Podcasting for Business – Tips and Goals You Should Follow
Podcasting your business ideas and products can be a lifeline to survival during the COVID-19 crisis. If you’re like the majority of adults in the United States, you’ve probably listened to a podcast in the past year. In the past five years, long-form audio content in the form of podcasts has exploded – now you can find a podcast on nearly any topic, ranging from financial expert opinions to fictional stories read by professional voice actors. In combination with the rise of streaming services like Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, and Apple Music, podcasts have never been more accessible to more of the population. And people could certainly use enjoyable, informative content to listen to in these uncertain times, with social distancing limiting contact and keeping people from the places they head to daily.
The podcast industry’s growth forecasted to continue, with models projecting over $1 billion in revenue created for podcast creators by the end of 2021. As a small business owner, manager, or marketer, you may have heard some business podcasts and thought to yourself that you could take on the media form for your business. This is absolutely true – but before you dive headfirst into your own podcast, you’ll want to understand how useful the format can be for both you and potential customers. You’ll also want to understand how to leverage this platform to communicate brand messages and – more importantly – truly connect with your target audience.
From identifying where you can act as an authority figure to developing marketing plans to convert listeners into real-life customers, there are essential parts of the business that you’ll need to understand to be successful. That’s why you’ll discover some of the most important aspects of podcasting to mull over here.
Positioning as an Authority Figure
One of the reasons that podcasts resonate so well with listeners is our attraction to good stories. When podcast episodes are structured like a story – whether fiction or non-fiction – the human brain responds much like it would when reading a book or watching a movie. That means listeners get more involved and engaged in the content, picturing the outcome of whatever the narrator is talking about more vividly than they would through other social media channels. This engagement is significantly higher when compared to non-podcast-related email blasts or blog posts since listeners are so engrossed by the content they’ll continue listening far longer than they’d read text on a page
Speaking of the narrator, this medium provides an intimate way to communicate for you as a business owner. Think about it this way – listeners are usually on their own when they click play, whether that’s out on a run with their smartphone or cooking alone in the kitchen. By creating an almost one-to-one experience where listeners are directly connecting with you, you’re able to create an atmosphere where customers can feel close to you.
You’ll also be able to use this as a way to communicate authenticity and authority on the topics your brand is all about. As long as you’ve structured your podcast in a way that you can dispense advice, listeners will tune in to hear that advice. And because the podcast format is generally less scripted than a TV show or audiobook, you’ll be able to communicate that advice in a more relaxed and realistic way than you would through traditional marketing tools.
Surprising Revenue Streams
It’s no secret that some podcasts have serious money coming in through routes like ad placements and sponsorships. But these types of revenue can be somewhat unpredictable and aren’t that important until you hit the upper echelons of great podcasts. However, there are many less obvious revenue streams that you can utilize effectively as a small business. Some of these include:
- Patreon or Subscription Services: Podcast fans always want to support their creators. But on most streaming platforms, it can be difficult to do that – and there’s usually no incentive to support beyond the kindness of their hearts. Services like Patreon allow businesses and content creators to set up monetary tiers that fans can contribute to monthly. At each tier, you can create content or offer deals that incentivize people to contribute that amount of money each month.
- Merchandise: As a podcast audience grows, there are likely to be fans who want to buy podcast-specific merchandise. This is an established revenue stream for many podcasts. In fact, it’s well-established enough that content platforms make this process even easier than ever before.
- Products: If you work at or own a brick-and-mortar shop, you likely produce physical products. As you develop your podcast and cement yourself as an authority figure, more people from around the world who listen will likely want to buy your products – meaning that, with an efficient marketing strategy, you’ll be able to generate revenue from a global audience.
- Collaboration: As a manager, you’re likely used to negotiating how much profit you get from certain products. The podcast space is no different – if listeners discover a product or service through your podcast, you can negotiate a cut of the income generated by the product. You can leverage this to work with brands and companies you think will be collaborative fits, transitioning short-term agreements into long-term partnerships.
Positive Impacts on SEO
As your podcast grows, so does your online presence – meaning that the business you work for or own will also experience growth. This growth is something to harness, as sling-shotting your company’s webpage to the top of its keyword rankings can massively improve online sales.
Think of it this way: the second you mention a product in a way that’s interesting, listeners will Google that product to see what it is. This happens quite often with popular pod-casters who talk about movies or TV shows that are not mainstream – you can actually see a boost in Google analytics shortly after the podcast has been released. This principle applies to your products (or the products of your collaborators) as well. Without being too obvious, bringing up products can be a great way to drive natural traffic to your company website.
Once you’ve established your brand as a pod-caster, you can also start appearing as a guest host on other shows. With marketing campaigns already running, this distribution of your podcast, the podcast you’re appearing on, and the concurrent marketing campaign for a product create SEO benefits beyond what you would be capable of otherwise. And with these podcasts hosted in perpetuity on streaming services, those links will be accessible by users and search engines forever.
Considerations to Weigh
While it’s clear that podcasts are fantastic ways to communicate your products and business to a wide audience, many factors could stall your podcast efforts before they start. Like any audience, podcast listeners don’t appreciate many of the traditional advertising tactics – so a key factor you’ll have to consider is whether you can create standalone content that isn’t entirely product-focused so you can gather an appreciative audience. Some other important factors you might want to focus on include:
- Realize How Much Time It Takes: Podcast listeners like schedules – they want a fresh podcast uploaded once a month, once a week, or more. Planning out an engaging podcast doesn’t just mean sitting down for half an hour once a week to record, though. There’s a significant amount of research, recording, and sound editing after recording that needs to be done, so plan that time accordingly.
- Pick a Dynamic Host: Even if you’re the thought leader of your business’s podcast, that doesn’t mean you have to be the host. Take a step back and look at your traits objectively. Successful podcast hosts suck listeners into the content immediately, crafting an engaging atmosphere while being genuine. Check with other employees and get honest opinions on who is best suited for the role.
- Create Worthwhile Content: Your content might be the best-branded content in the world – but that doesn’t mean people will listen to it. In the non-fiction and business podcasting space right now, people want to listen to the content they can trust in and rely on for information. A light touch on advertising within the content and a strong focus on generating useful content for people who might be interested in your business eventually will create long-term growth.
- Niche Differentiation: Finding your niche is critical as a business. If you have too many competitors that build the same product, you’ll likely struggle to survive. This applies to podcast creation as well – simply creating a business-oriented podcast won’t cut it unless your host has serious clout already. If not, you’ll need to think long and hard about what niche you can fill in the podcast space, and if customers are likely to find that niche through their streaming services.
Podcasts are absolutely an opportunity for entrepreneurs and employees alike to get information to consumers in a unique and intimate way. If you’re able to create useful, positive emotion-inspiring content that won’t drain your marketing budget, then you’ll be well on your way to diversifying revenue streams. There’s no better time than right now to start, too: with more and more of the world enacting policies to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people online will be actively seeking out new content to listen to.