Podcasts are fast becoming our go-to method for our on-the-go intake of knowledge. We plug in during long commutes, we listen in on long flights and we tune in during downtime moments, giving weary eyes (that, in my case, have been staring at a computer screen all day) a long overdue rest.
So, exactly what is a podcast?
7 Ways Podcasting Can Benefit Your Business
- Convenient Content
- It’s Affordable & Fast
- Increase your reach
- Call in the experts
- Stand out from the rest
- Podcasts play well with others
- Listeners are engaged and waiting
In a nutshell, a podcast is a set of digital audio files that users can subscribe to, download and listen to. (Think of them as “talk-radio” for your mobile). There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts available, for free! If you haven’t yet discovered podcasts - it is pretty much guaranteed you will find a podcast that interests you – after all, it seems there is one on just about every subject!
If you don’t know where to begin, here’s a few successful ones worth a listen:
1. The Tim Ferris Show: Tim Ferris’ podcast is consistently ranked #1 business podcast on iTunes (and often sits at #1 in all categories). You may know Tim Ferris as the author of the best-selling book, The Four Hour Work Week. Tim’s podcast is all about pinpointing the various mechanics of success.
Tim interviews world-class professionals from all backgrounds (such as Seth Godin, Jamie Foxx and Tony Robbins), discussing their techniques for success.
Typical length: 1-2+ hours, which is considered lengthy for a podcast, (but no one is complaining!)
Check out: Episode #67 Amanda Palmer & Episode #102 “The Iceman” Wim Hof. The Tim Ferris Show is available on Apple Podcasts or click here to listen via Spotify.)
2. The Robcast with Rob Bell: This weekly podcast and international favourite is regularly ranked #1 on iTunes under Spirituality. Rob Bell is the one to listen to if you are looking for the perfect example of how to host a podcast: Rob is relaxed, conversational, witty and ultimately leaves you feeling like you just had the best conversation you’ve had in ages (even though all you did was listen) - and for this reason alone it is worth checking out Rob’s style of podcasting.
Rob Bell is personable, relatable and explores life from the point of view that everything is spiritual. As a former mega-church pastor and one-time cover-boy of Time magazine, Rob has had loads of experience in public speaking. (In fact, Oprah took him with her on her U.S. speaking tour and has interviewed him multiple times for her OWN network). You will find Rob to be smart, insanely talented - just like the special guests he often interviews. If you’re looking for an intelligent half hour or so musing about navigating through life, Rob’s your man.
Typical length: 20-60 mins.
Check out: Episodes #38 - #42 ‘The Forgiving Flow’ series, Parts 1-5. You can find The Robcast on Apple Podcasts for click here for The Robcast on Podbean)
3. StartUp: StartUp is a podcast dedicated to narrating the challenges of founding a company. Award-winning NPR reporter, Alex Blumberg decided to make a podcast about the struggles and challenges of starting a business. (That business? Gimlet - which happens to be a podcast collective. The podcast? StartUp).
Currently in it’s seventh season exploring many different start-ups, StartUp explores the lives of the founders/entrepreneurs, spruiking itself as “a show about what it’s really like to start a business”. Those starting a business will find it fascinating. (Click here to check out all episodes of Gimlet’s StartUp podcasts, or find StartUp on Apple Podcasts. Start at whichever season appeals most to you and enjoy listening as the podcasts traverse the journey from entrepreneur to founder, and from start-up to thriving company.)
Should your business consider using podcasting?
Podcasts offer your business the opportunity to speak directly to your target market whilst positioning you as an authority in your industry.
Adding podcasting to your content marketing strategy is something to be carefully and seriously considered. When your business decides to podcast, you will be entering into a conversation with your target market. As you podcast, you will build trust with your audience, establish yourself in a position of authority and begin to build a relationship with your listeners.
Potential customers struggling with a problem will seek out your podcast and the information you are offering. These potential customers will come to you for their solution - that information is something both valuable and attractive to them. Podcasting is your business’ opportunity to attract these potential customers - and to include a call to action in order to drive profitable consumer interaction.
7 Ways Podcasting Can Benefit Your Business
1. Convenient Content
Your listeners can listen in the shower, while driving to work, while jogging down the beach or walking the dog – this means you will be able to reach your target audience at times you may have been missing out on reaching them previously. Generally, your podcasts will offer your target audience content that is easier to consume at these moments than, say, your website text and video content.
2. It’s Affordable & Fast
You can record a podcast in far less time than it takes to produce video content, it’s inexpensive and surprisingly quick to produce. You will need to buy a decent microphone and download editing software (free and quite simple to use), and then you’ll be ready to start recording! (For tips on how to create a podcast, click here. For advice on how to integrate your podcasts on your business website, click here.)
3. Increase your reach
Podcasting is a great way to grow your audience for free, and by using platforms such as iTunes and Stitcher, your podcast will be available to thousands! At the end of each and every podcast be sure to include a call-to-action. For example, ask your listeners to visit your website for more information or to sign up for your e-newsletter.
4. Call in the experts
You can use your podcast to interview experts in related fields. People searching for information about your experts will find your podcast in search results, potentially adding to your audience and extending your organic reach.
5. Stand out from the rest
Audio content is personable. When listening to a podcast it can often feel like you are part of a conversation. Your personality, and passion for a given topic, can be picked up when someone listens to you speak. This feeling of connection helps build a perceived relationship with your listeners and helps to instill trust. Podcasting can set you apart from your competitors, placing you in a position of authority. Podcasting can also help you stand out from the crowd as being approachable, welcoming and friendly. Your audience will begin to feel they already know you - and your business - on a personal level simply by listening to your podcasts.
6. Podcasts play well with others
Podcasting integrates extremely well with your other marketing efforts. It’s a great medium to promote your blog, to endorse your social media channels and to advertise your business on. Did you know that you can also send your podcast (as digital audio files) to your existing e-marketing subscribers via email?
7. Listeners are engaged and waiting
Once a listener subscribes to your podcast, applications such as iTunes will automatically download new podcasts to your listeners’ devices upon release. Your listeners don’t even have to click a button, it will be there in their playlist ready and waiting for them.
American podcast listeners have been called ‘super listeners’ in an Edison Research study, which found that they spend more than 25% of their total audio time listening to podcasts, and are consuming around 105 minutes of audio per day more than the average American. An Australian study has not yet been conducted, but Americans were found to be listening to around 21,117,000 hours of podcasts each and every day.
Many traditional marketers would lament how hard it was to really “get in the ear” of their potential customers - without the time constraints and cut-through issues of radio advertising. In today’s handheld device culture, podcasts are your business’ way to do exactly that. Seizing the opportunity to capitalise on the increasing popularity of podcasts - before your competitors do - gives you the chance to secure this growing space as the leader in your field.