Can podcasts help my business to grow?
Creating a podcast isn’t as difficult as you might think and the benefits could surprise you.
Podcasts aren’t a new thing but they’re often thought of as something done by professionals or those with an on-site studio and editing team.
The truth is that a podcast can be a very effective way to connect with your customers and they aren’t as resource heavy as you might think.
The question is, what are they? Can anyone record them and can you benefit from creating them?
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a set of digital audio files that can be downloaded from the internet.
A user can subscribe to the podcast once it’s been uploaded, from the author’s website or from a podcast app.
Listeners might search for a business or individual, or they might search for a topic of interest. Once they’ve found what they want to listen to, they download it onto a mobile device and can then listen to it wherever and whenever they like. For free.
How can it help to grow my business?
You can reach a new audience
Ofcom collected data from a range of sources, including Rajar, ACast and TouchPoints to find out the latest trends for podcasts. It found that nearly 6 million people in the UK listen to podcasts every week. This figure has almost doubled in 5 years and the increase is across all age groups. The steepest growth though is among young adults aged 15-24, with 18.7% (around 1 in 5) listening to podcasts every week.
Given the stats above, investing the time in a regular, relevant podcast could mean reaching more people than you would with existing marketing channels.
You can communicate more
In general, our attention spans are decreasing. There is a constant demand on our time and we have become a nation of headline readers and article scanners. Now that means that written content often has to be short, punchy and to the point.
Podcasts are a little different though. You can listen to a podcast when other methods would, quite frankly, be dangerous. You can’t read a blog post while you’re driving to work or to the gym. You can listen to a podcast though.
While you’re burning off calories on the treadmill, you can be learning about a whole host of things.
You can use your podcasts to feed other marketing channels
In an age when businesses are urged to write blogs, send newsletters and keep their social media accounts up-to-date, a podcast (although yet another channel) is a good source of content for them.
Imagine you produced a podcast about the importance of changing your shop window display regularly. There will be snippets of information that can be used as social media updates and a blog. You can also have a section in your newsletter about the podcast and encourage people to download it.
If your target audience isn’t going to hear your podcast, they may see it on LinkedIn or read about it in your latest blog.
Podcasts can be cheaper
Because podcasts are delivered digitally, they eliminate many costs associated with other forms of communication, including postage, printing, and paper.
A podcast can also be considered instead of hosting a face-to-face event with potential clients. Recording a podcast about the impacts of Brexit on your customers can be discussed in the podcast which potential clients can then download. You save on venue costs, travel, and additional staffing costs.
It will increase brand awareness
The familiarity and consistency of regular podcasts helps develop your company’s brand. You can integrate information about your products and services as they relate to the information in the podcast. For example, if you’re an IT consultant producing a podcast on cyber security, work in information about the services you offer in that area.
It provides an emotional connection to your audience
Despite still not being able to see you, hearing your voice will help listeners feel like they know you, far more than just reading words on a page. It builds a level of trust which is needed for good relationships. The more trust there is, the more likely they are to buy from you and buy more than once.
It will increase traffic to your website
A potential customer may find your podcast all about dog grooming, for example, but they may have never heard of your business before.
Having listened to the podcast they might visit your website to see the transcript (which should be there) or just to learn more. Who knows, they may even come to your website to buy. US ad agency, Midroll, polled over 160,000 podcast listeners in 2015 and found that 60% had bought products they’d heard about on a podcast!
But it sounds too complicated to do..!
Admittedly, there’s more to creating a podcast than sitting down and writing a blog post, but it’s not rocket science. You’ll need a microphone as the one on your computer or phone aren’t going to be good enough. You can get a headset microphone or a USB microphone as a starter.
You’ll also need to have some editing software. There are a whole host of providers available. Some are free and some have a monthly fee. The other option is to employ a professional to edit and upload your podcasts for you.
If you’re going to edit it and upload it yourself, you’ll need to think about the short blurb that goes with your podcast. It tells people what it’s about and encourages them to download and listen to it.
There are lots of places to host your podcast but iTunes is still probably the best bet. Make sure you have it on your own website too (if you have one).
More support for your business
If you’re looking at ways to grow your business, speaking to your accountant can be a great place to start.