To Podcast or Not To Podcast—What’s Best for Your Brand
Lately there’s more and more buzz about podcasting. Since 2013, there’s been a 75% increase in the number of listeners to podcasts—64% of them are heard on smartphones or tablets. The reason for the increase is partially due to these devices, because now people don’t have to sit in front of a computer to listen. Now they can listen to longer podcasts while exercising, doing household chores or during a long commute.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To put things in perspective, about 21% of Americans listened to a podcast last month.
Does this mean you should go out and join the podcasting bandwagon?
Not necessarily. While it’s true that podcasting is gaining momentum and is likely here to stay, there are many things to consider. In fact, there are three popular ways to reach your target audience—blogging, videos and podcasting. Depending on your brand, one may be more effective than the others. Or you can try all three to different degrees.
What podcasting can do for your business. Many podcasters, when asked why they got started doing it, will say that it came from a desire to dig deeply into a particular subject that interests them. For example, there are political podcasts, gardening podcasts, comedy and more. The host will cover different aspects of a topic. If your personality is a large part of your brand, this may be a good vehicle for you.
There are three main purposes of podcasts: To entertain, to inform and to promote. It’s very simple—and very similar to blogs. Even the format of a podcast is the same as a blog. It can be one voice, the host, talking about something directly to the listener. Or the host can bring in a guest to interview—like when someone does a guest blog for you. Both feel interactive; comments can be posted after a blog and on the page where the podcast is played.
The Pros of Podcasting
There’s a connection with your listeners. If your voice is engaging and your subject matter interesting, listeners can hear your tone, inflection, etc.—things that can’t be heard when reading text. Of course you can show personality through writing, and blogs can also make readers feel a connection to you. But each medium is different.
The Cons of Podcasting
Your output has to be much greater with podcasts than with blogs. For instance, if your audience expects something new from you and wants to make you part of their routine—their commute, daily house chores, etc.—you’ll need to have five podcasts per week. Of course, not everyone does. But to grow and sustain an audience that can really take you to a higher level, you have to work harder. Blogs, on the other hand, are like old friends that readers can revisit and check back with every so often. You can do two a week, one a week—there’s a little more flexibility.
Unless something changes after this blog is written, Google doesn’t elevate you in search engines if you have a podcast the same way a blog will get you that coveted spot. Right now, Google looks for new and relevant content, and a blog will provide this for your website.
Like so many forms of marketing, podcasting has its benefits. But you have to decide what you want to achieve, whether you can entertain as well as inform; what kind of content you can provide on a semi-regular basis; and whether or not your business lends itself better to an audio or visual medium. As we said before, you might try using the benefits of each and testing out what works. For example, if you have a law firm, you could add a podcast supplement to your regular blog—where you invite various legal experts to weigh in on some hot topic, especially if there’s a case in the news that everyone is talking about. You could use videos to explain how to fill out certain legal forms. It all depends on which media works best for you and your business.
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