Podcasting as Content Marketing
Think of your brand as your own multi-media conglomerate.
By Jack Monson
Many brands are implementing content marketing as a way to generate new leads and customers. Cold calling is being replaced with leveraging the consumption of content and engaging prospective customers earlier in their buying process. In franchising, content marketing may be focused on franchise sales, operations, product issues or consumer lifestyles.
Creating articles, blog posts and white papers can definitely show your expertise when you answer questions that are typically asked in your industry or community. But why stop at text and pictures? A fantastic medium for sharing content is the podcast. Whether you call it an Internet radio show or downloadable audio, it’s radio that is not limited by space or time.
Think of your brand as your own multi-media conglomerate. Your website is your magazine; your blog is your newspaper; your YouTube channel is your TV station. But where’s your radio station? It’s your podcast, and it may be more powerful than you realize.
There’s power, influence and intimacy in radio that does not exist in other media. An image lives behind a glass wall. Video lives on the other side of your television or iPad screen. But audio lives in your head. The most influential radio broadcasters understand this. Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern and Garrison Keillor all understand that they are speaking directly into your ear or perhaps into your mind, without a filter. This is why local and national radio personalities feel more like trusted friends than entertainers.
The same thing can happen with business-oriented podcasts. Conversations with interesting guests and relevant topics may make your brand a trusted resource.
Benefits of Podcasting: Return on Discipline
Planning your show, scheduling guests and preparing for the discussion takes discipline and time. But the return is worth it as you consistently publish content that is sharable, searchable and valuable to your audience.
You’re also building a library of evergreen content that may be consumed now, as well as found by future potential candidates and customers months or even years from now. Your podcast will live forever (or until iTunes goes away which is about the same thing!)
With so many brands publishing other types of content on websites, blogs and other spaces, there’s a benefit to being a little different. How many of your competitors are podcasting? Not many, yet. There is still plenty of room to grab some attention.
As a co-host of the long-running “Social Geek Radio” podcast, here are a few tips on getting started with your podcast.
1. Set Goals
Do you know why you’re doing this podcast? Let’s revisit your content marketing strategy. Are you looking to generate new franchise leads? Drive customers to your current franchisees? Increase brand awareness?
The answer may be all of the above. If you provide interesting content for consumers, then candidates will find it when they are conducting research about your franchise. Tell your story to candidates and customers may see your brand in a new light. Don’t hide content from these different groups. You can’t control who listens to what content. Instead, relish the overlap.
2. Establish Your Target Audience
Based on your goals, who are you trying to reach?
3. Apply Your Style, Voice and Topics to That Target Audience
In most cases, an informal but professional conversation is going to be most appealing to audiences interested in business topics.
4. Gather Your Resources
Who will be involved? Who is the host? Which guests can you schedule? Think outside of the marketing office and recruiting staff, business partners or other stakeholders who can add to your story.
5. Keep It Short
No one is expecting you to do a daily three-hour talk show. I suggest a weekly program with a length of less than 30 minutes to match the average U.S. commute. Most listeners won’t be listening live; they will download the show for later listening. Long program length may turn away potential listeners.
6. Don’t Be Overly Concerned About the Production
No one is expecting a major market radio show with a cast of characters, a live orchestra or the sophisticated studio production values of a Pink Floyd album. Podcasting is one form of marketing where you should focus on the steak, not the sizzle.
7. Choose the Publishing Platform on Which your Podcast Will Live
There are many great choices, so run a search and see what fits your needs and budget. Blog Talk Radio is very popular as it is affordable, but has many helpful functions. The ability to automatically upload to iTunes is ideal.
8. Just Start!
If it doesn’t come off as well as planned or you want to change directions, make changes for the next show and do it again. Experimentation will allow you to find your voice.
9. Promotion and Sharing
Now that you’ve got something recorded or scheduled to broadcast live, build an audience by sharing the link to your show across other marketing channels.
Promote Each Episode Across All of Your Social Channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Publish links and mentions on your website, emails and newsletters.
Spend a few dollars on Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads. By targeting specific audiences, just a few ad dollars per week will reach thousands of appropriate potential listeners. n
Jack Monson is a vice president at Engage121, which provides social media marketing services to franchisors and franchisees. He serves on The IFA Marketing and Technology Committee. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org