Podcasts are all the rage. Not only are they great for multi-tasking (when you’re jogging, driving, doing the housework), it’s like getting the content from a video webinar without having to sit down and watch the video. They’re convenient, entertaining, and a revolutionary way to engage with an audience.
Podcasts are an auditory form of content that you can either listen to online or download from the internet. They usually consist of a host, sometimes a guest, and the stories they tell.
Its beginnings can be traced back to the early 2000s when Dave Winer and Adam Curry thought of “audio blogging” as a viable way to communicate. The Guardian writer Ben Hammersley created the word “podcast” by connecting the words “iPod” and “broadcast.” From there, it reached great popularity as something people could listen to without having to step away from their current task.
Businesses have begun to capitalise on podcasts, too. For those averse to long paragraphs in blogs or don’t have time to wait around for a video webinar, podcasts are a great way for a business to reach an audience while providing them with the most convenient way to tune in.
But simply making a business podcast isn’t enough. You can’t just mumble about your business, what you do, and what product or service you provide. You have to create a great podcast that really serves a purpose and communicates something important. It has to be valuable, provide information, and be entertaining enough for people to want to listen.
Why should your company start a podcast?
It’s statistically proven that podcasts’ audiences listen in order to learn something new or to be entertained. 75% of podcast listeners want to learn something new and about 80% of podcast listeners also tune into every single episode that’s released from a single caster. That’s millions of people listening, tuning into a single caster because they’ve become trustworthy to listeners, earning their loyalty.
Businesses need to double down on this opportunity as the number of listeners grow 5-6% every year, generating an even bigger audience. Blogs and videos are great ways to reach an audience, sure, but podcasts can have untapped potential for widening an audience and reaching more people, potentially generating leads for your business.
Podcasts are available nearly everywhere on the internet—Spotify, Apple, YouTube, etc.—and can be accessed as long as you have the internet.
There’s also the human element of a podcast. Often, we read blogs in such a monotonous tone that we can’t feel the person behind the writing. But with podcasts, you can hear the inflections in their voices, the sincerity of their laughter, and how their moods change as topics come and go. It’s like having a conversation with a friend and it earns the trust of a listener. People want to connect with a voice rather than words on a page.
7 ways to set up a successful podcast
Podcasting is a new endeavour for many businesses, but here are seven ways that you can prepare to launch a successful one.
1. Get the right equipment
No one wants to hear the fuzzy sound of a laptop microphone that’s old and failing. It’s unclear, sounds unprofessional, and turns people off. White noise and unclear diction doesn’t come off very polished, making the podcast feel inauthentic and as if it’s not a priority. And you need to show that you’re serious about every venture—even casting. You need to meet a certain calibre and show that off.
If you want to sound professional, invest in professional equipment. It’s good in the long run, too, as great equipment is likely to last longer.
Some equipment you’ll definitely need are a good microphone, headphones, mixer and podcast editing software to name a few. As you go along, you may need to invest in higher quality gear, but if you’re just starting out, the first four are what you need to begin.
2. Prepare a script
Having an outline for your business podcast can help immensely. You don’t always need a full-fledged, word-for-word script, but being able to follow a flow can be useful in setting the rhythm of your podcast. Nobody wants to listen to someone ramble and always veer off-course. Remember that consistency is key and you earn more loyalty by having that same structure in every episode.
Some podcast scripts can be word-for-word, especially when narrating something. But others can be looser, like a plan or rough bullet points that you want to tackle throughout the podcast.
3. Set a schedule
People are creatures of habit. When TV was still incredibly popular, people used to wait for their scheduled show to air a new episode on a certain date at a certain time. This is the same for a podcast.
There’s no right or wrong frequencies of posting, just go by how your audience engages with you. If you notice a trend where people are listening less because you’re always posting, they may be getting listening fatigue. If they’re more interested in episodes twice a week that are equally spaced out, that might be your answer. The key is to listen to your audience just as they listen to you.
Having that frequency and consistency can help people learn when to expect your podcast and when they can listen in to something new. Consistency also leads to engagement and you want people to start a conversation with your podcast.
Not only that, knowing when you’re publishing also allows you to have a routine, letting you edit in advance so you don’t have to rush to upload something on the day of and risk a technical issue.
4. Post on different platforms
Platforms like Spotify and Apple can only reach so many people as some may not be able to afford the premium status. By making the podcast more accessible through different platforms like YouTube and Facebook (which have even wider reach), you have the chance of gaining an even bigger audience.
Some other podcast platforms exist like Google Play Music, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher, and so many more. The more you expand, the more people can catch your podcast and start listening.
5. Promote, promote, promote
A podcast is no good if there’s no promotion that comes with it. Social media is overflowing with potential in terms of how many people you can attract—use that to your advantage.
A schedule is definitely something you want to post because you want people to know when they can hear your cast. If you’re expecting a guest, make a big post about them, too, especially if they’ve got great influence in the industry and are popular. And topics that will be covered are a great way to get the word out.
Don’t stop at just one post either. Be consistent and show you’re dedicated to the podcast. A half-hearted effort reflects a half-hearted venture. Build a fanbase, attract listeners by marketing to the right people, and get that boost you need to have people start listening.
6. Be your most entertaining self
This is not to say that you need to put on a fake personality or amp it up all the time but to be your most personable self while remaining sincere. When you meet other business leaders, you put your best foot forward, right? You or your caster want to do the same to be engaging, entertaining, and a joy to listen to.
You also want to sound like you’re aligned with the business. If you’re a more serious business type, you can tone down the jokes—but make sure you’re not monotonous and boring. A light hearted small business can be more funny and uplifting.
When interviewing guests, make sure you don’t steal the spotlight and talk solely about yourself. The entire idea of having a guest on is to make conversation and to tell a meaningful, authentic story together. And never forget to say thank you to your listeners.
7. Launch big
A podcast is a big step for many businesses these days because it’s such new territory—so why not celebrate it? Promote it on social media that you’re excited about your new project and people will join in on the excitement, too. It is contagious, after all.
Being able to launch big also means releasing more than one episode at once. People tend to look forward to bingeing a podcast so they’ll look forward to even more content, especially if they find the first episode entertaining. Releasing more than one episode (ideally three to five) makes it an even bigger celebration and something people can look forward to more.
Podcasts for business are a fantastic way to get the word out there, to have their audience engage with them, all while promising a human element and information, which people want. Businesses can now rely on a new form of marketing that’s hands-free and totally easy for listeners to tune in to.