If there is one digital medium Aussies can’t get enough of, it’s podcasts. Whether it was recommended to them by friends or they actively searched for it online, it seems like almost everyone in the country has listened to a podcast.
In fact in Australia, there are 5.6 million people tuning in to weekly podcasts and listeners aged 12 and above have increased from 63% to 66% since last year. Podcast awareness has also continued to grow since 2017, with 91% of the 12-year-old and above population already familiar with the auditory content form.
The graph below shows that listener rates have steadily increased since 2017 with 91 per cent of Australians over the age of 12 aware of what podcasting is.
These promising figures present the opportunity for small businesses to capitalise on its popularity and add value to their content marketing efforts. By learning how podcasts work for a business, business owners can produce their own podcasts to assist in marketing products or services and strengthen brand awareness.
In addition to needing good quality equipment, well-researched content and a plan for scheduling and releasing content, small businesses must have an engaging host to draw in the listener and encourage them to keep coming back for more.
The right host will set the tone for your podcast, be a trustworthy source of information for your target market and create a buzz about your podcast and associated brand and services.
What a great host can do for your podcast
The host holds the crucial role of being the official “voice”. They set the mood for the whole series and add personality to bring the show to life.
To do this successfully the host needs to be enthusiastic and passionate about what they’re talking about. Listeners don’t want to hear someone dull and boring, they want to feel like they’re in a conversation with a person who’s knowledgeable and excited about a topic they’re also interested in.
That’s why it’s important for you to find a host who’ll be able to bring your business podcast to life and encourage customers to subscribe to your content.
Having a great host for your podcast can lead to benefits like:
- Having a loyal fan base. People who enjoy your host’s storytelling are more likely to subscribe to your podcast. When more people do this, the business is able to create a fan base who are not only potential leads, but can recommend the podcast through word of mouth. This increases awareness for your podcast and allows for better brand recognition even outside your targeted market.
- Building credibility. By having a podcast host who’s well-informed about topics relating to your business, you’re able to establish a sense of authority and show your business expertise in your industry. People who are looking for guidance in your field can turn to your podcast for information or suggestions.
- Adding value to your existing content. Podcasts offer opportunities to diversify your content with intelligent interviews or question-and-answer (Q&A) segments. This feature adds value to your content as it gathers pertinent information from industry professionals and practitioners. For this to be rewarding you’ll need to look for a host who’s able to ask the right questions (at the right time) and keep the guests comfortable and talking.
- Keeping listeners engaged and eager to tune in for more content. A good podcast host is able to maintain a high level of energy throughout the 30-minute to one-hour long podcast episode. They should be able to stay on track with the agenda and avoid going off-topic or waffling, especially during guest interviews.
To see these benefits it’s important to take the time to find the right host for your show and to think about how you want your podcast to be received long-term. There are particular traits you want to keep an eye out for that indicate if a host is up for the job.
5 qualities you need to look for in a podcast host
You may have candidates who are eager to take on the hosting position of your podcast, or you might be considering hosting it yourself, but before you settle on who your podcast host will be, take note of these five qualities to find the person who will fit the bill and make your podcast memorable to listeners and generate leads for your business.
1. Embodies the brand’s ideals
The podcast host provides a voice to the brand. Because of this, small business owners must find a host that can represent their brand in a positive light and embody its ideals and values.
Look for someone who is familiar with your brand and will say positive things about it. Someone sceptical, sarcastic or who doesn’t use the brand personally will not be able to show your business in the best light, which can have big impacts including your brand appearing unreliable and untrustworthy.
Aside from knowing your business well, you want the host to know the topic they are talking about like the back of their hand. Knowing the information by heart makes it credible and believable. It also engages audiences over multiple episodes because there is so much knowledge to share.
Where possible choose someone who can resonate with your market by matching who they are. Someone the same age and lives in the same demographics will have more natural commonalities and engage with your listeners on a more personal level. For example, a 60-year-old host won’t be able to easily relate to the target audience of young people.
2. A natural conversationalist
Podcast hosts usually talk anywhere from 30-minutes to two hours, so they need to be comfortable talking continuously, able to hold a conversation when they are running solo and work well with guests.
A host should be able to speak to the audience as if they were in the same room as them. This allows listeners to connect with the host and the topic on a more emotional level, helping to keep them stay engaged right to the end of the podcast episode and eager to subscribe to hear new content.
Good storytelling is also essential in podcasts. People remember stories more than facts and figures, so having a host who can weave the information into an interesting and impactful story is likely to get more listeners on board.
The host can further engage with listeners through personal shoutouts, holding special question-and-answer (Q&A) episodes and reading through fan messages during the podcast recordings.
Podcast creation requires thorough research and planning. Your host must be able to put in the hours to review notes, prepare the script and research materials and practice to make sure that recording goes off without a hitch.
If there’s a guest interview in the podcast, the host will need to research them beforehand and prepare a pre-interview survey so the guest is well-oriented on recording day.
Hosts can also better prepare themselves by creating delivery notes and practising them before the actual day of recording. Having a host ill-prepared before recording day can delay the release of your podcast episode and set you back on your schedule.
The other aspect of hard work involves their own development and skill-building. There are always new and better ways to facilitate a podcast conversation, so it’s good for hosts to take time to learn new techniques by listening to other successful podcasts and conducting additional research.
There may be instances when the host disagrees with a statement made by a guest or receives negative criticism from listeners. It’s important that they are able to stay calm and maintain a level of professionalism when dealing with a difference of opinion.
A good host should be naturally curious but know when to draw the line and remain respectful when interviewing. It’s important to avoid questions that may be taken as rude or invasive during interviews and to steer clear of personal questions, or hold off until after the recording is over to ask them.
As well as being able to handle differences in opinion respectfully, a host needs to be able to take criticism well and be open to improving their skills for the next podcast episode.
Listeners gravitate towards podcast hosts that speak from the heart and are genuine about their ideas and passions.
Hosts can maintain authenticity in the way they speak by remembering their “why” and letting that drive them to stay on track with their content.
Hosts should also be themselves without sacrificing enthusiasm and positivity. A good host is able to maintain a steady level of passion throughout the episode, whether they’re discussing something as mundane as the weather or something as serious as climate change.
Listeners can tell if a podcast host is not being genuine, which can lead to them unsubscribing to the podcast.
Recognising these qualities is key to finding the ideal person to facilitate discussion and elevate your podcast to the next level. By understanding the benefits that the right podcast host can offer and carefully screening candidates you can bring your business podcast to life and entice listeners to get to know your brand, products and services on a deeper level.
The host will be your business’ official voice so they should be able to embody the brand’s ideals, be an engaging speaker and have the time to dedicate to planning and research.
When you get the storytelling elements right you can create podcasts that relate with your target audience and gain better brand recall with customers through consistent, reliable and high-quality audio content.
It’s time for you to consider your options and open up your podcast to potential hosts who can best represent your small business in the digital and audio landscape.