How Podcasting Can Enhance Your Business
By Aaron Broverman
Podcasting is no longer the amateur radio it was five years ago.
Shows like Radio Lab, This American Life, The Joe Rogan Experience and WTF with Marc Maron pull in millions of subscribers on iTunes worldwide and now businesses want a cut of their audience.
“Probably 80% of our client base right now are business owners who are using podcasting as an amendment to their product, to add extra value to the brand and raise more awareness of what they’re doing,” says Corey Coates, co-owner of Podfly Productions, a company providing full-service pre and post production to any business that wants a podcast to enhance its brand.
For a fee, Podfly will assist you in coming up with show ideas, buying the right equipment, editing your podcast, posting it to iTunes and everything in between.
So what can podcasting do for your business that traditional marketing methods fall short of? Coates walked us through what makes podcasting the hot marketing mechanism of the moment.
In a way nothing has been before it, podcasting is alluring to business owners not just because major brands like HBO and ESPN are already involved, but because it creates an unprecedented connection with its audience, all of whom are potential customers.
“There is something special and magical about developing a connection with a customer that is audio-based,” insists Coates.
“When I think about all the podcasts that I personally listen to, I walk around every week or I’m at the gym and I really feel like I know the person who’s behind this. You develop a very personal understanding of the man or the woman behind the business, so it’s great for a lot of people who are running companies or have products and services to able to communicate with their market on a much more intimate level.”
A Call to Action
The reality of podcasting is that only a select few podcasts can generate a large-enough audience to monetize the podcast itself, so how can a podcast truly enhance your business if it doesn’t generate money on its own?
“Having a call to action is really the key,” says Coates. “If you have a product or service that you’re using or promoting on your podcast, that’s going to get people back to your website to look further into what it is that you do.”
For example, many of Podfly’s clients have lead pages on their websites that tie directly to their podcasts. If listeners go to a page on the website and enter their email address they receive additional content related to the podcast.
“The biggest problem with podcasters today is they’re really unable to know specifically who is listening to their show,” says Coates. “It’s one thing to have a demographic where you can guesstimate who they are, but if you get someone to hit a lead page, and put in a little of their information, now you have a person you can identify and market back to.”
So how does one structure a podcast to maximize its marketing impact? Coates suggests the one-on-one interview format is the simplest way.
“There are a couple of things that start to happen when you interview leaders in industries that are related to yours. It creates a sense of instant credibility and instant authority in your field.”
Plus, as an added bonus, people who appear on your podcast tend to promote you to their network in-person and on social media, which never hurts your brand.
Another way to demonstrate your authority and create a direct relationship with your customers is by answering questions related to your field on the air from listeners who call or e-mail the show. After all, no one wants to hear an endless monologue that makes you sound like a know-it-all who’s in love with his or her own voice, but solving problems for free is something anyone can get behind.
But be warned, all the relationship-building that you’re doing can be flushed down the toilet in an instant if you fail to do one crucial thing.
“You don’t want to be asynchronous in your releases. You want to have consistency in your release schedule,” says Coates. “If you do a weekly show, make sure a show comes out every single week.”
If it doesn’t, your listener base will lose interest immediately and aggregators like iTunes will simply forget about you and stop downloading your show for subscribers.
“Consistency is key,” says Coates. “Keep your podcasts relatively short. People don’t have time to listen to you ramble on for two hours, so keep it under 45 minutes. If you get it between that 30 to 45 minutes sweet spot, that’s a great length.”