You might have noticed that organizations large and small are launching podcasts. In fact, podcasts have become a new staple of content marketing for businesses. The platform is growing quickly, too. Podcasts like This American Life and Freakonomics both have audiences near a million listeners. Would your business benefit from starting a podcast? Let's take a look at the upsides and downsides of putting one together.
Upsides of Podcasting
1. It can expand your reach. When podcasts started, it was a much different type of platform than it is today. Like most emerging platforms, it was reserved for the early adopters. The platform was much smaller, and the number of podcast producers was limited. Fast forward 10 years, and podcasting has changed drastically. The sheer number of podcasts available has grown immensely, but even more importantly, the ways to consume podcasts have grown exponentially. It used to be you could only listen on your computer, iPod or other media player, but today, all you need is a smartphone, which means you can listen almost anywhere. (With 1 billion smartphones shipped in 2013, that's a huge potential audience.) In addition, new car technology is being built that will more easily integrate podcasts and apps.
2. It can enhance your company's brand. Your company's content marketing strategy most likely includes tweets, blog posts and maybe some uploaded photos, which is all great, but adding podcasts to the mix—letting your consumers hear your brand—can really add a new dimension to your marketing strategy. It adds a human element, a voice, and can really help further your engagement.
3. It's a way to create content more easily (for some). For some people, writing is more challenging than speaking, and for those people, podcasting could be a much easier way to generate content. If your podcast has more than one person on the show, it can be more conversational. Doing interviews or having multiple people on a program allows a little more breathing room to think and speak freely. (This is the main reason why we have two people on our Gentlemint podcast.)
4. There's just one point of focus for your audience. Online content has to compete with ads, links to other articles and various other distractions. Sometimes your words can get lost in all the other elements on the same page. Podcasts are audio and have only one point of focus. People commonly listen to podcasts while they’re working, exercising or doing repetitive, mindless tasks. This means they’re looking for something to engage them. You’re not fighting for attention from email notifications, messaging notifications or other common distractions.
5. It's an emerging content platform. Unlike other forms of content marketing like blogging, podcasting is still an emerging platform. This means you don’t have as much competition for attention (for now). Blog content marketing is becoming increasingly harder to get a foothold in because of the saturation, but podcasting is still relatively new.
The Downsides of Podcasting
While I think podcasting can be a great way to engage with your brand's followers, there are some definite downsides to podcasting.
1. You (still) need great content. For starters, if you don’t have great content, your podcast won’t be a success. While there is less competition, you still have to produce great content. And producing great content can be difficult and time consuming.
2. Editing can be a hassle. Editing is a little trickier than just running everything through spell-check. You’ll need to know how to set up audio equipment, use recording software and edit your podcast, which means listening to it at least a couple times. (You can probably outsource the editing if you have the resources, though.)
3. It might eat up resources from your flagship. It’s one more thing that could potentially take away from your flagship product. If producing a podcast is becoming more important than making your product or service better, it might not be a good fit.
So, is podcasting right for you? As with any new venture, at the end of the day you have to weigh the pros and cons. While podcasting will take more work, planning and a commitment of time, the potential upside could be really big for your business. Podcasting offers a less-saturated platform to get your brand in front of a new (and constantly growing) audience.
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