International Podcast Day is coming up on September 30. Created to celebrate the power of podcasts, the day also gives business owners a chance to learn about podcasts and their potentially far-reaching benefits.
Though podcasting has been around for more than a decade, this method of promoting your brand has recently skyrocketed in popularity.
According to the 2018 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital® survey of 2,000 people, podcasting continues to steadily grow. Forty-four percent of Americans 12 years old and older "now say they have ever listened to a podcast," up from 40 percent from last year.
Podcasting has made in-car gains continue as well: A year ago, 18 percent of podcast listeners described the car as the place they most often listened to podcasts; this year that number is 22 percent.
—Traci Long DeForge, owner, Produce Your Podcast
“2018 seems like the year of the podcast," says speaker and podcast expert Traci Long DeForge, owner of podcast consulting agency Produce Your Podcast.
“Water cooler conversations are turning from talk about the latest television show to binge watch to what podcasts people are downloading," says Long DeForge. “Listeners are taking their favorite podcasts with them everywhere."
Benefits of Starting a Podcast for Your Brand
Given the exponential growth of podcasts, the form is increasingly being seen as a viable marketing platform for business.
“The benefits of doing a podcast for your company are potentially enormous," says Brendan Carr, host of the LEADERSHIP podcast. His show features interviews of best-selling authors and high performers and their insights about leadership.
“As podcast listening becomes more mainstream," Carr continues, "you can immediately reach a new audience."
Podcasts give you the opportunity to scale your business, believes Long DeForge.
“If you're a service-based business, coach or consultant, you may wish to move past seeing clients one-on-one and expand your business model," she says. "Podcasts introduce your business to a new audience geographically."
A well-crafted show also helps you build trust, loyalty and consumer confidence.
"By hosting your own podcast, customers feel closer to you and your business, and as a result, you build relationships with them," says Long DeForge.
Podcasting offers branding by association, adds Carr.
“If you have a clear sense of your brand, you can podcast with guests who share in your brand. For example, if your brand is rebellious and you interview infamous celebrities, authors of banned books and motorcycle racers, then you've achieved outstanding branding by association."
"Perhaps best of all, podcasting offers you the platform to change the conversation in your industry with your own voice, expertise and message," says Long DeForge. "This is an ideal way to become a go-to expert in your field."
Tips for Starting and Building Your Own Show
Of course, your show won't build itself. There are necessary steps to creating a podcast that makes people want to listen.
1. Choose a topic with legs and longevity.
Think carefully about what you want to cover in your podcast before you get started.
Make sure that the topic is something that will continue to interest you and listeners many episodes from now.
2. Decide on production basics.
“When producing a podcast, there's a wide range of production quality options," says Carr. “Most of my guests are thousands of miles away, so we chat via internet calls that I record and edit myself.
"However, with local guests I've capitalized on location and hired skilled media professionals to record and edit face-to-face interviews," he continues. "That method is more expensive, but worth it for the production value."
3. Integrate your show into other marketing efforts.
“A podcast is not a standalone vehicle," says Long DeForge. “Leverage your already existing fans and followers by promoting your show via social media, blog posts and email campaigns."
4. Develop a sound outreach plan.
“It's important that your potential listeners can find you," says Long DeForge. “List your show in podcast directories. Listeners will also discover your podcast if you appear as a guest on other podcasts."
5. Feature well-known guests.
“To build my podcast, I booked VIP guests, such as best-selling authors with new books coming out," says Carr. “The timeliness of having such guests on the show mobilized interest from their fan bases."
6. Record during live events.
“If you're at an industry trade show, for instance, drive traffic to your booth by scheduling a live taping," suggests Long DeForge. “Capture interviews and testimonials from clients and share on social media using the event hashtag."
Monetizing Your Podcast
Some established shows do make a substantial profit. If your sole purpose is to promote your business, though, Carr suggests not monetizing.
“Make great shows, promote your business and leave it at that," he says. “If you do decide to monetize, which often means retaining sponsors, only take opportunities for monetization that serve you in the long run and make sense for your business."
Even if you're not actively monetizing your show, Long DeForge suggests always create a call to action.
“Use your podcast to encourage listeners to visit your website, download your e-book or recommend you for a speaking or consulting project," she says. “Podcast listeners are loyal and want to support you. Enjoying a return on your investment could be as simple as posing the right question to your tribe."
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