By Mike Stiles on Nov 08, 2013
What do you usually do in your car on the way to work? Sing along to radio? Stream Pandora or iHeartRadio? Talk on the phone? Sit in total silence? Whatever it is you do, you could be using that time to make yourself an expert in any range of topics…using podcasts.
After podcasts arrived in 2004, growth was steady but slow. The concept was strong: anyone with a passion for any subject could make a show for anyone who cared to listen. Enter the smartphone, iTunes, new podcasting platforms, and social, and podcasting became easier than ever and made more sense for both podcasters and listeners. Stats show 1 in 5 smartphone owners are podcast consumers and 29% of Americans have listened to a podcast.
The potential audience is also larger than ever. “Baked in” podcast apps on over 200 million devices expose users to volumes of audio content with just a tap. 97 million Americans are driving to work every day by themselves. And 38% of Americans listen to audio on a digital device each week, a number that’s projected to double by 2015.
Does that mean your brand should be podcasting? That’s part of a larger discussion about your overall content strategy, provided you have one. But if you do and podcasting is a component of it, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Don’t podcast just to do it. Podcast because you thought of a show customers and prospects will like that they can’t get anywhere else.
- Sound quality matters. Good microphones are not expensive. Bad sound is annoying, makes your brand feel cheap, and will turn today’s sophisticated ears off.
- The host matters. Many think they belong on the radio. Few actually do. Your brand’s host should be comfortable & likeable. A top advantage of a podcast is people can bond with a real person. It’s a trust opportunity, so don’t take it lightly.
- The content matters. “All killer, no filler” means don’t allow babbling just to fill enough time for an episode. Value the listeners’ time, because that time is hard to get.
- Put time, effort and creativity into it. Sure you’re a business, but you’re competing with content from professional media and showbiz producers. If you can include music, sound effects, and things that amuse the ears, do it.
- If you start, be consistent. The #1 flaw in podcasting is when listeners can’t count on another episode or don’t know when it’s coming. Don’t skip doing shows just because you can. Get committed.
- Get your cover art right. Podcasting is about audio, but people shop for podcasts by glancing through graphics. Yours has to be professional, cool, and informative to get listeners interested.
- Cross-promote your podcast on all your channels. The competition for listeners is fierce, so if you have existing audiences you can leverage to launch your show, use them.
- Optimize it for mobile. Assume that’s where most listening will take place. If you’re using one of the podcast platform apps, you should be in good shape.
Frankly, the percentage of brands that are podcasting is quite low, and that’s okay. Once you move beyond blogging and start connecting with real voices, poor execution can do damage. But more (32%) marketers want to learn how to use podcasting, and more (23%) were increasing their podcasting throughout this year.
Bottom line, you want to share your brand’s message and stories wherever your audience might be and in whatever way they prefer to take in content. Many prefer to do that while driving or working out, using the eyes and hands-free medium of audio.