In a nutshell, a podcast is a type of broadcast, similar to a radio broadcast, posted on the internet. The difference between a podcast and a radio program is that if you want to put promotional content on the radio, you have to pay dearly for it. With your own podcast, you don’t have to pay anyone to share content.
1. Why should you be interested in podcasting?
The main advantage of podcasts is that they are a relatively recent form of promotion - at least in Europe. In the US, many podcasters have created large, commercial operations based on their broadcasts. Those who understand that producing their own podcast is a good way to promote your business and gain the attention of potential clients have the most to gain. The more so because social media marketing is becoming less and less effective - there’s a lot of competition, so you have to pay more and more often to reach potential clients.
The second important advantage of your own podcast is that it allows you to keep listeners’ and potential clients’ attention. The ubiquitous presence of smartphones and cheap high-speed internet mean that clients have the opportunity to listen to whatever they like, for example when driving a car to work. More and more of them are dropping traditional radio in favour of podcasts. It’s simply much more convenient to listen to the advantages of a business solution than to read a lengthy article on the same topic.
Another advantage of podcasts worth mentioning is that there are many platforms - called podcast aggregators - that host podcasts for free. That mean you don’t have to worry about distributing your programs - the aggregator does it for you. Potential clients may not know anything about you, but thanks to the podcast aggregator, they can listen to your programs and find you from there. So, it’s simply another channel to reach clients, but at virtually no cost.
2. What should you talk about?
The worst technique for acquiring clients using podcasts is intrusively advertising your own products. Nobody will listen to what you have to say if your podcasts are just commercials, like: “Hello, today we’re going to discuss how wonderful our product is and where you can buy it.”
You have to intrigue listeners by presenting useful information, focus on consulting, answering frequently asked questions from clients, etc. In other words, you have to offer listeners a value that will make them listen to the program until the end and wait for the next episode. A very good technique for attracting listeners is to invite interesting guests and talk to them about a topic that in one way or another refers to your product or service.
If, for example, you sell insurance, it’s worth telling listeners what issues they should pay attention to when choosing a policy in order to avoid problems with receiving compensation. If you sell mobile phones, you could create a podcast discussing the advantages and disadvantages of individual models. If you sell fireplaces, tell your listeners how to choose a fireplace for their home.
- Where do I publish podcasts?
There are two ways to publish podcasts on the internet. One of them is to upload them to your website, on your own server. The advantage of that is that you don’t have to pay anything extra. That is, unless you eventually use up all your storage space and have to expand the server. The disadvantage is that the podcast will be hard to distribute because it will be harder to find than if you used an aggregator. To use an aggregator, you have to set up an RSS feed, which is a specially-created address that directs the aggregator to your podcast files.
A much better way to publish podcasts is to upload them to a special podcasting website. Such websites usually offer free versions; however, they are generally limited as compared to the paid versions, and often limit the combined podcast length. For example, if the free version offers two hours, you can upload eight 15-minute episodes before having to pay. Fortunately, the paid versions of these sites are not expensive. I personally use the SoundCloud platform, whose full commercial version costs just nine euros per month. For that much, I can upload as many podcasts as I like to my own channel, created on the site. In addition, each podcast uploaded to one of these platforms has a unique link that you can share on your website or social media channels. Podcast platforms also have the advantage of automatically generating the RSS feeds, meaning aggregators can easily find and distribute your podcast without any additional effort on your part.