By now, you might have heard the word “podcast”, but still, you don’t know much about this burgeoning phenomenon. The best way to understand podcasting is to think about the days before television when people used to sit around the radio in the living room to listen to their favorite shows. Basically, a podcast is the same thing, except that in the modern age, you can now listen to these programs in your car or on your phone, computer, tablet or TV. Although podcasts have gained popularity with audiences because of their informational or entertainment value, most entrepreneurs still fail to recognize the many ways that hosting a podcast can be an easy, cost-efficient way to tip the odds in the favor of your business’ ultimate success.
One of the attractive qualities of launching a podcast for your business is that the start-up costs are typically minimal and front-loaded. In other words, once you’ve made your initial capital investment in the requisite equipment, there isn’t much additional hardware or maintenance cost (unless you decide to upgrade in the future). Small businesses can typically start their own podcast with two quality microphones and editing software for under $100; however, your company will need to recruit a knowledgeable and engaging person who can keep their cool to host your podcast and effectively represent your brand.
Note that you can hire a podcast services company to not only consult you but also provide you with turnkey production solutions at a reasonable cost (which can usually be folded into your marketing budget). Once you get the hang of recording your podcast on a regular basis, it requires very little time commitment. And you can always manage the frequency of your episodes to fit your availability, so long as your audience is aware of any changes to your schedule and are never disappointed; success depends on the consistency of your programming.
Once you have your podcast up and running, instantaneously, it serves as a free marketing tool. The more interesting, entertaining, relevant and high-quality your podcast is, the more it will build an audience over time, and that audience will be automatically be exposed to what your business has to offer. You can easily distribute your podcast episodes across your various existing social media platforms, as well as in your email marketing campaigns to clients. For even faster and more widespread exposure, you can also join a podcast network, which will connect you with other podcasts within the same genre or geographic locality.
Podcasts are a quick and easy way to familiarize the world with your company’s “voice” by giving your audience personal insight into your beliefs and motivations. Furthermore, your podcast will allow you and your company’s representatives to demonstrate expertise in your field while your show simultaneously develops loyal followers who are particularly drawn to your host on a personal level. While the host of your show doesn’t necessarily need to be an owner or officer of the company, he or she can always interview your key personnel from time-to-time so that the audience gets to know more about their vision for the business. Podcasts also give you the opportunity to invite clients, suppliers, marketers, affiliates and even fans, onto the show; you could even use the program as an opportunity to answer questions from your audience. Lastly, an appealing host should be able to interweave humor into each episode, which will present a “lighter side” of your company, rather than keeping it “strictly business” always.
As if the foregoing weren’t enough, you can also use a podcast to create additional income streams. While podcast monetization has traditionally involved selling subscriptions and bonus content, this approach is somewhat falling to the wayside. Instead, podcasters are frequently creating Patreon accounts and giving perks to those who contribute, such as bonus promo codes for products they like or special access to closed Facebook groups. Additional moneymaking options include the following:
- Selling your expertise: Once you’ve used your podcast to establish yourself as a known expert in your field (called an “influencer” in today’s media jargon), then you can easily drive traffic to your business by writing articles for other publications; you can also give speeches or make media appearances, all of which you can charge money for.
- Advertisements (referred to in the podcast business as “sponsorships”): The more specific your podcast is in appealing to a market “niche” or geographic locality, the more you’ll be able to attract sponsorships from clients who share your target audience.
- Host-driven product information, pitches and testimonials: This income stream is a widely-successful variant of the standard sponsorship. Smart sponsors will prefer your host read their commercial themselves or turn the episode’s talking points into a conversation about the client’s product or service (for an enhanced fee).
- Thinking outside of the box: Depending on the nature of your business, you can get creative and generate income streams in ways that might not be available to other podcasts. For example, you can use your podcast to promote a book, online webinar or new product or service. However, always remember that any self-promotion should always be a “soft sell” and not the primary focus of an episode.
So, are you convinced yet? We certainly hope so. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, and delve into the exciting world of podcasting!