Podcasting is a great way to increase sales and profits. If you are willing to be a guest, or tackle a little technology, you can offer podcasts to those people in your niche who enjoy listening to radio shows, audiobooks, and audio how-to information.
What is a podcast?
A podcast takes the name from the iPod portable audio file player, but you can listen to podcasts anywhere. Think of it as online radio on demand. You can listen to a podcast live, or download the recording onto your computer or any device that plays audio files such as MP3 files.
Around 70% of people are visual learners, it is true, but a lot of people are busy and don’t always have time to sit at their computer and watch instructional videos or news broadcasts. Some people love radio. Others prefer audiobooks. Podcasts downloaded onto a storage device are highly portable and can offer exactly the kind of information a person wants and needs a they drive to work, jog, and more.
The secret of online marketing these days is to go where your audience is, which means marketing in multiple channels. Podcasting is also ideal for people who might struggle to write well or type quickly enough to get all their thoughts down to share with their target audience. We can all speak a lot faster than we can type.
In most cases, you can use the equipment you already have, namely, a computer with a built-in microphone to record your voice. However, most built-in microphones don’t offer the best sound quality or suppress background noise. If you choose to use a built-in mic, make sure to podcast in a quiet room, away from appliances and noisy outdoor areas, such as roadways. Your laptop or computer fan may also contribute to the noise.
A quality digital microphone that plugs into one of your USB ports is highly recommended. Depending on your needs and preferences, the cost can be around $100 or more.
If you are accustomed to speaking to groups, you might be able to keep “Um” and “Uh” to a minimum. However, if you’re like everyone else, you’ll definitely need access to an audio editor to remove some of the pauses or other annoyances that detract from the audio. But you can also add music, promos, and intros with the editor, as well.
Audacity is one of the most popular and full-featured editors available. It is well maintained. It has a variety of plugins and features. And best of all, it is completely free.
Podcasting Storage and Sharing
Audio files can be quite large, so having a place to store them online is a good idea. Google Drive gives you 15MB of free storage to start with so you can archive all your work without filling your hard drive.
Because the files are large, it is a bad idea to host them on your website for visitors to enjoy. The files can eat up a lot of bandwidth on your hosting server and the playback can be very poor. Uploading the file to a popular audio sharing site is a much better idea. SoundCloud is an affordable option, with unlimited uploads for one low annual fee.
Think of SoundCloud as the YouTube of audio files rather than video files. People share files on SoundCloud because it is safe, secure, and is easy to link to. Listeners are also able to share and comment on the files.
You can link to your file at your website, and your social media accounts. The link would look like this: https://soundcloud.com/eternalspiral/become-an-expert-in-your-niche?in=eternalspiral/sets/online-marketing-help
You can also create an embed code that will create a little player in any webpage, or on your blog, so all they have to do is click on the Play arrow to start listening. Because the file is hosted at a professional sharing site, your audience should have a great listening experience.
Useful Podcasting Features
SoundCloud allows you to publish your content on popular sites such as iTunes. If you create regular weekly podcasts, people will be able to subscribe to them, which helps to grow your audience. Podcasting allows you to position yourself as an expert in your niche. If you are a guest on a podcast, for example, giving an interview, you can use the embed code at your site to marketing yourself as someone worth paying attention to.
We are judged by the company we keep, so appearing on the show of a big name in your niche can get you the attention and traffic you’ve been yearning for.
Those who love your show might even syndicate it, that is, put your embed code at their site because they are sure their niche audience will be so interested in what you have to say.
Podcasting as a Marketing Tool
Podcasting gives you the chance to talk about your latest book, your newest product launch, and more. It helps you connect with your target audience through the spoken word, so you don’t have to spend hours creating articles at blogs and websites.
However, there will be some writing, which is essential for marketing effectively. The goal is to build your brand and online presence to get subscribers and make sales. The first thing you will need is a great title.
Your title should speak to the needs of your target audience, offering them helpful how-to type information.
What keywords related to your niche will help your target audience find you and want to listen to what you have to say?
Length of Time
Lots of people on the go want “snackable content” they can consume quickly. Decide whether 15 to 30 minutes makes sense for you, and how many topics you plan to cover.
Introduction and Sign Off
Every podcast should introduce you and your show. Every sign off at the end should remind them to look out for your next podcast. Record these and splice them onto the beginning and end of every podcast you create.
Frequency and Consistency
If you are going to commit to doing a podcast, you need to commit to it and create new content on a regular schedule, such as once a week. This will help your target audience start to look forward to your next show.
If you are very good technically, you might be happy adding introductory jingles and other fancy features, but they will take more time to edit. There is nothing wrong with a spoken, word-only podcast, as long as you’ve got some interesting things to say. However, adding other sections can be beneficial to listeners and more profitable for you.
Music and Jingles
Remember that most music you find online is copyrighted unless otherwise stated. But there are people who release short, royalty-free tracks without expecting any money. It would be nice to give them a link back in the program credits.
Create a robust profile related to your business at the podcast sharing site, such as SoundCloud, in the same way you would at any other social media site. Include a logo, header image, and content that shows you or your business are worth paying attention to.
Podcast Cover Art
Your podcast will be given a thumbnail image similar to a CD cover, so create an attractive one that captures what you are going to be talking about. Use one of your own photos, or create your cover image using royalty-free photos from sites like Pixabay. It should be square and around 1000 x 1000 pixels. Smaller ones will usually get distorted when they appear on your podcasting home page.
Content Creation Ideas
The content should be interesting enough to hold the listeners’ attention and keep them coming back for more. Brainstorm things you wish you had known when you were first starting out in your niche. Include topics specific to different segments of your audience, such as beginners, intermediates, and advanced members.
You can use previously written blog posts and other content. Since it will be in audio format, you won’t have to worry about getting hit with a duplicate content penalty from Google.
Being a guest on a podcast is fun. Once you start to master the skills, there’s no reason you can’t invite people to return the favor. This will keep things exciting for your audience, and you should get an increase in listeners, if you encourage your guests to tell their followers to check out the show.
Your show notes can serve as marketing material that entices people to listen. They should have keywords that will make the notes searchable and entice listeners to tune in.
Every page should also have a link to a landing page at you site that is related to the topic of the podcast. This will drive more traffic to your site, so they have a chance to get to know you better.
If the landing page is a squeeze page, where visitors can sign up for a free item, make sure the freebie is something worth having, and worth telling others about. A free e-course via email is always popular and is one of the best ways to get your listeners onto your email-marketing list. Once they are on your list, you can build a relationship with them over time.
The e-course you offer should be useful and provide solutions or additional knowledge on a topic of interest. Each email should have a call to action link at the bottom directing the reader to a product related to something mentioned within that email.
You can also make sales via the podcast by briefly discussing an item like ads on the radio. If you are launching a brand-new product, take a few minutes to introduce it as well as discuss features and benefits. This is an excellent way to boost sales and keep your target audience updated about beneficial products and services.
Quiet Work Space and Time
Try to cut down background noise as much as possible, such as kid yelling and dogs barking. It might be a good idea to record when no one else is around. A dedicated workspace also means you won’t have to set up from scratch every time you want to create a new show.
This will be more complicated, but might also give you big results. Let them contact you via email with questions and program suggestion. Include a little Q and A spot every week. It makes them feel you care about what they want and need. It also gives you lots of ideas about what the people in your niche are interested in and can help inspire you if you’re not sure what you should podcast about next.
Some podcasters also have people phone in to contribute. However, when you are first starting out, you won’t have an audience, so this is something you can consider much later down the line if you feel you need more interactivity and can set a day and time you will be in the studio taking, replying to and recording the calls.