Co-Founder and CEO of Webmetrix Group
When it comes to strengthening their brand’s digital presence, most entrepreneurs focus on traditional online marketing tactics like SEO or PPC advertising. But these are far from the only resources available. Podcasting, in particular, has helped several companies showcase their niche expertise while simultaneously finding -- and growing -- their audience.
The audience is definitely there. Surveys from Edison Research estimate that approximately 73 million Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, while 48 million listen to podcasts weekly.
The great news is that podcasting can help with brand growth in ways beyond simply posting a new episode every week. With a little extra work, podcasting can provide several options for driving growth for your brand.
1. Be a podcast guest.
Most people assume that you have to produce your own podcast content each week to find a digital audience. But if you don’t have the resources to record, edit, and promote your own podcast, you can still grow your audience by appearing as a guest on other relevant programs.
A case study from Podcast Engineers notes that author and entrepreneur Richie Norton attributes 80 percent of his business leads to podcasts. The catch? He doesn’t produce his own show. Instead, he appears as a guest on other industry podcasts, with over 300 appearances to date that allow him to showcase his expertise and brand.
Of course, if you want to land a guest appearance yourself, you need to provide value to the podcast and its listeners. Pitch podcast hosts with several topics you could address, as well as how they would be relevant for the audience. Look for podcasts that already host guests on a regular basis to increase your odds of landing an appearance.
2. Repurpose podcasts to create additional content.
Creating your own podcast can feel daunting, particularly when you’re already trying to produce blogs and social media content. The good news, however, is that a podcast can become fertile ground for fueling your entire content creation process.
In a recent email exchange with Seth Greene, founder of Market Domination LLC, while discussing this topic, he explained, “You’re not going to reach all of your target market with a podcast. So why not repurpose that same content in other formats to reach the rest of your audience? The content from a single podcast can be used for a series of blog posts, an infographic, a video and countless social media posts. Using an audio transcript tool will make it easy to repurpose your podcast into other content.”
When done right, a podcast will make content production easier, not harder, which will give you even more avenues for helping your target audience discover your brand.
3. Sponsor a podcast.
You don’t have to create podcast content (either as a guest or producer) to resonate with your target audience. After all, many podcasts earn money through affiliate marketing or sponsorships. Sponsoring a podcast that is relevant to your industry niche, or even pitching a podcaster to review or promote your product or service can provide a major sales boost.
Research from Nielsen shows that podcast listeners typically become more likely to purchase a product or service after it is advertised in a podcast. According to the survey data, 69 percent of listeners reported that podcast ads helped them learn about new products or services. Brands that advertised on news podcasts and business podcasts saw the biggest increase in purchase intent, with growth of 12.8 and 14 percent, respectively.
4. Utilize podcast directories.
iTunes/Apple Podcasts may be the biggest directory for podcasts, but this isn’t always beneficial for growing your own brand. In June 2018, Apple told TechCrunch that over 550,000 unique shows were available through its platform -- a number that has only grown since then.
While this certainly goes a long way in showcasing the ever-growing audience for podcasts, it also illustrates the intense competition your podcast can face in getting discovered by listeners in the first place.
Thankfully, there are several other directories where you can submit your podcast. Spotify and Google Play Music are other well-known entities, but businesses should also submit their podcast to sites like Stitcher, TuneIn, iPodder and Spreaker. Find a detailed "how to submit" instructions for multiple platforms here.
These directory listenings are like SEO for your podcast!
5. Engage in a small amount of self-promotion.
A podcast should provide interesting content and creating genuine value for your listeners, but this doesn’t mean you can’t work in a little self-promotion from time to time. For example, you could encourage podcast listeners to sign up for your email list, with the promise that subscribers will periodically receive exclusive content.
As entrepreneur Chris Ducker writes in a blog post on his website, “Be sure to promote your other platforms. Utilize the opportunity to mention your Facebook and Twitter profiles, as well as your blog or company website at some stage during your podcast. This gives you more ways to reach your audience and potentially generate more subscribers, listeners, revenue and grow your audience with viral sharing. Don’t overdo it though -- it’ll become very old very quickly.”
When the bulk of your content should establish your industry authority and value, a small amount of self-promotion can be an effective way to drive traffic to other platforms.
Podcasting may not be the first thing that comes to mind when trying to develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. But there is no denying that it can generate significant results for your business. No matter how you plan to use podcasting, this is one marketing tool that should never be overlooked.