Is Podcasting Right for Your Business?
I have a friend who claims 80% of his business comes from his podcast. He works in a consulting capacity and helps businesses land contracts. He hosts a weekly podcast that has grown his business and following astronomically. If you talk to him he will tell you podcasting is the place to be.
And for him it is.
His reputation as a thought leader, industry insider, and all around “go-to guy” is key to his brand. But is podcasting right for you? Does it make sense for your business?
Podcasting requires a time commitment. To create a successful podcast you need to make content available on a regular schedule. The most heavily followed podcasts come out on a predictable timeframe and listeners expect that content.
So before we get into the details of examining whether podcasting is right for your business, ask yourself if you're willing to commit to it. To build an audience you need to be.
There are several benefits to podcasting. As in the case of my friend, it is the perfect platform to set yourself up as a well-connected thought leader within your industry. It also allows people to get to know you as you share stories about your own experiences. Finally, there's something inviting about hearing the human voice. It makes us feel like we know someone even if we haven't met them. Hearing their voice creates a more intimate connection than simply reading their words on a web page.
But is podcasting right for your business? Let's examine a few things before deciding:
Is Podcasting Right for Your Business?
According to Edison Research, 51% of Americans have listened to a podcast at least once with 32% of them having listened within the past month (up from 26% last year). While those aren't overwhelming numbers, if your ideal audience is listening, you may have just discovered a way to make them a lot more loyal.
But let's get in to understanding whether podcasting can become a regular part of your marketing by asking these questions:
Does It Fit Your Ideal Demographic?
Since podcasting is a time commitment, you don't want to take it on if it doesn't work to help you achieve your marketing goals. If your ideal demographic does not listen to podcasts, it's likely not a good option for your business. You can figure this out by either doing your research on podcast listeners or asking people within your ideal demographic whether they listen to them or not. Don’t forget to ask if they would be interested in listening to one. Sometimes the fact that they don’t listen is merely because they haven’t found anything interesting.
Do You Have a Sought-after Area of Expertise?
Podcasts naturally fit a business that wants to showcase an area of expertise. However, since no one likes a braggart, it's also important to highlight the successes of others. Whether you do this by bringing on a guest to your podcast or you simply tell their stories for them, a successful podcaster will need to present valuable materials for your audience. That likely means you're going to educate, inspire, and/or entertain them. Is there a subject or topic that your audience is interested in that you could do multiple episodes on?
Do You Have a Niche?
There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there. Unless you have famous names involved breaking through clutter can be a challenge. One of the easiest ways to do that if you don’t have a celebrity host is to offer something nobody else does. Before creating any podcast go out to iTunes and do some preliminary research. For example, if your business is a marketing agency and you're considering doing a marketing podcast, go out there and look at what marketing podcasters are currently doing.
Does your podcasting plan fall along the lines of something that's already being done? If so, you may want to reconsider or find a new angle or niche. Instead of doing a generic marketing advice podcast you may decide you have a lot to say about different ways to help businesses market themselves for free. You could provide excellent information every week on all the ways that businesses can leverage free resources.
Get creative with your niche. The more specific a solution you can provide, the more likely you will have dedicated fans quickly.
Are You Willing and Able to Market It?
Again, the competition is steep (in some industries) with a lot of people already participating. Niching will help you stand out from the crowd but you'll still need to market your podcast. Marketing will likely include a mix of social media blitzes, email campaigns, website write-ups, and referral marketing.
If you interview people for your podcast you can ask them to help get the word out about their episode or the podcast in general. You can also contact influencers and ask them to listen and give you their feedback.
If you can't commit to the timing and work behind podcasting, but you love the idea of providing information in that format, you may want to look into creating flash briefings for the Amazon Alexa. These are micro tips that users can play through Alexa or the Alexa app. They're perfect for quick hit ideas that may fit your business better than a longer podcast.
Whether you take my friend’s advice and start podcasting or you decide it’s not something that's a good fit for your business currently, podcasting is a growing trend. Even if it's not ideal for you now, keep it in mind for the future. All that’s standing between you and an 80% increase in business may be figuring out your podcasting niche.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses and chambers of commerce how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com.