How to build your brand with podcasts

Whether you’re interested in true crime, history, technology, movies, music, business or really any other topic you can think of, there is a podcast for you.

In a time-poor, on-the-go world, podcasts have become a popular form of entertainment and a way to keep up to date with topics that matter to you. The advantage over books and video is that you can consume them on the go without needing to look at a page or screen. Unlike webinars or live videos, you can consume them on-demand whenever it’s convenient for you.

Whether you’re looking to build your business or personal brand, podcasts can be a great addition to your content marketing plan. Here are a few things to consider before you click the record button.

A woman with dark hair and a purple dress sits in front of her desk recording a podcast

What is a podcast, and do you need one?

A podcast is an episodic series of audio (or sometimes video) files which is downloaded or streamed to a PC or mobile device.

The keyword here is ‘episodic’. If you’re planning on adding a podcast to your marketing strategy, you need to consider whether you have the time and energy to keep up a production schedule. This includes the time to plan your content, record, edit and to recruit guests if that’s an avenue you want to pursue. Then you need to do it all again next week.

Also, consider whether what you have to say is needed. Business is all about filling needs. If you have a product that doesn’t have a market (or in this case a podcast that doesn’t have an audience) then your venture is unlikely to be successful.

Next, ask yourself who your audience is. Are you looking to attract new business? Are you looking to grow your standing in your industry and position yourself as a subject matter expert? Does that audience listen to podcasts? Understanding who your audience is will help you know who you are talking to and whether they are interested in listening.

The benefits of podcasting

Assuming you’ve decided you have the time and that a podcast will help you realise your business goals, why would you make one?

According to marketing guru Seth Godin, podcasting is the new blogging. Podcasts give you a great avenue to create long-form content that is easily accessible and easy to digest. You can grow your position of authority in your industry and grow trust in yourself or your brand. Interviewing others in your industry can also help them gain a voice and can increase your professional network. This helps you, your guests and your industry. Everybody wins!

If you’re looking to tap into a growing market, the audience for podcasts is on the rise. According to the ABC’s 2018 podcast survey, 59% of podcast listeners claimed to have listened to more podcasts than in the previous year. That growth is stronger among Australian women, with 65% indicating they are listening to more podcasts compared to 51% among men.

Podcast listening is also not limited by age. Although there was slightly higher representation in the 25-34 age bracket in the ABC survey, there was a mostly even split of listeners across all age groups including the 65+ demographic.

The listening habits of those age groups are also remarkably similar – as the below graph shows – with an almost even split of respondents across all demographics listening to 3-5 hours of podcasts per week. The 55+ age group were even more strongly represented when it came to 1-3 hours of listening time per week.

Graphic showing responses to how long listeners in various age groups spent listening to podcasts from 1-3 hours to 10+ hours.

Source - ABC Podcast Poll 2018: Audience Data and Insights

A recent Roy Morgan report on podcasts growing popularity in Australia showed that over 1.6 million Australians download a podcast in an average four week period. The growth in downloads to mobile phones also increased from 940,000 a month to over 1.3 million a month year on year. This is great news for your fledgling podcast venture because mobile listening means that your audience can take you wherever they go, whether they are at home, at work, in the car, on a train or going for a walk.

How do you make a podcast?

The technology barrier to creating a podcast is surprisingly low. That mobile phone you carry around with you everywhere is a nifty little recording device.

If you’re looking to use your mobile phone to record, iOS has Voice Memos built-in and Android comes with Voice recorder.

You’ll want to invest in a good microphone. The mic on your phone won’t be great quality and when audio is all you have, you want to put your best foot forward.

When you start researching microphones you’re going to come across two kinds: condenser and dynamic. Condenser mics produce a nice, rich sound but, unless you’re also planning on building a soundproof booth to record in, might not be too practical. Dynamic mics are better for recording in open environments as they don’t pick up as much background noise so will more likely be your better option.

Rachel Corbett, who records the Lady Startup podcast on Mamamia, has more information on podcast microphones along with a few recommendations.

Unless you are a particularly talented speaker and not prone to mistakes, you’re going to need to edit your audio. Audacity is a favourite in the podcasting community as it is free, open-source and cross-platform – although a little clunky to use when you’re getting started. GarageBand is another good option but you’ll need to be working on an Apple device to use it. There are also plenty of professional audio editing software options available depending on your needs and budget.

Podcasting isn’t all about the tech though. Like anything in your business, you’re going to need a plan. If you’re podcasting with a view to growing your personal or business brand, don’t leave it to chance.

  1. Pick a title for your podcast that is specific. There is a lot of competition in the podcast world. Make sure yours stands out and that people know what they are going to get when they listen to you.
  2. Use a content marketing plan. Winging it won’t work. Knowing what you want to say will help you plan out episodes in advance and keep you focussed on content that your audience wants to hear.
  3. Don’t forget promotion! If you have an existing audience or customer base, let them know what you’re doing. Share it to your social channels, invite your email subscribers to listen and include a landing page on your website. It’s always easier to convert your existing audience than to find a new one so start with those who already like what you do.
  4. Include a CTA! You’ve made your podcast for a reason, you got people to press play, so what do you want your listeners to do now? Subscribe to your podcast? Subscribe to your enewsletter? Visit your website? Tell them what action you want them to take and make it easy to complete.

How do you share your podcast with the world?

The first thing to know is that you don’t upload your podcast directly to Apple – you’re going to need a host. There are plenty around including Australian hosts like whooshkaa so get Googling and find one that fits your needs and your budget.

When you upload your podcast to your host it will generate an RSS feed. Don’t panic! This is automatic. You don’t have to be a tech wizard and your host will do the heavy lifting.

You will be given a URL along the lines of:

https://yourpodcastname.yourhostname.com/rss

You then submit your RSS feed using this URL to your chosen podcast directory. This is as easy as copy and paste.

So which podcast directory should you choose? The answer is, as many as you like! Google podcast directories’ and you’ll get dozens of options. Given that listing podcasts is free, and discoverability is the key to finding new listeners, you can submit your podcast to as many directories as you like. You don’t even have to do it for each episode. Once you’ve submitted your RSS feed, the directory will automatically list any new episodes.

The biggest directory for podcasts is Apple Podcasts with over 50% of the market (podcasts used to be found in iTunes but now can be found in the dedicated Podcasts app on Apple devices). Spotify is gaining ground and Google Podcasts is also popular. There are a lot of other podcast platforms such as Stitcher, Spreaker and more that we don’t have time to list here.

Each platform will have its own methods for getting listed and their own best practice rules so make sure you do a little research and get it right the first time.

Now you have a plan, know your audience and are ready to share your creation.

Happy podcasting!

Shane Luder

Business Victoria