Podcasts are now a beloved medium. Listeners can tune in anytime through the web or their mobile devices and from anywhere whether at home or on the go; they’re multi-task friendly (you can drive in the car, do the dishes, go shopping… all while listening to a podcast!); the selection of what to listen to is wide; they help create a sense of community between consumers and creators; listeners get to know show hosts who become trusted sources of information.
It’s for these reasons that podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular channel of information-sharing. Furthermore, there’s a good reason why business owners should invest in company podcasts –– they can boost awareness and, ultimately, sales by speaking to a captive, engaged audience. Business-centric podcasts see a 14% increase in purchase intent for brands. Therefore, if you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking about building a podcasting program for your small business that can attract and inform an audience interested in your industry, brand, products, or services.
Deciding to start a podcast can be intimidating for many small businesses; however, there are steps you can take to make it less overwhelming. Here are some best practices you can use for launching a company podcast:
1. Define your goals
You need to define what podcast success means for you and your business. What are you trying to achieve with this podcast? This will help guide you throughout the entire podcast production and execution process. First, decide if you’re going to focus on growing your brand awareness or driving sales. This will help you better understand the audience you’re targeting and how best to communicate with them. Razor-sharp goals also play into how you will choose to distribute, market, and generate awareness for your podcast down the road.
2. Speak your audience’s language
The most effective way to reach your target audience is to communicate with them in ways they understand clearly. So think about your positioning, ideal content, and strategy.
- Select a topic that will resonate most with your expertise, what you’re selling or offering, and what you want your audience to learn.
- Create a unique positioning for the podcast –– understand how the content, storytelling, visual design, and format will be bespoke to your business and incorporate that special sauce throughout the recording, editing, distribution, and marketing plans.
- Build a dream list of guests (if using interviews for the series) or storylines (if your show is theme or topic-focused) that are going to resonate the most with the audience you’re trying to reach.
- If this is part of a new content strategy, consider the name you’ll select for the podcast series. Research other industry podcasts and your competitor’s content efforts to land on a name and description for your show that will stand out and easily convey who it’s for and the value they’ll get from it.
3. Generate a production plan
Decide if you want to record in person or virtually. Once you make that decision, you can set up your software and hardware equipment. You’ll need a mic, headphones, recording hardware, or a computer. If working virtually, select a platform for recording –– some options are Riverside.fm, SquadCast, Zencastr, and Zoom. Then, plan for internal or external resources to support audio editing, production, and sound engineering. Also, if you’re having remote guests, you may want to set them up with recording kits which can be shippable packages that include a mic, headphones, wires, cleaning cloth, and instructions so they have everything they need when it comes time to hit record. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to record a prototype of your show, rally some initial feedback from peers or potential customers, and revise accordingly. It’s much easier to make substantive changes early on than to wait until your show is live to the public.
4. Get your podcast out there
Once you’ve recorded and produced your episodes, you’ll need to distribute them to your prospective and current customers and create ways to generate interest in listening to your podcast.
- You’ll need a podcast hosting and distribution platform that spins up an RSS feed and helps you connect to platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify for your listeners to tune in. There are many options, so see what’s right for you and your business –– LibSyn, Blubrry, PodBean, Anchor, and Castos are a few to consider.
- Be sure to use your audio wisely –– besides picking a topic that will resonate most with your expertise and whatever it is that you sell or offer, consider incorporating midroll or sponsored-by messaging for your business or product naturally and authentically into these episodes.
- Create a podcast website or a page on your business site so people can learn more about your show, and make sure to set up a newsletter (if you don’t already have one) to connect more closely with your audience.
- You’ll want to make sure there’s a strong marketing and social media plan to spread the word about the podcast and make your show as impactful and valuable as possible to your customer audience.
- And lastly, seek out like-minded or complimentary businesses who might be up for cross-promoting each other’s shows and products/services. Swapping mentions across podcast series is a great way to create visibility with a new audience.
5. Leverage the treasure trove of podcast content
You can make the most of your episodes by using the content for blog posts, social assets, video clips, audiograms, text quotes, and more. There’s also the possibility of aggregating insights to use in bigger rock content like ebooks, webinars, and gated material you can use in acquiring new subscribers. If you have marketing and communications teams, make sure they are aligned and fully vested in the program and execute targeted campaigns that will drive awareness and lead people through your funnel. If you don’t have these teams or have limited resources, double down on the channels you currently use such as social media, newsletters, and email marketing.
Creating and launching a podcast can seem like a lot, but if you break down the steps, focus on your goals and audience, and build your plans accordingly, you’ll be in a strong position to create a successful series. And if you already have a show, now is the perfect time to go back and examine your workflow and see how you can expand upon your content and campaigns, or dig deeper into making it even more listenable and memorable for customers. Don’t forget: You must stand out! And it will take time to create the best version of the podcast you envision, so be patient. Follow these guides and you’ll be well on your way to building a successful podcast program that works for you, your listeners, and your business.
Rob Goodman is Executive Producer for Content at Wix. He is a marketer, podcaster, and illustrator. Rob’s background is at the intersection of technology and creativity. He’s supported countless startups, ran content strategy at InVision, helped launch Google Play, and led online marketing at Simon & Schuster. Currently, he is the producer and host of the Webby Award-nominated podcast Now What? by Wix and Ready for Takeoff by Wix. He previously produced the Webby Award-nominated Design Better Podcast from InVision, and is the creator of Making Ways podcast, where he’s interviewed dozens of acclaimed musicians, designers, and influential creators. Rob has taught podcasting, partnerships, and content marketing at General Assembly and social media marketing at New York University.
Podcast stock image by Alex from the Rock/Shutterstock