. People like to plan around their podcasts. If you publish every Tuesday or Friday, your listeners are able to organize their schedule to accommodate your podcast.
Instead of dedicating the foreseeable future to podcasting regularly, you can create a small series of podcast episodes (10 or less) on one specific topic. However, be sure to schedule these on a consistent basis, also. For example, schedule your podcast series of 10 episodes to publish once a week on the same day for the next 10 weeks.
You can track listenership through downloads and subscriptions. Don’t confuse the two, though. People can subscribe to your podcast but rarely, if ever, take the time to listen. For this reason, downloads are a more valuable metric than subscriptions.
Nope, a call to action isn’t just for your blog posts and landing pages. Your podcast needs a call to action, too. Be sure to sprinkle it throughout your podcast.
Podcasts are a great way to access a new audience and let them know about your brand. If current trends are any indication, podcast popularity will continue to rise at an explosive pace. Be sure that you’re one of the voices.