Podcasting is all the rage these days. Half of all Americans listen to online radio every week. Podcasts in particular have grown to prominence recently with such popular podcasts like The Nerdist Podcast which has popularized the “nerd” culture that has become a mainstream culture in recent years. This podcast works to promote the Nerdist brand which hosts a number of intellectual properties from a live performance space for stand-up and sketch comedy to youtube channels and a network television program.
Another popular podcast in recent years is Serial, a one-off series that went viral in 2015 and became a cultural phenomenon raking in over 5 million downloads and streams and skyrocketing to become the most popular podcast of all time.
It sounds like a fun endeavor with the potential to propel your brand to the next level, but podcasts don’t just become popular overnight. They take a ton of work: hundreds of hours of manpower doing research, setting up the recording system, editing, distributing, marketing, and promoting the podcast. This can be a daunting task…but it can also have a huge payoff. Do you think you’re up to the challenge? Here are the top considerations you need to make when deciding whether to add a podcast to your brand.
Identify and Use Your Audience
Is there an audience for your content? Let’s hope so! Otherwise, your marketing efforts online are going to be incredibly fruitless. Having trouble figuring out who your audience is? Here’s a hint: look at the people that are interacting with your brand on social media and online. Those are likely going to be the folks that would be interested in listening to you talk for hours on end about your interests and passions — which makes them more than just audience, but fans of your brand.
The great thing about an audience is that they’re also going to do some work for you. If in the beginning you’re having some difficulty figuring out what, if anything, you should podcast about then listen to your followers! Are they having problems with a particular topic? Bam! There’s the subject of your next podcast. Is there a question they ask you over and over again, or a piece of information you find yourself recapitulating to them constantly? Bam! Another podcast subject. After a while your audience will naturally inform you enough that you can become a self-sufficient podcaster.
The Bread and Butter: Content
Podcast your Passions. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re not interested in what you’re talking about then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to motivate others to be interested in it. When you look at the podcasts mentioned above you have to perfect examples of passion podcasts that people can get behind: nerd culture and criminal justice. Define the things you’re passionate about and hone in on them in your podcast.
Be Unique. It’s unlikely that if you start a podcast today about comic books or wrongful conviction cases that you’ll be very successful — those podcasts already exist. Instead, try to find a gap and fill it. Being unique also means being yourself. People want to hear your unique take on a subject, not the regurgitation of someone else’s content. What unique perspective do you have on your brand within your market? If you have an answer for that then you’re already one step ahead of the competition.
Switch it Up. Vary your content from episode to episode. Listeners don’t want to hear the same types of information delivered in the same way from week to week. That gets really old really quickly. Really! If one week you happen to monologue quite a bit then the next week invite in some guests (great for networking and growing your listener base!) and make it a dialogue. Variety will keep it fresh.
The Goldilocks Rule. Not too long and not too short: that’s how long you want to make your podcast. Because when you put a podcast out in the world you’re competing with a lot of other different kinds of audio. If yours is too long, people will be jumping ship for something that they don’t have to pay as much attention to.
Producing a Podcast
You’re going to want your podcast to sound good! The worst thing you can have is a poor sounding podcast, this lack of detail will translate as laziness to your audience and you’ll lose them quickly. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to get a decent sounding podcast — long gone are the days when only multi-million dollar recording studios could create a good sounding product.
Equipment Most cell phones are capable of capturing good, clean audio; however, the built-in microphones on them aren’t the best in the world. You can get a lavalier microphone that plugs right into the headphone jack (well, not the new iPhone 7) for as little as a few dozen dollars online (a quick google search for “cell phone lavalier mic” should do the trick).
Recording Sound So you’ve got your phone, you’ve purchased a mic, and you’re ready to record…. but where do you do your podcast? The great thing about podcasting is that it doesn’t matter! You could do it in your bathroom and the audience would never know. All that really matters is that you eliminate background noise like air conditioners or street traffic and you’re good to go.
Editing Most modern laptops are already equipped with some decent editing software — but if you don’t have access to them there is great open source software out there (check out Audacity and some of the other great audio editing programs). You certainly have an entertaining voice, but jazz up your podcast with some theme music and background sound to keep your audience engaged. You can compose it yourself, look for royalty free music, or hire a composer to put some jingles together for you. The most important thing to remember is: what will keep your audience engaged?
MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION
You’ve got an episode! Or maybe you planned ahead and have several episodes! Congratulation, now you’ve got to package it and put it out in the world. You’re going to need a graphic to represent your podcast, logos, and thumbnails for your title. That way you’ve got something to represent the podcast once you put it up on a platform. And you’ve got a number of them to choose from. They’re all relatively the same when it comes to quality, it’s just a matter of where your audience is and the ease of use. Some popular platforms include:
- Zune Marketplace
- Blackberry Podcast
Which one is right for you? Honestly, that’s up to you. Do some shopping around until you find one that fits your needs. Once you’re on the platform you have to promote, promote, and promote some more! Share it on social media, engage local businesses, talk to your audience then rinse and repeat.
Fead Media and Podcasting
Here at FEAD we’re well versed in the world of podcasting having developed and distributed podcasts for ourselves and clients. If all of this information seems like too much work feel free to contact us so we can discuss your podcasting needs.