social media how toThinking of getting into podcasting?

Many businesses are discovering the power of audio podcasting and how this content can help them grow their business.

So we asked the podcasting experts to share their tips.

What follows will help you connect with your audience on a more personal level and extend your online community.

Why Podcasting?

Podcasting is a lot like on-demand talk radio.

There are hundreds of millions of people walking around with podcast-enabled smartphones.

Those people have moments where they’d love to consume some engaging or educational content (while driving, while walking, while at the gym…).

Podcasting offers a popular and growing platform for businesses.

That’s why Social Media Examiner recently started the Social Media Marketing podcast.

Perhaps podcasting is in your future.

Here’s what the experts have to say:

#1: Find Out the Percentage of Your Audience Using Smartphones

christopher s penn bio pic

Christopher S. Penn @cspenn

Edison Research, in its 2012 State of Podcasting Report, indicated that podcasting has clearly reached the mainstream, and that 1 in 6 smartphone owners consume podcasts, leaving the other 5 out of 6 ripe for audience-building.

Using your web analytics, determine what percentage of your audience currently uses smartphones, and create a podcasting strategy based on that.

Website software these days is advanced enough that you can offer the podcast just to smartphone visitors.

marketing over coffee

Christopher S. Penn, co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee podcast, speaker, director of inbound marketing and author of Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer.

#2: Create Valuable Conversations for Your Niche

Cliff Ravenscraft @GSPN

Devote your podcast to your niche/industry and not your products and services.

When many business owners learn how affordable it is to create an audio podcast, they are eager to jump in head first and use this new marketing channel to tell the world about their products and services.

However, the business podcasts that have found the greatest success are the ones that feature valuable conversations and stories related to the field they are in.

An example of this would be Connie & Sheila Talk. These two ladies are full-time real estate investors. Instead of focusing on what they have to sell, they focus on topics and stories that would be of interest to anyone who is into real estate investing.

Their podcast is about their industry, not their particular business. As a result of producing over 100 podcast episodes, Connie and Sheila have made deals that would never have happened otherwise and their business has benefited in a number of other ways.

connie and sheila talk

Cliff J. Ravenscraft, producer and host of the Podcast Answer Man podcast, podcast producer, consultant and coach.

#3: Use an Authentic Voice

Rev. Kenn Blanchard @kennblanchard

Podcasting is as social as media can be. For your business or brand, it makes your message personal. It’s a step up from the written word. It’s intimate.

Podcasting is different than radio because your podcast listeners are so by choice. They choose when, how and where they listen. The relationship between podcaster and subscriber is strong.

The only thing more powerful than the spoken word is the demonstrated word.

If you are a blogger, let me explain. I am a romantic guy and if I write you a note and say I love you, that is one thing. But if you hear me say that I love you in my sexiest voice—where you can hear the timbre and the inflections and feel the bass—it’ll move you.

I share the love too. Advertisers on my podcast benefit from the relationship I have with my audience. My audience loves me, so they are willing to take a chance on the brands I recommend to them.

The best tip I could give you if you are contemplating starting to podcast or want to improve the one you have is to be authentic. In other words, be yourself with diction, voice and attitude.

The people who follow you—whether it’s 4 or 4 million—will appreciate it. You will become a part of their life. And that is social media at its finest.

the urban shooter

Rev. Kenn Blanchard, producer and host of The Urban Shooter podcast and Christian pastor.

#4: Listen to Your Audience

Ray Ortega @PodcastHelper

A podcast creates community, not simply customers. Make your podcast a conversation, not a sales pitch.

Respect the relationship you have with your podcast’s audience by constantly adding value. Don’t hold back information thinking someone will pay for it later.

Communication should go both ways. Make your community part of your show by integrating their emails and voice feedback into your podcast.

Ask for their input and give them a say in your content choices.

Niche is power in podcasting and if you listen to your audience (even a small audience), the returns for your podcast and business can be enormous. But you have to give it time.

Also, be careful how you measure the success of a podcast. Downloads, subscribers and feedback should always be growing, but it will likely be a slow process. If your podcast is motivated more by the bottom line than relationships, you will fail.

Podcasting is an investment. How much time, effort and heart you put into producing quality content, interacting with your audience and producing high-quality audio and/or video will determine how much your audience will invest in your brand.

the podcasters studio

Ray Ortega, producer and host of The Podcasters’ Studio and Quick Tips Podcast.

#5: Address the Struggles of Your Target Customer

PJ Jonas @goatmilkstuff

As a business, one of your primary goals should be to build a relationship with your target customers.

In this age of social media, trust has become an essential ingredient and needs to be built before significant sales can be made.

Get to know your customers and determine what struggles they face daily. Then use podcast episodes to target those individual struggles.

Solving problems builds trust and shows potential customers that you can help them. This results in people coming to you for your product or service instead of you running after them.

goat milk stuff

PJ Jonas, host of the Goat Milk Stuff Busy Mom’s Survival Guide podcast, owner of Goat Milk Stuff, podcaster.

#6: Bring New Voices to Podcasts

Derek Halpern @derekhalpern

If you’re going to launch a podcast where you bring on expert guests, DON’T bring on the usual suspects.

The sad truth about the usual suspects is that they’re old, tired and boring. People know who they are and already know what they have to say.

Instead, you should work on finding new people to feature on your podcast. These new voices will make people glad that they’re subscribing to your podcast as opposed to other podcasts.

How do I know?

I look at my podcast Social Triggers Insider as proof of concept. I often feature New York Times best-selling authors, world-renowned academic researchers and professors from top universities. In the world of online marketing, these people are “no-names.”

But the response I receive from the marketing community is HUGE. People love the fact that I bring new faces and new ideas into our community, and that’s one of the reasons why my podcast was able to amass more than 100,000 downloads in a few short months.

social triggers insider logo

Derek Halpern, host of the Social Triggers Insider podcast, founder of Social Triggers, expert marketer and entrepreneur. 

What do you think?  Are podcasts a part of your content strategy?  How is podcasting helping your business?  Please share your experience and leave your comments below.

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  • Benjamin Beck

    HI Cindy,

    Great article and tips! I would like to get into doing podcasts and highly look up to each of these people who do an amazing job.

    Also Michael Stelzner’s podcasts here are amazing.

    Do you know of an article that outlines what equipment and software is best to use for doing podcasts?

  • Thanks for your kind words Ben 🙂

    Here is the equipment package I purchased:

  • #4: Using an authentic voice.  This really resonates with me.  A podcaster is literally inside the head of their listeners at a time when those listeners are not distracted by a hundred other things.  When you are driving, there is not a lot you could (or should) be doing besides paying attention to the road and soaking up some free and valuable content.  While out running…it’s just you, the sun, the birds, and some words…from your favorite podcaster.  I love this format of 6 great tips from 6 great podcasters.  Thanks Cindy, Mike, the contributors, and the whole SME gang!

  • Benjamin Beck

    Thank you Mike! I really appreciate the link! I’ll definitely look into getting some equipment for myself.
    One last nerdy question, where did you get the cool intro to your podcast / videos? 

    It’s so well done and aligns with your brand so well.  

  • Great question!

    John Melley did the audio intros for our podcast ( See )

  • Thanks John – Podcasting is a ton of fun. Thanks for letting me be on your upcoming podcast

  • Niveen Salem

    Hi Cindy, another great post. I’ve been contemplating podcasting but my voice is definitely not the right one 🙂 Can people hire a voice for doing that? I’d assume it has to be done with the blogger’s or the author’s voice for building relationship with the audience, otherwise they might lose credibility or get confused.

    Would love to hear your feedback?


  • Hey Mike,

    Great article.  I think Derek’s point about not having the usual suspects is key. As you know I”ve interviewed close to 300 people for my podcast. Sometimes the guest who end up being the most popular really surprise us. They’re the people who resonate most with the audience, not necessarily the ones who are the most famous or biggest.  Look forward to having you back on BlogcastFM soon. 

  • Hi Niveen, I think most people don’t like hearing their own voice 🙂 Having said that, a business could look into hiring a show host to do their podcasts… but that might not be the best route if you want to connect on a personal basis. Another option is to be one of 2 people presenting the show.

  • Heidi Cohen

    Cindy–Great roundup. Podcasts have the potential for being the ultimate multitasking media that speaks to an audience of one. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Ric Hansen

    Loved the idea of bringing new voices to an industry.  I am in the Mobile DJ business and it seems the same dozen people speak at conventions, write articles and contribute their ideas.  They may even be good ideas, but everyone has heard them so many time.  A fresh perspective from outsiders would be refreshing.

  • Joel Metzger

    Don’t forget the power of “first impressions” over potential customers by simply having a “show” on iTunes.  For example, if you’re a consultant, just having 5 or 10 segments on the same iTunes platform with all that big-league, studio-generated content is a very sexy thing.  Even if your audience is tiny, your competition may not have the “wow” factor of being on iTunes.   I produce podcasts for consultants and the branding for new business is very powerful even if when the audience isn’t there.

  • Great point Joel! It’s definitely the time to look into creating a podcast show.

  • Thank you for sharing, Ric! 

  • Hi Heidi!  That’s a fun picture: “multitasking media” 🙂

  • Cindy,

    Do you think if it’s national or even international that an accent can hinder a podcast? Do you think it is less of a problem if it is regional? I love accents and will seek out podcasts from different countries for that very reason. Thanks

  • Christina D Wagner

    I currently have a weekly radio show on NBC 1260 am / 96.1 fm in the Phoenix area and would love more information on creating my own podcast. 

  • Cindy,
    Great info on podcasting! Thanks for putting together insight from some of the leaders in this area. I’ll be referring back to this as I move into podcasting.

  • Niveen Salem

     I agree on both points. Yes, it could be done if it’s in an interview format with someone else – with hopefully better voice 🙂

    Thank you for your reply!

  • Great line up here. I am actually a new reader of social triggers and I have really liked their information. This is great advice and something I am focusing on with the launch of our new membership site…going to be interviewing members of the community instead of always looking outside it. And what can I say about Cliff other than he is awesome and I have been listening to him for over a year now. Great article Cindy!

  • Thanks Srinivas – Let’s make it happen 🙂

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  • These are great tips by these guys, I love the comment feedback too!

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  • the conclusion is we need to understand customer.

  • Another great article from Cindy. I really love to read your posts. These tips on podcasting will surely help a lot of people trying to do it. In the nearest future, I don’t plan on doing podcasting, but I’m a regular listener to several of them and it will be great to assess them, what they are doing wrong, or on the other hand, what they are doing well.

    Anyway, from what I was able to see Michael Stelzner’s podcasts don’t need further advices, because they are really brilliant.

  • You are welcome Mike, you truly are an EntrepreneurOnFire! Your episode airs October 3rd!

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  • I used to worry about my ocassional Ebonics slip, and tried to sound more like James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, or even Nelson Madela and learned my folks liked me warts and all.  Life is good! thanks John Lee Dumas!

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  • If you are using your podcast to spur your business you HAVE to be yourself. People may be deciding on purchasing a service from you. If you sound one way on your podcast and another way on the phone, you may have just shot your credibility.

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