by Lilian Sue
Say you’re running a marketing company that focuses on SEO and social media advertising. You’ve been sharing a blog posts series that teaches your audience the basics of SEO and how to do online advertising. You’ve also been doing live Q&As with Facebook fans to answer their questions in real time.
Audience members, current and prospective clients definitely appreciate your blog posts and live Q&As, but have you thought about taking your content further-and offering it in a different format? Audiences absorb information in different ways, after all. Have you thought about expanding your content into a podcast?
If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, no matter what the subject is, there’s probably a few things you’ve noticed. A good podcast offers a great listening experience. It can entertain you, inspire you, teach you something new and get you to connect to different stories and the people that tell them.
Writing blog posts and answering Q&As can help establish you as an authority in your industry-but where’s the story? Where’s the inspirational journey that your audience can learn from?
It’s a common misconception that building a podcast requires expertise, expensive equipment and that it’s better left to professionals. But it doesn’t have to be expensive-or require a lot of equipment.
Learn why podcasts are popular, how they work as a medium and how you can easily develop your own.
Podcasts Rising in Popularity
According to Google Trends, podcasts have leap frogged over blogs in popularity and demand. In the last year, podcasts have consistently outranked blogs in Google search results worldwide. In Canada, search results for podcasts outranked blogs by 34% while podcasts dominated results in the US by 24%.
Podcasts are continuing to grow in popularity because the format makes it easy to fit into our lives.You can easily find podcasts on any topic you’re interested in, from true crime mysteries to marketing & business. Even if you only have 15 mins to spare a day, you can find a podcast that will fit your needs.
It’s information and entertainment, in easy to digest bite-sized pieces. The podcast format also makes it easier to dive deeper and do longer investigations, because they’re broken up into several episodes.
As a medium, podcasts are also great at building community. When you put questions out to your listeners, it can create a feedback loop where your listeners can generate content for your podcast.
How Podcasts Can Benefit You
Easier to Manage Your Audience
Because the vast majority of the plays/downloads of your podcasts (up to 90% according to podcast statistics brand Blubrry), will come from subscriptions such as iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get in front of your audience. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t advertise your podcast on social media or email to keep growing your audience. But once you have subscribed listeners, subscribers will automatically receive your latest episode on their platform. When it comes to active engagement, a study from Edison Researchfound that Americans podcast listeners are super listeners, consuming up to an hour and 45 mins of audio/day and more than 25% of that total time listening to podcasts.
Barriers to Enter the Market Are Really Low
Barriers to entering the podcast market are extremely low. You can make a podcast on any topic and you can record a podcast from anywhere, even from the comfort of your own home. Software and equipment can also fairly affordable,when starting out. USB microphones start at $20 with top of the lines ones being less than $50. You can get recording and editing software like Audacity (that works on PC and Mac) for free. Podcast hosting accounts that you’ll need to upload your episodes onto such as Libsyn or Podbean have free versions you can use. You can also get royalty free background music and social media promotion can easily be done for free.
Podcast Advertising is Extremely Effective
Podcast ads and sponsorships can be more much effective than traditional advertising, as well. A recent survey of over 300,000 podcast listeners found that 63% of those listeners bought something a host had promoted on their show through sponsored ads. Podcast hosts also have more leeway than radio hosts when it comes to which sponsors will resonate with their audiences and how it fits with their brand, raising engagement levels.
You Can Reach a Much Wider Audience
A podcast can help you reach thousands of people with less effort than other forms of content. Say you spend 20 minutes recording an episode talking about a problem you can solve with your services or interviewing an expert about their perspective on the industry. You spend another 10-20 minutes to edit your episode and upload it to your hosting company.
By now, you’ve invested 40 minutes of your day to release a new episode. The new episode will be available for streaming and download purposes for years to come due it being hosted on a podcast site. Because of this, it will reach thousands of people that might have never heard of you, all due to your initial 40 min. investment.
It also opens doors to further networking. If you’re scheduling interviews, you have a reason to network with high-profile influencers in your area of interest. By having them on your podcast, you’re expanding your network and giving them free publicity and exposure.
Showcases Your Brand’s Personality
Podcasting allows your prospective customers to learn more about your tone of voice, knowledge and humor. You’re able to show customers what your value, what you believe in, your core principles and even how you behave. There’s also a level of transparency and legitimacy in the mind of the consumer when they’re able to hear your voice-which makes them more comfortable with you and increases your reliability with them.
How to Start a Podcast
Since you’re just starting out, I’d suggest a USB microphone because all you need to do is plug it into your computer and you can immediately start recording. However, if you want high-quality sound or if you’re doing live shows, then you might want to invest into an analog microphone with an XLR connection, though they’re usually pricier.
You’ll also want to use headphones to prevent any reverb or feedback into the mic, but you can use standard Apple or Samsung earphones instead of spending a lot of money.
Next thing, you’re going to need some recording software. Thankfully, recording software is pretty cheap and easy to come by, so you won’t need to worry about digging deep into your pocketbook. There’s two fairly affordable options. For Mac users, the eCamm Skype Call Recorder, is an affordable option at $39.95. For PC users, you can pick up the Pamela ($27.82).
To avoid mistakes, consider recording on two programs at the same time. In case your primary recording gets corrupted or your computer crashes, it’s good to have a secondary recording on your phone or other device.
Have your guest record their side as well, particularly if you both can’t be in the same location to record the podcast. It will help with the editing process to be able to edit two different tracks instead of just one.
Have an echo-free room where you can be heard clearly. You don’t want to have to deal with a lot of background noise when editing, so make sure it’s quiet where you’re recording.
You also want to make sure that your podcast as flows as naturally as possible. So this means getting rid of unnecessary pauses or deviations in conversations that you know your audience wouldn’t be interested in.
Make sure to keep your volume levels consistent. No one wants to have what they’re hearing go from whispering to ear-screaming levels.
Great Tips to Know
Before you start promoting your podcast, make sure you have at least 5 episodes ready to go before you even publish your first one.
By making sure you have a few episodes in the can, you’re not working under the wire by trying to produce a new episode every single week. Otherwise, it takes up too much time and unnecessary stress to try and plan episodes each week.
Making a handful at once will also help you figure out longevity and whether you want to stick to a weekly, bi-monthly or seasonal recording schedule.
For more information on what you need to start a podcast, check out How to Make a Good Podcast from Foundr.