A podcast can help with customer acquisition and retention. It can provide reusable content. And it’s one of the simplest ways to launch content marketing.
When a business — ecommerce, direct-to-consumer, omnichannel, B2B — starts its own branded podcast, it seeks to attract, engage, and retain an audience of customers and prospects.
As with any marketing effort, podcasting is a process to be planned and executed, starting with clear objectives.
Many small and mid-sized businesses do not have the personnel who can research and write articles. But they can talk about their passion and products — no typing or grammar required.
This does not, however, mean that podcasting is easy. One of its greatest challenges is consistency (more on this in a moment).
Some number of episodes in — say 10, for example — you may ask if podcasting is worth it. It is paying off?
So before you start, set clear, measurable objectives. Know the key performance indicators and what you expect from them in three months, six months, or a year.
Ideally, a podcast is part of your business’s overall marketing strategy. For example, you might use the SOSTAC framework to build your overall plan and include podcasting as one of the tactics.
Then do it.
“How to start a successful podcast? I think the key is right there in the question. You’ve got to start. You don’t want to get caught up in the research, in the development. Don’t get me wrong. You want to research and develop, but the concept of a minimally viable product certainly applies to podcasting,” said Matt Brechwald, who is a seasoned podcaster and podcasting consultant.
“Get started and then pledge to create good content. But it has to be regularly produced, it has got to be reliable…so your audience count on it,” said Brechwald, who was speaking during a live interview with the CommerceCo by Practical Ecommerce community.
The first podcast episode your business produces will not be your best. On the contrary, Brechwald believes podcasts get better with age. You will improve at planning, scheduling, and producing each episode.
This is good news since podcasting as an industry and as a form of content marketing is very focused on the now, on the moment. Or, Brechwald put it, “on what have you done for me lately.”
This means that once your podcast has momentum and traction, no one is going to stop listening because the sound on your first episode was terrible.
So just start.
No podcast is too focused on a niche, according to Brechwald. In fact, a very specific niche may be better and more effective at achieving your company’s content marketing objectives.
“Think about the concept of gaining a platform among all the different voices in your particular industry,” said Brechwald.
“A niche will accelerate growth. If you become the only voice devoted to that niche, then when people search for information and they find your podcast, all of a sudden you’re an expert,” Brechwald said.
Thus select niche topics that make sense for the customers your business serves and the products it sells.
If your company makes vegan meat replacements, your niche podcast could focus on ending animal cruelty or on steps to improve the environment.
If your company sells handheld power tools, your podcast niche might be about running a small construction business. It could cover topics such as taxes and marketing.
Now go find your niche.
Podcasting requires consistency.
“I am never going to tell my audience that I am going to do something for them and not deliver. I said, ‘I am going to produce a show every Friday.’ I’ve never missed,” stated Brechwald, whose primary podcast, “Off-farm Income,” has more than 1,100 episodes.
So make a commitment — for example, one podcast each week for three months. And don’t miss an episode.
Brechwald believes that successful podcasts develop processes for planning, scheduling, and promoting each episode.
If, for example, your podcast uses an interview format, develop a process for identifying, contacting, and scheduling guests.
Then create a process for promotion. Here is one scenario.
For each episode:Publish the podcast on Apple and Spotify. Create a full transcript and publish it as a blog post. Generate six short quotes to use on social media. Schedule those social media posts over the next three months.
Try to improve each step.