Content Marketing 101 - Make Your Own Podcast

Luke Gorski on Social Media Marketing

podcastYou’ve learned about creating written content and video content. In today’s lesson, you will answer the question most marketing departments are asking today: should our company have a podcast?

Audio content is quickly becoming a growing part of your buyers’ digital lives. And podcasts are the king of audio. But how easy is it to start a podcast?

Can any company record interviews with relevant thought leaders, upload it to iTunes or Stitcher, and call it a day? (The answer is no.)

After reading this lesson, you will learn:

  • What is a podcast?

  • Practical benefits of having a podcast

  • How to start your company podcast

What is a podcast?

If you’re reading this article, you are already familiar with podcasting. A podcast is the most popular form of audio content and has replaced the radio, paving the new way for audio consumption. Perhaps most importantly, podcasts are consumed using mobile devices.

The most popular podcasts are entertaining (think This American Life’s Serial), educational (think the New York Times’ The Daily), motivational (think Ryan Niddel’s 15 Minutes To Freedom), and inspirational (think NPR’s How I Built This).

But is podcasting the right medium for a company trying to increase its sales? Yes! Even if your product or service is in a space that isn’t very exciting to your buyers, creating solutions to problems is exciting. Creatively brainstorming how to storytell around solutions is what allowed Organize 365 and Off Leash K9 Training to create top-ranking podcasts around topics that don’t seem native to audio content.

The key is to begin storytelling around the solutions your buyers are seeking.

Practical benefits of having a podcast

On a practical level, a podcast offers many ways to help your company meet its marketing objectives. Creating a successful podcast can:

  • Increase brand awareness

  • Add new revenue streams (advertising)

  • Drive traffic to your website

  • Increase social media following

  • Provide valuable content to potential buyers

How to start your company podcast

1. Selecting hosting for your podcast

One of the most important parts of creating your podcast will be its hosting. Audio files take up a lot of storage, and hosting them incorrectly can result in slow download speeds for your listeners and potential buyers. Slow downloading and frequent buffering can lead to missed opportunities.

Your storage requirements will depend on how many podcast episodes you will create and how long each episode will be. The longer the episode, the larger the audio file, and the bigger your storage needs.

To ensure your listeners can easily download your podcast episodes, ensure you are hosting on a media server that supports streaming. Here are some popular options to consider:

  • Libsyn ($15+ / month)

  • Podomatic (Free)

  • Buzzsprout ($12+ / month)

  • SoundCloud ($15 / month)

  • Your Website Server

2. Find podcast niche and style

Once you’ve decided how you will be hosting your podcast, you will need to plan what your podcast content will offer to your buyers.

What can you share with your buyer that they would find interesting? What if the most interesting thing is not talking about your product or service? What if, instead, your buyers would be more interested in hearing a story about how your startup launched (like Startup)? Or learning about how to manage work-life balance (like Tim Ferriss)? Or hearing interviews with accomplished industry leaders (like How I Built This)?

Will creating a podcast about an unrelated topic – unrelated here means not a soft advertisement for your product or service – provide a measurable ROI for your business? The answer is yes.

Having a podcast builds an audience with which you can communicate on a regular basis. A successful podcast serves as the doorway that leads listeners and potential buyers to your website, your social channels, and email lists.

Here are some popular styles of podcasts to explore when planning your company podcast:

  • The interview podcast

  • The storytelling podcast

  • The how-to podcast

  • The news podcast

  • The combination (of the above styles) podcast

3. Record and edit your podcast

Audio and production quality influence how long buyers will listen to your podcast. Your podcast should be free of sound distortions, wind noise, and muffled voices.

Your quality will depend on your recording equipment and the editing software. Audio equipment like this (non-affiliate link) provides you with great audio quality and can record a conversation or interview between two participants (four if you purchase extra microphones).

Editing your podcast is equally important to sound quality, and can be done with Apple’s Garageband (Free), Adobe’s Audition ($19.99/month), or free open-source software like Audacity. An example of how to edit your podcast might be:

  1. Intro jingle or short clip from episode to serve as a hook

  2. Short podcast introduction for first-time listeners

  3. Informative portion of podcast

  4. Call-to-action to subscribe and leave feedback

  5. Preview of next episode

Equally important is your cover art. Your buyers will use your podcast cover to understand what your podcast is about. Invest sufficient time to create a compelling cover art, ensuring it is at least 1400 x 1400 pixels.

4. Create show notes to podcast descriptions

Each podcast episode can and should have a description. To make it easier for your listeners to find any products, websites, or links mentioned in a podcast episode, include these in your podcast description. These are often referred to as “show notes”.

To enter a podcast description, you will need to input it into your XML text document. Keep in mind that any links you insert into episode descriptions will only be clickable on mobile devices.

5. Create your RSS XML text file

Podcast apps will find your podcast by following a link you submit when publishing your podcast. That link will go to an RSS feed. An RSS feed is a text file that organizes links (cover art, audio files) and descriptions (title, subtitle, date published, episode description, etc.) into a cohesive guide that “podcatchers” (the apps that stream your podcast: iTunes, Stitcher, Acast, etc.) use to update new episodes and feature your podcast in their archives.

If you host your podcast with a podcast hosting company like Libsyn, your RSS feed will automatically update when you upload and describe each podcast episode.

If you are hosting your podcast on your own server, you will need to manually update your RSS feed each time you upload a new episode. Here is an example XML document to use as your podcast RSS feed

6. Publish your podcast

Once you have your first podcast episodes recorded, your RSS link live, and your cover art finalized, you can begin adding your podcast to popular podcast apps, also know as “podcatchers”.

Use the following guide to submit your RSS feed to the most popular podcasts here.

7. Marketing your podcast

Once your podcast is published, you will have 8 weeks to rank it in the New & Noteworthy section on iTunes for your selected category. After those 8 weeks, your podcast will no longer be considered new.

Apple and other popular podcatchers rank new podcasts based on the amount of listens, reviews, and comments they receive. If your podcast is consistently growing its listenership, you have a very good chance of landing the coveted New & Noteworthy spot on Apple Podcasts and other podcatchers. To help with this, use other available marketing channels to create awareness amongst your existing buyers. Ask them to listen and review your podcast using your email newsletter.

To drive listeners to your podcast, create a post on social media, feature your podcast in an updated Facebook cover photo (or video), and add a podcast link to your Instagram profile. If you have the budget for it, run paid campaigns using Facebook ads to create awareness to a targeted group of potential buyers.

Now that you have audio content, you can repurpose your podcast into short audio clips to use on SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instagram. You can video record podcast recording sessions to reuse as video content across your social channels. Transcribe podcast episodes and repurpose them as written pieces of content. Whatever you share, the idea, as always, is to add value to your buyers’ lives.

When is the best time to start a podcast?

There is no time like the present. The worst time to start a podcast is when you use it as a vehicle to promote an upcoming product or service launch. This may sound counterintuitive, but a podcast must be consistent and it must provide value.

We have found that when podcasting becomes a marketing tactic - a way to promote a product instead of adding value - rarely does it reach its full potential because once the product launch ends, so too does enthusiasm for the podcast.

So when is the best time to launch a podcast? When you can commit to being consistent with your content creation, and when you can commit to adding real value to your buyers. To learn more about content marketing and the importance of adding value, read our content marketing guide here.

 

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