Podcasts have become an important source of news and entertainment for a huge number of internet users. The topics range from home brewing to theology and everything in between. Many businesses have begun producing audio podcasts as a way to reach out to their potential customers and clients – some with great success.
But should you do a podcast for your business?
In this article, we’ll offer some tips to help you figure out if podcasting will be a good fit for your business model and take a look at what it means to get into podcasting.
Is Podcasting Right for You?
Podcasting is a truly a unique platform when it comes to communicating with your clients or customers. Podcast subscribers are more highly engaged and receptive to the content presented since it is an “opt-in” scenario. But there are some catches:
- You have to make great content. That means investing the time and money in production to make something worth listening to. As podcasting has become more popular, the audience has developed a taste for quality and their expectation level in terms of polish has increased.
- Your content has to have an audience. It’s no use creating great content if there is no one interested in consuming it. Be prepared to do a little investigation to see if your planned subject has a viable audience.
- You have to keep it up. It’s best to publish new content frequently and regularly. Today’s podcast subscribers have an expectation that you will publish often and regularly. Not living up to this can cause your subscription numbers to sag.
To help decide if podcasting is a fit for you, start by doing some research into what is already available to your potential subscribers. Are there other podcasts out there on similar content? Are they still active? Do they appear to have an active subscriber community? How often do they appear to publish? How polished is their content? How long are their episodes?
The idea is to get an idea of what the current podcasting landscape looks like for the audience you’re targeting. Use what you’ve learned to formulate a plan on what structure you need to consider and how often you would need to publish. You can then use your plan to estimate how much time and energy you’ll need to invest to make that happen. If you determine that you do indeed have a potential audience and the resources to produce successful content, then the next step is going for it!
How Should You Get Started with Podcasting?
Once you’ve taken the mental plunge and decided to pursue podcasting for your business, the real work begins. Good podcasting is a function of proper strategy, technique, equipment, and software usage. Here are some tips to help get you pointed in the right direction.
- Learn to recognize what is “right” in terms of podcasting for your audience. Subscribe to podcasts that are successful with your desired audience and pay close attention to the delivery, quality, and structure. You’ll begin to develop a “taste” for what works and what doesn’t. This doesn’t mean you should copy a competitor’s delivery and format (seriously, don’t do that), but it will help you start to recognize refinement when you hear it.
- Don’t skimp on your recording equipment. Get a quality microphone – they aren’t super expensive and they make a huge difference in terms of audio quality (we really like the MXL990 for example and it is just under $100).
- Get a dedicated space and take steps to kill the echo in it. Do a little research in setting up a recording space. It is less work than you might think, and can be done on the cheap.
- Learn your editing software well. There are tons of software options for recording and editing out there. Options range from open source solutions like Audacity to commercial suites like Adobe Audition or Avid Pro Tools. There are even tools created specifically for podcasting. Whatever package you choose, take the time to learn it well. Take tutorials and take the time to experiment. Mastery of the software will save you heaps of time and increase the quality of recordings.
- Publish it! The most popular directory is Apple’s iTunes, but there are others out there. Do some digging and figure out which ones your audience is using. You can publish to more than one directory, which can increase your reach.
We hope this article helps make your forays into podcasting a little easier and successful. It takes work, but a podcast can be a great business tool.