Should You Create A Podcast?
So you want to create a podcast eh? Over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out a new, 3-part blog series all about podcasting. These will be longer articles than our norm and for very good reason! Podcasting is one of the most popular marketing mediums available right now! To that end we’ll be covering three main points over the series: 1) Should you create a podcast ? 2) The Tech required to create a podcast and finally 3) Promotion of your new Podcast.
Part 1: Should You Create A Podcast?
A Podcast is an audio file available through the internet for downloading or streaming to a device such as a smart phone. Podcasts are being created to support marketing messages, to increase message reach, to raise awareness of causes, to develop brands and in some cases celebrities.
Do you wish to be the voice of your particular cause? Is your goal to position yourself as a thought leader in your community? Are you seeking a creative way to create more brand awareness? Podcasting is an excellent way to do just that.
Depending on your level of technical abilities, creating a podcast can be less expensive than buying traditional ads, like PPC and when promoted well can reach a far greater audience. Think of podcasts as audio blog posts and use them to disseminate marketing or brand messages.
I look at my own podcast, (now in season two) as a sort of advertisement for my own personal brand – and that of my co-host. We are both entrepreneurs and we benefit from the exposure to our colleagues and potential clients that our podcast gives us. Likewise, our guests see value in being able to amplify and reinforce their own marketing messages through our show.
So while podcasting isn’t exactly “Free” marketing – it is at least a relatively inexpensive new platform that you own and can manage the messaging of in the same way you own your website and blog as opposed to social media sites that you do not control.
You might be surprised to hear that most podcasters don’t make their money through sponsors & advertisers alone. Although there is the possibility of additional revenue streams through sponsorship monetization. Social Media Examiner released a report last year titled The Creator Monetization Report and in it, they found that 63% of Podcasters tend to monetize by selling their own services and products (62%), followed by paid speaking (39%). Only 31% of podcasters reported making money directly from advertising.
But wait, there is some encouraging news: 59% of podcasters saw an increase in their revenue over the last year.
Who is listening to podcasts?
As with any new marketing or sales initiative it’s crucial to know and understand your audience or customer. Luckily we have really great demographic information on podcast listeners thanks to Edison Research and their 2017 Podcast Consumer report. Let’s go over and summarize the listener personas now.
- The popularity of podcasting continues to rise, with monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% year over year.
- The audience for podcasts continues to be predominantly aged 18-54, and leans slightly male.
- The Podcast listener remains an affluent, educated consumer with 27% of listeners polled having 1-3 years post secondary education — and this listener is one that is becoming increasingly more likely to gravitate to ad-free or ad-light subscription experiences. An important thing to consider when you are deciding whether to include ads on your show.
- 63% of monthly listeners are employed full-time
- People listened to an average of 5 podcasts each week
- The average number of podcasts that listeners subscribed to is 6
- 42% of listeners said they listen to the entire podcast – this is significant because if we look at stats from the world of blogging, we know that among readers, 55% will read the blog post for 15 seconds or less. Yes, you read that right, 15 seconds or less… So if this is true I’ve already lost 55% of you, probably to a meme. So potentially, podcasting will enable you to grab and keep the attention of your target audience better than blogging.
- Clicking on a podcast to listen to it immediately (either streamed or via progressive download) is the dominant paradigm for listening.
- 27% of listeners do subscribe to podcasts.
- Subscribers consume more podcasts, and are more likely to use their smart phone as their primary podcast player.
- While Home continues to be the most often named location for podcast listening, the vehicle is a strong second.
How do you decide what to podcast about?
When you are deciding what your podcast will be about, you really want to look to fill a void if possible, or present an idea in a different way than what is already out there.
Find a void
When my co-host Rachel and I first set out to create a podcast we were really trying to fill a hole in our own listening libraries. I am an avid podcast listener, I have my favourites and my never-misses. I listen to a lot of shows on topics ranging from internet marketing to story telling to history and while there are many, many excellent podcasts out there, I hadn’t found one that really felt like it was telling a story that I found relatable to my lifestyle outside of business
Fill that need
Rachel felt the same way and so we set out to create High Friends, which is a podcast for and about women in the cbd field. We interview a different woman – sometimes two – each episode and talk about how working in the industry impacts her life. Naturally the conversation centres around the product and its varied uses but we really try hard to go deeper and get more personal with our guests.
Apart from simply wanting to have my own podcast exist out in the world, I also wanted to talk about things I’m personally passionate about. To that end, our topics include supporting gender equity and empowering women who are out there hustling to make their dreams a reality.
Some things to consider
Talk about what you know
You’ll want to pick something to talk about that you’re comfortable talking about. This should give you loads of content for the foreseeable future, opportunities to interview interesting people and ideally, something that isn’t already being done. An example of this is: if you own a retail shop that sells craft supplies and are looking to create a podcast, you could discuss the business of retailing, you could interview other entrepreneurs in the craft industry, you could create a DIY follow along style podcast OR you could combine interests. If you were… say… a movie buff you could create a podcast that pairs movies with fan art and crafts. I actually think that would be pretty cool
Take a Test Drive …
Next you’ll want to test drive that topic. Can you record a sample episode (or just episode one) and let a group of people listen to it to get their feedback? Do not underestimate the importance of early feedback, so be sure to ask a diverse sample of people – not just your mom! Will people want to listen to you talk about your subject matter for 20-60 minutes? The answer is Yes probably! Another benefit to recording a test episode and sending it to friends and family is that this exercise will help you overcome any anxieties you may have of people listening to your show. I absolutely had some secret freak outs before my own podcast launched but my co-host and I held each other accountable and pumped each other up. We reminded one another why were doing this and helped bolster one another’s podcast confidence. I cannot stress enough how important that was for me, a natural introvert and scaredy cat.
Entertain or Educate ?
Next, decide if you’ll be podcasting about entertainment or education? Maybe a mix of both? How will you provide this value? Really think this through. Write down a plan as though you are writing a high level business plan. Some podcasts even include downloadable pdfs which in turn, drive traffic back to your website & your sales pages.
Customize and be an Original !
Before getting started, listen to as many podcasts in your desired genre / topic matter as you can find. Note what makes these shows work or fail and then use this insight to create a unique format. Aiming for a unique way to present a topic will help your show seem fresh and new even if you’re talking about something that several other people are talking about too.
What is the best way to create a consistent release schedule?
Consistency is key and to build a strong listener base you need to provide content that can be counted on. I know that I certainly notice when my favourite podcasts don’t show up in my Podcasts feed.
Decide early on if you are releasing new episodes on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule. Ideally you’re shooting for weekly but the reality is, that’s not always possible. Your priority is to produce excellent content, so you might want to take the extra week. Quality over quantity always wins.
Stock up and win
Having said that, I strongly recommend that you consider having at least 3-4 episodes recorded, edited and ready to upload before you go live. Most podcasts fail not because they are no good but because the host was unable to maintain a consistent recording and release schedule. Related: there are lots of podcasters who swear that by uploading 3 or more episodes on their launch date they ranked better in iTunes (more on this later in the series).
Final Tip: Do not be afraid to start over and re-record.
At the start of our podcast, we were ridiculously low tech and the audio quality made that very clear. As we learned more about technology and recording we decided to go back and re-record with several guests.
It’s a tough humility pill to swallow having to admit that you didn’t do as well as you wanted. But ultimately doing so, improved the podcast, made our guests sound better. This, in turn helped better promote their messages and made more people want to be on the show. It became clear that we put our guests first, which is attractive to potential guests.
Now it’s over to you – is it your time to create a podcast or no ?
Thanks for reading!