More and more businesses are discovering the benefits of including podcasting in their content marketing. If you’ve been thinking about it but can’t decide whether it’s right for your business, here’s the definitive list of reasons to dive in.
1. Be the expert
Podcasting allows you to build credibility in your niche by sharing your knowledge. Giving value to prospective clients helps you position yourself as an expert in your field, and podcasting is uniquely effective in letting you grow a loyal audience of people who will see you as an authority. This alone can lead to recommendations, being invited to speak at conferences, consulting opportunities and more.
2. Make a connection and build trust
Face to face conversations are unbeatable in business, but realistically, you can’t meet up with everyone you’d like to. With a podcast, you can talk to people on a regular basis and when someone hears your voice they feel a connection to you. They hear the passion for your market and the confidence in your words. They listen to you in their car, in their home, or at the gym, and you become a part of their routine.
We all know that people buy from people. Podcasting is a fantastic way to move along that ‘like, know, trust’ route to ultimately doing business with someone.
3. Increase brand awareness
Aside from showing up in Google searches for your topic, there are many podcast directories where people will search for subjects that interest them. Being where people are searching is a great way to be found.
Once found, the level of branding in a podcast is often quite subtle – your logo will probably be on the podcast art, and you’ll mention your company name in the intro and outro, but a podcast is not a sales tool, so people will remember your name without having that unpleasant feeling of being sold to.
4. It’s simpler than video
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a video guy and you should definitely be using videos! But video can get complicated – if you want it to look really good, you’ll need a good camera, lighting, and probably someone like me to come and film it for you. Even then, there are people who are not so keen on appearing on camera.
The equipment and skill level needed for a podcast is much more basic, and if you choose to outsource the editing and distribution, that part can be done completely remotely. What this means is you can record whenever and wherever is most convenient for you without worrying about messing up, being watched or working around someone else’s schedule.
5. Generate traffic to your website
Google loves original content. By posting your podcast episodes on your website not only are you providing your audience with awesome content, but you’re also giving Google more reasons to send people to your site. By adding show notes for each episode which briefly describe the points you’ve talked about and give helpful links to resources, you can target important, relevant keywords which will bring people in and give them some wonderfully sticky audio content which will keep them there for a while, doing wonders for your search ranking.
Regular listeners will come to your site for the show notes too, as it’s so much easier than writing down that web address you mentioned.
6. High engagement
Podcast listeners are uniquely engaged in the content. While people might spend a few minutes reading a blog or watching a video before getting distracted, 89% of podcast listeners listen to most or all of each episode1. Since the average podcast episode is around 40 minutes long, this super high engagement means that even if your niche only attracts a small audience, those listeners are consuming a lot of your content on a regular basis.
7. Improve public speaking skills
Fear of public speaking is incredibly common, and most of us would benefit from improving our skills. Talking into a microphone on your own or having a chat with another person is a great way to ease yourself in. And while some people still find it intimidating at first, a little practice goes a very long way to helping you feel relaxed. Once you get used to talking to hundreds of people every week through their podcast apps, talking to a small group in real life doesn’t seem so scary!
8. Great demographics
It depends on your industry, but chances are, whether you’re B2B or B2C, your target demographic listens to podcasts.
39% of SME owners listen to podcasts, and this grows with the size of the business, up to more than 70% of business owners with 100-500 employees2. Half of podcast listeners are under 35, and in the UK they earn 28% more on average than the general population and are almost twice as likely to have advanced degrees3.
9. Great onboarding tool for prospects
Especially in industries where lifetime customer value is high, the process of educating your prospects about both your industry and your company can be time consuming and expensive. Podcasts are an amazing education and onboarding platform. By the time you speak to a new client they may already know about you and what you do, so there’s less time wasted in walking them though the process.
10. Amazing networking opportunities
I bet there are successful people in your industry that you’d love to be connected to and maybe pick their brains about what works for them. If you have a podcast, you can just invite them on your show for an interview. You’d be amazed at how many people are only too happy to have an opportunity to promote themselves to a new audience and offer their insights. And now you’re in their contact list!
11. Boost your credibility
When you interview those successful people, in your listeners’ minds you get associated with them, and some of their authority and influence inevitably rubs off on you. As far as your listeners are concerned, if you’re chatting with some of the top people in your market, you must be in that echelon too. And that makes you someone they want to do business with.
12. Podcasting can fit in to a busy schedule
If you’re determined to do everything yourself, from booking guests, to writing show notes, to uploading to iTunes, podcasting can be onerous. However, thanks to the wonders of the internet, no matter where you’re based, much of the time consuming stuff can be outsourced, meaning all you really have to do is talk.
13. Stand out in your market
Look at the marketing that your main competitors are doing. Some might still be using traditional mailshots. Most are probably using blogs and social media. A few might even be using video effectively. Are any of them podcasting yet? Probably not, but you can bet there are regular podcast listeners who are searching for information about what you do. It’s a great opportunity to lead your field on a new platform.
14. It’s affordable
Yes, you could spend thousands of pounds building your own soundproofed studio with a mixing desk, but the truth is you can podcast on just about any budget. You can get great quality microphones for under £100 that will work with computers you probably already have. If you’re prepared to put in a bit of time and effort learning the ropes there are cheap and sometimes even free tools available for recording, editing, mixing, mastering and even hosting your audio files. Even if you don’t have the time and choose to outsource some of these aspects, prices start at less than £100 per month.
15. Podcasts can be interactive
It’s easy to see podcasts as one-way communication, but there are many ways to get your listeners involved, and when you do this, you encourage even deeper engagement with your message. You can ask your audience questions and get responses on social media; you can play voicemails of listener feedback; or you can answer listener questions on your area of expertise. There are even podcasts out there where answering listener questions is the whole show!
16. Build a community
Another way to interact with your audience is to create a specific community, like a Facebook group, where your listeners can keep the conversation going and discuss the topics on your show. You can get people to join by running competitions or creating exclusive content just for group members. There’s a real sense among some podcast listeners of being part of an exclusive club. Creating a community can build on that feeling and turn your most enthusiastic fans into brand ambassadors who will spread your message even wider.
Google hasn’t quite got to the point where it can index the content of an audio file (but they’re working on it!) In the meantime, by creating a transcript of your podcast and making it available on your website, you can dramatically improve your SEO and attract more listeners. If you upload your podcast to YouTube, you can also use this transcript to instantly create subtitles for the video, allowing the hard of hearing to access your message too.
18. Get guests from all over the world
If you choose to do an interview show where you talk to influencers and thought leaders in your industry, you don’t have to restrict yourself to people in your area. There are many tools that will allow you to record with another person anywhere in the world, and very often it will sound like you’re in the same room. Many podcasts have regular hosts who live in different cities or even different countries and the listeners can’t tell the difference.
19. Podcasting is a growth media
Podcasts listenership in the UK almost doubled from 2013 to 20181, and the growth rate is increasing. Huge companies like Spotify and Pandora are investing heavily and along with the increase in smart speakers and web-connected cars everything points to the next few years being a golden age for podcasting.
20. Less competition
Despite the huge growth in recent years, podcasting is a medium where you can still stand out, because there’s so much less competition than other forms of content. There are around 230,000 active podcasts4, which sounds like a lot, until you realise there are around 6 million blog posts written every day5, and over 400,000 videos uploaded to YouTube every hour6.
21. Easy to consume
Podcasts inhabit a very special niche that no other form of content can compete with because audio can be consumed in situations where you can’t read or watch a video. People listen to podcasts in their cars, while cooking, walking the dog, or even at the gym.
22. More in depth than blogs or videos
Admittedly, this blog post is getting a bit epic, but the average post is around 1600 words, while the average YouTube video is 4 minutes and 20 seconds. The preference for longer form content in podcasts means you can go into much greater depth in a subject, ideally offering a lot more value to your audience, than you can otherwise. And it’s quicker to talk than write, so you can create that content in less time.
23. Subscribers get your content immediately
For most of the other content marketing you do, you’re probably hoping people will find it through SEO or on social media, or you’re sending it to your email database and hoping they’ll click. With podcasts, your subscribers will automatically download your new episode as soon as you publish it, usually on their phones. 78% of people listen to a new episode within 48 hours of downloading it7.
All that work that went into your podcast can be used in many different ways. You can make attractive audiogram videos with short clips of interviews which you can post on Twitter and Facebook (and hopefully your interviewee will share them to their followers too!); you can write spinoff articles and blog posts around subjects you touched on in the show; or you can film the podcast recording session and post it on YouTube.
25. Wide distribution is really simple
Apple still dominates with about 50% of the total podcast market, but there are over 40 different places to go for podcasts, including Stitcher, Spotify, Spreaker, Overcast and more. Fortunately, you can be everywhere at once, thanks to RSS. You do have to submit your feed once to all the places people can listen, but after that, every episode magically appears in listeners’ apps when you upload a single file.
26. There are other podcasts that need guests
Remember how having a podcast positions you as an expert? Well, other podcasters are dying to interview experts in their fields. This is the podcast equivalent of guest blogging, in that you get to introduce yourself and your podcast to a whole new audience (that already listens to podcasts!). In one fell swoop, you can grow your network, get new listeners and cement your authority.
27. Loyal audiences, longtail content
88% of podcast listeners say they listen to most or all of the episodes of the shows they subscribe to8, and when new listeners discover your podcast, many will go back and listen to old episodes so your content can have a really extended shelf life.
28. Keep your existing clients happy
It’s not all about generating leads and attracting new business. Podcasts can also be amazing for customer retention and deepen your relationships with current clients. By keeping on giving valuable insight to your market, you can stay top-of-mind with your clients and they will feel like they are in regular contact with you.
29. Analytics availability
Many podcast hosts are able to aggregate download data from all the podcast apps and services. So you can continually measure the reach of your podcast and make adjustments based on whether your audience responds well to what you’re doing.
30. Fast turnaround times
Editing audio is a lot faster than editing video, which means that it’s easy to record a podcast about something that’s in the news and publish it before the news cycle moves on to the next story.
31. You’re in good company
Luxury brand Harrods recently launched a podcast, joining huge British brands like Marks & Spencers, Jaguar, and Natwest. People listen to get business information as well as a behind the scenes glimpse at brands they love.
32. Potential additional income streams
Apart from attracting new customers and promoting courses, products or consulting services, a successful podcast can make money in its own right. More and more businesses are advertising on podcasts, and with good reason – 76% of UK podcast listeners have followed up on an ad or sponsored message they heard on a podcast9.
33. It’s fun
Finally, hosting a podcast can actually be a lot of fun. You get to talk to interesting people; wax lyrical on subjects you’re passionate about; connect with your customers in a totally new way; and learn awesome new skills. It’s work, but it doesn’t feel like it.
1) RAJAR Midas Audio Survey, Winter 2018
2) Bredin Insights, Mar 2018
3) Acast.com survey, Jul 2018
4) The Audacity to Podcast, Dec 2018
5) WorldOMeters, May 2019
6) Tube Filter, May 2019
7) Edison Research, Feb 2019
8) Midroll, Mar 2019
9) The Drum, Apr 2018