Radio used to be one of the most lucrative advertising platforms in the market. Families would gather around that big wooden box after dinner and tune in for their favorite serial, variety show, or news program.
Today, radio is still a useful tool, but marketers discovered that it costs a heap of money and resources to broadcast brand awareness this way. They also discovered that if you want to gain the same reach as radio, you can do it on the cheap.
Podcast marketing? For real?
Yes, we’re for real. One of the premier means for reaching customers these days is through the digital radio waves. Podcasts are easily accessible, and available from scores of different distributors— iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, Swell, and Stitcher to name just a handful.
There are podcasts about almost every subject imaginable, from the most general programs, like Stuff You Should Know, to incredibly specific topics, like a show that only discusses J.R.R. Tolkien. If you want to start a monthly cast about your lawncare business or your SaaS company, you will find an audience.
If you can write a blog, you can record a podcast
The process requires a fair bit of creativity, a whole lot of research, and some decent recording equipment. But that’s it. There are no astronomical maintenance costs or membership fees. The process is cost-effective. More importantly, it’s in your hands. You’re not paying actors or hiring a whole recording studio. It’s a DIY experience, and that’s what listeners are looking for.
Start with an idea. That should be obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the number of people for whom this is an afterthought.
There are no two ways about it: come up with a solid subject, theme, format, or flavor that is uniquely your podcast. Maybe you talk about one new music app every week or address current events in Oceania. Do a search through the iTunes or Stitcher directories. Is anyone else doing your thing? Is anyone doing it the way you do it? No? Then, you’re golden.
1% Inspiration, 99% Preparation
Leave the studio quality recording equipment at the studio. You’re not cutting a record with Kanye. Listeners will turn off a cast that sounds like it was produced in a tin can, but, besides that, they couldn’t care less about sound quality. You can get a good mic, soundproofing, and sound editing programs all for a few hundred bucks.
Craft a distinct name and voice for your cast. You don’t want to fire up the microphones for the first time and realize you have no intro. Naturally, go for something that matches the material. Like your subject matter, it must be broad enough to reach a wide customer base but specific enough to sync nicely with your brand. Once you’ve got a title and tone that fits, you can set your mind on designing a logo. Why do I need a logo for my audio content? I’m glad you asked.
Why you need a logo for your audio content:
Peripheral media includes your logo, slogan, episode summaries, keywords, and advertisement. The venues where this content is going up will require these things. Once you have them available, distributors usually handle the rest. If you don’t have written and visual content somewhere on the web, then nobody will find your podcast in the first place. Google’s spiders aren’t crawling for sound waves, after all.
You can even incorporate your own company’s logo into the mix. Use the names of your podcasters in the title. Above all, keep it transparent. Podcasts are supposed to be enjoyable and honest. Show your audience who you really are and what you’re passionate about.
What to say and how to say it
Who are your most compelling speakers? Who in your office has strong opinions about the industry? Who gets along? Who doesn’t?
If you’re a small company, don’t be afraid to involve your CEO in the discussion. Remember, podcasting demonstrates your expertise in the field. Don’t take that lightly. Do your research on every topic you’re going to cover. Make an outline of talking points. Stick to a set amount of time for each topic. Tangents sometimes make up the most hilarious or insightful moment of a program, but the meat comes from staying focused.
This is a chance to loosen your tie or slip into some Friday jeans. Don’t be uptight. It’s not a business lunch; it’s dinner and a movie. Don’t be afraid to laugh out loud or call your co-host out on their BS. Share unusual factoids. Get a few jokes in. That’s the bread and butter that keeps your audience saying, “just one more episode.”
I can’t stress this enough: drink coffee; or any snack or beverage that will keep you alert. Engage your co-host, engage your listener base, and you will have them coming back for more.
You’ve assembled a pile of podcast paraphernalia, and it turned out pretty fantastic. Now what? Google’s FeedBurner is a free web feed manager that makes your show available to all of the most notable podcast aggregators. Upload to your website, and FeedBurner can transform your content into a subscribable format. Subscribable = sharable. Podcasting is highly, highly sharable.
That’s all there really is to it. Once it goes through FeedBurner, iTunes, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, all other major websites will pick up your show without even batting an eye.
Why should you spend your time on a podcast? Because that is all you are spending: time. Costs are minimal. It gets your brand out there, shows off your prowess in your vertical, and it will reach a wider audience than blogging alone. Did we mention it’s essentially free? I can’t remember if we said this, but it costs you absolutely nothing to upload your podcast content to certain third party sites. Seriously, zero money down, no monthly payments, ever.
So, pick a co-host who challenges you, find a quiet place to be boisterously opinionated, and brew a few pots of coffee. This is going to be good.