Laura McLeod from 99designs knows a thing or two about using podcasts to enhance the prospects of SMEs. Today, she shares her expertise and we hope her tips can give your business a much needed shot in the arm.
Podcasting is enjoying a surge in popularity which means now is the perfect time to start your own podcast to reach out to brand new customers. By mid-2015, the number of unique monthly podcast listeners had risen to 75 million which was triple the 2010 figure.
This comes as no surprise since podcasting provides you with an authentic and intimate way of showcasing your knowledge within your niche. It also enables you to find a core listening base who are more likely to become customers and brand advocates than casual blog readers for example.
Increased Traffic Generation
First and foremost, podcasts give you the capacity to reach new audiences. Best of all, this audience will be ‘targeted’ so your chances of turning listeners into customers or loyalists greatly increases when compared to general written content. After all, how many people will sit down and listen to a podcast for 10+ minutes despite having no interest in the topic? Not many!
Establishing Yourself as an Authority
With hundreds of millions of blogs on the Internet, it appears as if everyone in the world has an opinion on something. The trouble is, there are very few people with detailed knowledge on any given subject. This often means information on a topic is flawed or, just put simply, incorrect.
A podcast gives you a golden opportunity to go into great detail about topics without being restricted by the written word. Not many people will read a thesis length blog post but a large proportion will take 10-15 minutes out of their day to hear a subject close to their heart being properly outlined for a change.
Thanks to podcasting, you can really do your homework on your niche and display this knowledge for the world to hear.
Build a Relationship with your Audience
When people hear your voice, it immediately offers them a better connection than if they were simply reading one of your blogs. Podcasting provides the unique opportunity to form a relationship without ever directly interacting with the second party. Nonetheless, it isn’t unusual for listeners to feel as if they ‘know’ the speaker once they have clocked up a few hours of podcasts.
Additionally, listeners get to hear the passion in your voice when discussing your niche. This passion only helps to boost your reputation and is a great way to ‘hook’ listeners on a long-term basis.
Your podcast provides you with a golden opportunity to network with your fellow professionals. For example, you can feature guest speakers on your show from time to time. As well as growing your own network, you may also benefit from extra listeners as your guest speakers probably have their own loyalists who may decide to tune in. Perhaps some of these ‘guest listeners’ will become full time listeners.
Anatomy of a Good Podcast
Now you’ve decided to delve into the world of podcasting, you need to learn how to do it right!
Don’t try too hard to sound ‘polished’ like a professional newsreader. In fact, this may be off-putting as listeners are tuning in expecting to hear someone they can relate to. The occasional stumble or mistake can actually make the audience like you even more.
Above all, NEVER read from a script. The goal is to sound authentic and relatable so speak from the heart and say what you really feel.
In theory, you could deliver mediocre content and still attract a large audience as long as your delivery is filled with passion. Obviously, you want to stand apart from your rivals so make sure you do your research.
When you look to create podcasts revolving around topics close to your heart, creating regular content will be relatively easy.
It’s easy to go off track due to overexcitement. This causes you to begin rambling and jump from topic to topic without ever really covering anything in depth. While this may seem fun, the whole point of a podcast is to relay detailed information that can’t realistically be placed on a page.
Plan your podcasts in advance and be sure to have a clear direction for every single episode. As well as helping you stay focused, this advanced planning also enables you to market and package the content. A good tip is to have some bullet points in front of you; this keeps you going in the right direction but doesn’t have the same level of restriction as a full script.
If you wish to improve your podcasting skills, consider attending New Media Europe 2016 as it will be filled with experts in the field. You also get the chance to network and learn some tips on growing your business.
Podcasting has only really begun to find its feet. Global Internet penetration is growing rapidly and as more people become glued to their Smartphones, podcasts will probably become the ‘go-to’ source for customers interested in any given niche.
It may never truly replace the written word but it will explode in popularity and if you want to experience rapid business growth, get your finger on the podcast pulse today!
Article By: Laura McLeod
Laura McLeod is the Senior Digital Manager at 99designs, the world’s largest online graphic design marketplace, connecting businesses looking for design work with more than 1,000,000 graphic designers from 192 countries around the world.