Are you looking to grow your brand? Increase your reach? Drive more sales? Well, you probably do a lot for your brand already – such as blogging, social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing, etc. But could you be doing more?
While the answer is always yes, that’s not an option for all of us unless you have an agency of record or an in-house marketing team that can handle everything under the marketing and advertising umbrella. Even if you do have one of those resources, money and time are not unlimited – so it’s important to invest both wisely in the marketing vehicles that will have the highest ROI for your brand.
The thing is, there are so many different marketing mediums, with more popping up every day. Like podcasts. So how can you decide if this new-ish communications phenomenon is worth your investment? Let’s take a look.
Before we get into your potential podcast marketing strategy, let’s get into a few fun facts surrounding this marketing medium – just in case you are skeptical about the power of podcasts:
- Podcast listeners have increased from 14% in 2012 to 32% in 2019.
- About 45% of podcast listeners have an annual income of $250,000
- Advertising spend on podcasts has increased from $90 Mil in 2014 to a projected $500 Mil in 2020
- Podcast listeners consume 4 hours and ten minutes of podcasts per week.
I could throw more stats out there, but I think you get the point. If done correctly, a podcast can be a crucial way to reach consumers — especially because most listeners tune in for an average of 25 minutes compared to the average video viewer, who tops out around 5 minutes. These podcasts can support and/or be a part of your social media, email marketing, and blogging strategy for an omnichannel marketing strategy that’s firing on all cylinders.
Let’s face it: podcasts are an exciting frontier. But before you pull the podcast trigger, let’s see if it’s right for you.
Making a Podcast
This section is pretty straightforward, but it is important for a successful podcast marketing strategy. Let’s start with your team.
Talent. Is there anyone on your team that is able to record, edit, and upload these podcasts to different streaming services? Creating a podcast isn’t overly hard, but it is time-consuming and you need to be able to have the bandwidth to work on it to make sure you are uploading quality podcasts. (There is nothing worse than a podcast that sounds like someone talking into an old tin can.) Who will be the host? What about a co-host? And think about other supporting players you want to add into the mix — like who will manage the overall production to make sure it happens regularly (or at all) and flows smoothly?
Timing. Now once you’ve established your team, you will have to determine the frequency of your podcast. Some podcasts release an episode every month, some release an episode every week, and some micro podcasts (like an Amazon echo flash briefing) release an episode daily. This once again will depend on your bandwidth and the amount of content you can produce (we will get into this later). The moral of the story is that consistency is key when making a podcast. Listeners like to know when an episode is coming out so they can download and cast. If you’re inconsistent, it is going to be harder to grow a loyal audience.
Tech. In addition to determining your team and your timing, you will need to buy the correct equipment. Luckily decent podcast equipment can be purchased fairly inexpensively (anywhere from $50-$500, depending on quality and quantity). Of course, the more expensive equipment will give you a higher quality production. To start, you will need:
- An inexpensive microphone
- Inexpensive headphones
- Audio editing software (Garageband, Audacity) or a product like Alitu
- A podcast hosting service like Buzzsprout. This takes care of your sound files while showing you how many times your episode is downloaded.
Content, Content, Content.
You’ve got your Talent, Timing and Tech. Time to think about the fourth T: topic. This is what your content will rally around. Content is KEY when you’re making your podcast marketing strategy. Depending on your industry, your business, and your target audience, you might not have a ton of content at your disposal to share. That can be a big hurdle. If that’s the case, focus your content research on what your potential listeners would like, what they are talking about, and try to be a resource for them.
Podcasts usually fall under three categories: informational, inspirational, and comical. (Note: comedy is very hard and risky – but if you can pull it off, it can also have a high reward.) Think about which one of these buckets you will most naturally fall into when you’re recording.
Also, think about how a blog post is written when creating a podcast. You will need an intro, a body, and an outro. Depending on how long your podcast is, you might need a few breaks in there as well – radio show style. Don’t forget to make it FUN. You’re trying to keep the attention of your listeners for 25 minutes to an hour. The last thing you want is to have listeners struggling to get through your podcast (or falling asleep before the halfway mark).
Finally, make your podcast unique. Depending on what your podcast is about, you can have a lot of competition. Listen to what the competition is doing and carve out an area that you can own. Your competition is already established and has followers, so we need to be different if we want to establish our own fan base.
Your Audience Matters
While researching your competitors, if you find a lot of podcasts similar to what you intend to do, it will be harder to attract an audience — unless you really blow them out of the water. People have limited podcast listening time and they tend to stick with what they know unless you give them a good reason to change.
Now, if there are no podcasts out there that are like the one you are envisioning, then you may have a real opportunity — but keep that research going. Sometimes there is no competition because there is no viable audience for a particular content angle. Maybe your audience finds their information elsewhere, is just not into podcasts, OR doesn’t want that information no matter how it’s available. These are the questions you need to ask yourself when you’re doing the research.
Sometimes, though, you just have to go for it — even if you can’t say with certainty that your audience wants to listen to your topic. If you feel strongly about it, dip your toe in the podcast waters. Again, it’s not a huge investment. When creating your podcast marketing strategy, don’t forget that 32% of the population listens to podcasts and it’s better to be first to this category than last.
After establishing a cohesive podcast marketing strategy with a team, a schedule, your content, and your audience – does it seem worth it to you? If you’re undecided, give it a try. Like I said earlier, it is a pretty inexpensive form of marketing. All you need is the time to do it all.
If the competition is fierce and your category is crowded, don’t sweat it. You can always sponsor a podcast in your industry for the same amount of exposure for half of the work. Plus, there are some great stats surrounding sponsored ads in podcasts. See below:
- 45% of listeners have visited a sponsor’s website
- 54% of listeners say they think about buying an advertised product
- 63% of 300,000 listeners surveyed had bought what the podcast host had advertised
In conclusion, podcasts are an effective way to market your product or service, whether it’s through a paid advertisement on someone else’s podcast or through spreading information, inspiration, and making people laugh via establishing your own content. This isn’t always easy to achieve and can take a lot of time.