Is Podcasting For You?
There’s no doubting the new digital reality: Traditional marketing tactics aren’t as effective as they once were.
Press releases, email blasts and phone-based outreach, long the foundations of traditional marketing, are becoming less effective over time, and it’s easy to understand why. As customers shift more of their time and energy toward increasingly diverse digital and social platforms, conventional forms of communication simply don’t resonate as strongly as they once did. To compensate, companies must introduce and use a wider range of marketing tools to reach customers where they now, digitally, live.
To no one’s surprise, there is no single answer to this challenge. Marketing in the digital age requires companies to figure out what does and does not work for them. Some will succeed, while others won’t – and failure is an accepted part of processing this new, unpredictable landscape.
One approach that’s well worth considering is a podcast. It’s a downloadable file that can be either audio, video, rich content or a multimedia mixture, and is played back at the consumer’s leisure on virtually any device, including a smartphone, tablet, computer or media player. Consumers can download podcasts on-demand, or they can subscribe to them via the web or, increasingly, via dedicated podcast apps or online stores like Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google Play.
Podcasts can be any size, any length and any structure that makes sense for the given audience. Because they can be easily accessed and consumed at the customer’s leisure, they allow companies to connect with customers and prospects without needing to resort to the harder sell of more traditional methods of outreach. Podcasts have emerged in recent years as an efficient, low-friction way to create a regularly refreshed stream of content that gives customers an ongoing opportunity to learn more about who you are and what makes you tick.
Sounds great, of course, but you’ve got to do some homework first. Before you decide whether or not podcasting should be a part of your digital marketing mix, ask yourself a few positioning questions:
What do you hope to accomplish? Every marketing tactic needs to fit into a broader marketing strategy – complete with measurable outcomes that somehow benefit the business. How does podcasting fit into that strategy? What metrics do you need to hit to call your podcasting investment a success? The answer could be a directly measurable one – for example, number of subscribers – or an indirect bottom-line impact, like number of leads, conversions or impact on sales.
Who needs to be involved? Like all digital marketing initiatives, a one-time investment simply won’t cut it. Who will produce, edit and/or voice the podcast? Who will manage scheduling and distribution? How much time will they need? Should these resources be dedicated or, more likely, simply carve out time away from their primary responsibilities? What skills should they have and, if training is required, who will provide and pay for it?
What are you capable of? Available skills within the organization will determine whether the podcast is a simple two-minute weekly audio package or an elaborate video segment with integrated multimedia elements. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, as you risk crashing and burning. It’s better to start simple and gradually build as you learn.
What is your audience looking for? Speak to customers and prospects to better understand where their knowledge opportunities lie. Position your podcast to fill in their most pressing information and insight gaps.
Where is internal support coming from? As with any investment in digital marketing, leadership buy-in is crucial to ensuring any podcasting initiative receives appropriate support and resourcing. Who are your champions and how are you planning to engage them? If budget is required, have you built a business plan?
How does podcasting integrate into existing marketing plans? It is critical to ensure any digital marketing investments complement already-in-place conventional marketing initiatives. Review current plans, look for any gaps, and communicate – early and often – with all stakeholders to avoid conflict down the road.
What’s your core editorial theme? What is your 30-second elevator pitch for your podcast? A solid topical direction makes it easy to explain why anyone would want to subscribe to your podcast, and similarly makes it easy to plot out a topical roadmap that customers and prospects will buy into.
If you’ve been wondering whether podcasting is for you, get the ball rolling by asking these initial questions and initiating the right conversations with the right people within your organization.
The bottom line
Conventional marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be. The digital landscape is challenging companies to change the way they connect with customers and prospects. Podcasting has emerged as a popular, cost-effective and potentially powerful way to get your message out and build your brand. But before you flip the microphone on or grab that camera, you need to ask yourself some critical questions.
Is podcasting already on your company’s radar? Let us know by leaving a comment below.