According to recent Ofcom figures, around 7.1 million people in the UK (one in eight) now listen to podcasts each week, with regular podcast listeners consuming an average of seven podcasts per week. These figures are up 25 percent from the previous year and are only continuing to rise.
Many small businesses are taking note of the medium’s exponential growth and are setting up their own podcasts as a result. As well as giving you the chance to share information about new products, company information, and general information relating to your industry, incorporating podcasts into your marketing strategy can offer numerous benefits to your small business. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the main advantages.
The fact that podcasts can be listened to anywhere at any time makes them ideal for busy people looking for inspiration, entertainment, or self-improvement. Podcast listeners can leverage their time by downloading episodes and replaying when driving, working, at the gym, or relaxing. It’s also significantly quicker for them to consume information, with the average podcast around 35 minutes long, which translates into 4,550 words. That’s the equivalent of nearly seven average-length blog posts.
Listeners can search for podcasts by keyword or subject — and if your podcast appears where they are searching, that’s already a great start. Unlike traditional advertising mediums, the level of branding required for a podcast can also be quite subtle, allowing you to build more authentic client relationships and remain memorable among listeners without being overly salesy. In a world that is already saturated with products and services, being able to build trust is vital for small businesses.
Giving people more ways to consume your content and hear from team experts sets you apart as a thought leader in your sector. If you choose to follow the traditional podcasting format and invite guests to join you, you can also enhance the authority of your brand. The more well-respected people you have on your show from your industry or niche, the more closely aligned you’ll be seen to them and their successes.
One thing podcasting is particularly great for is building a connection with your audience. Listeners are hearing your voice every week, listening to your running jokes, and gaining an insight into who you are — all of which builds a more personal relationship. That voice also builds trust, and it’s trust that ultimately sells a product or service.
The interactive nature of podcasts is one of the things that makes them so engaging and able to foster such loyal audiences. As well as inviting well-known people to join you on your podcasts, you can also invite your audience to take part, either on calls, just like in a traditional radio show, or by answering polls, for example. The interactivity of podcasts helps you to solidify that connection with your audience — something very few other mediums offer.
The global podcasting market size was valued at $9.28 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27.5 percent from 2020 to 2027, leaving plenty of room for you to make some extra cash for your small business. Obviously, the more you publish engaging episodes, the more successful your podcast will become. This, in turn, creates opportunities to monetise your episodes through things like affiliate marketing and sponsored content.
Each of your podcast episodes can be repurposed into additional pieces of content — from snippets for social media to videos on YouTube. As well as allowing you to reach wider audiences, it also saves your marketing teams from creating so much new content. Lots of people also transcribe their podcast episodes and distill them into a single blog post with a call-to-action taking them to your main podcast page, which can be another way of gaining new listeners who may not be aware of your show.
Speaking may be something that comes naturally to most of us, but it’s always a skill that can be developed. When you first start podcasting, you may find it a little strange speaking to an invisible audience, but the more you do it, the more you’ll find your confidence grows without needing the approval of a live audience.
Like lots of content forms, podcasting allows you to build familiarity with your audience, which encourages them to become regular listeners. If you manage to gain a loyal follower, this increases the chance of them recommending your podcast to others, thereby widening your reach and leading to improved traffic and new leads. Attract enough new leads and the chances are you’ll increase your conversions, too.
While podcasting is a great medium for all the reasons we’ve mentioned above, as with anything, there are some drawbacks. For starters, it can be a challenge to find and reach the audience you want to target. Unlike with print media, listeners are not able to easily skim through your podcast to determine if the content is of interest to them (a good reason to repurpose episodes into blogs).
Plus, with so much competition in the podcasting world, growing and building your podcast as a credible source of information is usually a long process and it can be very difficult to rank highly for a particular topic. If you’ve put out several episodes without having gained much of a following, it can be disheartening and discourage you from producing more.
Like all other digital mediums, podcasts are also very easy to share. For this reason, you may need to take steps to protect your own or someone else’s material used in the podcast against unauthorised copying and file sharing.
The first thing you need to start a podcast is an idea. When brainstorming, try to find a niche in the market you’re targeting. Browse podcast libraries to see what’s already being done and look for a new angle or a new way of presenting information. You’ll also need to decide whether you’re going to present by yourself and invite guests to join you, have a co-host, or do something completely out-of-the-box.
Once you have an idea and you’ve decided on the basis for your podcast, it’s time for the fun part — thinking of a name. Maybe you’ll include a keyword that listeners are likely to search for in a podcast directory, or create a podcast name out of a play on words. Whatever you choose, make it memorable. You’ll also need a logo to go with it.
Another major factor you need to consider is the length of your podcast. While a typical episode is usually between 20 to 45 minutes, it’s entirely up to you how long or short you make yours. Generally, the longer your episodes, the less regularly you’ll release them (and vice versa with shorter episodes). Of course, this may be something you change according to the feedback you get from your audience after launching. If you need a second opinion, it’s always good to run your ideas by family and friends, or other people with an interest in your podcast’s niche. You may also be able to find willing participants on Facebook groups and forums to provide feedback.
If you’re going to invest in any equipment, make sure it’s the microphone. We recommend finding one with a USB port – that way, you can plug it straight into your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and start recording straight away. You may also decide to invest in a mount, headphones, a podcasting studio, and some podcasting software for editing such as Adobe Audition.
Interested in creating a podcast and building an engaged audience? On our Podcasting Intro course, our experts will show you how to successfully record, edit and promote your podcast. For more information on growing your podcast audience, you can also check out this blog post.
by Emma Gibbins | 18 Aug 21
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