What I’ve learned through starting a business podcast (and my 4 top tips)
You might have heard through the grapevine about the recent rise of Podcasting as a marketing tool.
So what actually is a Podcast?
Well it's basically bitesized 20 minute episodes (or otherwise known as 'shows') that are pre-recorded by a podcaster and uploaded onto SoundCloud or iTunes for people to listen to. These can be listened to on a computer, iPad or phone just by tapping on the purple 'Podcasts' app and searching for your favourite show.
Just as Social Media apps such as Facebook and Instagram, and video apps like YouTube and Vimeo took over our attention and quickly gained huge amounts of uptake, now we see the rise of Podcasting.
My personal belief is that Podcasting has had such a massive uptake because of it's ability to save users time. No more having to be glued to a screen to watch a video or listen to replay. Now you can listen to a podcast in the background and engage with the content while going about your normal day. All you have to do is click on the Podcasts app, select your episode and press play. The Podcast then just plays away in the background while you go about your everyday tasks. I personally love to listen to my favourite podcast shows while I'm having my morning coffee and pottering around the house getting ready to start the day. Taking on board new information, learning new things, and getting some entertainment. It's also nice to have another voice in the room if I'm by myself just getting ready to start my day in my home office. Some friends of mine listen to episodes using headphones while sat at their office desk, and others listen in the car on their way to/from work. The key takeaway here is it's convenient, saves you time, and still delivers a huge amount of value. So a LOT of people are tuning in.
From a business perspective a Podcast can be focussed on many different themes - business-related, comedy, chit-chat, social media, marketing etc (like my show -> https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-realistic-marketer-podcast/id1436986165?mt=2).
There is so much opportunity out there. Hardly any businesses are creating regular podcasts so there's a huge gap in the market for you to fill and an opportunity to start and build an audience and prospect base in new territory where your competitors are almost certainly missing out.
I started my podcast journey about a year ago and I have learned a few things about that world as I went along. I am not a professional podcaster and I don't have all of the best tools and advice from a professional studio. What I do have though is a bank of information of what tools and equipment I have personally tried and tested, and therefore which ones I would recommend for you to get started and which ones not to waste your money on.
So without further ado, let's get down to it.
- Which theme to choose.
If you're setting up a brand new podcast with the objective to share your opinion, perspective, and voice with the world and ultimately build an audience, then your podcast needs to have a theme - a consistent topic of conversation that the user expects to hear on your show regularly.
That theme (if you're a business owner or marketing manager) would make most sense to be based around your topic of expertise, and loosely related to your product/services. The theme needs to be broad enough so you always have new topics to discuss within that theme to create regular, consistent, interesting content, but not too broad or you won't stand out. For example, I am a marketer running a digital marketing agency. Therefore my podcast is centred around the topic of Marketing specifically within the realms of what is 'realistic' to SME's. Realistic in terms of what you can expect to receive in terms of successes for your business from the topics I cover (e.g. SEO), and realistic in terms of working within an SME type budget requirement. Within that theme therefore I can discuss topics such as Conversion Rates, SEO, Social Media, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Email Marketing... the list goes on. Enough scope to give me regular topics of conversation, and it's all centred around my theme of Realistic Marketing.
- Which microphone to buy.
I personally didn't have a clue when I first started out which microphone companies were renowned for being the best quality, which were the most expensive and which were the cheapest, let alone what each of the tech specs meant. It was like speaking in Chinese to me. So I decided to go out and Google it. I looked for reviews of different microphones online. I direct messaged my favourite podcasters for a breakdown of what their equipment was, and I asked friends in the networking circuit what their recommendations would be. In the end I kept seeing 'Blue Yeti' pop up again and again. So I decided to go out to my local Currys/PC World and buy one. It cost me £150 and when I got it home I decided to do a test. I recorded a few minutes of me speaking using my Macbook Pro built in microphone with Quicktime, and then I recorded a few minutes using my Blue Yeti plugged into the same Macbook Pro. What I found was absolutely no difference, and my Macbook Pro was actually slightly better quality sound. With this information I took the Blue Yeti back to the store and got a full refund and plugged away using my trusty built in laptop microphone and that is still the microphone I use today.
I have heard recommendations for Rode Microphones but I am yet to find one that is affordable and comes highly recommended so at the moment I'm sticking with the equipment I've already got.
Jenna Kutcher of the Goal Digger Podcast is a highly successful professional Podcaster and she recommends a very neat idea that I'm looking into for my own Podcast. Jenna bought a professional top end Blue Yeti microphone and uses that to record her famous Podcast episodes. She does however place that microphone into a square storage style black box with some foam padding around it, and uses that with one-directional sound to record her voice at an incredibly professional level.
- Which platform to host the Podcast on.
Much like websites need hosting platforms to keep their content on, Podcasts need a hosting platform too. I have looked into various platforms such as Soundcloud, Libsyn, MixCloud, and iTunes. Each has a different pricing structure and layout. I personally wanted to find something simple, free, and with enough functionality to get me started but not too much to feel overwhelming. After a bit of research I found SoundCloud was brilliant and as I was just getting started, the free option made the most sense. I created an RSS Feed within SoundCloud and created a Podcast Connect account to upload it directly to iTunes as I knew my audience would be more likely to use iTunes than SoundCloud, particularly on their iPhones.
- How to promote your Podcast and get people to tune in and subscribe.
There is very little point in recording a podcast and uploading it, if nobody is going to be listening. You need to get their attention. Make them WANT to tune in and listen to what you have to say. On a podcast this comes in the form of subscribers and downloads. The way you get more subscribers and downloads is promotion.
What do I mean?
Well, I would recommend 4 top tips:
1) Use your existing audiences and promote your latest episode on all your social media channels. The followership you already have built up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, and Twitter already likes you, trusts you, and wants to hear from you. Post a brief overview of what your latest podcast episode covers (to lure them in), and follow it up by leaving a link to click through to listen to the latest episode.
2) Collaborate with other podcasters. By collaborating on episodes with other podcasters that fit within or complement your niche, and have a similar audience demographic to you, you can share beneficial information and entertainment to each others audiences and mutually build your profiles higher.
3) SEO your episodes. Want to be found when people are searching for their new favourite podcast? Make sure you have a full and complete title, description and tag for each of your episodes in the relevant boxes, and include all of the relevant keywords that apply. That way you are significantly increasing your chances of getting found.
4) Encourage ratings and reviews from your audience. According to research, the Podcast algorithm slightly favours podcasts with a decent amount of ratings and reviews. It shows engagement, attention, and interest in the podcast and therefore encourages Apple to show the Podcast to other users likely to be interesting in listening and subscribing. At the end of every episode ask your listeners to rate and review your podcast, and offer something of value in return for this to encourage them to do it. This could be a shout out on your next episode, a free download etc.
I absolutely love podcasting and everyone I've spoken to that has invested in it as a platform for their business does too.
The benefits are ten fold and since it's so new you can get started now and fill the gap your competitors are missing!
If you're interested in looking into Podcasting for your business, send me an email and I'll be happy to chat further about my experience with you and share ideas to help you get started - firstname.lastname@example.org