Podcasting has become a big marketing craze these days, with both listeners and podcasters growing in number every minute. A Nielsen Scarborough article shared that the podcast listener base in the U.S. alone has been growing at a 20 percent rate since 2014. If such growth is sustained, the audience for podcasting could double as soon as 2023.
These figures prove that podcast content is slowly going mainstream. If you’ve been wondering whether starting a podcast is a good idea, the answer is a resounding YES.
Having a solid podcast content strategy can widen your audience reach, build customer trust and loyalty and supercharge your sales strategies.
In this article, we discuss the following:
• What are podcasts and branded podcasts?
• Benefits of publishing podcast content (and creating a podcast content strategy)
• How to create a podcast
• The best podcast hosting platforms and podcast listening apps
• Five podcast tips and best practices you need to know
• How to monetize your podcast
• How to market a podcast – and dominate podcast rankings
• Using podcasts for marketing
What Are Podcasts and Branded Podcasts?
The term podcast essentially refers to a recorded discussion on a specific topic that people can listen to live (stream) or download for later.
Podcasters are afforded a lot of creative freedom by this particular format. When producing podcast materials, creators or business owners are free to play with various podcast ideas and formats, turning their shows into something that truly reflects their personalities.
This is one of the many reasons why businesses started embracing the medium as well. They started with simply sponsoring shows but eventually decided to create their own, hence the birth of branded podcasts.
As the term suggests, branded podcasts are podcasts created by companies looking to boost brand awareness.
Like all podcasts, branded podcasts are episodic shows that focus on a specific topic. This topic is often related to the brand’s industry, and the goal of the show is to give listeners valuable information about it. Advertisements and mentions of the host company in this type of podcast are kept to a minimum.
Benefits of Publishing Podcast Content (And Creating a Podcast Content Strategy)
Podcasting can be quite laborious, especially if you want to climb up podcast rankings, draw a large audience or rake in plenty of earnings. And aside from planning your episodes and producing your content, you also need to learn how to market a podcast well; otherwise, your show will flop and your efforts will go to waste.
Starting a podcast for your brand is about more than keeping up with the trends; it serves a bigger purpose: to unlock more opportunities for you. The work ahead may be tough, but the many benefits of podcasting can help build your business.
1. You Reach Audiences Who Are Already Willing To Listen
When people look for shows and episodes to listen to, they already have an idea of what they want to tune into. This means that the listeners you are reaching through your podcasts are already engaged in your topic to a certain degree. They are willing to listen to what you have to say; if you have great content, they may even binge-listen to multiple episodes of your show.
While you may not reach big audiences as you would with the radio, you are tapping a highly relevant and highly qualified group of listeners to interact with your brand.
2. You Enrich Your Content and Video Marketing Strategies
If you are looking to diversify your approach towards content marketing, podcast production will be a great addition to the mix. Your existing content and video marketing strategy may have already built you a loyal following, but podcasting has the power to drive your audience engagement further. Here’s how:
• Podcasts are evergreen; they stay relevant and interesting to listeners longer than other types of content.
• Podcasts can be used as complementary content around topics already covered by existing blogs or videos.
• Podcast content ideas can be repurposed into other forms, such as blogs, transcripts, audiograms, videos and social media posts.
3. You Gain Your Audience’s Undivided Attention
Blogs, eBooks, case studies, infographics and videos are all wonderful types of content, but they share one thing in common: they all demand their audience’s visual attention.
Podcasts, on the other hand, take the path less trodden and ask for the audience’s auditory attention.
Audiences cannot read or watch content as they go through their tasks or chores throughout the day, but they can listen to content.
With podcasts, you get to win people’s attention and even become part of their everyday lives.
4. You Build Trust and Become More Genuine
You can utilize branded podcasts to tell your business’ story and give your listeners a peek inside your daily operations. Doing this can turn your brand into something that’s accessible, relatable and even interesting.
This is what Trader Joe’s was able to achieve with their five-episode podcast, “Inside Trader Joe’s,” in 2018. The company’s marketing director, Tara Miller, and VP of marketing products, Matt Sloan, hosted the show and took the audience into the life of the grocery store company.
After showcasing their personality and humility through their show, they ranked third on the iTunes Podcast charts one day after its launch.
The Best Podcast Hosting Platforms
Before we talk about the top podcast platforms you can choose from, let us first understand how podcast hosting works.
Podcast hosting services do exactly what their names say: host your podcast audio files. They store your audio files for you, organize them into a “feed” and deliver them to listening apps for your listeners to access.
There are two main ways you can use podcast platforms:
• Host your entire podcast website. You can use your platform to host both your audio files and an exclusive website for it. This option is great for beginners but does not allow a lot of website customization options.
• Host only your audio files and build your own website. You upload your files to your host, but the audio players and show notes will be published on your website. This option lets you pick your preferred web hosting and web design.
To help you decide, here’s a quick summary of the top podcast platforms today:
Buzzsprout is among the most popular podcast platforms for both new and old podcasters because of three main reasons: it has an excellently designed dashboard, easy-to-use features and a simple pricing scheme. They also publish new updates regularly, such as:
• Advanced podcast statistics
• Automatic episode optimization
• Text editor for show notes
Price: From $12/mo
File Types Supported: Audio
Captivate is made by podcast experts Rebel Base Media, so it packs a range of features intentionally designed to make podcasting easier. The platform has advanced but easy-to-understand analytics, a built-in podcast marketing suite and a dashboard that works on any device.
Price: From $19/mo
File Types Supported: Audio
Transistor may be relatively newer compared to others in this list, but it’s a solid hosting solution for brands and organizations that take podcasting seriously. It allows you to view detailed podcast analytics, send private episodes to team members or subscribers and even create as many podcasts as you’d like.
Price: From $19/mo
File Types Supported: Audio
If you have a WordPress site, Castos may be the best pick among these top podcast platforms. It is created by the same team behind the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin, a tool that allows podcasters to create and manage their podcasts directly from their WordPress dashboards. They also offer amazing features, such as automated transcripts and automatic YouTube republishing.
Price: From $19/mo
File Types Supported: Audio & Video
Podbean has features to help podcasters get their podcast up and running in no time. It also offers monetization and podcast advertising tools, which is why it’s one of the most popular podcast platforms for both beginners and experienced podcast creators today.
Price: $9/mo for unlimited audio; $29/mo for unlimited video podcasts and podcast monetization
Storage: Unlimited (except for the free plan)
File Types Supported: Audio & Video
Podcast Listening Apps
Also called podcast directories, podcast listening apps are simply what your audiences use to listen to your show. They are not the same thing as podcasting platforms. Some examples of podcasting platforms are the ones enumerated above, but podcast directories refer to listening apps like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
You want your show to be on these big apps to get your podcast marketing strategy off to a good start. But you may be wondering: How do you get your podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify?
You only need to do two things:
1. Upload your podcast audio file (at least one episode or a trailer) to your chosen hosting platform.
2. Submit your show to your chosen directory.
Once the directory acknowledges your show, they will automatically check it for new episodes and put them on their platforms.
Now, choosing among the most popular podcast platforms and podcast directories to bring your podcast content out there brings you one step closer to success. But keep in mind that they are not responsible for growing your show. They give you the platform and the tools you need, but the rest is up to you.
5 Podcast Tips and Best Practices You Need To Know
There are a lot of wins you can get from podcasting, but you need to tread the podcasting space smartly. To help you out, here are some tips on how to make a successful podcast:
1. Think of How To Make a Good Podcast Episode First
When you’re getting started on your podcasting journey, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of growing your show and getting more listeners. But you don’t need to think about those – yet. Instead, focus on producing awesome episodes.
Feature interesting topics on your show, use solid scripts and improve your overall production process.
2. Generate Buzz Around Your Show To Launch Strong
Before you send out your branded podcast into the digital world, you need to let people know about it. This gets people curious about your show so when the big day comes, they’re ready and excited to tune in.
You can do this by promoting it on social media or by simply spreading the word to your friends and colleagues. But if you want to build bigger hype, you can also enlist podcast marketing services. Full-service agencies know the ins and outs of how to promote a podcast, so you can rely on them to build up your launch while you work on your final preparations.
3. Go With the Length That Works Best With Your Format
Here are three common episode lengths along with the genres that use them as identified by Hurrdat Media:
• 15-30 minutes – Ideal for podcasts with a single host, published daily and focusing on short stories and news
• 30-60 minutes – Ideal for podcasts in an interview or scripted fiction formats and published once a week
• 60+ minutes – Ideal for podcasts that feature many guests or offer in-depth discussions on topics
These figures give you an idea of how long shows typically run, but keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to podcast lengths.
4. Be Consistent With the Content You Upload
While variety can be exciting, changing your content’s quality, quantity and schedule now and then can confuse your listeners. And if they can’t tell what your show’s format is or when they can expect a new episode, such a frustrating experience will drive them away.
Uploading consistent podcast content, on the other hand, eventually helps you generate a favorable response from your audience. For example, if your listeners know when you upload your podcasts, it will become their habit to check their apps for updates themselves. You won’t even need to remind them.
5. Build a Dedicated Website for Your Podcast
Aside from podcast listening apps, it is also possible to tune into podcasts through websites. Some prefer to use apps like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, but some may not have access to these.
To make sure you’re reaching each and every audience who wants to stream your show, you need to create a website exclusively for it. For a great experience, make sure that your website has a simple and navigable design and that your audio players are working well.
How To Monetize Your Podcast
Aside from generating brand awareness, podcasting also gives you opportunities to make money. There are two main ways you can monetize your audio content:
1. Through Sponsorships – You can let other companies run their advertisements on your show. However, keep in mind that sponsors usually only pay podcasters who have an established audience base, so you may need to grow your podcast first.
2. Through Memberships – Aside from the regular episodes you upload for free, you can create special content for your devoted followers. Offer subscriptions that allow these fans access to exclusive content, behind-the-scenes or even podcast merch.
How To Market a Podcast – and Dominate Podcast Rankings
If you want to learn how to promote a podcast proactively, there are podcast marketing tactics you can try out:
1. Submit Your Show to as Many Podcast Directories as Possible
Your branded podcast required a lot of time, effort and resources to be produced, so it’s only right that you ensure many people can find it and listen to it.
The most straightforward solution to this is to submit your podcast to as many directories as possible. But if this seems like an overwhelming task, you can prioritize getting on the most commonly used podcast listening apps as identified by Statista:
• Apple Podcasts
• Google Podcasts
The good thing is that you only have to do this once. For example, after you’ve submitted your podcast to Spotify and Spotify has already put you on their platform, they’ll come back to your podcast host themselves to fetch your next episodes and put them on their app.
2. Invest in Podcast SEO Right off the Bat
It’s easy to think that SEO does not apply to podcasts because they’re in an audio format. However, you should know that Google started indexing audio content in May 2019. It is capable of scanning audio files and even has a dedicated area for podcasts in its search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you are not employing search engine optimization techniques on your podcasts, you’re losing opportunities to boost your online visibility.
Enlisting podcast marketing services is the easiest and most efficient way to improve your podcast rankings, but here are some things you can do on your own:
• Research popular keywords relevant to your podcast’s idea.
• Use them in your episode title and even in the podcast name, if possible.
• Include them in your show notes.
3. Leverage Blogging To Maximize Your Reach
Even the most avid of fans may not learn about your new show or episode right away, so you need to take the first step and break the news to them. You can do this by writing an article containing a link to your podcast and putting it on your blog page. This tactic helps ensure that your existing readers and followers will get to hear about your podcast.
As you write these promotional blogs, however, make sure you are using the same set of keywords used in the podcast itself. Don’t forget to link to the website or app where they can stream the episode as well.
4. Do Podcast Marketing on Social Media
There are a lot of things you can do on social media to promote your podcast:
• Post episode quotes and episode audiogram clips on your pages.
• Create polls related to a recent podcast topic using the Stories feature.
• Ask your followers to give their two cents on the topics you discussed in an episode.
• Join relevant online communities to engage with listeners and gain feedback.
You can also invest in paid ads to expand your podcast’s reach further. However, if you do not know how to promote a podcast using Facebook Ads, don’t waste your time and money by trying to do it on your own. Seek help from a marketing agency so you can develop an effective targeting strategy in no time.
5. Promote Your Podcast Diligently
The beginning is always the hardest; launching a podcast and hyping it up require a lot of work. What’s more discouraging is that you may not get traction right away. You may be following all of the pieces of advice mentioned above and yet your podcast isn’t growing. But that doesn’t mean your efforts are in vain.
You have to give your podcast marketing strategy some time to work. You need to monitor your promotions and see what needs to be improved. Steadily marketing your show and adjusting your tactics accordingly will get your program climbing up the ranks in no time.
Using Podcasts for Marketing
Smart marketers do not focus only on how to make a good podcast. They also find ways to start using podcasts for marketing. They know that every time they create a podcast, they create an opportunity to push their content marketing strategies and lead generation efforts further.
This is why, when it comes to expanding your efforts in content marketing, podcast production should be one of your go-to solutions. As mentioned in an earlier section, they can either be used as complementary content or repurposed into other forms. Podcasting diversifies your marketing arsenal and allows you to engage your audience in more ways.
Most importantly, podcast content can be a powerful lead generation and conversion tool. During Podcast Movement 2020, VP of Client Consulting Arica McKinnon discussed the effectiveness of podcast ads. She shared, “Podcasting is known for having host-read ads, which come off as authentic to listeners because the talent actually has a personal experience with the brand.”
This finding was lifted from more than 250 Nielsen podcast ad effectiveness studies involving more than 200 brands across various industries.
With this discovery, promoting your product or service through your own podcast may just be what you need to take your business to new heights.
Strengthen Your Brand With Great Podcast Content
What makes podcasting unique is that the content comes in an entirely different format. This allows podcasters to reach people and keep them engaged in a new way. Moreover, podcasts demand a different kind of attention from their audiences, teaching them a new manner to consume and enjoy content – by listening to it anytime and anywhere, regardless of whatever they are doing.
Creating a podcast for your brand allows you to maximize these opportunities and so much more. It enables you to tap audiences who are already willing to listen to you and gain their undivided attention.
The production process is indeed a long and tough one, but you do not have to do it all on your own. You can partner with full-service agencies like Thrive to lighten your load. While you focus on developing your podcast content ideas, we make sure that your hard work gets heard by the people that matter to you.
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency is an award-winning digital marketing company that has helped businesses flourish since 2005. Through the years, we have developed proven strategies and used the best platforms to help brands steal the spotlight and achieve their unique goals.
Let us help you create a podcast your audience will hear and love. podcast today so we can craft a podcast content and marketing strategy that gives you remarkable results.