Podcasts really aren’t that different from any other kind of radio programme: the only difference is that podcast creators distribute the episodes of their programme over the Internet for everyone to listen to rather than using a traditional radio station.
Podcasting, by nature, is done in a ‘do it yourself’ format, therefore they vary greatly in quality. Some are recorded in professional studios, others in nice home studios with great microphones. Meanwhile, there are others recorded with a mobile phone or with a cheap microphone.
Some are hosted by people with great radio voices; others are hosted by people who are understandably nervous. After all, it’s still worth listening to a podcast by someone who is doing it because they love the topic they’re talking about.
Podcasting is now serious business, and for some bloggers, the traffic from search engines like iTunes is catching up to the likes of Google. Supplementing your regular written content with an audio podcast show can be a very smart idea.
What are Podcasts?
So: what are podcasts and how can they benefit you? According to Apple, podcasts are “usually original audio shows, consisting of individual episodes on a variety of topics which millions of people around the world can enjoy anytime and anywhere.”
Podcasts can be downloaded and listened to either on a computer or any Mp3 player. The term, which was coined in 2004, is a blend of the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. People commonly describe podcasts as on-demand internet radio talks.
These tracks are typically audio recordings of a conversation between a host and a guest speaker, just like the ones you can listen to on the radio. A podcast can also be a single monologue of a person sharing his or her thoughts.
The topics of the content can practically be anything from business and marketing to travel and yoga and so on. The most popular topics for podcasts vary from travel and cooking to education and lifestyle. The key to podcasting is finding a topic to cater to a large demographic.
On the other hand, you can find a more specific topic and cater to a niche demographic. This strategy would provide you with loyal listeners, though not the larger group of listeners. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can make and freely distribute podcasts, making it an inclusive and vibrant medium.
In the early days of podcasting, it was largely an amateur concern – the internet’s answer to CB radio. However, in the last few years, dozens of major broadcasters, magazines, and news organisations have rolled out large-scale podcast operations of their own.
How to Start a Podcast?
If you are thinking of starting a podcast, there are some questions and aspects that you need to think about.
First, you have to ask ‘why do you want to make a podcast?’. Are you a freelancer, a business or a marketing manager? If so, you might have identified podcasting as a great way to build authority. It can also provide your customers and target audience with valuable and entertaining content.
If you are also looking for a hobby type podcast, this might mean you’ll be creating a show in your spare time. And the subject will be something that you’re passionate about. In either case, you can identify your ‘why’ here. That’s important to keep in mind, so that you can stay motivated, even when you’re finding it difficult to get a show out.
The next step is who are you creating this for? Who are you targeting and who is your audience? This is the most vital question you can ask. If you are coming from a business point of view, your podcast would be targeting people interested in your business and everything related to your industry.
If you are looking to create a hobby show, you should look for a topic you are passionate about. You can create content for as long as you would like. Your listeners will follow your podcast because they share the same passion.
The next step of your podcast plan is to create a brand identity for your podcast. Starting with a clever name, you should find one that is easy to relate to and easy to search.
Lastly is to create the podcast episodes. This is the part that matters most for listeners because this is the reason they are looking for you.
Are Podcasts Considered Social Media?
Social media is defined as forms of electronic communication such as websites for social networking, through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content. The truth is, social media can be defined a lot of different ways and in many different forms.
So can you consider podcasts as part of the social media branch? Some would say because it is closer to radio than to a social media outlet.
There are so many unique variations of social media that it cannot just be rolled into ‘social networking sites’. The podcast in itself is not part of social media, just like a website by itself is not part of social media.
The way a podcast can be added to the social media realm is by adding elements that make it social. A great example is the way blog talk radio has features that allow you to comment and interact with the show while it’s live.
Also, with comment sections and sharing options, podcasts are gaining more from the social aspects as listeners can now interact with podcasters and state their opinions on what they want.
At the end of the day you can make podcasts sociable by incorporating aspects to make it intuitive. The argument still may remain for some if a podcast should be considered social media, but the truth is that your podcast can become whatever you and your listeners want it to be.
How Do I Market My Podcast?
When it comes to advertising and marketing your podcast, there are several methods to bring in more listeners. One method is using keywords. This will help those searching for podcasts come across your work.
Being creative with your captions and titles may seem like a good idea, but sometimes it is best to keep it simple. Put yourself in the shoes of your listeners who are searching.
Another way would be attracting the listeners is from your description. Keep in mind when writing your descriptions that not to give any spoilers away. There is nothing wrong with attracting your listeners with an attractive description. Just don’t forget the keywords.
You can submit your podcast to every possible directory. The more people hear about your podcast, the more listeners come in. Look up some of the directories and submit yours to it for searchers to find your show. Some examples are to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn, and Stitcher.
You can also use social media to connect with your listeners. Being creative on your social media platforms will bring in new listeners as well as keep you in touch with your loyal listeners. Don’t forget to use strategic hashtags.
Another technique is to join some Facebook groups and ask the admin if you can introduce yourself and your show. If they allow it, put a link to your website or hosting site, as well as a link to iTunes. It’s important to make things as hassle free for your listeners as possible.
You can also attract other listeners and widen your demographic by inviting guests for an interview. Maybe try teaming up with another host and do an audio swap, i.e. a clip of your show is featured on theirs and vice versa.
At a time when most social media platforms emphasise brevity, podcasting might appear intimidating. You might fear that your new channel doesn’t submit new episodes frequently enough, or that one episode is wildly unique from the tone or format of another.
However those organisations which are fearless enough to enter the world of podcasting have already discovered one of the medium’s invaluable lessons: starting a podcast is more flexible than you might think.
Most of all, it can make your nonprofit or affiliation accessible and human – it is your voice and only you can control the narrative. You should also check out this article on how to start a podcast 101.
For more information or advice from experts in voice marketing, get in touch with ProfileTree today.