Podcasting is a budding phenomenon that you’ve probably heard of, but still might not fully appreciate. The easiest way to grasp the podcasting concept is to harken back to the Golden Age of Radio, when families used to gather in the living room to listen to their favorite programs. Podcasts are quite similar, except that modern technology allows us to listen to these programs on our tablets, computers, mobile phones, or televisions. For example, many podcast fans have a favorite show that they listen to during their morning drive to work.
People launch their podcasts for a variety reasons. Many podcasts are stand-alone broadcasts that seek to generate income based solely on their program’s own entertainment or educational value. However, the purpose of this article is to educate you about how podcasting can be a simple, cost efficient, and synergistic complement to your existing business.
It’s fairly easy to get a podcast up and running. First of all, no one involved in recording your episodes needs to have any formal radio or communications experience whatsoever. However, your company will need to recruit a knowledgeable and appealing host who can effectively personify your brand. Furthermore, a podcast can be about anything that you’re passionate about or have a breadth of knowledge in, so there are few limitations regarding your show’s subject matter.
Another enticing aspect of starting a podcast is that your initial capital expenditures are generally front-loaded and negligible. After you’ve purchased the necessary equipment to get started, it is unlikely that you’ll need to make significant hardware or maintenance investments in the future (unless you choose to upgrade). You can usually start recording your episodes with just two quality mics and some editing software, which will cost you less than $100 altogether.
Note that the expansion of the podcasting movement has spawned the creation of podcast services companies (for example, Flint Stone Media or Team Podcast) that can consult you and offer you turnkey podcast production solutions for a sensible fee, which you can incorporate into your operating budget. Because podcast service companies handle all of the mixing, production, and releases of your content, your company only needs to be responsible for recording the episodes.
Whether you produce your episodes yourself or use a podcast services company, your podcast will require minimal time commitment once you’ve grown accustomed to recording it regularly. Furthermore, you always have the option of adjusting the frequency of your episodes to accommodate your time availability, provided that you update your audience with any revisions to your programming schedule. Always remember that the consistency of your output is critical to your podcast’s ultimate success. You can fatally alter your relationships with loyal followers if they tune in at the wrong times based on your failure to keep them in the loop.
A podcast is an efficient way to introduce your company’s voice to your target market. With each episode, you can give your listeners a window into your corporate culture and motivations. If you like, feel free to share your mission statement with your audience. Furthermore, you and your representatives can use the podcast to display your company’s expertise in its bailiwick while your host uses personality to captivate and attract a loyal audience base. Note that your host doesn’t necessarily need to be an officer or stakeholder in the company; however, it’s advisable for your shows to feature your key personnel from time to time so that your listeners get to know more about your management’s outlook for the company. Podcasts also give you the opportunity to invite affiliates, marketers, suppliers, clients, and even fans, onto the show. You could even use the show as an opportunity to respond to audience questions or comments. Lastly, your affable host should be able to seamlessly inject a bit of humor into each episode, which will portray a lighter side of your business.
Whether you host the show yourself or appear as a guest from time to time, adding a podcast to your company’s media repertoire will inevitably reveal different sides of your personality to potential and existing clients. For example, you can showcase your unique sense of humor or share other talents or interests that are completely unrelated to your business. By using your podcast to showcase knowledge and skills relating to a broad range of issues, you can develop a positive industry reputation as a Renaissance Man or Renaissance Woman. Also, keep in mind that you could end up attracting certain clients solely because they discover (through a podcast episode) that you both share personal interests. Shared interests can breed friendships, and friends often make the best clients.
Once you have your podcast up and running, it instantaneously serves as a free marketing tool. Your program will build an audience over time (based on how relevant, interesting, entertaining, and high quality it is), and that audience will absorb your business offerings through osmosis. Furthermore, you can easily distribute your podcast episodes in your marketing blasts to clients (see 6 Tips for Nurturing Client Relationships), as well as across your various existing social media platforms (see Using a Blog to Support Your Business). For more expedient and pervasive exposure, you can join a podcast network that will connect you to other podcasts within the same niche (for example, the Horse Radio Network) or geographic locality (for example, the Florida Podcast Network).
In addition to the substantial incentives discussed above, you can also use your podcast to create supplemental income streams. The following are just some of the ways that you can monetize your broadcast:
Also, don’t hesitate to get creative. By thinking outside the box — and taking into account the unique aspects of your business — you can likely conceive of ways to produce income streams that other podcasters might not be able to exploit. For example, you can use your episodes to promote online webinars, publications (including books), coaching sessions, or new products or services. However, be sure to never make self-promotion the central theme of any particular episode — it should always be a soft sell.