There’s so much talk about podcasts and podcasting at the moment, and the reason it is seeing a resurgence is because of smartphones. Smartphones give us access to information in real-time, and we can choose how and where we want to consume it. What this means for businesses is that content is presented in different ways – audio being one of them.
I meet entrepreneurs and business owners who have thought about podcasting but are not sure where and how to start.
It may seem daunting to get your head around podcasting and what it may entail for you and your business, but once you know and understand the basics, then it would be easier for you to decide if the benefits stack up in your favour, and more importantly for your business.
Podcasting is not just about interviewing people but providing content that’s relevant for your audience and supports your existing offering.
With that in mind, here are 5 essentials to think about that should help you decide if podcasting is right for you.
What is your objective?
As you outline your business objectives, podcasting should feature as a way to help you achieve your objective(s), not as the objective. Knowing what you want to achieve – having a clear business objective sets up the reason(s) why you may want to podcast, and gives you a good foundation, to begin with.
Once you are clear about this, you will see that the other things I mention below will help you understand what is required in setting up podcasts for your business.
Who is the podcast for?
If you already have an audience (mailing list etc.), then you are fortunate – that’s a starting point, but if you don’t, then who are you creating the podcasts for?
You would need to be clear about why you think your target audience would be interested in your podcasts. What added value would your podcasts give them? This is easier to identify when you have outlined your objective(s).
Also, because of how relatively easy it is to set up a podcast, there are many podcasts that exist on various subjects, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start one. It’s all about knowing what you want to achieve, understanding your target market’s needs and providing value to them.
What topic(s) will you cover?
Once you’ve outlined your objective(s), and know who you are targeting, then you can start looking at the different ways – i.e. the different topics that would help you meet your objective(s).
When you know and understand your objective(s) and target markets’ needs, you have a clearer idea of what you will provide and who will be appropriate to support you in achieving your objective(s).
Podcasting requires careful planning – planning ahead weeks ahead sometimes months. Each podcast delivery requires a script. This will help you understand the amount of content you’re going to share and who will be best suited to support you in preparing it.
If you are going to interview guests, then you have to think about the value they will bring – remembering to align it back to your objective(s) and write the questions for them, so you can be sure it is the value you want for your podcasts and will be of benefit to your target audience.
Who will do it?
If you work on your own, then the bulk of the work will be done by you – at least in the beginning. As you can see podcasting can be time-intensive, so understanding the benefits to your business objective(s), will keep you motivated.
You’ll have to decide on the frequency of each podcast – how often will you put one out? Once a week or once every other week? People like routine, and once they find you and your podcasts interesting and relevant, they would like to receive it (or have access to it) consistently, so they can plan around when they listen to it.
We are all so busy, so it’s a commitment for anyone to invest in what you’ve put out, but people will stick with you once they see you are all about providing them with value.
As you get comfortable and start to realise the benefits for your business, you can start considering outsourcing some of the different elements to keeping up with it.
Where will you share it?
Once you’ve decided on the above, you’ll have to figure out where and how you would host the podcasts.
There are a few options available – on your website, a podcast platform such as iTunes and or Stitcher (and various others); SoundCloud or all three of them.
I think your website should be your primary and central point, simply because that’s where all of your existing content is, and you can provide links to iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud. Your website is free (apart from hosting), and depending on what platform (WordPress, Joomla etc.) yours is built on, it’s relatively easy to get audio files uploaded with the help of widgets and plugins.
There are pros and cons for the others, and you’ll have to decide based on your objective(s), who you are trying to reach and more importantly how they will find you. For instance, iTunes, Stitcher and most other podcasting platforms are free, but SoundCloud is only free for the first 120 minutes; so you’ll have to decide which one will work for you and is more appropriate to reach your audience.
The other thing to consider is how will your existing audience – your mailing list, hear about your podcasts? Will they mind the frequency of your emails letting them know you’ve recorded a new podcast? What about people you’re trying to attract, how will they hear about you?
I know all these are a lot to consider but hopefully got you thinking in more real terms what it could mean for your business. Every business has to consider reaching and providing their audience with content in different formats – it’s just the way things are these days. Clearly defining how this will be of benefit to you and your business, will help you with an overall picture.
In my next article, I will cover give the practical elements of podcasting such as the equipment to consider.
If you want to know more about starting and promoting your business, you can find relevant information at companyformationamerica.com.
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About the Author
Viv is an Audio and Podcast Specialist. She has over 20 years of marketing experience working for companies such as Walt Disney, NatWest, Barclaycard, RBS, BMW and Thames Water. Alongside Audio Byte, she presents her radio show Dream Corner, interviewing female entrepreneurs and female leaders in the City; and over 250 women have shared their journey with Viv. In her spare time, she loves running, reading and chocolate.