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.
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
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.
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Website software these days is advanced enough that you can offer the podcast just to smartphone visitors.
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
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.
Cliff J. Ravenscraft, producer and host of the Podcast Answer Man podcast, podcast producer, consultant and coach.
#3: Use an Authentic Voice
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.
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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.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard, producer and host of The Urban Shooter podcast and Christian pastor.
#4: Listen to Your Audience
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.
Ray Ortega, producer and host of The Podcasters' Studio and Quick Tips Podcast.
#5: Address the Struggles of Your Target Customer
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.
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
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.
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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