Over the years we’ve seen some huge brands jump on the podcasting bandwagon.
They’ve created some absolute corkers too – “The Sauce” by McDonalds, “Open For Business” by eBay, “Innovation” by Johnson & Johnson, and plenty more…
If you’re an avid podcast listener yourself, you’re probably familiar.
In December 2020, Apple Podcasts hosted 1.68 million podcasts, which means it can be pretty daunting to know how to stand out.
But the difference between your podcast being a complete flop or a huge success story is really quite simple – well thought out strategies and processes to direct your brand efforts.
And that’s where we come in… to take you from a listener, to a host.
Not just any host either… a legendary one.
- Why Podcast?
- Define Your Objectives
- Establish Your Upfront Costs
- Podcast Marketing & Distribution
- Monetizing a Podcast
Podcasts themselves were first created in late 2003, but only really started to take off after Apple launched a hosting platform for them on iTunes.
As a marketing medium, podcasts offer yet another opportunity to drive traffic to your website, generate leads, and are generally a much lower cost option than good quality video production.
Once more, it’s easy to have guests on your ‘show’ without their physical presence which can save a TON of money. Especially in today’s climate where more people are based in their homes, this is super helpful.
Define Your Objectives
Just like any marketing effort, it’s important to define your objectives first and foremost, to know how exactly you will measure success.
Podcasting naturally aligns itself with brand awareness and thought leadership based goals, with other channels generally providing better opportunities for more tangible results.
Once you’ve defined your objectives, you’ll need to dive deeper into your overall strategy and tactics, starting with the hardware and software you’ll need to invest in.
Establish Your Upfront Costs
Whilst it is possible to record a podcast on a smartphone using apps like Anchor, we’d recommend investing in at least a basic professional quality hardware and software set-up.
The key components you’ll need are the following:
- Condenser microphone
- Mic stand
- Sound mixer
- Hosting platform
- A decent place to record, which should include acoustic panels or fabric to isolate sound.
A bare bones set up of an affordable mic, mixer, stand, headphones and acoustic panels for a sound box could set you back as little as £75.
A mid-range setup, including a condenser mic, stand, upgraded mixer, acoustic panels (for a makeshift recording room) and Adobe Audition CC software will run £110 and up.
A professional grade set-up will likely start around £750, and can go much much higher!
Aside from hardware, an important investment will be a hosting solution – these sites allow you to upload podcasts directly. From there, podcatchers (podcast directories) find and syndicate your podcasts for free via RRS feeds.
Common podcatchers are: iTunes; Spotify; Google Play Music; Podcast Addict; CastBox; Pocket Casts; DoggCatcher Podcast Player; Podcast Go and TuneIn Radio.
Some hosting site fees are free, but the most common starting point is around £15 per month for decent reporting and management.
Libsyn offers some awesome advanced reporting, which is super important for any brands looking to generate revenue from their podcasting strategy, especially when trying to onboard any advertisers or sponsorship (you’ll need the stats).
This should go without saying, but make sure your tone of voice and your creatives are consistent with your branding.
How you talk on social media, for example, should reflect how you speak via a podcast.
Be consistent with your efforts (consistency = credibility), be sure to make your descriptions keyword loaded, and finish it all off with a compelling show logo, name and thumbnail design.
Format, Frequency and Duration
When it comes to creating a good format, it’s important to consider your entire team. The best format will be one that works for your host, guests, marketing and production team.
Well known guests or influencers in your industry can be great for marketing exposure, and it’s super easy to create a flowing ‘interview-led’ podcast. You could also look to create segments for a slightly different format (e.g. news vs commentary).
Either way, it’s important to storyboard and map out how each show will look – what are the different segments, how long will they last (to stop you going over which is easy to do!) and what are the questions you’re going to ask your guests.
Make sure you open and close the podcast with a strong call to action such as subscribing, a link to your website and thanking sponsors etc.
Commonly, podcasts will be released weekly, running from 10-20 minutes, however some longer podcasts are released monthly, or daily podcasts can be as little as 5 minutes long.
Marketing & Distribution
Don’t forget to check the small elements here, such as music and transitions. These little things will provide the perfect polish.
So now we’ve come to a point where you’ve created the perfect podcast, but here comes the rest of the battle – reaching your listeners.
As we mentioned before, one of the most effective ways to reach your audience is to optimise and syndicate your podcast to podcatchers.
To support distribution, optimize the keywords in the description – podcatchers don’t tend to spend much time thinking about the show category, so the trick is to maximise topical accuracy with maximum visibility.
You can also look to repurpose content into videos, images, or text to use on other platforms.
In fact, we’d highly recommend creating an easily-shared version for use on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Post episode teasers and support them with targeted advertising.
Advertising can grow your listenership surprisingly quickly and influence visibility on podcatchers.
If you get significant listens in the first 24–48 hours, it can help you to earn a spot on iTunes’ New & Noteworthy section, for example.
Even without video, you can still create bonus content in the form of audio (that didn’t make the final cut), blog posts, articles or check-lists and guides that accompany the show.
Be sure to promote episodes in your email campaigns, newsletters and even create a dedicated podcast section on your website.
Monetising a Podcast
If you’re looking to generate revenue from your podcast, securing sponsors and advertisers is generally a good way to go.
It can be hard to get started with this, and generally investors will look for strong data insights before they will invest in your brand – we’d suggest starting out with at least half a dozen foundational shows before reaching out to potential sponsors and advertisers.
Advertising is usually managed by a third party network such as AdvertiseCast which will definitely require listener data, whereas sponsorship often starts through personal relationships and is easier to secure earlier on in the podcasting process.
Podcasting is a difficult area to get started in, however offers a great medium to position yourself with thought leadership and increase brand awareness.
A clear strategy is key to succeeding with your podcast, and should be set out from the get-go.
Using other platforms to market your podcast post-production is a great idea to further increase the reach!
So hopefully you now have a clearer idea of how to plan your podcast – if you’d like any extra marketing advice or help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team!