The internet, social media, and various other emerging technologies have provided marketers new tools that can be extremely beneficial and cost-effective.
But one of the newest fads is content marketing, which has garnered a lot of buzz recently as one of the best ways to inexpensively reach, interact, and ultimately influence a specific customer base or market segment.
If you’re unfamiliar with content marketing, I recommending checking out the Content Marketing Institute. It will give you a brief definition of what it is and how you can apply it to your business.
Lately, I’ve been familiarizing myself with podcasting, an episodical and often web syndicated audio file that allows the creator to discuss relevant subjects. Think of it like a vocalized blog that your followers can download on-demand and listen to almost anywhere. I’ve specifically looked in to how podcasting could benefit expansion stage companies.
Through my research I’ve found that podcasting is applicable to almost any company’s content marketing strategy. Of course, like a lot of things in business, there are good and bad ways of executing a podcasting initiative.
Below, I’ve outlined some of the key benefits to podcasting along with the best practices that are important to consider before getting started.
Business Benefits of Podcasting
- Branding: For expansion stage software companies, podcasting can be a very effective medium for reaching the tech-savvy consumers and businesses they target. But it can be valuable for virtually any company. Timely and relevant podcasts can position your organization as a thought leader in your industry.
- Lead Generation and Nurturing: A branded podcast can be one very cost-effective way to keep your prospects engaged with your brand. It provides them with a trusted source for value-add content and industry best practices. If your message is valuable to the prospect, they’ll come to rely on you for industry updates.
- External Communications: You have to find a way to continually keep customers, prospects, media contacts, and industry experts informed about your company’s news and developments. Traditional public relations and press releases are one way of doing that. But podcasting is quickly becoming a more attractive vehicle for communicating a personal, informative message to the external groups that you need to engage.
- Search Engine Optimization: Search engines rank websites with high download activity as more “important.” If visitors come to your site and download your podcast, it’s going to inevitably bump your website up the search engine ranks. As a result, that will lead to increased organic search results for your website.
While all of those benefits listed above are attractive, it can be difficult to realize them without an effective list of best practices. After all, not all podcasts are created equal. So keep these ideas in mind when you develop your podcast strategy.
Podcast Best Practices
- Keep it Brief: The average podcast listener has an attention span between 15 and 20 minutes for each topic you plan to discuss. So if you anticipate a particular podcast stretching longer than that, spread the content over multiple podcasts instead.
- Don’t Be Salesy: While a brief introduction of your company and its product establishes credibility, you should avoid being overly focused on yourself. You don’t want the podcast to sound like a sales pitch.
- File Format: You want to be sure that as many people as possible can listen to your podcast. To make certain that happens, use MP3 as your file format. It’s the most universally used format and it will remove any roadblocks to accessing and playing your podcast.
- Make Use of RSS: Promoting your podcasts through an RSS feed is a great way to ensure its distribution. RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication and those words define its value. In pretty short order, your podcast will be available to the masses.
- Provide a Brief Overview: Potential listeners need to know what they’ll be tuning in for, so include a brief written overview on your website to accompany each podcast. Using appropriate keywords in that summary will also help increase Search Engine Optimization.
- Promote Your Podcast: Your internal website, blog, and social media channels are great places to promote your podcasts. Make sure to include them in podcast directories, too. Sites like Yahoo! and applications like iTunes provide great podcast directories, or you can check out a more comprehensive list of directories here.
- Brand Your Podcast: Using a clear, repetitive introduction and conclusion for each podcast helps build familiarity and ultimately allows you to brand your podcast. At the end of each podcast, thank listeners for tuning in and share any plans for future podcasts.
If you stand by those best practices, you’ll be able to offer valuable information directly to your target audience. The benefits, as I discussed above, can be significant.
Are you currently podcasting? What challenges or successes have you experienced?