Podcasting: It’s Not as Hard as You Think
Podcasting is a key way to reach a niche audience. But starting one can be a challenge. We tackle the four big hurdles.
“Everyone is in the media now. If you’ve published something online, you know what it is to create and spread ideas.” So said Seth Godin in 2013. He was referring to social media and the influence that even the smallest business — or a single person—can have with a global reach and instant connectivity that costs creators and users pennies a day.
Even back then, podcasting was almost a decade old. Started in 2004 (not long after Apple introduced the iPod), the relatively simple idea of audio files delivered consistently via RSS feed has led to an entire industry that has allowed the most niche ideas to be turned into fully produced audio programming with listeners all over the world.
Your audience is aware of podcasts. They have the capability to listen. And they’re doing it. So, if you haven’t considered audio as a part of your marketing strategy, it’s time to do so. Your audience is ready for it and if you don’t take the opportunity to speak to them where they are, your competition can easily own that conversation.
The main reasons that marketers often cite for not readily adopting this channel are usually lack of time, money, content, experience or some combination of the four. But the good news is that you’re overthinking it.
If you have some down time — and with COVID-19 causing prolonged interruptions at a global level, we all have significant downtime — you can start a podcast in as little as a day. To prove it, we put together a sample episode. And in the process, we addressed the issues of time, money, content and experience.
Let’s tackle each of those challenges in turn.
- Time. Starting anything new — especially a new platform — takes time and effort. And in the middle of a busy trade show season, a massive product launch or rush time of year, you have no time to think about podcasting but wish you did. So, the best thing to do is get comfortable with it during your downtime so you can activate your platform when you need it. Luckily, you might be reading this with a lot of extra time on your hands — if so, now’s the time to act.
- Money. It’s easy to think that you need a lot of resources to start a podcast, especially when you see pictures of other people’s tricked-out studios and you hear their bumper music and slick production. But the little-known truth of it is that if you have a smartphone and a laptop, it’s enough to get going. That microphone in your mobile is pretty amazing (as long as you have a quiet room) and you can download free open-source audio editors that allow for some pro-level balancing and editing.
- Content. This is the biggest misconception of all. You have content everywhere. You’re tripping over it on your way into the office every day. If you have a messaging strategy for your company and are running campaigns in print, digital, social or any other channels, you have the content you need. Remember: A podcast doesn’t have to be a flashy presentation or a dramatic recitation of a white paper. It can be a simple, informative conversation with a subject matter expert from your company or an interview with someone who runs a key part of the manufacturing process. The insights will come out and you’ll be able to edit the conversation down to its most relevant, salient points. And when you’ve got someone who’s really great for the medium, you can split the conversation into two episodes. Don’t overthink your content — just get as much as you can and then curate it for your audience.
- Experience. You probably have none. And that’s fine. Go experiment and then you can take this one off the list. With a little exploration, you’ll find that you can get something decent together with efficiency and quality that might surprise you. And if you know someone who’s done any part of this before (interviewing, broadcasting, audio capture or editing), ask them for some help. Send files back and forth. If you work with an agency, they can really help here — from concept to on-air talent to back-end editing, your agency can partner with you as you need it. The beauty of this platform is its portability — you can have five people in as many states collaborating in real time without the need to travel.
Once you have a few episodes together, along with a name that fits your brand, you can upload your podcast to a hosting service (of which there are many and at different price points). This will allow your podcast to be located by aggregators (like Apple, Spotify and a host of others). Once that’s done, you can promote it to your audience across other channels.
If you’re worried about quality, we get it. The first time for anything like this is hard. But the little flaws or rough edges of this kind of presentation are what give it life and personality. Back in 2013, Seth said it best:
“Amateur [or self-produced] media tends to be a lot more personal, unpredictable and interesting. The irony, of course, is that in a billion-channel universe, those three things make it far more likely that you will earn attention, connection and trust, which of course makes it more likely you'll earn a living."
The bottom line is that if you’re on-brand, on-message and authentic, your customers are going to find the value in the experience you’re offering. You’re talking to them about their industry and their concerns in a way that only you can. And they’ll respond.
Make the investment. Your audience is waiting.
Godfrey helps complex B2B industries tell their stories in ways that delight their customers.