Aside from using social media, videos and email marketing, internet marketers should also consider using podcasts in promoting their online businesses. With podcasts, small businesses have the opportunity to tap into a unique segment of their target market and improve their chances of generating leads.
Unfortunately, many people do not take advantage of this opportunity and let themselves be overwhelmed by the process of creating podcasts. However, it is actually a lot simpler than they believe.
Benefits of using podcast in marketing
Podcasts can be listened to on everything from computers to smart phones and open up new horizons for marketers. The most valuable benefits that can be achieved from them include the following:
- Podcasting can help you expand your reach. By adding podcasts to your promotional tactics, you can tap into a whole new segment of your target market. Listening is the preferred method of accessing information for some people. By offering and listing podcasts on various podcast directories, the listening segment of the market can tune in at any time.
- It can help you enhance your relationship with your readers. By providing podcasts to your audience, your communication with your listeners becomes more personal. By putting a voice to your business, you will become more than just a business logo to your audience.
- It can help establish your expertise. By creating and distributing information in an audio format, you can share your expertise with people who are interested in what you have to say. In time, this can help you achieve expert status and be recognized as a leader in the niche.
- Podcasting can help you sell products and advertising more effectively. Business owners who have achieved expert status in their chosen niches can often sell products with minimal effort. It is also possible to add a side income by adding advertisements to your podcast.
- It increases customer feedback. By creating your own podcasts, you have the chance to tackle customer feedback and comments more effectively. You can also keep your customers, media contacts and other industry experts informed about the developments in your company.
- It can help enhance your site’s SEO. As far as search engines are concerned, sites with more activities are more valuable. As such, they will be rewarded with higher search engine rankings and will generate more organic traffic over time.
Create a plan. While you can just throw all caution to the wind and start recording right away, this is evidently not the best way to go. To create effective podcasts, you need to start with a plan and create an outline prior to creating content. It should provide a brief overview so that your audience will know what to expect from the podcast.
If you plan to interview industry experts, contact them weeks or months in advance. Once a date and a time for the call is set, send an email with the overview and the questions you are planning to ask. Tip: Try to establish a relationship with the person on Twitter or other social media sites before asking them for an interview.
Start recording. Now that you have your outline ready, you can start recording your first podcast. For this, you will need a headset with a noise-cancelling microphone and podcasting software. If you are a little strapped for cash, you may want to check some free podcasting software programs such as Audacity, Kristal Audio Engine and Wavosaur, to name a few. GarageBand is good for Macs. You can also use digital audio mixing programs to include WildVoice so you can mix in some music and sound effects with your podcasts.
Consider the following tips and techniques for making good podcasts
- Try recording the podcast in its entirety. After you are done recording, listen to the trial podcast, take note of the parts you want to change and do it all again.
- Try recording by segments and use your software’s editing features to come up with a professional sounding podcast.
- Choose a quiet room to record your podcast. Avoid recording in rooms with bare floors and walls.
Edit your podcast. If you have not yet familiarized yourself with the editing features of your podcasting software, now is the perfect time to do so. Divide your podcast into sub-topics to make it easier for your audience to understand what you are trying to say. It will eventually need to be saved in a compressed format such as a .mp3 or .ACC format. In addition, add ID3-tag info (your name, the title of the podcast and such other pertinent data) as required.
Publish your podcast. In publishing your podcast, you will need to upload it to a good third-party hosting service and set up a website or blog to manage your feeds. After iTunes, may want to check out the following podcast hosting services: Amazon S3, BlogTalkRadio, LibSyn, PodBean and PodOMatic, to name a few.
To avoid migration problems and losing audience, it is best to start with a website or blog to manage the podcast feed. Those who do not have one already should consider using WordPress to set one up, as plugins to include PowerPress are great for turning it into the perfect platform for distributing podcasts. All you have to do next is to create a podcast feed (you can use Feedburner).
Tips in creating great podcasts
- Know if podcasting is right for you. Before jumping into the first podcast, ask yourself if this can actually be good for your business. Does your target market listen to podcasts? Although they cover a large demographic, not everyone is interested in podcasts and listeners are more likely to be younger and male.
- Know your reason for podcasting. For your podcasts to be effective, they need to provide value to your audience. However, if you are doing it just to sell your products and/or services, your efforts will most likely go to waste. Keep your podcasts from sounding like a sales pitch.
- Enjoy doing it. Your passion and enthusiasm will surely show in the way you deliver your message and this can help captivate your audience.
- Have a regular schedule. You may want to release new podcasts on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on your purpose and availability. Just make sure you stick to your schedule to build customer loyalty.
- Keep it short, light and simple. Always keep your message brief. Don’t try your audience’s patience by creating podcasts that goes on and on. If you want to talk about an extensive topic, consider breaking it up into segments.
- Provide a brief overview of your podcast. Let your audience know what your podcast is all about by providing an overview with each episode. Consider incorporating keywords in the overview to further enhance your site’s SEO.
- Brand your podcasts. Create familiarity and a distinct identity by using a name that reflects the content of your podcasts. You should also consider using signature intro/outro music and a repetitive intro and closing message to reinforce brand recognition.
- Know when to add commercials. If you are planning to add commercial messages, make sure you insert it at the beginning or at the end of your podcast. Remember to keep it short to avoid annoying your audience.
- Promote your podcasts. Use social media and podcast directories (you may want to refer to http://www.podcast411.com/page2.html for a comprehensive list of podcast directories) to promote your podcasts to a wider audience.
- Get help: Hire freelancers to outsource those parts of podcasting you may need help with.
When done properly, podcasting can be a valuable addition to your online marketing arsenal. Are you ready to harness its potential in generating more leads for your business, enhancing your site’s SEO and improving your bottom line?
ITunes, the obvious leader in podcasts, have a tutorial on creating and publishing them here.