Podcasts are one of the most popular and fastest-growing content mediums today. As of April 2021, the total podcast count was 48 million episodes with topics ranging from pop culture and lifestyle to current events and business news. Podcasts are straightforward, easy to understand, and can be a creative way to reach your target audience.
For businesses, a podcast can be a great platform to earn money on the side because it can be monetised through:
- Premium content subscriptions
- Crowdfunding efforts
We’ve covered ways to make money from podcasts in more detail in our previous blog, as it’s a fantastic way to double down on your podcast investment. As well as these suggestions, there are constantly new ways to monetise podcasts emerging, which is expected to be a trend for the next two to three years.
Exploding Topics reports that advertisements specific to podcast content have a 2021 revenue prediction of approximately $1.7 billion AUD. This is only expected to grow in the coming years, as more and more people subscribe and engage with this kind of content.
A large portion of Aussies, in particular, are podcast listeners. According to Marketing Magazine, listeners aged 18 to 54 grew by 52% since their last survey in 2017, with the majority of them using smartphones in order to stay mobile to do other tasks while listening (i.e. commuting, doing house chores, etc.).
The News and Media Research Centre discovered that 60% of Australians listen to podcasts to get “a diverse range of perspectives” on certain issues involving politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.
These findings prove the high usage and growing popularity of podcasts in the country and around the world. That’s why it’s understandable that a lot of celebrities, well-established brands, and online users create and share content through podcasts.
Furthermore, a podcast offers the opportunity to tap into a niche market of people who are interested in what you have to say and offer. In fact, it’s this factor in podcasts that allows small businesses to introduce more people to their brand and expand their customer reach.
Why a small business should consider utilising a podcast
With the number of people tuning in to podcasts every week, this audio medium presents the opportunity for small businesses to tap into a market of potential customers and raise awareness for their brand and products.
Here’s how a podcast can do that:
- People are more receptive while listening – Typically, people listen to podcasts while they’re doing chores or other errands. Staying mobile keeps their mind active and allows them to take in and retain more information.
- It can make your brand stand out – Brand mentions in podcasts have been seen to do significantly better than other digital mediums. According to a press release in Pod News, podcasts have 16% higher engagement and 12% better brand recollection with customers than other digital mediums.
- Podcasts can create positive brand associations – Marketers have found that word association occurs during podcast sessions. By integrating positive words into the conversation, you allow listeners to relate those words to your brand or channel. For example, if you use the word “good” repeatedly, then the listener will subconsciously relate the adjective to your podcast, brand, or products. Just be sure it sounds authentic and natural or you will lose them altogether.
- It allows you to tap into the market during “unreachable moments” – Traditional marketing often tells you that you need the customer’s full attention to be able to gain brand recall–making certain advertising slots pointless because the audience is unreachable. Podcasts defy this norm by getting through to its target audience during their “busy” hours. Because even while doing everyday activities, a podcast can capture the customer’s attention and seamlessly get its message across to the listener.
- You let potential customers learn about your brand in the most convenient way – Customers who are on the go don’t necessarily have time to read lengthy blog posts or watch long videos. Through podcasts, small businesses allow their content to be delivered to potential customers in a fast and convenient way.
These considerations show that podcasts are an impactful way for small businesses to increase brand awareness and build a loyal following. It’s also important to consistently add value to your podcast content so that your audience continues growing.
3 ways to add value to your business podcast
Creating a podcast requires thorough research on your target market, proper planning, and well-written content to have a lasting impact on your listeners.
Here are three ways you can add value to your business podcast and make sure that your message comes across to listeners.
1. Use a compelling call-to-action (CTA)
A podcast CTA refers to the final request you give listeners before signing off. It usually includes statements advising them to subscribe to the podcast or to visit your brand’s website for more information.
Your CTA can even encourage listeners to recommend your channel through word of mouth.
Having this positive review circulate online and through different people can help expand your audience and gain subscribers in the process. Another CTA is to ask for reactions and engagement on the podcast itself. When more listeners leave good feedback on your podcast, you improve your search results on the streaming platforms’ podcast algorithms.
Having a CTA on every episode gives you the opportunity to:
- Lead more customers to your website – You can ask people to visit your website as a CTA. This will drive views and clicks on your page and allow potential customers to know more about your business.
- Increase brand awareness – Mentioning the brand or utilising branded storytelling in your podcast immediately introduces your business to people who may not know your products or services yet. This conversational medium allows them to learn about the brand on a more personal level and humanises the company and its products–making customers more emotionally invested in it.
- Generate customer leads – Podcast listeners who are not yet familiar with your brand may come across it during their podcast searches. This gives you the opportunity to introduce your brand to a new group of customers and allow you to gain customer leads in the process.
Using a podcast CTA has worked for many companies. Slack, the instant messaging app for businesses, gained two million listens on the first fifteen episodes of their podcast, Variety Pack. Slack CEO Bill Macaitis credits this immediate listenership to word of mouth and the podcast’s positive reviews from customers.
Another good example is IBM, which used their podcast Smart Talks to introduce their brand to the younger generation–many of which aren’t necessarily aware of the products they’re selling. Their CTA encourages listeners to visit their website and learn more about the company’s latest news and offerings.
These brands prove that having a compelling CTA can result in clicks and engagement and get more people talking about their products or services.
2. Offer consultation services
Brands that offer one-on-one consultation sessions after their podcast has aired establish themselves as a source of authority in their respective industries. It shows listeners that they are knowledgeable in what they’re talking about and creates an opportunity to offer more specific advice and address a customer’s issues directly.
Small businesses in health and diet, business consultancy, and real estate, in particular, add value to their podcasts with offers for private consultations.
Integrating this service into your podcast will not only make you stand out from competitors, but it will also make the people listening feel more involved in the channel. This form of engagement can entice customers to stay tuned for more podcast episodes and allow them to actively participate by asking questions and requesting personal feedback from the host after hearing the podcast.
The effectiveness of consultation services will depend on how big your listening community already is and what revenue goals you have outlined for your podcast.
When your CTA for a consultation session includes a sign-up form, you’re able to gather contact details to add to your marketing database.
Doing this will not only improve your customer service, but it will also allow you to build rapport with a new set of customers.
3. Podcast membership
Listeners can also choose to take up a podcast membership and pay a set fee to subscribe and be updated on the channel’s latest content. Having this kind of program in place creates a community of people who not only like what you’re releasing, but who also have invested in it–showing they have loyalty and an emotional connection to what you offer.
These memberships usually come in tiered packages and varied plans that require payment per month or year. The price depends on the person’s chosen plan and the benefits offered (e.g. discounts on brand merchandise or early episode releases).
Despite the additional payment, many podcast listeners are happy to contribute to their favourite shows. In fact, some companies even thrive on these paid subscriptions.
The Dungeons and Dragons podcast, Rude Tales of Magic, for example, offers exclusive content for their Patreon subscribers. These packages range from $6 to $1,800 AUD monthly and also include Discord benefits. The podcast has over 1,000 paying subscribers and is one of the most popular game-themed podcasts today.
Creating this membership program enables you to maintain a close relationship with your customers and earn steady cash flow in the process.
How high-quality content adds value to a business podcast
Finding listeners is just the beginning of your venture into podcast creation. To keep them subscribed and listening you’ll need to provide high-quality content on every episode.
To create great content for your podcast, you must have:
- A content strategy – Your strategy is a clear plan on the topics you’re going to talk about, how you’re going to facilitate the recording, and what your goals are after uploading the podcast. Knowing this will help keep your content relevant right through the process and help you remain on track with what you want to achieve in creating a business podcast.
- Thoroughly research your target market – It’s essential to know what kind of customer you’re targeting through your podcast. You’ll need to research their listening habits and understand their preferences for podcasts of the same genre (i.e. one speaker or two, facts or personal stories, interviews or personal take). This can help you plan how you’re going to execute your podcast episodes.
- Proper recording and editing equipment – Having poor sound quality or badly edited audio can turn off your listeners. Invest in high-quality recording and editing software and update your IT hardware if necessary to ensure a crisp sound and seamless transitions on your podcast episode.
Good storytelling is also an important factor in creating a memorable podcast, as it can tap into the emotions of your listeners and inspire them to relate to your brand on a more personal level.
Two good examples of these are the podcasts The Sauce and .future, which use real events and issues to tell interesting stories that draw listeners in and make them feel like they were there.
Adding a podcast into your content marketing strategy might seem intimidating at first, but the opportunity for engaging on a personal level leads to highly rewarding results and casts a wide marketing net, possibly in untapped waters. All it really takes is a good understanding of the market, quality equipment, great content, and, of course, a leap of faith to start making it happen.