Podcasting for business success
A business that was founded decades ago could, back in the day, maintain a fairly consistent business model. But today’s constantly changing technologies have made running a business more complex, demanding frequent modifications to keep up with the times. Podcasting is one of those new technologies and a worthwhile modification to your marketing strategy. In this article, we look at 9 ways a podcast can benefit your business. Later, we’ll offer tips on creating a podcast.
What are podcasts?
Podcasts are audio shows, like radio shows, that are available for on-demand listening. They can be accessed on smartphones and tablets – including Apple and Android devices – virtual personal assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant, and online. They cover an inexhaustible diversity of topics, from politics to food, tech to sports, travel to home maintenance, finance to fitness, pop culture to history, and more.
Half of all U.S. households are home to podcast fans – that’s more than 60 million households. Sixty-eight million people listen to podcasts weekly, with 16 million listeners identifying as “avid podcast fans.” These numbers are growing, making this audio platform a prime vehicle for spreading your business name and reaching customers and clients.
Some of these listeners tune in for entertainment, while others mine podcasts for professional reasons. “More than one-third (39%) of owners of SMBs listen to podcasts, and 65% listen at least weekly,” said Forbes. “Listenership increases with company size. [One survey found that] 70-72% of owners of businesses with 100 to 500 employees are tuning in.”
As you look for ways to grow your business, consider 9 ways a podcast can benefit your business.
How can a podcast benefit your business?
Advantages of podcasting range from the measurable – such as real income – to immeasurable but invaluable – such as branding, networking, and relationship building.
1. Podcasting builds your brand.
Many decades ago, businesses relied on traditional means of marketing their business: media advertising, mail, brick-and-mortar placement, walk-in traffic, word of mouth, etc. These provided short-form communications of a business’s services and products, expertise, and brand-name recognition. The 21st century offers new digital solutions such as targeted digital display, digital advertising, content blogs – and podcasting.
Podcast benefits are similar to blog benefits. Both allow you to communicate your knowledge and expertise, hence to build your credibility. You can share advice, industry insights, tips, and specific work-related experiences – all of which showcase your knowledge.
“If you’re a business in an industry that has a high customer value, then a podcast may be one of your most effective education and marketing tools,” says Spencer Shaw, founder of the podcast production firm PodKick Media told Forbes. “I find podcasts work great in the legal, financial, and business services industries. It can work in other industries, like real estate, where the show is representing a geographic area or high-end services or products.”
Sharing all this knowledge is not like spilling all of your trade secrets so customers don’t need your services anymore! An owner of a Virginia beauty spa, Susie Galvez, created her own line of spa products and a beauty book. Spa employees expressed their concern that the products and book would dissuade customers from coming to the spa. “They won’t need us anymore,” employees grumbled.
Galvez, however, had no such worries and offered her workers a perfect metaphor. “Just because you have a cookbook and kitchen utensils doesn’t mean you aren’t going to eat out,” she told her employees. “Restaurants provide the experience without the work – and so does our spa.”
2. Podcasting provides a more personal connection.
Like many other Americans on both sides of the political aisle, I was stressed on Election Night 2020. Sure, we’d all been told that Americans would be unlikely to know the results that same night. However, the anticipation and media coverage spurred anxiety nonetheless. So instead of watching the networks, I tuned in to a special Facebook Live event. The event covered the election with maps and charts, updated as needed, but added music, comedians, and insightful interviews. More importantly, though, the election night event was led by the co-hosts of one of my favorite regular political podcasts.
I’ve never met these two radio journalists, but hearing their familiar voices, rich insights, and humorous barbs soothed my raw nerves.
I daresay I would not have been as ebullient had the show been hosted by favorite columnists or writers. No, the familiarity and sense of personal connection arose instead from having heard these voices week after week – like old friends.
In addition, podcasts and radio shows are typically more informal than articles, which have been rewritten and edited. That informality adds to the sense of connection.
When someone hears your voice on a podcast, you become more familiar, approachable, and trustworthy. This is always helpful in attracting new customers and clients and in building rapport with current ones.
Podcasts are also perfect for storytelling – such as talking about specific experiences you’ve had in the industry or clients you’ve worked with. And stories help make meaningful connections with people.
3. Podcasting helps you reach new potential customers and clients.
A podcast potentially reaches a different audience from the people reached in previous advertising and marketing campaigns.
- First, different people follow podcasts than blogs.
- Second, those who follow both media use podcasts when reading isn’t feasible: when exercising and commuting, during meal prep and clean-up, etc.
- Third, hosting platforms include podcasts in their listings and searches, giving you added exposure.
- Finally, enjoyable and/or educational podcasts frequently benefit from word-of-mouth sharing. Podcast listeners are just that passionate!
4. Podcasting offers a back-end connection opportunity.
By bringing guests onto your podcast, you offer a richer experience for listeners. At the same time, in connecting with those guests, you build and strengthen those important connections, too!
Guests can include industry experts, business partners and potential partners, current customers and clients, etc.
For example, an event-based business can provide behind-the-scenes peeks at events and include interviews with organizers, performers, and stagehands. A running store can invite experts such as dietitians, sports medicine physicians, physical therapists, coaches, race directors, and sports psychologists. The show can also interview successful athletes, from those who win races to everyday athletes like masters competitors, a local who has completed the 50-states challenge, etc.
These guests will appreciate the fact that you value their contribution. They will be grateful for the exposure you may be giving to them and their businesses. This mutually beneficial connection provides an invaluable networking opportunity as well as relationship building.
5. Podcasts provide social media fodder.
For some businesses, coming up with regular social media posts can be challenging. Podcasts give you an opportunity to announce what’s coming, share once it’s posted, and revisit in the future. The ideas that arise in the podcast can be used in social media, too.
Better yet, by tagging your guests and encouraging cross-promotion, you will reach new eyes and ears.
6. Podcasts can be produced on a shoestring.
Equipment and platforms for producing and showcasing podcasts can be surprisingly inexpensive. Your “studio” can be merely a quiet room in your house. I’ve even heard regular podcast panelists who admitted they were broadcasting from their closets during pandemic social distancing!
Depending upon your business, the occasional minor interruption might even offer benefits. It can humanize you and make you more approachable. If it relates to your area of expertise, all the better – a parent blog with a kid knocking on the door, a pet supply store with a dog barking in the background, etc.
7. Podcasts can bring in income through sponsorships, ads, and even paid interviews.
As you gain more followers, you will be able to solicit sponsorships and ads. For some blogs, you may also be able to offer paid interview slots on your show.
For example, a popular landscaping and nursery business could get sponsorships from lawn care equipment and products. It could charge for interviews with experts from hardscaping businesses, outdoor kitchen stores, etc. An events business can charge performers extra for added exposure on the podcast. The running store can promote new products and related services. Just imagine what you can do with your business!
Boomer Magazine used its weekly podcast to supplement its magazine articles as well as to support advertising clients. Writer Kip Tabb, for example, went into greater detail on Outer Banks natural areas. A representative of Green Bay, Wisconsin, talked about her city as a tourist destination. Richard Reina, product training director at www.CARiD.com, gave practical guidance for starting a new car collecting hobby. And a representative of Sheltering Arms told listeners about the new state-of-the-art Sheltering Arms Institute location and the many conditions it could better treat.
8. Podcasts can increase website content and traffic.
You can mine the content in your podcasts for blog copy, in the form of informational articles or – even easier – interview Q&As. Effective transcription software makes this a snap!
On your website, you can embed your audio files; include show notes; and provide links to the podcasts.
On each blog, be sure to refer readers to your site for more information on the topic: photos, statistics, extended interviews, product links, guest bios, etc.
All of these steps increase your web content and allow you to update your site more frequently – factors that search engines view favorably!
9. You can enjoy the process!
Once you get the hang of it, making a podcast can be both gratifying and fun. Sometimes, we can get stuck in the rut of the same old, same old with our businesses. By creating a podcast, you can elevate your enjoyment and amplify your business at the same time!
Podcasts are merely one of many ways to promote your business in today’s technology-rich environment. Ross Media Solutions can be your partner in many of these avenues for marketing and advertising. RMS has been producing niche media and digital marketing for 20 years and is eager to take your business to the next level.
Next up: The how-to’s of creating and sharing a podcast