Should you start a podcast for your company?
To podcast or not to podcast? That is indeed the question. It seems these days just about everyone and their mum has a show on Soundcloud, and if they don’t, they’re actively talking about it at the pub with at least three separate friend groups.
It’s a cluttered market, yet the allure of the podcast is undeniable. Some people are making millions from their show and in the process turning themselves into celebrities and well-respected experts.
Is it time for you to join in the fun? In this article we’re going to answer the question of whether you should start a podcast for your business, and some of the benefits therein. BUT, we’re also going to tell you in which circumstances you shouldn’t start one, because this medium is very much not for everyone.
Part 1: Should your company start a podcast?
Let’s answer the question before we bog you down with a wall of text. If you want to know the fine details, keep reading. But if you just want a quick yes or no, this is for you.
- Why to start a podcast: Podcasts are cost-effective community and reputation builders, and these two things underpin all top-of-field content marketing efforts. Plus, loads of people listen to them so the audience potential is big – a third of SMB owners listen to podcasts, and as many as three quarters of people from major businesses (both stats from a Bredin Inc Slideshare).
- Why not to start a podcast: Compared to other forms of content, podcasts are time-consuming to make, slow to get started, and slow to grow. The learning curve is steep and it takes more energy to keep publishing. Most people just don’t have that kind of time.
So, do you have time or can you create time to host a valuable, high-quality podcast released on a regular schedule? Are community growth and thought leadership important goals for your company?
The answer might be yes.
In all other cases, think carefully before committing money to the project. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you, but you definitely need to do more research (like reading the rest of this article!).
Part 2: Business benefits of a podcast
1. Brand authority
Someone who has engaged with educational content marketing is 29 times more likely to buy the sponsor’s product than someone exposed to traditional advertising, according to a Powered Inc study.
Online education is a big builder of trust, and podcasts are tools for teaching. Yes many are about entertainment, but in the business world a podcast is a wonderful way to teach people something new, or educate them about their industry in more broad terms (like sharing news or addressing controversy).
As we know in content marketing, education equals trust, and trust equals brand authority.
Education equals trust, and trust equals brand authority.
2. Community building
A successful podcast has a dedicated following – people who listen regularly. When you grow your podcast, you’re growing the size and dedication of this audience.
In marketing terms this can work the same way as a mailing list. Your audience’s commitment to your brand sits somewhere in the middle of the sales funnel.
This creates an excellent opportunity to gently pitch your services or other pieces of content during a podcast episode. While you don’t want to break the illusion of education (which sales talk is wont to do), you could, for example, bring up an ebook you wrote recently if it’s relevant to the discussion.
3. Relatively cost effective
There are some costs at the outset of starting a podcast, but once you’re sailing it becomes quite cost effective.
You’ll need to buy a good microphone, or even better, multiple microphones (so you can have plenty of guests each with good sound quality). For a good mid-range mic that will sound professional without costing thousands, look at around the AU$150-$250 range. Blue Yeti is a popular brand.
Where you record may also require some setup. If the room in which you record has bare, hard walls, a similar ceiling and not much furniture, it could be very echoey. Having each host sit close to their mic is a good first step in reducing this (and it’s free), but you may want to invest in some acoustic foam padding as well.
Once you have those, though, you’re basically set. There may be additional costs here and there (like promoting on social media), but it will typically always be quite minor.
Part 3: Tips for growing a podcast audience
Part 4: Reasons NOT to launch a podcast
1. Time and energy
Podcasts take time. First you have to brainstorm and plan the episode, then gather each speaker (and the host, if this person isn’t you), set up and test the equipment, record the episode, edit it, transcribe it, then publish.
The host of the show must have a strong, likeable personality and be knowledgeable about their topic. This energy must be maintained throughout each episode, and their interactions with guests must be smooth and natural.
It’s a lot to think about, remember, and do, especially if you are releasing episodes weekly.
Podcasts are a lot to think about, remember and do.
2. Lots of people are already doing it
Podcasting isn’t exactly new. On iTunes alone there are over 500,000 active shows. So if you’re only starting now, you’ve got a lot of promo work to do in order to be seen.
One additional issue with podcasts is that, as they are typically quite long, it’s not something someone can digest rapidly as they scroll through social media. Each episode requires commitment, so yours must not only stand out in order to be even found, it must stand out enough that someone will commit to listening.
3. Slow to grow
If community growth and brand authority are your goals, you could achieve the same outcomes with different content types. Blogging or videos, for example. Podcasts can be slower to grow due to the two reasons we mentioned above.
These alternative content types may not necessarily create the same level of dedicated fanbase, but for a business trying to generate leads or sales, they’re still highly effective.
So really, for a podcast to be right for your business, you need to have not only the ideal goals in mind, but you must really want to do a podcast.
Of course, your efforts could hugely pay off (big fan base, well-educated audience for your sales team, and you might make money off ad revenue), but you have to put in a lot of work to get to that point.