Podcasting tools shown with On-Air highlighted

The What, Why and How of Podcasting

Okay, time for a pop quiz:

  1. Which content marketing tactic can hold an audience’s attention for a half hour or more at a time?Podcast symbol with headphones wrapped around them
  2. Which tactic inspires an audience to subscribe to your content and make a regular appointment to consume it?
  3. Name the tactic can help boost thought leadership, raise awareness and engage influencers in your industry?
  4. Do you know which tactic is in the title of this blog post?

While there are many great marketing tactics which go beyond the written word, the answer, of course, is podcasting. These long-form audio programs first emerged in the early 2000s. Back then, they were a niche format for hobbyists and tech nerds (like me). But the rise of the smartphone brought podcasts to the masses. Now, there are hundreds of hours of programming available on every conceivable subject, in every genre from real crime to horror to musical.  But we haven’t hit content shock for podcasts — it’s still a growing market.

If your business is looking to boost thought leadership and reach a new audience, now is the perfect time to add a podcast to your content marketing mix. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What Is a Podcast, Anyway?

There’s a wide variety of types of podcast out there, so it can seem tricky to find a definition that covers everything. Some are live interviews or panel discussions; others are entirely scripted, and audio plays production; and, as it turns out, a few are cryptic monologues about a bizarre southwestern town.  But they all share two attributes:

  1. There are multiple recordings for each title
  2. They’re organized in an RSS feed where you can subscribe.

Whatever genre the audio is, whatever platforms it’s available on, as long as you have multiple recordings brought together by an RSS feed, you have a podcast.

Why Should Businesses Care about Podcasts?

The way that people consume podcasts makes them an ideal channel for your high-quality content. People tend to listen while working out, driving, cooking dinner — in other words, podcasts fill sizable chunks of otherwise idle time. You wouldn’t expect someone to read your white paper or eBook during their morning commute, but they might settle in with your latest episode.

The demographics for podcast listeners are attractive for B2B marketers, too. Edison Research’s Podcast Consumer 2017 report found that:

  • 24% of people ages 18-54 listen to podcasts monthly
  • Podcast listeners are nearly evenly split between men and women
  • Podcast listeners tend to be affluent, educated consumers
  • In the 25-54 demographic, monthly listening has grown year over year for the past four years

In other words, your target audience is likely spending a significant amount of time listening to podcasts already. And those who already listen to at least one podcast are likely to be on the lookout for more.

What Goals Does A Podcast Serve?

Podcasts work best for the attract and engage phases of the customer journey. You can use your podcast to build brand awareness and establish thought leadership in your industry. Thoughtful, valuable content can help your brand stand out from the competition, and encourage listeners to make a relationship with the brand.

The most successful podcasts tend to be in the Q&A or panel discussion style. Hosts can welcome new guests each week to share their insight. This type of format is perfect for influencer marketing: You can boost your internal subject matter experts, form relationships with influencers in the industry, even feature your potential prospects.

Since podcasts have a low barrier of entry, they are an excellent way to reach a niche audience, too.  Podcasts succeed because they do what all great content does: deliver valuable information to a specific audience in an entertaining format.

How Do I Start?Sign post with words who,what,where, when, why and how - all relating to podcasts

It’s never been easier to launch a podcast. Got your first podcast created? Now what? Here is a list of places you can post your podcast to – some free – and some not.

Cast Your Pods to the Wind

Podcasts are a rare type of content marketing: Interest in them is steadily growing, people go out of their way to seek out new content, and they’re relatively cheap and easy to produce. B2B marketers are continually challenged to deliver the right content to people in the correct format to earn their attention. If your target audience has a morning commute, a workout schedule, or other quiet time to fill, your podcast may be just what they’re waiting for.

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