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Do you want loyal, educated, stable and enthusiast customers? Do you want a highly convertible audience that really cares about your products and your endeavors of offering them only the best of the best? Well…these are only dreams! I regret to disappoint you, but human beings are superficial, unstable and dynamic from their nature. As long as you can’t change the human DNA, then you should accept this situation. And don’t forget, you are a human being, too!
Don’t be disappointed, you shouldn’t quit reading this post because I still have some interesting insights about a potential segment of the population that is willing to hear you and even purchase some of your products or services. Of course, you should work a lot to convince them about, but you have a high chance of a good ROI. We are talking about the podcasts lovers!
The Edison Research is intriguing and reveals a cool method of better engage with the buyers. I dare to name podcast marketing as the Cinderella of marketing. Do you agree with me? Please read the next lines and share with me your opinions about podcast marketing.
Regardless the source of research, all the studies show that podcasts are on the rise. Imagine that in 2006 only 11% of the US population aged 12+ have ever listened to a podcast. In 2016, 36% of them have listened to a podcast. The number of podcasts on iTunes is also growing at a significant rate.
It’s no doubt that at least in the near future, the podcast marketing will represent a good and appetizing modality of getting new leads. The numbers are convincing for some people while others disregard them. In the next paragraph, I systemized the reasons why you should take into account the creation of a podcast.
Podcasting market is (still) unsaturated
I think that it’s pretty difficult to name a market as being “unsaturated”; which indicators show that a market is saturated? This a huge topic and I will treat it in a future post. Anyway, the idea is that the Internet is full of written content. Personally, I think that on a scale from “meh” to “wow”, the average content is closer to “wow” than to “meh”. Under these circumstances you should provide 10x content (credits to Rand Fishkin); it’s easy to understand that is a colossal work to attract and convert the visitors.
The video market is almost in the same situation – each day are uploaded more and more videos. Comparing podcast universe with content and video ones it’s clear the first one is less used to gain more customers.
People can listen to a podcast on the go
I think that this is the most influent factor behind the impressive podcast growing. Nowadays, everyone owns a smartphone and/or a handheld device; these are the tools that have allowed the podcast to spread. When you are in line, waiting for the bus/train/plane, when you are doing the daily chores, when walking in the park, practicing at the gym or driving, you don’t want to waste this time. Maybe chatting on Facebook is a solution, but it’s unproductive. Listening to a famous guest on your favorite podcast sounds way more productive, isn’t it?
Wrapping up, we don’t want to waste time and podcasts are a great solution in this regard.
The human voice is touching
The written words don’t have the same power as the spoken one…this a starved in rock rule! Many Internet marketing tactics are based on the written content while podcasting is exclusively based on hearing.
The customers are tired of reading how amazing the products are and are immune to any attempt of emotional connection. Of course, an emotional connection is more desired than a classic business to customer relationship. Besides these, it’s unbelievable hard to transmit powerful feelings into a blog post.
On the other hand, listening to a human voice creates a special connection; it’s human to human and not business to customer.
To some extent, the improved credibility is a result of the strong connection listener-podcaster. No matter how much a podcast creator tries to deliver the perfect episode, it’s impossible to make it as he wants. Fascinatingly, the small imperfections foster the audience. The voice inflections, the unwanted moments of silence or the background noise let the audience know that you are a man- you aren’t different from them!
Repurposing the content
The webmasters of rich-content blogs shouldn’t let the old blog posts die. As long as these contain useful information it is a pity to ignore them. One of the best modalities of recycle the old, but gold posts is the creation of podcasts. You have the information to share with the listeners in the format of blog posts, pepper it with some new data and personal insights and you have already the base of your future (and awesome J) podcast. Of course, it’s not a simple job, but at least you have a good starting point.
In the event that the respective blog posts brought good traffic and the readers engaged with them, it makes sense to urge repurposing them!
Making new connections
If I were you, the above reasons are more than sufficient to take into account in a serious way the idea of creating a podcast. Making new connections through a podcast is another reason for podcasting…a pretty solid one, isn’t it?
In my humble opinion, new connections are capital, but you should be prepared to be rejected for tens of times before getting the acceptance of a guest to participate in your show. It’s strange, but it’s the truth – in the matter of making new connections and eventually guests to participate in the show it’s applied the snowball effect. In other words, the firsts guests are truly hard to attract, the rest will be way easier to convince to involve. As I said, you should be prepared for a ton of rejection before getting the first guests.
Also, a person that participates into an episode isn’t automatically a new connection, it’s only the beginning of a new journey. Maybe my articulation was too artistic, but I am sure that you got the idea.
The production costs are quite reasonable
One of the most common negative aspects of a podcast is the poor sound quality. Luckily, you have tons of solutions to buy a quality microphone – for instance on Amazon are many solutions for any kind of budgets.
Once you have a good mic, a reliable and high-speed Internet connection and a computer you are able to start airing your first episodes. Yeah, there is no typo, I purposely wrote “episodes” and not “episode”. You will find out why in the next chapter! If you don’t have the time and the patience required, you can learn from Steve Chou how to create a podcast in under two hours. You won’t have high expenses.
Create the profile of the listener persona
Listener persona is a term I never meet until writing this post; I must admit that it is a personal creation. If you don’t like it, please feel free to add your personal contribution, I am open to new suggestions.
The listener persona describes the semi-fictional individual that listens to and /or subscribes to your podcast. It’s similar to buyer persona – a term coined by Hubspot and used extensively by marketers.
It’s vital for the success of your future podcast to have a clear representation of your listener persona. If you plan to attack multiple topics, you should take into consideration the segmentation of the listener persona. I mean to create more listener personas if you consider that they have different expectations. The more accurate is the profile of the listener persona, the more chances your podcast has to be a real hit.
Define your niche
I have listened to some podcasts that have treated many different topics across time, but it’s a totally disastrous mistake to simultaneously “attack” tons of topics. From the start, you should have a clear strategy and define a niche. The changing of topics made by some podcasters isn’t a mistake or a contradiction of this idea, it’s the result of evolution. Let me explain the idea using the example of a fictitious podcast dedicated to the content creators that aren’t English native. Initially, it was created by and for non-English native and it is a success. After a couple of episodes, the podcaster decided to try his luck by inviting a non-English native freelancer and this episode was a hit. Consequently, the podcast creators started to discuss general freelancing matters. Of course, this decision was based on some data analytics; this a simple scenario of podcast evolution.
Wrapping up, this is a simple idea of how your podcast should grow.
Create a kick-ass landing page
Yeah, everything that is newly launched on the Internet should have a landing page; a podcast isn’t an exception. Creating a converting landing page is a highly debated topic and you can find online many top notch blog posts revealing the secrets of a cool landing page. I think that Hubspot and Crazy Egg provided the best explanations in this respect.
Create a fan base and let them now about your new podcast
It’s a simple and effective step. It’s up to you the methods of informing the social media fellows about the podcast. You may start from 0 followers, but it’s ten times more difficult to get the things rolling up when launching the podcast.
This step should be strongly correlated with the above tip – the creation of the landing page. In other words, you should create some buzz around your new and awesome podcast.
Buy quality equipment
As I previously mentioned, you need, at the very basic, a computer, a good Internet connection and a microphone. These are only the basic tools; depending on the quality you want to provide you should achieve additional tools. I consider that is better to avoid giving you clear solutions because your needs are too different to be discussed within this paragraph. Imagine that some of you haven’t ever created a podcast and need a decent mic while others are interested in making serious upgrades to their tools. Fortunately, you have tons of online stores that provide the best tools. If you need personal advice from me, feel free to contact me on Twitter. I will gladly help you with some suggestions.
I think that after reading all the above tips, you understand the “why” and “how” of creating a killing podcast. I initially thought that it’s enough, but thinking on a larger scale, the post is incomplete. On top of that, anyone that will follow all the tips presented won’t be able to create a truly successful podcast. As you probably guessed, it’s not enough to create a podcast full of value, you should market it. In fact, the listener person was brought into existence for marketing purposes, isn’t it?
Due to the recent growing of podcasting, to market them is mostly a give and trial job, you should experiment a lot in order to achieve good results. Altogether, there are some tips that work for any kind of podcasts.
List your podcast in top directories
Well, this tip reminds me about the website optimization tips from ten years ago. At that moment, listing a website in as many as possible directories was a common activity to improve its ranking position. The history is repeating, isn’t it?
By far, the most common directory is iTunes, and you should pay special attention to it. Still, your marketing efforts should be focused on many directories, including:
The idea behind Stitcher is simple and effective: here are showcased tons of podcasts that fall into various categories. The users may download the app and listen to their favorite shows. It’s considered the most popular alternative to iTunes.
Tune In is a good alternative to the most popular alternative to iTunes! Clearly, if you are unsatisfied with Stitcher, you should give a try to Tune In.
Trying unconventional marketing methods is the new conventional! In this light, promoting your podcast via SoundCloud and/or MixCloud it’s is a good strategy. This platform is focused on music producers, but there are enough successful podcasts that are uploaded on SoundCloud and MixCloud.
Podcasting and YouTube…many marketers consider that YouTube isn’t a safe environment for podcasting. To some extent, I agree with them, but it’s nothing wrong to entice your YouTube subscribers with some valuable insights from an episode of your show.
The first impression is vital
Let me be honest with you. I use iTunes to listen to my favorite DJs, singers or bands (yeah, I am not only a Twitter addict, but I am also an iTunes addict, too). Even though I am aware of the superficial judgment, when I am searching for new podcasts to subscribe, I base my opinion on the cover art. The same do the most of us! Consequently, if you want to launch a successful podcast, your cover art should be a top priority.
Another element of a good first impression is the name of the podcasts and of the episodes. These must be suggestive and let the prospective subscribers know what they get from listening to them. The cover art, the name of the podcast and of the episodes are small details, but don’t forget, the small details make the big difference.
Promote, promote, promote
Once again, social media is vital to spread your latest episodes. Now, it makes sense the above tip about creating a fan base around your podcast. Sharing episodes on Facebook is a good idea, but a smart marketer will use the platforms where is the most present the listener persona. There is nothing more to add, just promote your podcast using a data backed strategy!
Optimize your podcast for iTunes
Willing or not, iTunes is the most important platform for podcasters; it’s how Google is for search engines. Under these circumstances, it’s crystal clear that you should pay closer attention to iTunes. Luckily, optimizing your podcast for iTunes is way simpler than website optimization.
First of all, iTunes algorithm of ranking the podcasts is secret; there is no 100% sure recipe for success. The marketers tried various tricks – some of them worked for the huge majority of podcasts while others failed. Still, some factors are truly obvious and 99% are taken into account when ranking podcasts.
Secondly, the iTunes algorithm isn’t as complex as Google is; it means that you shouldn’t invest too much money and time to get a top position. Here are some tips to make your podcast shine and get the first positions in the searches of the listeners.
Don’t be afraid to use keywords when needed – it’s a fine balance between keyword stuffing and keyword optimization. I strongly recommend using keywords into the podcast name and description, publisher name, and episode name and description. Ryan Hanley did a great job by sharing with us his impressions about podcasting and how to optimize a podcast for iTunes search.
The first 8 weeks are capital
Once you launch your podcast on iTunes, you have 8 weeks of being featured in the New and Noteworthy section. It’s an important stage because you have a big chance to be organically found by users. If you are in the first positions during this period, you already formed a consistent base of subscribers. Scott Britton from Life Long Learner considers that being featured on the first spots in New and Noteworthy depends on the reviews and the number of episodes released. Of course, there are many other obscure metrics that aren’t discovered by marketers.
From the start, release at least 3 episodes
There are a couple of reasons to sustain this idea. Firstly, 3 episodes are enough for any potential listener to have a complete opinion about your podcast and see if it’s worthy to subscribe. Secondly, put yourself in the shoes of a user, would you spend your time for an isolated episode when you have tons of other podcasts to select from? I am in doubt about it. Thirdly, you have more chances to have the episodes downloaded by the users.
Well, this is a universal advice, but in the iTunes universe, it has even a bigger role. It seems that iTunes algorithm is sensitive to the number of episodes released, especially in the first 8 weeks (during the period featured in Note and Noteworthy section). Consequently, you should bring on the table new episodes in a serious and consistent manner. Definitely, releasing new episodes is mandatory if you want the first spots in your category in the first 8 weeks. Scott Britton believes that at least 3 episodes a week is a good ratio. Other podcasters state that a single episode a week is still acceptable. It depends on the length of the episodes. Creating three 15 minutes episodes a week for two months is a great work but achievable while creating three one hour episodes a week for two months is a truly colossal endeavor.
Ask for reviews
Many podcasters are ashamed to ask for reviews and rating from the early episodes. It’s fully understandable, but you should do it because iTunes algorithm gives a huge importance to the reviews. These are even more important during the Note and Noteworthy stage. I don’t think that it’s fair to take into account the reviews when ranking the podcasts, but my opinion isn’t important. What really matters is that the reviews influence the podcasts’ spots.
Wrapping up, launching a podcast is a powerful boost for your marketing strategy. Still, it implies a considerable endeavor and requires passion, energy, resources and time! It will be great to know your opinion about the podcasts; are you a fan of podcasting or do you consider these as a bad investment? Please share your opinion with us, the more ideas, the better for all of us!