How to Reach and Nurture Customers with Podcasts
As you will surely know, fewer people are watching TV in the way they used to. They are choosing what to watch from an ever-bigger range of channels, but more significantly, they are choosing when to watch it. The big audiences that advertisers were guaranteed in the "good old days" don't really exist any more. This is, however, just part of the revolution that's taking place in the world of media and advertising.
Listening to a podcast is not the same as watching TV, and that's what makes it so powerful. People enjoy being able to listen without distractions or interruptions, and they also like knowing that their time commitment is limited. Podcasts can be an effective way for businesses to reach customers on a personal level by providing them with information about products and services in a more intimate setting.
Another big change is the increase in the popularity of podcasts. If you're unsure what these are, essentially they are audio recordings you listen to at your convenience. Think of them as mini radio programmes that you can play whenever you like, rather than at the scheduled time the radio channel broadcasts them.
If you're not a regular podcast listener, do a little experiment amongst people you know. Ask them what their recommendations are for podcasts. You'll be amazed at how many people are listening to them, and the broad range of subjects they cover. Recent research has found that regular listeners of podcasts are listening to just over five hours a week across five different podcasts. Not only is the time spent listening to podcasts increasing, but the numbers of people who listen to podcasts also increases each year, with over a quarter of those surveyed saying they've listened to one in the last month, according to research done by Edison.
When you consider the way in which most people listen to podcasts, their popularity is not surprising. It's one of the most personal forms of broadcasting, with people often listening using headphones from their smartphone, whilst they are alone, for example, running or walking, or when they are with others, but don't wish to communicate, such as when they're commuting. The listener can choose when to start the podcast, such as when they start their train journey home or start their run. It's essentially "audio-on-demand", exactly like TV on demand.
How do podcasts help businesses?
The way we listen to podcasts makes it feel much more personal than listening to the radio or listening to an audiobook in the car. It's as if the person is speaking just to us and so we are more likely to focus on what's being said, rather than it just being background noise. This is great news for a business owner that wants to build a relationship with their target audience, to enable those people to get to know us, who further down the line, may decide to buy from us. It's a very personable way to build brand loyalty.
As podcasts are longer than, for example, a radio advert, it gives a company time to paint a picture, to tell a story, to showcase what they do. A company that offers training for horses and riders can go into much more detail on what they offer than would ever be possible in an ad. This is not done though in the style of an extended ad but instead is more descriptive. You might choose to focus on the journey of a particular horse and rider and describe what happened to them, or you could describe the range of challenges overcome by a group of riders.
If you're new to podcasting and podcast marketing it might feel like it means a huge undertaking to put something together in this new format. There is no fixed length for podcasts, however, and they range in length from a few minutes to an hour or more. Start by revisiting some of the content you already have in other formats. You may well have dozens of blog posts or articles you've written that can be re-purposed into podcasts with the help of an experienced production team.
Here are some tips on how you can use a branded podcast in your business!
1) Determine Your Goals
What is your objective with using podcasts? What do you hope to achieve through them, and how will they help in achieving those goals. At this stage it's important not only that the podcast has a purpose but also what its target audience should be too! Do some market research on who would most likely enjoy listening or watching these types of podcast.
2) Create Content That Appeals To Your Target Audience
The content of your podcast should be relevant to the target audience and ideally include a combination of informative and entertaining information. For example, you might want some episodes focused on providing valuable tips for listeners in their search process while other podcasts could focus more specifically about an educational topic like horse care or horse training.
3) Build A Network Of Podcast Partners
It's important to grow and nurture a network of partners rather than just focusing on your own podcasting business. That way you'll be able to attract listeners from different networks along with building your own! Reach out for partnerships by contacting podcast hosts that are related in theme or subject matter as yourself. Here's an example where one of our editors was a guest for another podcast host:
4) Promote Your Shows With Social Media
In order to advertise your podcast, you should promote it on social media on a regular basis. Social networks are excellent for spreading the word about new podcasts and they also let people know when there is an upcoming episode!
How easy is it to create a podcast?
Creating a podcast is not as hard as you may think, there are some great platforms now that will allow you to record, edit and distribute podcasts for free. Though we do recommend investing in some basic equipment such as a microphone and earphones.
However, it does take some time to figure out how everything works before actually being able to create one successfully! It all starts by choosing your topic carefully because then that will also determine what kind of people would be interested in listening so make sure it's something interesting or informative enough for them to want more episodes. Have a listen to the Horsemanship Journal Podcasts, they might give you some inspiration to start your own.
If you're not convinced on the merits of podcasts, consider the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, a digital marketing expert,
"Just remember, audio and voice are by far the most natural interface for humans to interact. We like to speak and listen".
Frequently Asked Questions
Podcast Show v Podcast Episodes?
A podcast show is a theme, and you could have more than one. For example, if you are a horse trainer your show may be about solving horse behaviour challenges and each week or month you have an episode to discuss a particular issue in detail.
What is a business podcast?
Business owners can use podcasts to promote their products and services, educate customers on new developments in the industry or just keep people up-to-date with what's going on.
What is a Video Podcast?
The two don't really seem to go together, but the great thing about videoing your podcast (even if it's just you talking to the camera) is that you create two pieces of content at the same time for completely different platforms.
We do this with our 'Raise Your Profile' package, one video interview creates a podcast that is distributed to all of the major platforms (Soundcloud, Spotify, Itunes etc) and a video for YouTube which is the second biggest search engine after google.