The Pros & Cons Of Podcasting
Creating lots of content for your website, social media, and business, in general, is a good thing. Developing new ways to reach people is an even better step. Podcasts are one of those ways to connect with others. Beyond a doubt, a podcast can be both fun and valuable if it is done properly. Before you jump in, here are some things you need to know.
What’s a Podcast, Exactly?
A podcast is a type of audio file that you record and others listen to on their computer or mobile device. You can do them live, but most are recorded and played back at another time.
Often, they are a series, which means that you may do them over a period of time, creating informative, valuable content for someone else to enjoy or benefit from in some way. The goal of podcasts is to create content that other people value and want to listen to, and therefore they are encouraged to subscribe to your podcast.
It could be worth doing, too, but you have to carefully weigh out the pros and cons for your specific business. According to some reports, podcasts are incredibly popular, with over 33% of all people listening to them while they are driving. More so, 383.7 million people listen to podcasts from around the world. It sounds like a good thing but is it something that you should invest in?
Top 5 Reasons to Start a Podcast
Ultimately podcasts are tools that you’ll use to interact with other people. Why would you want to do this? How could sharing information help you? Here are a few reasons.
#1: Increase your audience
It helps to increase your audience, creating a new way to meet people. Not everyone reads blogs. Some people don’t engage all that much on social media, but they’ll listen and interact with podcasts. If you hope to increase your audience for your business, you’ll need to find ways to reach people across multiple mediums where they are. This is one area to do that.
#2: It’s better than cold calling
Podcasts can be a great networking tool. They are very interactive and can provide you with a lot of good opportunities to meet new people, and that includes leads for your business. Think of the difference between reaching out and inviting a potential lead to be on your podcast versus walking in on a cold call situation. You can see the difference right there.
When you create high-quality content, people will talk about your podcast and encourage their friends to listen. They’ll engage directly with you, too, helping you to encourage them. This helps spread the word about your business as well as your podcast.
More so, podcasts can be linked to on your blog or website. That means they can work as valuable content that generates traffic to your website and helps people who land on your site to learn much more about your business and what it has to offer to them.
#3: Promote your business
You can use podcasts to promote your business in multiple ways. For example, if you are a plumber for example, you can use podcasts to help people to learn about plumbing problems or provide remodeling tips. As you do that, you are building credibility for your business and personal skill. People listening will remember you when they need a plumber and call you to request help.
#4: Create other types of content for your business
The more ways you can engage with people, the better. Podcasts are a different form of content. They can (though they don’t have to) include a video, which is more engaging for people than a blog post. They also allow you to create content you can put on your website.
For example, you can add a transcription of the podcast to your website. This allows you to get a nice boost from search engine optimization, thanks to the words used during those conversations. That helps people who are interested in reading, watching a video, or listening to have a way to interact with your business.
#5: Position yourself as an authority
One of the best reasons to use podcasts as a part of your digital marketing strategy is because they build authority. When you host a podcast, that gives you a nice boost of credibility right away. Then, when you bring on guests who are also valuable authorities in your sector, that gives you another boost (and creates another way to interact with your audience.
Top 4 Reasons Not To Podcast
Is a podcast a bad idea for you? Though it offers a lot of benefits for many people, there are some things you should know that could be drawbacks.
#1: You have stage (or microphone) fright
Not everyone is able to enjoy the process of podcasting. Some of us were only children and are very used to the concept of talking to ourselves (or one other person).
That is, there are situations where you may just not have the voice, willingness, or ability to get in front of a microphone and record yourself. If it’s too awkward that you cannot overcome that fear, and it shows, it could be a detractor from your authority. If you’re not comfortable, it will show and do more harm than good.
#2: It’s a time investment
There is a need to spend time on podcasts. Some of that time will be spent recording the podcast itself, but there’s also the need to handle the editing, uploading, and conversations with your guests. You will then need to engage with people in comments to help support your efforts. In other words, though it seems like a 1-hour a day type of experience, there is often much more to it than that.
#3: You know you won’t do what it takes to promote your podcast
Like writing a blog, just having a podcast is not enough. Too many people take what we call a “Field of Dreams” approach to podcasts (“If I record it, listeners will come.”)
Like most other types of digital marketing methods, you’ll have to work to promote your podcast over time. That means promoting your podcast, networking, social media marketing, and even some SEO work that will help bring people to your work. You’ll have to tell people about it and often answer questions about it, too. That takes some sweat equity and time.
#4: You think podcasts will make you tons of money quickly
Podcasts are a supplemental tool that can help you grow your business. It is one method of digital marketing but not the only thing you need to do to reach your audience and grow your company. It takes time to build them up, and as you do, you will need to spend some money advertising them, most often.
Things You Should Know Before You Do
If you’re still ready to think about starting a podcast, good for you! There are a lot of benefits that they can bring, and most importantly, they can be an excellent way for you to stand out from your competitors. There are a few more things you need to keep in mind as you work towards that process.
Know your audience
A plumber with a podcast? That sounds strange, to be sure, but the key is to know your audience no matter your business. For example, you can create content that’s focused on what people interested in your topic have to talk about – industry trends or products. Give them information they value. This is just a good idea no matter what kind of marketing you do.
Create episode subjects and outlines
It’s not about just flipping the mic on and talking. Rather, you really need to structure your episodes in such a way as it helps to bring people to you and creates more opportunities for you to develop value (we’re using that word again!) The key here is that when you have an outline and a game plan for podcasts over a period of time. That way, you’re building your audience up over a period of time. It also helps to ensure each of your podcasts is unique and interesting.
Develop a schedule over a period of a few weeks allowing topics to become more interesting or more in depth as you’ll go. You could develop an entire series like this.
Pick a format and style
Consistency is a big part of doing well with a podcast, and it’s nearly always important to do this from the start. There are a few things to consider as a part of your overall podcast format and style:
- Do you want to go it alone? Some people are great with storytelling and keeping people interested. Going it alone, meaning you host the podcasts yourself, is one way to create content for those individuals.
- Do you want to do it with a business partner or friend? You may want there to be two of you together to host the podcast. Choose someone that you can interact with on a positive level, and that knows the topic well. That creates more dialogue and a friendly feeling.
- Do you want to have guests? Guests that add value to your podcast are worthwhile. Some podcasts are nothing more than interviews with guests. Others do not have any at all. What type of guest could help you?
- Consider the tone. Do you want to be positive and upbeat? Do you want to be comical? Perhaps you’re after a more informative, research-based format. Whatever you desire, get it in place as soon as possible.
Get the right equipment
Take the process seriously by investing in the right equipment. That often means microphones, headsets, and a sound-friendly room. You’ll also want to check out podcast software that allows you to streamline the process and create highly valuable content over time that’s easy to edit, upload, and share.
Making the decision to do a podcast doesn’t have to be too frightening or worrisome. Even before you buy all of the equipment, do a test run. Have a test podcast with a few friends to experience what it will be like. You may find you love doing it because it allows you to become a thought leader in that space. You may even want to engage more frequently than you thought you needed to. The key is to try it out to see the value it can offer to your business.
Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. He is also the Director of SEO. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center and other groups.