How to use podcasts for business.
Podcasts are a useful online marketing tool for business. Podcasts are a cost-effective addition to the digital marketing mix and a great way of bringing your brand to life by building a more personal relationship with your audience.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a digital audio file that is made available on the internet, and can be listened to either on a portable media player or a computer. Generally, brands and personalities will create a series of podcasts to which users can subscribe: a subscription means that every new podcast will be sent automatically to the subscribers’ devices.
How to start podcasting for business
While podcasting can prove helpful for many businesses, there are three things that every brand should know before taking their first steps.
1. Create a sustainable podcast concept
Coming up with an idea for the first podcast is often simple. However, will you be able to run with the same theme week in, week out? While it’s important to fill a niche that has a strong listening audience, it’s equally important to ensure that it’s not so niche that you run out of ideas.
2. Invest in the podcast basics
While the microphone built into your computer may seem like the easiest option, you need to bear sound quality in mind. Poorly recorded podcasts will put potential listeners off from the start. It won’t be an expensive outlay, however; a basic microphone and headset can be bought online for under £100.
3. Share the podcasts
Once you’ve created your podcast, you’ll need to ensure that it’s listened to. But how do you find your target audience?
- iTunes has an enormous, well-engaged base of podcast subscribers, and can’t be ignored; and asking your listeners for positive iTunes reviews will move you up the rankings and help your target audience to find you.
- YouTube is also a good place to share your creations, while links to your podcasts should also be shared across social media platforms, on your website’s blog page, in your email newsletters – anywhere you can.
- Search for other podcasters in your niche too. It’s possible that you can trade promotion of each other and both benefit from new fans.
Podcast distribution and tools
If you’ve had a podcast for some time, it’s important that you start to build its audience. This is where the question of distribution comes in. There are a large number of channels through which you can host and promote your podcast, but in general it’s best to pick one and stick with it. It might be tempting to maximise your reach by hosting everywhere, but all you’ll do is fragment your audience, harm your listener counts and create extra work for yourself.
Podcast tool #1
Soundcloud is a popular and common choice, as it offers good name recognition, embeddable podcast streams, and an intuitive comments system for listeners. While it’s not exclusively built for podcasts, it’s a highly flexible platform and at only £8 per month for unlimited hosting can be an affordable choice.
Podcast tool #2
Acast is a platform built specifically for podcasting, and, under the tagline “makes good stories great”, it combines a professional appearance with simple controls and is free. It allows uploaders to sell premium content directly to listeners – ideal if you have the occasional longer shows which require more time and effort. If you want to retain control of your material, you can provide an RSS link and Acast will automatically make the show searchable on the platform. Or you can join them as a hosted podcast and earn revenue through ads or sponsorship.
Podcast tool #3
If you have sufficient bandwidth on your server, HTML5 makes it simple to stream audio directly without the need for an external host. But you’ll need a strong social media strategy to make sure it’s seen by the intended audience, and taking this option can suck up a lot of money in hosting costs if your listener count is high.
As a business trying to connect on a personal level with your clients and industry, a podcast can be a great part of your digital strategy. It can help people understand your approach and listen in a relaxed way to what you have to say.