Since the beginning of 2020 much of the entertainment world has stood still. Hollywood blockbuster movie production has been delayed, we haven't heard much new music on the radio and there's even been a worrying drought of new Netflix Originals.
The dam that the Covid-19 and social distancing restrictions have caused on the usual torrents of video and music production has given way to the rise of a different kind of entertainment and marketing... podcasts. Spotify is one of the most popular domains of amateur and professional podcasts, succeeding side by side. The Swedish based streaming service has not only documented a general rise in interest year on year of 20%, but since the lock down period began in early 2020, it's experienced an un-precedented 69% increase in the number of users. With a now steady 124 million subscribers, Spotify is just one of many streaming platforms that you could be harnessing the benefits of as a business.
This may all sound a little bit overwhelming, but luckily your marketing experts at Ouma are here to guide you through. The facts and figures are glaring us right in the face and we're ready to show you why podcasts can be so beneficial for your business and how achievable they actually are.
Get Clear on Your Objectives
A podcast can be integrated into a marketing strategy, as long as you get clear on what you want to achieve. You could be looking to make more sales, build more trust with your customers, grow your following, or simply nurture an awareness within your demographic, of your core values as a company. This will also help you decide on the basics of your podcast such as 'one off' or series, format, guests, topics etc.
Before beginning to create your podcast, you will also want to consider where it is going to sit within your marketing strategy, and how effective it will be across different platforms. For example, including a podcast link in your email marketing or monthly newsletter is a great way to not only promote your podcast but also provide added value to your following. It's a win-win in the cycle of promoting your business! Using your podcast as content for your social media platforms will be useful for engagement with your direct following and wider online community.
Preparation is Everything
As Keren Haynes, from Shout Communications, says we are in the 'renaissance of podcasting' and we are not suggesting you pose naked next to a sizeable bowl of fruit whilst an old Italian man paints you, more that there is deep social change happening, in the realms of consumable content. Born of the lock down period, where we found ourselves isolated, we no longer have to listen to music when we jog or empty the dishwasher in silence, we can put a podcast on and feed our brains whilst feeling human connection. So, once you've thought through your objectives for the podcast, it's time to think about formatting and providing that human connection and relationship with your audience. Preparation is everything! Write out your format in sections, ensuring you have some strong content ideas for each section of the podcast to keep the listener engaged and you on track! Finish up with an appropriate call to action for your business based on the content of that episode.
Value over Vanity
Concentrate on quality over quantity and value over vanity... make sure your listeners have something of value to take away with them! Interviews and guests are an ideal starting point for injecting some quality content for your podcast. Answering listener questions and interacting with your audience is also a great way to connect with your customer and make your business more relatable.
Ouma's Top Tips
Equipment- Don't worry, you don't need a fancy studio and fully equipped editing suite! Focus on creating great sound quality with a decent microphone and try the various different apps out there for editing, interviewing from a distance and streaming. Find what works for you! Wendy Zuckerman is the host of one of Spotify's most popular podcasts, 'Science Vs' and she records her shows in her own flat in New York, with a pillow against the window to block out street noise!
Interviews- Plan your guests well in advance and stay organised. You may like to conduct your interviews all on the same day in preparation for your series. This way you'll be in your flow and the interview section of each show will sound consistent.
Run Time- The average listen of a professional, narrative led podcast is 43min. As a beginner you want to focus on quality over quantity and breaking the format down into manageable chunks! Start by aiming for 15min-25mins.
Stings- Also known as a 'sounder' these are fancy industry terms for 'short piece of music'. These can really help to punctuate your format and guide your listeners through the podcast. Try to use the same piece of music and check that it aligns with your marketing values, this way your brand will be consistent through the podcast.
Thumbnail Artwork- The British idiom 'Never judge a book by its cover' is quaint but totally wrong in the case of choosing a podcast. You want your thumbnail artwork to be eye-catching, on brand and clever. Not only will this thumbnail form another touchpoint for your business it will also get you noticed in a sea of other podcasts. Your listener's time is precious and it's likely they will judge a book by its cover.
Podcasts are a lot of fun and a great way to get creative and show your target market a different side to your business. They are constantly evolving and don't be afraid to test your audience and keep pivoting your format, content and promotional platforms as the series progresses.