Podcasting has become very trendy. Maybe a bit too trendy. So trendy, in fact, that it seems everyone is jumping on the “listen to me” bandwagon to get noticed and/or discovered. It’s like the Gold Rush of the 1800’s. Everyone rushed west thinking the gold was just lying around on the ground waiting to be picked up. Unfortunately, when they arrived in the mountains of gold country, they found hard work waiting instead of easy riches. The same can be said of podcasting.
Consequently, because loads upon loads of people are getting on board and starting a podcast, there are a great many people talking, but few are really listening. In fact, 59% of links shared across social media platforms have never actually been clicked by those who shared them. Over half of what’s out there isn’t read or heeded anyway.
However, in contrast to that depressing statistic, in 2016, 1 out of every 5 Americans listened to a podcast in any given month, and there are well over 60,000 active podcasts currently to choose from. Clearly, those with something to say have found a rich new medium through which to say it. The question to ask is, are you one of those with something of value to share?
Before rushing in to find the gold, consider your reasons for wanting to begin a podcast. Literally thousands begin and, over time, realize the commitment required. Or they are faced with needing better equipment than a smartphone or digital recorder. Perhaps they realize that podcasting isn’t simply rambling on in a monotone about some topic to an audience of no one.
Beginning a podcast purely to get in on the trend will likely result in a clueless, tone-deaf, or passionless production that adds clutter to an already crowded digital space. These directionless podcasters eventually succumb to podfading, producing more infrequent shows over time until they simply weed themselves out. So, before you take the dive into podcasting, consider some questions first.
Listeners expect to be informed and entertained simultaneously. Successful podcasts provide valuable information in an entertaining way. Users searching for a podcast have a limited amount of time. Your podcast will have to capture their attention with a relevant topic, then hold it with an engaging method of sharing information. In short, your podcast will need something distinct that sets it apart from the rest, both to attract listeners and to gather a regular following.
With the rise in podcasting popularity, some full service solutions have become available to help get your podcast online. However, you still have to record episodes, very often all on your own. The technical needs are not great, but some technical skills and equipment are needed. To produce a regular podcast requires scheduling, good recording equipment, editing software and skills, and some sense of marketing ability as well as a marketing process. If you don’t currently possess these abilities, you could wind up spending money you don’t want to spend and producing nothing but frustration.
Podcasting is much more demanding than blogging. It is possible to do ‘seasons’ of podcasts, but your listeners will still expect new episodes to be delivered on the schedule you’ve promised. So now, in addition to running your business, producing products, services, and content, you are adding time to plan, record, edit, upload, and promote podcast episodes. If you cannot keep up with the demands of your audience, they will swiftly disappear.
Your podcast needs to benefit more than just your popularity. Podcasts grow slowly, if they grow at all. Any online platform growth requires patience, and with the limited ways to market podcasts, they grow more slowly than other forms of online media. As podcasting continues its unprecedented growth into becoming mainstream, more overall listeners means more opportunities for your company to reach new clients and customers. But you must be willing to exercise patience and take a long view.
There are some definite benefits to adding a podcast to your media marketing, as many podcasters have demonstrated. Key takeaways vary among different users for different reasons, but here are four top benefits.
A podcast gives your business visibility and a literal voice in a completely new world. As much as we all like to believe our business is known in our area or niche, there are people out there who have never heard of us. A podcast adds yet another avenue for discovery.
Some people are readers. Others are visual learners and seek information via video. Still others prefer listening to podcasts. Providing useful information in different formats is just another hook in the water where the fish live.
If you already have an active blog, you have existing content that can be the foundation for your podcasts. Podcasting provides the opportunity to expand on previous posts, especially popular ones, and answer questions from readers and listeners.
Most people listen to podcasts using earbuds. Can you get more intimate than speaking directly into a person’s ear? Verbal communication allows for greater nuances than print alone. Listeners can experience your voice, your enthusiasm, and your passion. And, voice adds a human element to your business, something that is lacking in other forms of social media.
Why should YOU launch a podcast? Podcasting is definitely not for everyone. It requires a good deal of work. If you are simply seeking to start a podcast because everyone else is doing it, don’t. If you are still on the fence concerning a podcast, read this insightful post by successful podcaster Ryan Holiday. He presents several arguments against jumping on the bandwagon just to ride along with everyone else.
But as you seek to build out your platform, podcasting is one of the options you should seriously consider. Depending on your business, it could become the best way to deliver your message to your intended market. Consider The Limitless Business Podcast by Infinitus, a marketing agency. Representative Kaye Putnam says, “Producing a podcast has been an extraordinary way to ‘walk our talk’ and attract new clients. We aren’t just telling our clients to provide value and produce content online—we do it ourselves. Audio content is extremely personal. People get to know our style, values, and personalities by listening to the podcast, which shortens the sales process.”
If you’ve settled on the idea of podcasting, here’s a great list of resources to get started. You may not need everything you see, but there’s a balanced offering of tight-budget to all-out-pro in these sites.
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