Do you remember the first season of the podcast Serial, way back in 2014? Not only was it a captivating story, but the show launched podcasting into the stratosphere, becoming “an event.”
The lone advertiser at the beginning of that season, MailChimp, never expected to be part of a cultural phenomenon, but undoubtedly were quite happy with podcasts’ popularity. To date, the first two seasons of Serialhave been downloaded – wait for it – 340 million times.
To say podcasts are hot now would be an understatement. Consider these stats from Edison Research:
- About 50 million people listen to podcasts each week
- They typically listen to five shows during the week
- The average podcast listener subscribes to six different podcasts
I have been podcasting my popular show Small Business with Steve Strauss for over six years, a long time in the short history of podcasting. Moreover, my content business has now added podcasting as something we offer clients, it has become that popular.
You can also check out Steve Strauss on “The Heartbeat of Main Street,” a collaborative podcast between Bank of America and ForbesBooks.
From a small business perspective, I am a fan for a very good reason: Podcasting works. It gets your name, business and brand out there, and it does so in a way that is unique and memorable, a difficult achievement in this media-saturated world.
There are two ways to use podcasts to grow your business. You can start your own podcast, or you can advertise on someone else’s show. Let’s look at both:
Should you start a podcast?
There are plenty of good reasons to do so:
1. It builds the brand. With so many people listening to podcasts, hosting a show can help establish you as a “thought leader” and thus is a great way to get you and your business in front of a new audience.
Moreover, if you read my stuff with any consistency (and thank you if you do!), you know one of my main marketing maxims is to mix it up. Trying a new marketing trick gets your business in front of new people, and that equals new growth.
2. It is an excellent way to network: That same Edison Research survey states that podcast listeners listen to an entire show 85% of the time. People listen attentively and react. Where else do you get someone’s uninterrupted online attention for so long? Right, nowhere. Your listeners will want to network with you too.
Moreover, if your show would interview industry experts, then that is a powerful way to, well, meet industry experts.
3. It’s easy and affordable: There are two ways to launch and run a podcast: You can either do it yourself or hire someone to help you. Both are easy and affordable.
Let’s start with hired help. I have a great podcast producer who helps me book guests and does all the tech stuff. We record the show and interviews in his studio, he edits it, and then uploads it to iTunes, my website, and so on. A Google or Craigslist search will help you find an audio engineer in your area.
The other way to go is DIY. Here, you need to choose the right app that works for you, invest in some basic sound equipment (like a great mic), and start recording. Your options include:
2. Garage Band (on a Mac)
Advertising on someone else’s show
I love this option almost more because it is just so potent. If the good news of podcasting is that they are so popular, the bad news is that they are so popular.
You can simply find a show that caters to your audience and advertise there. That show has already done all the heavy lifting, and yet, because it is such a niche audience, the fees should be very reasonable. Since you will be in front of people like your customers, and because the host would likely read your ad, your results should be excellent.
If you’re interested in advertising on a podcast you could reach out directly to podcasts you like or get in touch with a network like Stitcher, Gimlet or others to look into the cost of ads and where your target audience is most likely to be listening.
You will likely not become the next MailChimp on the next Serial, but who cares? Podcasting can drive leads and build awareness among a new audience, so start mixing it up.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice. Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation