Why Should I Podcast For My Business? Podcasting Tips

by Tamara Downer on September 6, 2020

Podcasting for business

So you’ve listened to a few podcasts and really like the idea of it but don’t know how it could help you grow your business? For starters you are probably thinking: why should I podcast, where do I start, what is best practice, and who will listen?

Well have no fear, for Whitehat has two of HubSpot Academy, Inbound Professors Jorie Munroe and Anni Kim here, with everything we need to know, to get you on the road to podcasting success. More and more people are listening to podcasts than ever before and as the audience for listening grows, there has never been a better time to start a podcast of your own for your business.

In the US, roughly 68 million people are listening to podcasts on a monthly basis. Worldwide, podcasts are being consumed at similarly a rapid rate…

With those stunning figures in mind, whether you are at the curious stage, performed some podcasting research or very nearly ready to get started; we have some jump-to sections to suit all capacities. Though every section is worth viewing, we totally understand that time is of the essence and you may just need to skip a bit to get to a particular section for a question you need answered.

 

JUMP TO CONTENT

Overview 

So what is a podcast? In a nutshell, it is a program of music or form of talk show made available in digital format available for automatic download over the internet, accessed via multiple devices. This makes podcasts a great way to create unique long-form content and build a genuine connection with your audience.

Podcasts are more convenient for listeners in terms of accessibility than our trusty blog posts! As we all know, only too well, time is precious and for many of us multitask to the maximum. So, without having to be fixed to a screen people can listen to podcasts whilst commuting, doing their daily exercise, or just doing chores around the house. Or to be quite honest, doing anything they like!

Doubled as a time saver, I’m sure you can now you see why we are so excited to tell you about the endless possibilities of podcasting and how it could truly help you to grow your business.

 

As of 2019/2020 there are at least 600 million blogs (hostingtribunal.com), 31 million YouTube channels (tubics.com), but only 850,000 active podcasts (oberlo.com)…

 

Interestingly, that means for every active podcast, there are 705 blogs and 36 YouTube channels. Leaving us a lot of unexplored space within the podcast industry.

Just to give you a brief history (promise it won’t bore you!), the word ‘podcast’ is a combined term formed from ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. It was first coined by Adam Curry and Dave Winer who created a programme called ‘iPodder’ in 2004. Around this time popularity of people consuming these ‘new broadcasts’ compiled into downloadable pieces on iPods grew. Thus creating a new flow of on demand content that allowed audiences to choose what they listened to, connect with what resonated and become educated about specific products or services. Apple were quick off the mark to realise the trend, and in 2005 quickly added ‘Podcast Support’ to iTunes. Due to their early investment Apple were first company to compile some of those top 100 charts and started to create a community culture around this new content format.

Apple's forward thinking and early investment in the podcasting space has given the company a de facto top spot in the market. Because of this, it is no wonder that Apple is one of the World’s most popular podcast apps. Today, two thirds of podcast listeners are using Apple podcasts and this is extremely important because you will want to take this into account, for you're most likely to want to host on Apple to reach the largest part of your audience.

By comparison, while Spotify is a fantastic platform, it's really only capturing about 7% of listenership and the rest is kind of dispersed throughout the rest of the smaller podcast apps. So you will want to consider how you're going to get this on Apple as well as other different apps to support your listenership.

Today, what we want to do is start off by talking about podcasts as being good content and valuable marketing and/or services content. What it is, why you should do it, and then we'll dig into finding your ideal listener and planning your episodes. We'll talk about what your value proposition is and how to discover yours. Then we'll discuss different podcast formats, the tools that you need for podcasting, and then the importance of growing your audience.

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Is podcasting right for your business?

Is podcasting right for my business

So you want to know if podcasting is really for your business. To be blunt, yes, definitely yes, and absolutely yes! And here is why…

The benefits of starting a podcast for your business, at times, can far outweigh those of more traditional forms of content. It is on demand, easily accessible and most of all convenient. Unlike videos or blogs, the advantage of a podcast is it can be absorbed whilst performing other tasks that consume the visual or physical senses.

As we’ve mentioned, podcasts are a fantastic long-form content format to consider and we know that creating authority and value through long from content is an important part of your business inbound strategy.

Creating your podcast enables you to instil trust, provide insight and generate a genuine connection with your audience. Through your podcasts your listeners will be able to get to know your business, your culture, and your views, forming an authentic picture of you. And all this can be done without ever meeting you, now that is powerful.

Is podcasting right quote

Though podcasts are long-form, keep in mind, there's no actual ideal length for a podcast episode. It’s really dependant on the type of content you’re creating and the type of show you're wanting to produce. But with that said, in 2019, Dan Misener of Pacific Content, analysed 19 million podcast episodes, the mean average episode length was 41 minutes and 31 seconds. So when you consider what each podcast episode alone can do for you, just imagine how much thought leadership, educational content and confidence you can build with a listener even just through one 40 minute podcast episode.

Now we have covered the ‘why’ to starting a podcast, it’s time to delve into the ‘what’ is your podcast going to be about, ‘what’ is the purpose of hosting a podcast?

With so many podcast listeners listening to an average of six plus hours a week, you might be wondering, how can I how can I reach these people, and audiences? There is no doubt they are consuming a lot of podcast content especially the most engaged listeners. So there's ample opportunity to break into this market and really make an impact on them.

Is podcasting right quote 2

Listeners are ready to engage and are searching for a selection of different interests to satisfy various needs and wants. This thirst for variety provides us with endless opportunities for creating new and appealing content for your business to provide. The only limitation to what you can do with your podcast content, is your imagination! So without further ado, lets delve into the nitty gritty of tackling how to choose a theme/topic, what format will work best for your business, and essentially what equipment will you need.

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How do you get started?

As we have discovered, unlike your video content or your blog post content, the average podcast doesn’t require the visual attention of your audience. Most people have a smartphone, so whether driving to work, walking their dog or out for a quick stroll; the content format of a podcast is really convenient for it can be with them at anytime, anywhere. It is the next level of on demand content consumption, for it is easy, accessible and there is freedom of choice to choose what content they plug into on the go.

So how do we get started? It may seem weird, but the key factor here, is the choice a listener or audience has. This is why, like with the rest of your content, it all begins with your buyer persona or in this case ideal listener.

 

‘Buyer Persona’

is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers…

 

In short, buyer personas help you understand who your customers are. They will probably be at the route of most questions raised in order for you to gain important insights to helping you tailor your content to the needs of your target listener.

So what is the importance of defining your ideal listener and why should you do it first? It narrows your audience so you can deliver valuable content, simplifies the topic brainstorm process, encourages partnerships with other brands, and allows you to concentrate your energy on promoting the podcast on specific platforms to where your ideal listener goes. When you think about generating leads for business, it is much the same for podcast listeners. You would much prefer 10 solid ‘good fit’ leads that are likely to convert rather than 100 uncertain leads. I’m sure you would agree, it is far better to have 10 loyal listeners who are totally engaged than 100 listeners who will occasionally listen to an episode!

 

Questions you may want to consider for your personas are:

  • What are their demographics? (Age, location, income, industry)

  • What is their typical day like?

  • What are their dreams?

  • What everyday challenges do they face?

  • What’s something they want to learn more about?

These may seem like very simple questions but it make you take the time to connect with your ideal listener. It is good to view matters from their prospective; know their pains, worries and desires but to also understand what they may be saying, thinking, feeling and most importantly searching!

Let’s see what an actual semi-fictional representation of a buyer persona may look like once you have taken time to answer the considered questions.

 

Buyer persona pic

 

Now you can see your buyer persona or ideal listener as a REAL person and can interact and better accommodate them. Remembering that this only one example of an ideal listener, we can now use it to get to the heart of the matter and really start forming our podcast mapping with asking further in-depth questions.

Who are you podcasting for pic

Who are you podcasting for?

Amy is young professional who is focused, health conscious and has a caring nature. She is inquisitive, determined and dedicated. At times she can be frustrated for not currently living the life she aspires to and this is why education ranks highly on her list and is seen as a tool of change. Social media interaction is minimal but still serves a purpose for her inspiration, education and passion. Amy will welcome podcasts that are informative, up to date, unique and expressive. She will appreciate all things logical but likes to let her imagination flow with anything that encompasses all her passions.

Without knowing who you are podcasting for, your content will have no direction or purpose. Keep the goal of hosting a podcast in mind and what makes your business stand out.

 

What is your podcast about pic

What is the podcast about?

Amy likes to travel, is keen on business, enjoys knowledge of history and is health aware. She also likes to learn and works in education, has a love for dancing, books and food and wine. Just from ONE buyer persona alone, you have identified at least 7 main categories that you could provide content for!!

Depending on your business and its products and services of course, you have many things the podcast could be about with quite a few categories plus sub-categories it could appear in. Brainstorm with others to contemplate content, titles and guests. Consider topics that you know others will be able to contribute their expertise to, revise your analytics to discover your most popular topics, blog or gated content. It is also helpful to perform an audit of your existing content that may be repurposed.

 

Why is it important pic

Why is this important?

Amy finds anything that helps her improve, gives knowledge, inspire and assist in making her dreams become reality really important. Your podcast needs to appeal to the importance of one or more of her needs to qualify.

To be important you have to have value and purpose. To have trust, be human and helpful is all that people really want, so connect with them through this.

 

How are you going to deliver

How are you going to deliver the podcast?

There are quite a few podcast formats that we will detail later but for Amy, effective podcasts could be presented in solo, interview or storytelling format.

The idea is to get the balance of what works for your ideal customer but also your current business set-up. Solo format can provide more of a flexible schedule and help to develop a personal brand, but it may be more effective for you to deliver an interview format to provide different perspectives on similar issues yet still being able to save time in production. You also can vary your formats but keep consistent so as to not confuse your listeners.

 

Where will it appear

Where will it appear?

Amy currently listens to podcasts so that is a bonus and probably is one that makes up the two thirds of Apple Podcast, but it seems that she may also listen to Spotify for her 80’s pop or even iHeart radio for radio shows.

Depending on the research you have previously conducted of your buyer persona and current customers may dictate where your podcast appears. It is apparent that Apple heavily dominates the podcast industry but there may be other platforms you wish to serve like Spotify, Google, Stitcher and more.

From surveys, blogs or social media interaction you will be able to get the sense of where and how they access your content. Thus giving insight to where the most appropriate location for your content should be and giving vision to help with future promotion.

 

 

When or how often will you release

When or how often will you release episodes?

Amy’s best time for listening tends to be in the morning when she is jogging, it’s not stated if Amy jogs every day or just a few times a week, but when she does she listens to a mix. So, as a business this means you have flexibility to post one episode a week or a few, because the likelihood is Amy will listen to it at some point on her run.

After brainstorming, you may have boundless amounts of content. Yet remember, episode creation is depicted by the ideal listener and their needs but also the preparation and time restrictions of your business. Like a blog you may find it easy to do small pieces four times a week but also may prefer to do one long piece per week. With podcast episodes, it’s what works for you but also your buyer persona consumption rate, you want to feed them but not overfeed! However you do it, be sure to set a timeline to ensure a smooth workflow.

Now you know who, what, where, how and why. We can now move on to establish your value proposition.

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What is your value proposition?

Be authentic, helpful, humble and human….

 

Value proposition is about aligning with the needs of your listener. Connect with your audience by being human and helpful. You have to think as they would, and bottom line with most customers is how they will benefit from this exchange. Even though a podcast can be absorbed whilst doing something else, nobody likes to have their time wasted or be left with more questions than answers.

 

A VALUE PROPOSITION IS BASED ON:

  • Who is your ideal listener?
  • What makes your show unique?
  • How is your show different from others in your field?

Podcasts give you the opportunity to provide first-hand, real-time information from a reliable and trustworthy source. This is extremely important because a value proposition is the promise of value to be delivered, should someone choose to buy or use your product. In order to achieve this, through your content, you have to establish trust and create value.

This strategy can also be applied to capture future listeners. For a good value proposition, tied with a solid picture of your ideal listener, makes it a no-brainer for any casual browser to subscribe to your show.

If you’re having problems in discovering your own value proposition, why don’t you take a look at one of your favourite business pages or Podcasts? Search for their value proposition, this may be presented in their descriptions, blog posts, or post-credit details. Here at Whitehat we like to provide, assist, and educate to give businesses the competitive advantage in their industries, so effectively it is our business to know your business. When looking, if done correctly, the value should be evident and you shouldn’t have to search for too long to see how this makes them stand out from the crowd.

Let’s now move onto choosing the correct Podcast format to help you achieve your business goals.

Download your FREE  'Podcast Checklist'

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Podcast format

 

Structure provides consistency and comfort for listeners…

 

Deciding what podcast format to use is quite important, you have to choose which delivery method is best suited in ultimately helping you achieve your business goals. The correct chosen format gives a structure that provides consistency for listeners, a familiarity, boosts engagement and helps to ease the planning process.

What formats are available?

  • Solo
  • Co-host
  • Interviews
  • Panels
  • Storytelling

On top of selecting your topic and positioning it well for your ideal listener, you will also want to be intentional about the format you're choosing from the get go, for the reasons mentioned above.

You know what your listeners expect and want to deliver on those expectations. But whilst you are thinking about the format of your podcast, think of it as a guideline to ways in which you can draw interactive elements into your podcast to suit their needs; rather than an unbreakable rule. Some of the best podcast episodes find ways to blend some of these mediums.

The following information will provide you with benefits of particular podcast formats and allow you to gain insight as to which will be right for you and suit your ideal listeners.

 

Solo format pic

Solo

  • Flexible schedule
  • Editing is easier
  • Develops a personal brand

There are some great benefits to doing a solo podcast, it makes for flexible scheduling because there's only the one host you need to worry about! Editing can also be easier because it's one voice that you're dealing with in one consistent monologue. It helps to develop a personal brand for that host, knowing that it’s that particular thought leader people are tuning into, can be a great way to build leadership in that space.

 

Co-host format pic

Co-host

  • Facilitates natural conversation
  • Balance two unique personalities
  • Energy!

If you like improve and banter then the Co-host podcasts may be your thing! This is a very popular medium because it facilitates natural conversations, often between two very unique and flamboyant personalities. This is not to say that it cannot also lend itself to more serious topics of debate but either way most co-host podcasts are fun and makes you wish you could be a fly on the wall. Oftentimes, these podcasts have a lot of energy and you can't help, but want to tune in for more.

 

Interview format pic

Interviews

  • Different perspectives on similar issues
  • Saves time

Then we have interview style, these podcasts usually feature a single host who interviews individuals within a particular industry. This is marvellous because it allows you to bring different perspectives on similar issues onto your podcast. As mentioned it can also help you save time in the initial content creation stage because you're using thought experts and subject matter experts in your field to drive that content forward. So this format definitely proves for a very interesting podcast.

 

Panel format pic

Panels

  • Variety of voices and opinions
  • Opportunities for promotion
  • Plenty of content

We also have panels. Unlike interviews, which often only interview one or two subject matters; expert panels can be a great way to get a variety of opinions and voices in one sitting. Usually, panels on podcasts can be upwards of four to five people. It can take whatever form you wish but for obvious reasons all parties involved need to be aware of knowing how to share the microphone and keeping to time. Panel format can be a good way to get a lot of people in the room discussing topics they know and love, and if done correctly can be extremely engaging. It also offers significant opportunity for cross promotion because you have multiple people that are invested in this content. Panel format can make for long podcast episodes and will definitely create plenty of content, with this rather than worrying about how long the podcast episode is make sure you have rigorous editing.

 

Storytelling format pic

Storytelling

  • Encourages creativity
  • Memorable
  • Naturally brings listeners back

Who doesn’t like a good story? As with most marketing content, your story is key and when told in such a way, content can really be made memorable. Storytelling format encourages you to be really creative on how you're conveying different facts or educational topics in your industry. Whether you choose to complete a story within each episode or decide to spread it out through a variety of episodes, it will naturally bring listeners back. We are inquisitive beings and listeners come back because they want to hear what happens next or want to find out more. So this could be a really good format, depending on the content you're producing to capture listeners.

Though we have examined a few podcast format options, there are still many more like news recaps, fiction, and education podcasts. One basic principle you may want to decide before any of this, is whether your podcast will be scripted or unscripted. Scripted podcasts help if hosts are nervous, easily distracted or time restrictions are in place, yet unscripted can set for unpredictable and unique content! Like the formats you can choose to a blend of both but be sure to make it clear to all who are involved from the outset.

You are very nearly ready to proceed but let’s check out some of the technical requirements and you can download your Podcast checklist to help you.

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Technical decisions

Ah, the dreaded technical bit! Most people get put off by technical chatter, so within this section we have tried to simplify it the best we can so that you can perform your podcast with confidence and ease. You are probably wondering the best way to capture your audio and put it into a format that is really professional and easy to listen too. With this handy podcasting tech toolkit, you will be able to see what is a ‘right fit’ for your technical purposes, affordable, and able to deliver the desired outcome.

 

Capturing Audio

Free options: Paid options: PRO TIP
  • GarageBand
  • QuickTime
  • Audacity *
  • Zencastr
  • Zoom

When interviewing your guests online, make sure you’re:

  • in a quiet room
  • wearing headphones
  • speaking directly into your microphone

So we’ve listed a couple options, both paid and free of recording software to capture your audio. Almost any audio recording software will do but it is really important you choose a software that you feel comfortable with. Obviously as you progress, you will get to know the programme better but you need to feel good about using it initially and needs to be able to run well with your operating system and memory specifics of your computer.

*Audacity is recommended for ease of use, by HubSpot Academy Video Producer, Stephen Fiske and Sr. Podcast Producer, Matthew Brown. Zencaster and zoom for useful to use for interview format in particular.

 

Mighty Microphones

Low cost: Mid cost: High cost: PRO TIP
  • Earbuds with a built-in microphone
  • USB headset
  • Blue Snowball Mic.
  • Blue Yeti *
  • Zoom H4N digital recorder
  • XLR microphone (plus an XLR/USB interface)

Recording solo? Dealing with audio that echoes?

 

Try recording in a closet. Use two pillows to cut down on sound waves.

These are great options for every budget, and great results can even be achieved on a low cost budget. You might not be starting off with the highest budget, and that’s ok, some of the best options out there are actually those on the lower cost spectrum. Just remember you can upgrade as you go along your podcasting journey and it goes from strength to strength.

*Blue Yeti is recommended by HubSpot Academy Video Editor and Producers, Oscar Estrada and Jamal Meneide)

 

Editing episodes

Editing episodes quote 1

It’s entirely up to you how much editing you want to do after you’ve recorded your audio but you really want to be intentional. You may be producing a conversational podcast and may decide on what to keep or cut in post-production. But be sure that you're cutting down on chatter or dead space. Even if it is long form content audio you're giving to your listeners; one thing you might want to do to make your podcast sound more professional is to record a quick introduction and find some music to lead into your show.

Here are some additional, recommended editing apps if you choose not to use your audio software is to edit your podcast. You could use Anchor.fm or Podbean. There are also useful transcription apps Descript (which includes free options) and Rev.com. For your Outro or Intro music, these apps are also useful, Youtube Studio Free Music Library and Audio Jungle (Recommended by Jesse Abbruzzese, Video Editor For HubSpot Academy)

 

Your RSS feed

This may seem like a small thing but it is important, because like a blog, your podcast will have an RSS feed to capture your audio content and making sure it is updating to whatever streaming service that you decide to use.

All you need to do is upload your audio files to host services provided and they will automatically assign an RSS feed that you can submit to a podcast directory.

Most of the host services cost a small fee per month or per year for storage and distribution.

Subscription services (pcm/pyr)

·         BuzzSprout

·         Captivate

·         Castos

·         Libsyn

·         PodBean

·         Simplecast

·         Soundcloud

Uploading episodes sounds as if it might be technical, but in just a few structured steps and prompts you will be able to upload your files. When uploading episodes to your preferred feed, you need to select the recording from your computer's hard drive. After this, you can then simply add the title, tags, cover art, add in a short description, before publishing your episode. Basically that's all you have do to, to upload an episode to your RSS feed.

 

PRO TIP

Have multiple episodes recorded before submitting your feeds to Directories.

The last thing you want to do is scramble to record another episode after you release your first one. Plus, you will get more downloads right out of the gate if you launch with multiple episodes.

 

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Go forth and grow

 

Go forth and grow pic

So you have established your ideal listener, formulated episodes, and chosen the right recording software along with equipment. You may have even managed to record some episodes, ready to upload to your chosen podcast platform, but are you done? Oh no, no, no!

Now you have to market your podcast and grow your audience, but it is not as daunting as it may sound. In this section we’re going to explain how you can do this in the most effective way to support your podcast growth. Even if you currently have a podcast channel that may need boosting, marketing promotion can help, so let’s have a look at best practices.

 

Create a website or social media accounts

So first you want to create a website and social media accounts. The reason you will want to create a website is so you can post the transcripts, where it will remain. This is helpful because years after it has been created people might search for content and be directed to your website and this may generate a good lead for business. It is also an opportunity to request feedback or pose additional questions on topics that feature in future episodes.

With creating social media accounts, it allows you to meet and build relationships with fellow podcasters. It is also a direct point of contact to gain feedback from listeners and an avenue to engage with them.

 

Website:

Social Media:

  • Post transcripts of episodes
  • Have an archive of past episodes
  • Ask for feedback or additional questions which can be topics for future episodes
  • Meet and build relationships with fellow podcasters
  • Gain feedback and engage with listeners

 

Promote, promote, promote!

It might sound like the obvious thing to do but some businesses don’t put enough energy into this part of the build which can lead to disappointment in the lack of growth. Even if you have previously started your podcast, you can begin promotion now to revitalise your channel. So the simple secret is, make sure that you’re re-purposing episodes into different content formats!

Use episodes as opportunities to link your podcast as an additional resource on a blog post, write an interesting blog post every time you launch an episode, and also put it into social media posts. To be appealing, some podcasters will take a quote from their podcast, and turn it into a simple Instagram post as a way of effective promotion. Another way to broaden your reach is to partner with other business and also join podcast communities such as podcast movement which appears on Facebook.

 

Promote:

Re-purpose:

  • Partner with other businesses or podcast hosts to broaden your reach
  • Join podcast communities, like Podcast Movement on Facebook
  • Re-purpose episodes into different content formats
  • Blog, Social media posts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

 

Engage with listeners

Some podcast communities are closed groups and you join by entering your podcast information, but once accepted it is a great place to engage with listeners. You are able answer their questions, like or respond to their comments and can even retweet or repost them. It is also an excellent way to direct other listeners to your blog and other resources you have created.

 

Engage:

Respond:

  • Answer questions
  • Like or respond to comments
  • Re-post others’ thoughts
  • Direct them to your blog or other resources you’ve created
  • Have exclusive offers or giveaways

 

Build a community

A terrific way to get started in building your own community is to have a really clever hashtag. By creating this your listeners can easily view what others are saying about your podcasts and they can also post their favourite quotes from your show.

You can start a Facebook group and show appreciation by giving your listeners a shout out when you see the feedback that give you.

Finally, organise a live event, YES we did just say that! We realise that the great thing about podcasts (well it can be good and bad thing), is that people don’t see the host behind the mic, yet something great you can do is organise a live event such as a webinar. This will be a chance for people to get to meet the real you and connect to a side that isn’t necessarily revealed through podcast episodes.

 

Build:

Provide:

  • Start a hashtag, so your listeners can easily see what others are saying
  • Facebook group
  • Show appreciation
  • Organise a live event (webinar, Instagram/Facebook live, etc.)

 

So there you have it!! Now you know why you should podcast, how you go about setting it up, the techniques to implement to create successful episodes and how to attract your ideal listener. Armed with your Podcast Checklist and having gone through the sections of this mini podcast program, you are well on your way to taking action in your podcast content journey. Remember to be authentic, educating, and empathetic to your listeners and make it truly magical.

Thank you for reading, if you found this article helpful please subscribe for future content. Remember to also access your ‘How To Podcast Like A Pro’ ebook.

 

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