How many of you listen to podcasts? I have a half dozen or so that I download regularly and listen to. I listen to them when I am the gym, on long car rides, plane flights, or just when want to sit out on the deck with a drink and be entertained. In simple terms, an audio podcast is made up of digital media files that are released episodically and downloaded through the web.
The content of the podcasts varies. Some are like a radio show with guests and music. Others are more informational and walk the listener through steps on how to do something. Still others may feature an interview. Basically, if the content is something that can be recorded as audio, it can turn into a podcast production.
Why Small Businesses Owners Should Podcast
Personally, I think podcasts are hugely underutilized tool for small businesses. Why is that? Well, podcasts have the power to let you engage with your existing audience (or client or customer) in a different way, spread your brand to new prospects, drive traffic to your website, and to also differentiate you from your competition. Let me explain.
- Expanding Engagement with Your Current Audience - Most likely, your audience is engaging with you through your webpage or email newsletter. A podcast production is the next step to raise your game. Never underestimate the power of your voice. It conveys your message in a way that is much more powerful than the written word. Your voice lets your personality shine through and make a deeper connection with your audience. While your audience may know you are human from you photo on your webpage, hearing you voice makes it clear that you really DO exist.
- Gaining New Prospects - Podcasts can help you find new prospects and expand your audience, as it serves as another medium of people to find you. There is a huge audience of people who listen to podcasts and regularly search out new ones that might be a fit for their interests. If you can connect with a new listener via your podcast, they will naturally want to head to your webpage as well. This gives you an opportunity to further engage them with your services or products.
- Driving Traffic to You Webpage - Podcasts can enhance the material on your webpage and your podcast should be directing people back to your webpage to expand the engagement with your brand. For example, let’s say you are a professional event planner. You may come up with a podcast in which you talk about the three ways that an event can go wrong. You may go into detail on what went wrong and why. You may then tell your listener that you have a simple checklist for them to use as they think about their next event and that they can find it on your webpage. This is an example of using the podcast to get the listener to your webpage to further engage with your services or products.
- Podcasting as a Differentiator - Depending on your industry, there may not be a lot of people creating podcasts. Thus, making the leap into the world of podcasting can serve as an instant differentiator. You can send people to your podcast from your webpage and vice versa.
- It Is Fun - Randy Murray is a writer who runs a blog at www.whowritesforyou.com. He candidly notes that “writing is hard work. So when I get the chance to record a podcast or appear on a radio program, I’m all over it. Talking is easyEASY compared to writing”. How is that for a fun way of thinking about podcasting?
3 Reasons You May Not Be Podcasting
So, doesn’t this all sounds pretty good? Providing information to your existing audience, finding new prospects, and driving traffic to your webpage – wow, what is not to love? I have brought up the idea of podcasting with my business associates and there is some genuine reluctance on their part.
The reluctance to start podcasting seems to run the gamut. From not feeling comfortable hearing a recording of yourself to feeling like you may not have topics that are of value to your listeners to not having the technical know-how.
- Your Voice - OK, your voice. When we hear our own voice, it does sound different than what is recorded. However, I assure you that your recorded voice sounds the same as what your friends and family hear every day. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but you can move beyond this. Wasn’t there some discomfort in starting your business, or starting your online presence? Those fears eventually went away. It will be the same with podcasting. I know you can move beyond that barrier.
- The Content - Perhaps you feel like you do not know what you would podcast on. If you maintain a blog on your website, most blog posts can serve as a starting point for a podcast. You can expand with additional personal stories, references to related stories, or even interview someone who has used your advice or product. Remember, there is no set time limit on how long your podcast has to be. It could start out being 10 minutes, then you can expand it as you gain more comfort with it.
- The Tech – The big reluctance that a lot of people have has to do with the technology itself. There are some package podcasting equipment kits that make it very easy. The offer “out of the box” usability and will have you making your own podcasts in no time.
Package Podcasting Equipment Kits
A great starter podcast equipment kit is the Podcaststudio Firewire Bundle from Behringer. The kit contains everything you will need to create professional podcasts. It can also be used for music production and digital home recording. The kit includes *everything* you need to get off to a smooth start including a FireWire interface, mixer, microphone, headphones, professional podcasting software and more.
The reason that I like this podcasting equipment is the same reason that so many others do. First of all, it has a reasonable price compared to other packages out there. Also, it contains everything you will need to get started. No add on items are needed for the typical user. I find the quality of podcasts that I create from this kit is excellent for the price.
The kit has 4.25 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.com with multiple reviewer speaking to the ease of set up and use and the quality of the recordings. Speaking of Amazon.com, I love the convenience of secure online shopping with Amazon and that it comes straight to my door. I don’t have to hassle with driving around town to find the product. Also, Amazon has a great return guarantee.
So please, I want to encourage you, from one business owner to another, to do yourself a favor and consider podcasting as a great way to raise the game for your business. It is a wonderful way to connect with your current audience, expose your brand to new prospects and to differentiate yourself from your competition.