5 Ways Podcasting Can Ramp Up Your Content Marketing Strategy
If you don't know about podcasts or podcasting—or don't get why everyone seems to be talking about them—odds are you soon will. In this mid & post-COVID business environment we find ourselves in, podcasting can help businesses maintain the crucial top-of-mind visibility needed to remain viable and competitive.
Audio content is taking the marketing world by storm. Consumers in larger numbers every year are listening to podcasts. Consider for example these podcasting metrics from Convince and Convert:
- More than half of Americans over the age of 12 (about 144 million) have listened to a podcast, 32% listen at least once a month—and about 25% listen to a podcast every week
- The number of Americans who listen to at least 1 podcast every week is four times the number who watched the final season premiere of Game of Thrones
- The most avid podcast fans listen to at least 7 podcasts a week
- Consumers who listen to podcasts are generally higher income (most make in excess of $75,000 a year)
- More than half of listeners say they're more likely to buy the products they hear advertised on a podcast (and almost 20% say they're "much more likely")
These statistics were all curated before the world turned upside down amidst the COVID lockdowns. With people restricted more and more to their homes, podcasting is only growing in demand and popularity.
WHAT EXACTLY IS PODCASTING?
Well, to begin, "podcast" is a portmanteau of two words—iPod and broadcast, but it's much more than that if you want to understand its appeal. In one recent survey of podcast enthusiasts, for example, the four words people used most frequently to describe podcasts were:
- Niche; and
- Talk radio.
But the whole of what podcasts are is a good deal more the sum of its constituent appeals. Perhaps the best definition of what podcasting is all about comes from Podcast Insights, as follows:
"It's all of your favorite blogs, shows, and topics (some you didn't even know you'd enjoy!) wrapped up in a huge hub of recordings (Apple Podcasts, etc) that you can explore, download and listen to on your own time. In the car, at work, at home, working out, anywhere. If you can Google it, there's probably a Podcast about it!"
HOW CAN PODCASTING HELP YOUR BUSINESS?
A wide variety of organizations push out podcasts—everything from large enterprise companies to small, local businesses as well as individuals, radio and television networks, churches and podcast-only networks (like Gimlet). That's because the format is both extremely versatile and extremely appealing to diverse audiences.
And that means local businesses like yours are also getting onto the podcasting bandwagon. Specifically, podcasts can do the following 5 things for your small, local business:
1. THEY CAN PROMOTE YOUR EXPERTISE
Done right, podcasting can establish you as an authority in your business. If you're a local landscaper, you can talk about how to prepare your listeners' plants and shrubs for the winter. If you're a contractor, you can talk about the cost-saving value of proper insulation. By showing how well you know your business, a podcast can make you the person your listeners call when they have questions and problems.
2. THEY CAN HUMANIZE YOU
Your voice on audio, perhaps answering an interviewer's questions, will convey the nuances of your messaging in a way text alone simply can't (how, for example, do you effectively convey humor or caring in a blog?). Effective inbound marketing is all about building trust—about creating an indelible connection between you and prospective customers. A podcast that addresses issues they care about in a personal and human manner is one of the best ways to create that connection and build that trust.
3. THEY CAN NURTURE YOUR LEADS
Many podcasts are offered in a series format, with a set of pieces all on a single subject pushed out over time (or pushed out all at once to accommodate binge podcast listeners). Say, for example, yours is a car repair business. You could create a podcast series on the most common car repair problems consumers encounter and how to fix them. This will give you the opportunity to talk about the repair services your business offers. As you do so, you'll be moving leads unobtrusively and naturally through the buyer's journey, from window shoppers to loyal customers.
RELATED: Read more by Nachum Langsner.
4. THEY CAN POLISH YOUR BRAND
A well-designed podcast is one of the best ways to reinforce and extend the reach of your brand. From articulating your value proposition to capturing your tone of voice, a podcast can bring your brand down to earth, making it tangible, approachable, and real. If you take the time to do your podcast right, it can make your brand a "household name" in a way other types of content can't do nearly so well.
5. THEY CAN BOOST YOUR SEO STRATEGY
An effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is all about creating valuable, consumer-friendly content. You can do that with things like blogs and how-to videos—but you can also use smart SEO strategies that will increase the ranking of your podcasts in iTunes and Google Play to drive more traffic to your website. Among the most effective podcast SEO strategies are:
- creating a podcast headline that includes your most important keywords, matches your podcast content and makes clear what your podcast is about;
- optimizing your RSS feed (this will syndicate your podcast on the major podcast platforms);
- encouraging external links to your website (based on the authority of your podcast); and
- recycling content from your best podcasts as blogs, articles, videos, slide presentations and infographics.
HOW HARD ARE PODCASTS TO SET UP?
Many local marketers understand how a good podcast can help them hit their key marketing targets but, because they're not familiar with them, assume podcasts must be difficult to set up. In fact, podcasting is relatively simple and easy. All you really need is a computer with a voice recorder (a high-quality microphone is a good idea). For best results, you should also get some strong audio editing software. Once your podcast is produced, you'll want to maximize your number of listeners by distributing it on iTunes and top podcast directories.
One of the great things about inbound marketing is that it effectively levels the playing field, making it easier for small, local businesses like yours to compete with the big guys on the block. A key to inbound marketing success is a smart content marketing strategy—and in this mid to post-COVID world, podcasting can be a critical component of that strategy. Of course, some of the nuances of inbound marketing can be a bit complicated—one of the reasons your best bet is to partner with a forward-leaning digital marketing agency who can give you the guidance you need to succeed.
Nachum Langsner is the Co-Founder and CMO of LocalBizGuru. He has over 10+ years of experience in the SEO industry and is a frequent presenter and instructor of SEO seminars for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Cleveland area for organizations such as Jumpstart, the Better Business Bureau, COSE, Score and the Ohio SBDC at CSU.
Learn more about LocalBizGuru's local search, content marketing, site audit and repair, listings optimization, and review generation services—and see how they can help you generate more leads, boost conversions, increase profitability and grow.