Podcasts have been around since the early 2000s, though it wasn’t until a few years ago that they started gaining momentum. Today, they’re among the most popular forms of content media. Statista’s research showed that there were 120 million podcasts listeners in the U.S. in 2021, and that the number is expected to reach 160 million by 2023.
There are many reasons why people love podcasts. They’re easily digestible, entertaining, and informative. They also complement rather than interrupt daily activities. Whether you’re going for a run, doing chores, or waiting in line at the post office, a podcast can make it more enjoyable.
But what about the business benefits of podcasts? Can this medium help you grow your audience and keep them loyal?
It certainly can! Let’s see how.
How Podcasts Help Your Brand and Business
Being an authority is vital to success in any market. When people see your brand, you want them to connect it with trust and expertise. There are several ways to make this happen through content marketing. In recent times, podcasting has become one of the main methods.
The reason for this is simple – you get to invite industry experts and discuss the topics that your audience cares about. Even if you’re not an authority yourself, you can leverage your guests’ knowledge.
Of course, running podcasts offers plenty of benefits beyond informing. Your podcast could be entertaining and serve as a fun pastime for your audience. If you host it properly, the podcast will keep your audience engaged and strengthen your ties with them.
Finally, podcasts can be an important part of your sales funnel. You can use them to convert cold leads into customers by guiding people towards the more sales-driven pieces of your content or even straight to the offer.
Now, these are just some of the key benefits of podcasts that certainly make them worth exploring. All that’s left to do now is turn on your mic and start recording, right?
Not exactly. To get the most out of podcasting, you need to take it seriously and plan ahead. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some actionable tips to follow:
1. Find Your Format and Style
The most common podcast form is an interview show. You invite a guest with an interesting story or valuable knowledge and follow a predefined structure of sharing it. Throw in some intro and outro music, and you’ve got yourself an episode!
The simplicity of this format is a great thing, especially for beginners. However, it does have a downside – fierce competition. Since it’s the most popular way to run a podcast, you’ll have to fight hard for the audience’s attention.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t do interview shows. But you might want to consider solo or co-hosted shows just to diversify a bit. Of course, you’ll also want to consider a format and style that feels the most natural, so give these options some thought before making a commitment.
2. Focus on the Guests
Unless you’re doing a solo show, you’re not the star of it or the main authority – your guest is. They can make or break the success of the podcast, so make sure to vet them carefully. Ideally, you’ll choose someone who finds the collaboration mutually beneficial. They get exposure, and you build authority by association.
When you find your guest, make them feel comfortable and relaxed if needed. Not everyone is a natural speaker, and anxiety certainly won’t help. To minimize it, send the podcast outline with sample questions to the guest before the show. This will help them prepare and ensure the podcast goes smoothly.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Go Off-Script
As important as preparation is, the last thing you want is for the podcast to seem obviously scripted. While you should maintain a fixed basic structure, don’t hesitate to steer away from the outline when an opportunity arises.
Maybe the guest will remember an interesting anecdote that takes the conversation in a different direction. If you feel like your audience will find value in it, just go with the flow. Of course, if the guest gets a bit too carried away, gently nudge the conversation back to the topic at hand.
4. Leverage Storytelling
Stories are incredibly powerful. They can motivate your audience, help them relate to you or your guest, and have immense entertainment value. If you have stories to tell, don’t keep them to yourself. Not only will they make the podcast feel more natural, but they can also do wonders for engagement.
Of course, you should always connect your stories to the podcast’s topic. Otherwise, the audience might end up waiting for a point that never gets made. So while planning each episode, think about whether you or your co-host/guest have personal experiences that can add value to it.
5. Encourage Constructive Debates
When you run a podcast, conflicts might seem scary. They could make you feel like you’re losing control of the episode or will ruin the listeners’ experience.
This absolutely doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, people love a debate, as long as it’s constructive. Even a heated argument can be positive if there’s respect between the two sides. Not only can debates be entertaining, but they might broaden your audience’s minds and make a stronger impression on them.
For this reason, you shouldn’t shy away from a debate when there are opposing opinions on a topic. Keep it constructive and respectful, and it’ll be highly beneficial to the podcast.
6. Craft Engaging Titles and Show Notes
Every piece of digital content needs a captivating headline. However, this is more important for podcasts than most other content forms.
Because you can’t skim through a podcast as easily as an article or video. They’re much harder to navigate due to a lack of visuals. That’s why the best way to compel your audience into listening is to write killer titles and show notes.
Once you’ve recorded an episode, go through it and find the key points to build the title and show notes around. Keep them benefit-driven so that someone sees what they’ll learn and why they should listen. Finally, when promoting the podcast, always leave a strong CTA encouraging people to jump in.
7. Always Be Genuine
Content marketing is all about evoking the right emotions in your audience. It could be excitement, passion, urgency, or whatever emotion you want people to feel. Podcasts are a great way to do this, but you must always remember one rule:
Never fake emotions!
If you sound overhyped, people will know. The same goes for every other emotion you try to force out of yourself or your guests. Naturally, your audience will feel manipulated, and they won’t want to keep listening.
A certain degree of acting is okay, and even necessary in some cases, but always be authentic in your podcasts. It’s the only way to form genuine connections with your market.
Make Your Voice Heard
As you can see, podcasts are a powerful content marketing weapon. If you follow the above tips, they can increase your brand recognition, customer loyalty, and sales.
Everyone has a story to tell and knowledge to share, so don’t hesitate to do so. Plan your podcasts in advance, attract knowledgeable guests, and make sure to publish episodes regularly. It will keep your audience engaged, grow your base of listeners, and ultimately, help you conquer your market.