Podcasting for Business
Podcasting for Business
A podcast is an episodic audio series, which is basically a fancy way of saying it’s sort of like a TV series, minus the visual. However, unlike a TV series, podcasts don’t really have to follow any sort of strict formula. A podcast can be 10 minutes or 1 hour, it can be fictional or educational, a one-man show or an ensemble cast, and it can literally be about anything - and we really do mean anything. From Formula 1 racing to true crime stories, trust us when we say there’s a podcast audience for just about every niche subject, and this makes podcasting an incredibly useful tool from a digital marketing perspective. Hence why we at Unusual Comms are so excited about all things podcasting, and why we love seeing how much momentum podcasting is gaining both in Australia and around the world.
In 2018 alone, new Australian podcast listeners aged 18-54 grew by 52%. Studies also show that podcast completion rates are on the rise with 93% of listeners voluntarily listening to ‘all’ or ‘most’ of their podcast episodes. But what’s really exciting is just how effective podcasts are as a marketing medium. A massive 63% of podcast listeners have taken some form of significant action due to an advertisement or sponsorship that featured on a podcast.
This isn’t the only use podcasts serve for businesses (although who can argue with increased sales?). Creating a brand-based podcast will also help you to build a loyal following of people who recognise your business as an authoritative voice in the industry. This is a fantastic end result for anyone looking to build their brand and raise their personal profile.
Another plus is that podcasts are a repurposing powerhouse! From one podcast the Unusual Team can pull out all sorts of content like show notes, blogs, quotes, sound bites, infographics, social media posts, and that’s just the start.
At Unusual Comms we’ve been creating, producing, and editing podcasts for over 9 years, and our Creative Director, Tracy Sheen, has had worldwide success with her podcast “Not Another Business Show”. So much so that she has been a resident judge of the Australian Podcasting Awards since its inception in 2016. What we’re trying to say is our team are pretty adept when it comes to all things podcasting and we have the knowledge and experience to help you create something truly unique and successful.
To assist with this Unusual Comms offer the following podcasting services:
- Podcast Strategy Workshop: Why you need to begin with the end in mind before launching a podcast
- Editing / Production
Podcasting has got to be one of the most exciting storytelling and communication devices to enter the marketing and entertainment scene in the last decade. And for businesses looking to leverage their brand and build their profile through podcasting the possibilities really are endless.
In case you’re new to the great big world of podcasting, or if you’ve heard about it before and still don’t have a clue, a podcast is an episodic audio ‘show’ that exists as a part of a larger series and is usually available to download or stream online or through an app for free. Much like television shows, podcasts can be about pretty much anything; science, music, fantasy-fiction, true-crime, crafts, fitness, psychology, comedy … I could go on forever, but you get the gist. If you can think of a topic, I’d be willing to bet there’s a podcast on it.
Unlike radio and TV though, podcasts don’t have to pander to any make or break conventions:
- They don’t need to play music (although some music based podcasts will).
- They don’t need to run ads (although you might want to for profit reasons).
- They don’t have to abide by any specific limits when it comes to the time of each episode or the number of episodes in a season or even the number of seasons in a series.
All of these things are completely up to the podcast creator.
So, now you know what podcasts are, how popular are they really? And how can you use this popularity as a marketing win for your business?
Well, in short, very popular and when it comes to marketing, they’re highly effective.
In March this year, Apple passed 50 billion all time ever downloads and streams across Podcasts and iTunes, a very far cry from the mere 7 billion downloads in 2014. Around the same time, Google announced that they would be entering the game with their own dedicated podcast app and by integrating podcasts into Google Search.
If that’s not enough to convince you that podcasting is here for the long haul, then you should hear the marketing stats behind it. According to research by IAB Podcast Playbook, conducted in 2017:
“67 percent of respondents could name an actual product feature or specific common promotion mentioned in a podcast ad, and 61 percent of listeners indicated that they purchased a product or service they learned about from a podcast ad.”
When it comes to podcasting the word ‘ad’ is used somewhat loosely because it could sound like anything from a common radio ad, to the hosts plugging a product or service, to a podcast series that’s created and hosted by a business.
Kurt Kaufer explains it like this:
“Podcast advertising offers authentic, quality and controlled marketing to very specific and engaged audiences.”
And he agrees that this form of advertising is not going anywhere anytime soon. Why? Podcasting, due to its diverse range of topics and styles and the complete ease of consumption, has the ability to reach and engage a wide and eclectic audience. From the stay at home mum who likes to listen to true-crime podcasts as she does chores, to the businessman who listens to a dungeons and dragons style fantasy podcast on his commute, or even the family that listens to general trivia style podcasts on their daily drives.
Podcasting has made itself accessible to pretty much everyone who owns a computer or smartphone, and no matter how niche the subject is there’s usually a niche audience searching for that exact podcast. And that doesn’t just go for true crime podcasts; there are people out there looking for the type of content that your business can produce.
For example: If you run a landscaping business, then trust me there are people out there who would find your expertise very helpful.
If you’re an accountant, then there are always people who want to understand numbers better.
If you run a hair salon then why not tell people about all the latest trends in hair and inform them about the products they should try and the ones they should stay away from.
It might not be the most direct form of marketing but by creating a podcast you automatically brand yourself as an expert in the industry, and once people have a chance to listen to you and your story you’ll be their first port of call when they need your products or services.
So the question is: “When are you going to jump on board?”
So if you’ve had a chance to browse our website you’d know by now that we’re pretty fond of podcasting and we know from experience that there are so many small businesses that would benefit from creating a podcast series as part of their communication strategy. But where do you actually start? What does it even involve? Is it expensive? Do you need to hire a whole team of people just to sort out the process?
Well, no you don’t have to. Although you certainly can and if you are going to we’d definitely suggest giving us a call.
Shameless self-promotion aside, creating a podcast isn’t as scary as you think, but there are a few things you should know before you get started:
Invest in a good microphone
This is where most of your money will go. When our founder Tracy Sheen started her globally successful podcast series, Not Another Business Show, all she had was a couple of outdoor cushions and a $300 microphone, but luckily that was really all she needed.
Your ‘recording studio’ can be wherever you want it to be (your office at work, the study at home, your bedroom) and soundproofing can be done on the cheap (seriously pool together all of your pillows and a couple of blankets, and you’re done). The one thing you can’t fake is good sound quality, and you’ll only get that through investing in a half-decent microphone.
You need to choose your topic and choose your take
If you’re creating a podcast series to promote your small business than choosing a topic should be pretty easy; obviously, you want a topic that’s going to link pretty closely with the service/product you sell. But choosing your take might not be quite as straightforward. There are a lot of podcasts out there; you want yours to be unique, so your content needs to be unique.
If you’re scratching your head for a distinctive ‘take’, one of the simplest things I find is to pull out a pen and some paper and write about why you started your business; why you chose the industry that you did, why you’re passionate about it, who you want to help. We’re willing to guess that your story is pretty unique, so start there.
Know your audience
We cannot stress this enough. This podcast series is all about engaging with your ideal client so make sure you know who that is and gear your content towards them. If you’re looking to engage 18 to 30-year-olds, you probably don’t want to be talking about retirement plans. Choose your content strategically based on the type of audience you want to attract with.
Have a hero intro
This is a pretty simple one, but it makes a huge difference. A true star never has to introduce themselves so why should you? Get someone (a friend, colleague, or the Unusual Team) to record a little intro for you that will be played at the start of every podcast episode.
It can be as serious (think ABC radio) or as fun (think Hamish and Andy) as you want it to be, but an intro will do a whole lot to help add a bit of credibility to your series.
Use a script
You don’t have to follow it word for word, but having a script will help take the pressure off the recording process, and it will make the end product a whole lot better. We’re not sure if you remember the last time you managed to talk on one topic with only a couple of scrawled notes for thirty minutes, but chances are you rambled off on tangents in more than a few places.
You want your content to be on message and relevant to your audience and your brand, so have a script. Plus, this will make loading a transcript along with your podcast a whole lot easier.
Don’t overthink it
Chances are you’re here because podcasting is new to you, so go easy on yourself! You’re going to make a few mistakes here or there, and the process will probably feel strange at first, but once you get into the swing of things you might just end up making something amazing, and you’ll definitely be reaching more potential clients than you were before.
Alternatively if you’d rather not think (or stress) about any of this, let us do the heavy podcast lifting for you and help you develop a strategy and a produce podcast episodes that are professional, polished, and targeted at your ideal client. You can book your free discovery call with one of our podcasting professionals here.
At Unusual Comms we believe in the importance of strategising. After all, our Creative Director, Tracy Sheen’s, podcast “Not Another Business Show” would not have garnered worldwide success if she’d not had a clear strategy of what she wanted the podcast to be and who she wanted it to reach.
We are all for podcasting; we love helping our clients develop podcasts that are polished and professional or quirky and individual, but the point is if you are going to spend time and money creating a podcast for your business then you need to make sure that it serves a purpose and that all starts with a strategy.
Marketing without a strategy is like throwing darts blindfolded: you might end up hitting the bull’s eye eventually but you’d do a whole lot better if you took the blindfold off. And it’s exactly the same with a podcast. If you’re creating a podcast for your business then it is first and foremost a marketing tool and you need to treat it like that. That means just like any other message you’d put out, there are a few things you need to figure out before you send it out to the masses.
1. Firstly, Who Is Your Audience?
This is your ideal client. Hopefully, if you’ve taken the time to develop a digital marketing strategy you already know who this is, what their interests are, and what kind of lifestyles they live (and if you haven’t you should check out our digital marketing strategy sessions now). Now we want to get to know a bit more about their listening habits. How do they listen to podcasts? Where do they listen to them? What podcast topics are they searching for?
This is first on this list because until you know who you’re talking to you won’t know what you should be saying.
2. What Is Your Goal?
You’re developing this podcast for a purpose, so what is it? Do you want to build your own personal profile and book more speaking and mentoring gigs? Or are you simply looking to get more sales for your business?
Having an overarching goal will help inform your content and the theme of your episodes.
3. What Are Your Success Markers?
So we have a goal but how are we going to measure that goal? We want to be able to look back at the end of season 1 and see whether your podcast has been successful or not by your standards, so what are your standards?
Having measurable, realistic success markers will help you to keep an eye on how your podcast series is tracking, show you where you might need to tweak things, and ultimately tell you if it’s worth your time and money.
4. Who Are You Going To Leverage Your Podcast?
Podcasts are content gold mines so use that to your advantage! We could write a whole blog on this point alone but the point is to think about and strategise how you’re going to get the most out of each podcast episode. If you know that your clients also like to read then you should be creating blogs and social media posts. If your podcasts are info and statistic heavy then it’s probably a good idea to create some graphs and infographics to accompany it.
5. How Can You Set Yourself Apart From Your Competitors?
We have to let you in on a little secret: you’re not the first person to think of creating a podcast for your brand. Chances are there’s other people out there in your industry who are already doing it. And whilst this should in no way be a deterrent, it does mean that you need to think about how you are going to set yourself apart from other podcast series in your space, and what you’re going to offer your listeners that others aren’t.
The real danger of podcasting without a strategy is that you’re going to spend the time and the money anyway and you may walk away with yourself and your business no better off than you were before. We want your podcast to work for you, which is why we offer podcasting strategy sessions as a cornerstone of our podcasting services. If you’d like to discuss your podcasting strategy you can book a free discovery call with the Unusual Team.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of podcasting, and honestly if you asked us to make a list of all the benefits of starting a podcast series you’d fall asleep long before you could reach the end of it. So the Unusual Team sat down together and hammered out our top 5 reasons that your business needs to be podcasting in 2019:
+ Podcasting increases your brand’s credibility and authority
When clients (potential and existing) create a perceived value of your brand, they also create in their minds a price expectation they feel matches what you offer. Podcasting is the coolest way we’ve discovered to increase your perceived worth as a business.
By creating regular valuable content, you push yourself into the realm of authority in your client’s mind. And building this credibility and lifting the perceived value of your brand often eliminates any price discussion or bartering, after all, who doesn’t want to work with the ‘expert’ in their industry?
+ Podcasting gives you a chance to create and repurpose fresh content
A podcast series creates a goldmine of content from which you can recycle, manipulate and leverage. As an example when the Unusual Team is developing a podcast we’ll:
- Put the show to air
- Create an audio transcript
- Develop a blog from that transcript
- Strip that blog for quotes, statistics, and other information that lends itself to social media posts
- And create infographics and other visual materials
And that’s just the beginning, don’t even get us started on creating E books, or workshops and keynotes. If you would like to know a bit more about how the Unusual Team can help you create and leverage your podcast, check that out here.
+ Podcasting builds your personal profile
So we already mentioned above that podcasting lends authority to your brand but it also lends authority to you (the host) as an expert in your field. Not only is this great news for your business but building your personal profile means you’re more likely to book speaking and mentoring jobs, as well as get invited to those very important industry events.
+ Podcasting creates a community
At Unusual Comms we’re not about enticing one-off buyers. We want to help you build a community of loyal followers who are engaged with your brand and concerned with its success. Podcasting will help you do this.
Podcast listeners are loyal and invested and chances are they’ll do more than just subscribe to your podcast series; they’ll follow you on social media, check out the products you mention, and tell their friends and colleagues about your brand.
+ Podcasting allows you to connect and leverage contacts
We all have certain people in our industries that we would love to have a coffee with and pick their brain, but for small business mortals without deep pockets, this a near impossibility.
When you have a podcast, cool things begin to happen. People are exposed to your work; they get to know who you are and your ability to connect with the influencers increases. And once you have these contacts you can use them, and perhaps even invite them on your podcast.
If you want to go into even more detail about the benefits of podcasting, or discuss what a podcast for your business could look like, book a free discovery call with our podcasting professionals.
At Unusual Comms we really just want to see more great, value driven content being put out into the world, that’s why we’re all about providing practical help and tips wherever we can. By far, one of the biggest things we see people struggle with is what to do with their podcast once they have it. How do you connect that podcast to iTunes and Google so people can actually access it?
Well, luckily you actually don’t have to be a tech guru to figure it out, and just to prove it we’ve put together a fool proof step by step guide. Of course, if you’d rather save yourself the trouble all together you can always let the Unusual Team take care of it all for you.
1. Pick a podcast host.
Once you have your podcast you’re going to need somewhere to put it, and unless you want your podcast to load at the speed of growing grass, we highly recommend that you don’t choose your own website. There are heaps of podcast hosts to choose from but to get you started take a look at Whooshkaa and Blubrry.
2. Upload your podcast episode (MP3) to your podcast host
Alright so now you’ve actually recorded and edited your podcast and you’ve got a finished product that you’re happy with, it’s time to upload it to your chosen podcast host. This is pretty straight forward and your host should provide you with a step by step guide.
3. Submit your podcast to your favourite directories
Once uploaded, every podcast is assigned an RSS feed - sound complicated, we know, but it’s really just a podcast specific URL. Your RSS feed will probably look something like this:
You’ll need to copy the URL and submit it to the podcast directories that you want your show to appear in. There are so many directories to choose from but some that we definitely recommend are:
iTunes (Of course!)
Spotify (also a big one)
4. Submit your podcast to Google Podcasts
We know what you’re thinking, this is basically the same step as above, but trust us, there’s a reason we gave it it’s own bullet point. Submitting your podcast episode to Google Podcasts is a little more complicated than other directories but don’t worry that shouldn’t deter you.
See Google doesn’t actually need you to submit your RSS feed, instead it uses its search capabilities to find your podcast. If you click on the highlighted link above it will take you to a page where you can copy your RSS feed into Google’s Direct Link Generator and check if Google has already found your podcast. If you get a message saying ‘podcast retrieved’, you’re in luck! If not, don’t worry, there’s just a few extra steps.
First of all, you need to make sure that your website is compatible with Google requirements, as Google uses your website to search for your podcast. If it isn’t we recommend you get your website guru onto that straight away.
If your website is ticking all the Google boxes then you might just need to give Google a little nudge in the right direction to help them find your podcast. To do this you’ll need to submit your website to Google via their Search Console. We have to be honest with you this process can be a little daunting and lengthy. It’s probably better to get your tech specialist onto it or, if you’re a one-man-show, you can always take advantage of the Unusual Comms podcast services.
5. Sit back and be patient
You’ve done all the hard work now but as with all good things, it might take time for your podcasts to appear in your chosen directories. iTunes and Spotify especially are known to be a bit slow. That’s why we think it’s always a good idea to start off with a “Coming soon” Episode 0 podcast so that when you do go to upload your first podcast episode it will automatically appear.
The great news is that you only ever have to do all this once. After you’ve submitted your RSS feed to a directory (and you’ve given it time to take effect) it will automatically appear in your chosen podcast host for all subsequent episodes, allowing you to upload them seamlessly.
We know that there are some people out there who get a thrill from doing all this techy stuff (our podcast team definitely do), but we also know that there are some people whose brains switched off the second we mentioned the words “RSS feed”. So if you’d like a bit of help getting it right and making sure that your podcast reaches your audience, you can schedule a free discovery call here.