So your brand has a killer website, a strong social media following and a blog full of top-notch posts and visuals. That’s impressive. But why not add one of the newer content marketing trends to that mix? Podcasting’s conversational nature makes it highly engaging — plus, it’s easily accessible and perfect for a wide variety of industries.
With the onslaught of digital media, smartphones and audio streaming services came easily accessible and shareable content, which facilitated the rise of brand podcasts. Edison Research and Triton Digital found that 21 percent (roughly 67 million) of Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, while 13 percent listen to them on a weekly basis. Those who listen weekly listen to an average of five podcasts per week. How’s that for engagement.
Thinking about releasing a brand-related podcast? Perfect. Here are a few things to keep in mind along the way.
Why You Should Be Podcasting
The advantages a fresh and interesting podcast can bring to your brand are hard to ignore. Check it out:
1. Podcasting boosts brand personality and customer loyalty. Podcasts are like a conversation between the speaker and the audience. By discussing topics that relate to your brand and appeal to your target markets, you communicate your brand’s values and interests. This enables a more immediate reflection of your brand’s identity — oftentimes, quicker and clearer than the written word — and sparks people’s interest in your offerings. They also help you communicate your brand’s vision and mission in real-life context.
ESPN enjoys a reputation as a reliable and entertaining sports network in both the TV and podcasting worlds. The network offers more than 40 different podcasts: The daily “First Take” podcast has reputable hosts and guests discussing daily sports news; “Fantasy Focus Baseball” involves fantasy experts talking strategy and game overviews; and “Dunkumentaries” is a podcast miniseries that shares stories of basketball’s infamous “dunk” move. Each podcast covers a different sport and provides viewers with a choice depending on their preferred hosts and style.
Once you’ve sparked audience interest with your amazing personality, podcasts have a unique way of increasing engagement. In a separate survey, Edison and Triton found that podcast listeners stay tuned in for an average of 22 minutes per episode, which is five times longer than they take to read a blog post. On top of longer engagement in the short term, the subscription feature enables audiences to continue engaging in the long term, making customer loyalty that much more attainable.
2. They are quick and (relatively) easy to create and publish. Creating content is time-consuming. Podcasts, however, can be a quick and simple process from creator to listener. Once a concept for the episode has been conceived, it can be as simple as pressing record, saving as an MP3 file and uploading online in a few minutes. Just a click of a few buttons and you have professional, interesting content ready for consumption.
3. Your podcast becomes a source of written content as well. Not only can a podcast be a useful form of audio content, but its transcript can serve as interesting written content. Imagine having that interview, monologue or discussion uploaded onto your company website and blog for readers to look over. Some people prefer to read things rather than listen to them, too, and transcribing your podcast makes it accessible to them as well. Bonus: The written form has the potential to increase your SEO value based on keywords. Talk about multi-tasking.
What You Should Be Podcasting
Wondering what to include in your podcast so audiences will tune in? Let’s brainstorm.
As mentioned, podcasts are a great tool to communicate a brand’s personality. Therefore, first and foremost, is to know what that personality is.
What is your style? Are you funny or serious? Do you associate with certain causes or public figures? Are you creative or practical? Accordingly, choose appropriate language, subject matter and music that reflect these characteristics.
From monologues and interviews to guest hosts, listener contributions and internal conversations (two colleagues discussing industry topics) — the content possibilities for podcasts are vast. Mix it up a little and see which ones attract more listeners and shares.
Vogue Magazine keeps their reliable, up-market fashion reputation in mind when forming their podcast, and they have a diverse roster of guests, including designer Marc Jacobs, makeup guru Bobbi Brown and the company’s executive director of communications and fashion director sharing thoughts on March’s cover girl, Adele. Vogue has a knack for keeping things interesting and in line with the brand’s values. And you can, too.
You could even turn written content into a podcast. The New York Times “Modern Love” podcast features public figures reading previously published pieces from the newspaper’s well-known “Modern Love” column. With a host and followup interviews with the writer, The New York Times took old content and perfectly refreshed it for audiences to enjoy all over again.
Where You Should Be Podcasting
One of the perks of podcasting is its accessibility. At any spare moment, a podcast can be quickly downloaded or streamed for audiences’ listening pleasure. Whether it’s through your company website or an external host, maintaining this almost-instantaneous engagement is important.
Many podcasts are hosted on Libsyn and from there, submitted into iTunes for audiences to download. Podcast hosts like Podomatic and Buzzsprout are popular with independent podcasters, and therefore could be useful in reaching new audiences.
Another option is to stream it on SoundCloud. As the second-biggest streaming service in the world behind YouTube, according to The Guardian, SoundCloud is the place to reach large audiences. Check out some of its features that could help your podcast shoot to the top:
- Predominantly user-generated content. Anyone can make an account and upload content, making this a unique opportunity to tap into new audiences.
- Quick and easy cross promotion to different social media channels, enabling wider audience reach and increased engagement.
- Comprehensive set of metrics that allows users to monitor the engagement of uploaded content. Brands can see the popularity of their posts, access data on how and where their content is being listened to, and customize it accordingly.
- Ability to upload a variety of audio content. We may be talking about podcasts right now, but music can be a great part of your content strategy as well, and SoundCloud is a great platform to upload a compilation of brand-related songs or that original track you recently had composed for the company.
Don’t be put off by the sound of your own voice, or by High-Pitched Helga’s in marketing, who just offered to be the host (sorry Helga). Now that you’ve checked out the why, what and where of podcasting, start recording and increasing your reach.
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