Written by Beth Wilson, PR Director at inferno.
Originally known as audioblogging, podcasts became mainstream in 2004 with the rise of the iPod. However, in the past five years, they really began to catch on.
Today’s podcast landscape is overflowing, with new players popping up almost daily. According to Statista, more than 26 percent of adults in the U.S. listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. By 2021, there are expected to be more than 100 million podcast listeners in the U.S. alone.
With the shift to mobile, consumers are turning to podcasts as their primary way of consuming content, be it for educational or entertainment purposes. And it’s easier than ever to find them.
As search engines continue to alter their algorithms, they have placed a priority on mobile content. And, when it comes to marketing, content is still king. Many companies have established blogs to publish their thought leadership or owned media, but podcasts offer more search engine optimization (SEO) value in a more dynamic, easier-to-digest format. As such, podcasts help to create and build brand awareness while increasing a company’s authority and credibility in its respective industry. They inspire and influence conversation. And, if it’s your podcast that’s doing the influencing, it’s going to be your brand that listeners remember when it comes time to purchase or inquire about a service your company offers.
Where to start?
Some will tell you that podcasts are an inexpensive form of marketing. While that can be true, it’s important to consider the time involved. Several elements go into producing a podcast, including planning, recording, editing, and promoting. Time is money, and there are also equipment and other startup costs.
First, determine your overarching theme and draft a strategic plan for your podcast. Who is your audience? What challenge are you trying to solve? Who is your competition? How often will you record and publish episodes? Will there be other components (e.g., a website or videos)? Who from your team should be involved?
Next, research and invest in proper equipment. Technology is constantly improving and widely accessible. Start with a laptop, microphones or headsets, and an audio interface. You’ll want to purchase editing and other software.
Find or create a suitable recording space. This can be an office or a closet, but make sure you consider ambient noise and other issues related to sound quality.
Then, brainstorm topic ideas and potentially secure guests. Put together a content calendar and plan to create applicable, informational, value-added content on a consistent basis. Don’t forget promotion.
Finally, ensure your podcast is hosted on an appropriate platform. There are many to choose from, but it’s important to find those that best align with your industry.
A podcast may not be the right fit for every industry. If starting your own isn’t part of your short- or long-term plan, podcasts should still be incorporated into your marketing strategy — even if it’s identifying ones on which to be a guest.
This medium is only gaining in popularity, and chances are your customers or clients (current and prospective) are listening.
This article originally appeared in Memphis Business Journal.