Years ago, podcasts were a lesser known player in the content world, with only 9% of the U.S. population tuning in per month to listen to podcast episodes. Now, jump ahead to 2019, and there is an estimated 32% of the U.S. population, or 90 million people, over the age of 12 tuning in each month to their favorite podcasts (Content Marketing Institute). There are over 550,000 podcasts available today in nearly every genre from history to content marketing. Brands have also found a way to use podcasts as a part of their marketing strategies to own their industries marketing space.
Why Make a Podcast?
Audio is the next big thing. Just think of how many people now use voice search either with Alexa, Siri, or Google Voice. Experts are expecting audio to make a big splash in the marketing world in the coming years. Podcasts have already risen to the level of prominence and continue to grow.
There are many things to consider when deciding whether a podcast is right for your brand. A few key questions you should ask are:
- Is there a need for a podcast for my industry?
- Is there an audience for my podcast?
- Do other brands in my industry have podcasts?
- Do we have the time and resources to dedicate to a quality podcast?
Creating a podcast for your industry can help you stand out among your competitors. This form of content builds a relationship between your brand and your audience, which will consist of existing and potential customers. With your podcast, you want to focus on creating thought leadership content that relates to your industry and avoid allowing your podcast to simply become a sales pitch. No one wants to listen to a 15 to 20-minute advertisement, so you have to be creative and come up with content that revolves around your industry and provide useful, entertaining, and interesting content to your listeners. The ultimate goals of creating a podcast are to increase brand awareness, brand engagement, site traffic, thought leadership, and revenue generation.
Planning is Key
Podcasts are not as quick to create and publish as a blog post or an email newsletter. There is a good bit of planning that is involved when you are creating your podcast. Your first question should be what your podcast will be about. Your goal is to find subject matter that meets both yours and your audience’s needs. As stated before, if you use your podcast as a 20-minute sales pitch, no one is going to listen, but if you talk about random topics, no one will be directed to your brand. The secret is finding that meeting point, and that will take planning. For this reason, it is important you create scripts for each episode so you can see where an episode is going. Your host and guests don’t have to stick to the script word for word, but it will keep things on track. Keep in mind, most people are listening to podcasts while they are doing other things like driving, exercising, or working so make sure you have content that is easy to follow and not too technical or confusing.
Speaking of your host, or hosts, it is imperative that you find a host that is relatable, knowledgeable, a good speaker, and personable. You want someone your audience feels they could have a conversation with, someone they enjoy listening to. If someone is shy, soft spoken, or not very good at public speaking, they may not be right for the hosting position. It is good to have a permanent host for the entirety of the podcast. This way, your audience can build the relationship and will want to come back for each new episode.
Call to Action
We have made it clear that your podcast should not be an advertisement, but this does not mean you can’t guide people to your blog, website, or store. Include a call to action at the end of each episode, or during the episode if it relates to what you are talking about. For example, if your podcast relates to a blog that you have published with more information on a topic, you can let listeners know that they can visit your blog to learn more. You can ask people to go and sign up for your email newsletter to get information on new episodes right when they are released. You definitely want to promote your brand, just don’t let it be the focus of your show.
Good Things Take Time
Just like with the production, your podcast will take time to work. Podcasts don’t shoot to the top of the charts overnight, especially if you are creating one for a specific industry that may not have a presence yet in this medium. This is why it is good to have an established content strategy prior to creating a podcast so you can use it to promote your new show. Newsletters, social media, and blog posts should all be used to point people towards your new podcast. If you have strong thought leadership content about your industry and you take time to create something that people will connect with, your audience will come. Podcasts are an excellent tool for your content strategy and, when done right, can really make a difference for your brand.