Podcasts aren’t only for news and entertainment. They’re a valuable marketing tool that people can listen to in a car, bus, train or plane; while hiking, running, or biking; when drifting off to sleep or getting ready for work; and they’re one of the few ways that companies can develop a personal relationship with customers by speaking directly to them.
How Does Your Company Connect with Customers?
Adding a personal touch in advertising has always been important. Here are three last-century examples of business owners who became the advertising face of their companies, giving consumers the feeling of having a personal relationship with the owners/founders:
- Colonel Harland Sanders, Kentucky Fried Chicken – Colonel Sanders already had his face on his restaurants’ signs, boxes, and bags; however, in 1966, Harland Sanders began appearing in TV commercials as the personification of KFC and became a celebrity while his company became hugely successful.
- Victor Kiam, Remington shavers – Kiam, who was the owner of Benrus Watch, a premier American watch manufacturer, bought the failing Remington shaver company and appeared in TV commercials stating that, after trying a Remington shaver, he liked it so much, he bought the company. The likeable Kiam brought Remington out of the red and into the black within a year.
- Dave Thomas, Wendy’s – In 1989, seven years after stepping down as the company’s president, Thomas began appearing as Wendy’s folksy founder/spokesperson in TV commercials. A year later, 90% of Americans knew who Thomas was. His starring role in over 800 commercials is credited with making Wendy’s the third most popular burger restaurant in America.
According to a recent study by Epsilon Marketing, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences.
But how does a business that isn’t the size of KFC or Remington or Wendy’s, provide customers with the feeling of a personal relationship? Can it be done without incurring unreasonable expense? The answer is that any company can add a personal touch through podcasting, and it can be easily done without breaking the bank.
Podcasting has been around since 2004 and it evolved rapidly. In 2005, Apple made it possible for users to search, subscribe, manage and listen to podcasts on iTunes, and to download podcasts for free from the iTunes store. By 2013, Apple had one-billion podcast subscribers.
A podcast allows a business owner or CEO to speak directly to the consumer. Additionally, unlike reading web copy or watching a video, people listen to podcasts while engaged in other activities, so they listen longer. Musicoomph shows that 80% of those listening to podcasts, listen to the entire, or most of, the podcast. Statistics also show:
- 49% of podcast listening is done at home
- 22% listen while driving
- 11% listen while at work
- 4% listen while riding public transportation
- 4% listen while working out
- 3% listen while walking around
- 7% listen in other situations
There are many sites that provide a how-to guide in creating a podcast, and we’ve chosen a few of the most commonly listed steps to get started:
Choose a Format – Because the host of the podcast has to be interesting, informative, relaxed, and likeable, the host has to decide on a format for the podcasts, and it’s best if the format doesn’t change. The host may want to be a solo act, being the only voice of the podcast. Perhaps they’ll want an interview podcast, doing Q&As with industry leaders and insiders. Or, maybe a more casual back-and-forth between two hosts, engaged in conversation, is the most comfortable.
You’re the Expert – You may have noticed that there is a lot of information available on the internet, and if the topics you choose are too general, your podcast will get lost in the crowd. Find your company’s niche, the area in which your company has more expertise than anyone else. Then, in each podcast, the host should demonstrate their authority, solving problems, answering questions, and sharing knowledge and tips that customers will find valuable and will only be able to get from your company’s podcast.
Professional Production – You want your podcast to sound like it’s been professionally produced. It should have music at the beginning and end, and you’ll want to be able to easily edit each episode. Here’s a list of recording software that lets beginners easily produce quality podcasts.
Hosting the Podcast – Your podcast has to live somewhere, and there are many options, most either free or very low-cost, so it’s easy to find one that suits your needs and your budget.
Share It – Upload your podcast to iTunes. All you’ll need is the podcast’s URL from the hosting company, and log into iTunes where Apple has made it incredibly easy to start sharing your podcast.
Be Patient – Your podcast isn’t going to be a hit overnight, but it is another valuable tactic in your overall marketing strategy. Promote the podcast on your website and in emails or use content from the podcast in your blogs, then use the blog to promote the podcast for more seeking more information.
Are there downsides to podcasting? Of course, just like there are downsides to any business marketing tactic. It takes some time and some investment, and it may be a while until your podcast starts showing results. And, it’ll also take time to look at all the analytics to determine the most popular topics and podcast length; discover the demographics of your podcast; track reviews and rankings of your podcast. Most analytic software is extremely inexpensive or—in the case of Apple’s podcast analytics—free. But the time and expertise involved in understanding analytics can be overwhelming.
Of course, creating a podcast is just one more thing that will take up a considerable amount of time, and time is one thing most businesses find in short supply. If you’d like to start your own podcast, but don’t have the resources to put it all together, McFadden/Gavender can help. Our expert podcast production team can do all the time-consuming stuff—from coming up with topics to scrutinizing the analytics.
Contact McFadden/Gavender and let us show you how a podcast could take your brand further.