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Podcasts have become increasingly popular in the United States. An estimated 80 million Americans are active podcast listeners and the number of Americans who have ever listened to a podcast has grown from 22% in 2009 to a whopping 51% in 2019.
There is plenty to listen to; while there were only 500,000 active podcasts in 2018, there are currently a whopping 48 million different podcasts episodes for listeners to pick from. Topics range from comedy to self-help to religion, making it easy for anyone to find a podcast to suit his or her needs and tastes.
Why are Podcasts Such a Great Marketing Tool?
The sheer number of listeners that can be reached via podcast makes it apparent that podcasts are a great way to reach any target audience. However, there are several other reasons why Podcasting can be an incredibly effective way to connect with your target audience.
A key to building trust is to connect with customers on their preferred channel. Some people enjoy regular email updates, others prefer to connect via Facebook, while still others enjoy visually appealing social media channels such as Pinterest and Instagram. At the same time, millions prefer to connect with companies via podcasts as they enjoy listening to a person speak about their chosen field of interest. What’s more, even those who aren’t regular podcast listeners will develop a connection with you by hearing your voice as you talk directly to your listeners.
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While just about anyone can set up a blog on any given topic, not everyone can talk authoritatively about a particular field on an ongoing basis. Having a podcast shows you are an authority in your field who can be trusted to provide accurate information.
As was outlined above, podcasts can help you reach a huge audience not just in the United States but also worldwide. There are over 57 million podcast listeners in India, 15 million in the UK, and 5.6 million in Australia China and Canada also have millions of podcast listeners. When you consider the fact that the people who listen to your podcasts will most likely tell their friends and relatives about you it’s clear that your potential audience runs into the hundreds of millions.
If you want to set your business apart from the competition, a podcast is a great way to do it. While large companies such as McDonald’s, General Electric, and Johnson & Johnson are known for their successful podcasts, not many small to mid-size business owners give the platform a try. If you want to stand out from other, similar companies, a podcast can be a very effective way to make your mark.
How to Create a Great Podcast
Now that you know how much Podcasting has to offer, it’s time to get started. Here are some tips that can help boost your initial success rate.
#1 Choose a Specific Niche
The first step in creating a great podcast is to choose a niche for your podcast. A niche is combination of the topic and audience that you will target with your podcast. If you aren’t sure, check out your blog statistics to see which posts generate get the most views and comments. If you have a YouTube channel, check the stats and the comments to see what type of content is the most popular.
It’s also wise to look at your business statistics to see who is most likely to purchase your products and/or services. Do most of your customers come from a particular geographic area? Are they male or female, young or old? Does your brand appeal to a particular ethnicity, or a group of people who enjoy a particular hobby?
You most likely identified your target audience when you first started your business. However, it wouldn’t hurt to re-examine your initial conclusions. You may be surprised to find a new niche audience that could be interested in what you have to offer; alternatively, you may find that people you initially thought would be interested in your goods and/or services aren’t showing as much interest as you initially anticipated.
#2 Submit Your Podcast to Apple
Once you’ve identified your target audience, made a list of podcast ideas, and created the first one or two podcasts, it’s time to submit your podcasts to Apple. While it’s not the only channel you could submit your podcast to, it is arguably the one with the largest audience. It is home to tens of millions of podcast episodes and has the ear of nearly one-third of all podcast listeners.
Bear in mind that Apple Podcasts is a directory, not a hosting service. You will need to upload your podcast on a podcast hosting service such as Podbean, Spreaker, BuzzSprout, or Blubrry before you submit it to Apple. Acceptable formats include .mp3, .mp4, .mov, .epub, .pdf, .m4v and .m4a. Artwork for the podcast should be between 14000 x 1400 and 3000 x 3000 px in size.
In addition you will also need a logo for your podcast before you can submit to Apple. Keep in mind that when designing a podcast logo there are some additional elements to consider that differ from a business logo design.
Once your podcast has been uploaded, you can either create a new Apple ID or use an existing one to upload your podcast. Create an appealing title for the podcast, ensure it fits in at least one of Apple Podcast’s categories, and then click “submit”. You should hear back from Apple Podcast in a few days, but it can take up to ten days to receive final approval.
#3 Bring on the Experts
Inviting experts onto your podcasts shows your audience you are a leading expert who networks with other industry leaders to share valuable information. It generates interest in your business as potential customers who have never heard of your company will most likely have heard of famous people in your industry. What’s more, it gives you a break from having to create content and do all the talking, as interviewing an expert means you just have to list some interesting questions and allow the expert to share his or her knowledge.
Another benefit of networking with an expert is that the expert will likely promote the interview on his or her own website, blog, and social media channels. This free advertising can drastically boost the number of people who listen to your podcast, and chance are that those who like your interview with the expert in question will come back later for additional content.
SEE ALSO: Podcast Gear for Beginners and Pros
#4 Broadcast on a Regular Schedule
Broadcasting on a regular schedule enables your target audience to know when they can expect to hear from you. It builds trust as it shows you are serious about communicating with your customers.
You can create podcasts weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Choose a schedule that you can realistically handle and keep up with it. One of the worst things you can do is let people down by not posting a podcast on a day when people expect to hear from you.
#5 Advertise on Social Networks
While podcasts are a great marketing tool, they’ll also need to be advertised if you want optical results. Post a link on your social media channels every time you upload a podcast. Add photos from the podcast along with a few brief notes that will catch people’s attention and make them hear what you want to say.
Alternatively, you may want to consider paying for advertising space on Facebook and/or other social media channels to generate interest in your new podcast series. Paid advertising can give your podcasts an initial boost that will increase your chances of long-term success.
Get Your Voice Out There
Podcasting is an ideal marketing tool for small businesses because it’s highly effective, and you don’t need a large marketing budget to get started. It will take time and careful research to identify the right target audience, select a topic, make a high-quality recording, upload it, and then promote it, but the potential results are well worth the hard work.
As podcasts become increasingly popular, the number of potential listeners continues to grow year-on-year, enabling you to reach a large group of people far more easily and quickly than would have been possible otherwise.