Can podcasting help your business?

Can podcasting help your business?I love podcasts. In fact, you’re more likely to find podcasts filling up on my iPod instead of music. I listen to them when I’m travelling, doing the laundry, taking the dogs for a walk and so on. For me, it’s not just background “noise”, I learn a lot from podcasts and have discovered new ideas, tools and businesses that I’ve then used in my business.

Think about it. If you’re hosting your own podcast, you have a captive audience for anything between 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the length of your podcast. You get to choose the topics and select the guests you might have on the show. It’s like having your very own radio show.

I started podcasting back in 2008 and have been doing it regularly ever since. As managing director of the Sydney Writers’ Centre in Milsons Point, my podcasts are about writing and reading. Specifically, I interview a best-selling author and chat to them about their writing process, how they got published and their advice to aspiring writers who may be listening to the podcast.

How has podcasting benefited my business?

1. It’s a vital part of content marketing
You may have read my previous post about the importance of content marketing. Unlike advertising, which is designed to sell a message, idea or product/service, the main aim of this content is to help customers, through education, information and, in some cases, entertainment.

A podcast is a perfect tool for content marketing. You can provide a valuable and relevant resource to your customers and prospects. In turn, they get to know, like and trust the advice and content you generate. Compared to your competitors – who may not be providing any of these kinds of resources – you’re creating a competitive edge for yourself because you’re positioning yourself as an expert in this space.

Suzi Dafnis is the community director of the Australian Businesswomen’s Network. She has been creating the “Her Business” podcast since 2009 and, a couple of months ago, launched a second podcast called “Social Media for Small Business”.

Dafnis says: “The podcasts allow us to demonstrate expertise and authority in the area of business education. Last year over 10,000 ‘listens’ were measured, which is very satisfying. I have often been at conferences and met people who say ‘I recognised your voice from the podcast!’. Because many listeners tune in via the iTunes store – and are therefore, like radio listeners, are not known to us personally – it’s always a pleasure to meet people who listen to the series.”

2. It’s created an asset I can leverage
My podcasts don’t just appear on iTunes and then disappear into the ether. They become an evergreen asset that I’ve been able to leverage in other ways. For example, I get the podcasts transcribed (I have found quality affordable transcriptionists through sites like www.guru.com and www.elance.com).

I then use these transcripts on my business’ website. This has generated useful traffic from an SEO point of view (for example, people may be Googling information about a particular best-selling author and our site the appears in the organic search results). Dafnis says the same of her podcasts: “Each podcast is also hosted on our site and helps drive traffic to our web pages.”

In addition, various textbook publishers and other institutions have asked permission to use our podcast transcripts in everything from books to website and exam papers. This has generated an additional revenue stream because they pay for the right to use the material.

I also provide the authors I interview with the MP3 of the interview and they are welcome to use it on their own site. This means additional exposure to their visitors and fans who may not otherwise have discovered my business.

3. It’s expanded my network
It’s not every day that you get to spend an hour chatting with a best-selling author. But when you have podcast, you have the perfect excuse to do so. Many podcasts have guests, which takes the pressure off you having to generate all of your own material. Tap into the brain of someone your target audience will be interested in. Not only will your be sharing a valuable conversation with your community, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet some people you admire.

Iggy Pintado is author of Connection Generation and works as solutions and marketing director for IT company, UXC Connect, which “helps organisations connect technology to business outcomes”. He also runs his personal ConnectGen business which researches and shares insights on social business and networking. He launched a podcast in May this year, co-hosting with business owner and fellow social media power user Annalisa Holmes, who runs The Transcription People.

Pintado says: “I have a strong view that in a world of information overload and time poverty, the user chooses how best to consume information in line with their preferred sources of information. Some like to read blogs and/or books, watch videos, read and write tweets, scan Facebook streams or interact on online business networks like Linkedin.

“An audio podcast is an information source for those who prefer to listen to content and put the time aside to do so. It’s important to me that creating brand awareness should be across the channels that your target audience prefers.”

Reaching this target audience is what content marketing is all about. Dafnis says: “Today, to truly grab market share and show authority you need to engage in creating or curating content – written, video or audio. For some people podcasting may be easier than writing blog posts, articles and certainly easier than producing video.

“It’s a great marketing channel but it does need to be professional if it’s going to be truly supportive of your business. Many wouldn’t design their own brochures without design training. Similarly, some basic skills – such as interviewing, production, voice, and episode design – can all make a big difference to the quality of your podcast.

“While the equipment you need is now pretty much standard set up in many offices the key is to produce something professional. Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD, podcast.”

For those of you who are interested in giving podcasting a go, it’s not hard. As Dafnis mentions, most equipment is easily available – if you don’t have it already.

Here’s what I use:
1. I interview people via Skype (free for Macs and PCs).

2. I record the conversation using Audio Hijack Pro (US$32 for Macs) or Pamela for Skype (30-day free trial then $21.42 for standard edition on PC)

3. I edit (if necessary) using Garageband (free on Macs) or Audacity (free download for PC)

Then to upload to iTunes and unleash it on the world, you follow the instructions provided by the iTunes store:

http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html

 

Useful links
Australian Businesswomen’s Network: www.abn.org.au
Connection Generation: www.iggypintado.com.au  
Skype: www.skype.com
Audio Hijack Pro: http://rogueamoeba.com/audiohijackpro/
Pamela for Skype: www.pamela.biz
Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.
  • http://www.sallyfoleylewis.com Sally Foley-lewis

    Wow, just what I’ve been thinking about as podcasting was suggested to me this morning…talk about timing!

    Great inspiration to get started – helpful and easy process too [phew]

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Glad you found it useful Sally. Apart from being a great marketing tool, I have found that podcasting has given me a great excuse to interview some pretty amazing people!

      • http://www.sallyfoleylewis.com Sally Foley-lewis

        Well then Valerie… you’re on notice ;-) ;-) ;-)

  • http://BasicBlogTips.com Ileane

    Hi Valerie, I started podcasting recently too and I really enjoy it. Most people think it’s complicated and don’t realize how easy it is to start a podcast. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Anonymous

      Glad you’re enjoying podcasting Ileane. The great thing is that when you get into a routine, it just becomes second nature to you. And it’s totally fun! Good luck with your podcast :)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Valerie

    Insightful post and some great tips … and thanks for the mention! I hope more people tune into The Social Business featuring Annalisa and myself.

    Cheers, Iggy

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome Iggy. I think that people think podcasting is harder than it is. Hopefully, the article demystifies this a little :) Love your podcast!