Podcasting continues to steadily grow in popularity. This can mean big wins for those of you trying to promote your business, service, or product.
Consider the following facts according to Edison Research:
- Listenership is growing. 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast. That is up 11 percent from 2016.
- Listenership is consistent. 67 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly and 42 million Americans listen weekly. The number of monthly listeners is up 14 percent from last year.
- Podcast listening growth is steady. Year-to-year growth ranges between 10 to 20 percent. In addition, Edison’s findings show the increase in both car-based listening and in-home listening with devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
- Podcast Listeners are dedicated. Podcast fans listen to an average of five shows per week and subscribe to an average of 6 different shows. Also, 85 percent of fans listen to the entire show.
So what does this mean to the average business owner or entrepreneur? Opportunity.
Starting a podcast, specifically a branded podcast, can have wildly positive effects for your business.
What’s special about a branded podcast?
It’s a lot like a regular podcast except it’s designed with the specific personality and goals of your business in mind. It’s a way to naturally represent your mission and they resonate with your target audience.
Specifically, hosting your company’s own branded podcast will help you to:
- Build authority
- Gain access to new audiences
- Learn more about your target audience
In late 2012, my wife, cousin, and I decided to start a board game publishing company. The problem: we didn’t really know what we were doing and no one knew who we were. Our solution was to start a podcast.
We wanted to give back before asking anyone to support us. We also needed to learn. Thus, the “Boardgames and Business Podcast” was born. Every episode focused on the business-side of board games. We interviewed game designers, graphic designers, illustrators, publishers, manufacturers, and distributors. We rubbed elbows with every major player that made the existence of board games possible.
Then a funny thing happened. We went from three people talking about board games in my basement to industry experts. We were recognized as authorities in the space within a few seasons of associating with known industry leaders.
According to an article from Entrepreneur, “Association is one of the most powerful tactics.” The article explains that uber-famous people like Oprah, Tim Ferriss, and Tony Robbins relied heavily on association to grow their careers.
Action item: What do you want to be known for? Who are the established leaders in that field or industry? Use your branded podcast to associate with those people and begin to establish yourself as an industry leader.
The second piece of building authority has to do with social proof. I run an eCommerce consulting agency and one of the main services we offer is branded podcast production. One of our clients is Conversio, an all-in-one eCommerce marketing dashboard. We’ve been producing their podcast, One Stop Shop, and are approaching our third season.
The focus of the cast is simple, we interview the users of Conversio’s software. We have them on the show to discuss their eCommerce businesses and to help inspire other eCommerce business owners.
One major perk of interviewing Conversio’s own users is that we typically get positive stories and recommendations for Conversio’s product on every episode. The best part is it’s always organic. We don’t ask; the interviewees just share their experiences.
Sources from Kissmetrics to Optinmonster continue to stress the importance of social proof to help build brand authority. That’s why brands have case studies, reviews, testimonies, celebrity endorsements, and more.
Conversio receives consistent and organic social proof because of the One Stop Shop podcast.
Action Item: How can you make your branded podcast result in natural, positive social proof? How can you encourage your listeners to believe in your brand?
Gain Access to New Audiences
The majority of businesses need to reach and convert new audiences to be successful. This means you need a marketing strategy.
Traditional marketing like ads (digital, audio, whatever) are typically intrusive and unwanted. Producing a branded podcast allows you to interact with your audience in a meaningful way and develop ongoing relationships.
Ads and calls-to-action in podcasts are more accepted and acted on. According to articles from Wells Fargo and Adweek, two-thirds of listeners act on ads, and people prefer ads in podcasts over any other digital medium.
Even so, I believe running a branded podcast has much more opportunity than traditional marketing strategies. It allows you to tailor content directly to the people you want to attract. We wanted to sell board games so we made a podcast about board games. Conversio promotes their eCommerce services for business owners with a podcast about eCommerce tips for business owners. Our agency is launching a podcast that will naturally drive our target audience back to our services and products.
The list goes on.
Your podcast is your company’s voice and a natural way for listeners to learn about your company. It’s a less-intrusive and shareable way to get the word out about your business. Plus, it’s only going to get better.
Podcast listenership is consistently growing year-to-year. It’s not a hot trend that will disappear; it’s a fundamental way that people consume media.
The better and more helpful you make your podcast, the more listeners are going to find you.
Action Item: Who is the target audience you are trying to reach? What content would interest them and make them want to listen to your cast?
Learn More About Your Target Audience
A podcast can teach you more about your audience than you ever thought possible. The beauty of interviews done well is they connect you to another human’s story. They are no longer a number, statistic, or data figure. They are a person with real problems and victories.
A branded podcast can give you an avenue to unlock the truth about your audience.
This is what Aleana, my co-host from One Stop Shop and customer specialist at Conversio, had to say about interviewing her own customers,
“This podcast taught me more about our customers than any hard data could have. It’s a completely different experience when you get to hear your customers’ stories as they tell them. You learn about their beginnings, their fears, their hopes. You share their little joys and victories, and you connect with them on a level that you simply couldn’t achieve with a survey. Highly recommended.”
Hosting a branded podcast helps you understand the problem your customer needs solved. You can see what your customer needs more clearly when you listen to them. When you start to identify similar problems after seasons of interviews, it’s much easier to determine what the next product, service, or feature should be.
Branded podcasts also help you understand what information your audience wants to know. You’ll also begin to see what your audience wants to learn about when they describe their struggles or with the questions they ask. This information will help you decide what kind of topics to focus on for your next blog post/podcast/ebook/video/etc.
Action Item: If you could find out anything about your ideal customer, what would it be? What kinds of questions would you need to ask? What topics would you need to focus on? What do you want your audience to know about your business? How could you convey that in a podcast?
Bonus Reason for Starting a Branded Podcast: Better Customer Experiences
Customer experience continues to be a growth opportunity according to the 2016 Digital Marketing Trends Report. Customers appreciate when you give them a platform to be heard and celebrated. They feel more connected to you and your company as a result of you spending time and talking with them.
There are many ways to determine if a new marketing tactic or strategy is worth the investment of time, money, and resources. It might be sales, customer retention, total impressions, or knowledge gained. Branded podcasts can meet all of those objectives when done well.
I’ve been able to watch branded podcasts payout for the companies I work with and for my own businesses over the past several years. If branded podcasting interested you or could help your business, I recommend adding one to your marketing strategy.
Action Item: How could a podcast improve your customer’s experience?
Want help starting a branded podcast?
Consider working with us.