Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular among educators and entertainers alike. You can tune in to an exciting murder mystery podcast while fixing dinner, or you could learn how to invest better, or style yourself more fashionably.
Or, maybe you have more worldly problems, and you need a podcast that gives you a critical analysis of Macbeth because you need help with their literature assignment on Shakespeare’s plays (and reading really isn’t your thing).
The last three categories of podcasts will usually also offer you further assistance at a cost or might direct you to merchants in return for payment by the said merchants.
In other words, they are using the podcast to market the value of a product or service. If you have a new product, or one that needs the potential consumer to have some background, podcasting is a path you ought to explore.
You can also simply use podcasts to create genuinely useful awareness, while also giving your product a platform.
For example, let’s say your product is something like bathtub rubber duckies. You can have a podcast that talks to users about the various ways to make bath time more enjoyable for their children.
If your product is something more complex like a hair styling tool you might have a podcast on how to get celebrity style hair, for example.
Or, maybe your product is a gardening tool. In that case you might want to educate your audience on the tips to making space for a little home garden.
Of course videos on hair styling and gardening might be preferable, but videos might cost more to produce – for one.
Secondly, you need an immaculate-looking room or home or bathroom or garden if your video is to not look tacky. Not to mention that people can listen more often than they can watch (just look at Spotify!)
Moreover, there are ever easier ways to create podcasts with the advancement of technology and free availability of software today. Here’s how you can go about using podcasts as a marketing tool by building and maintaining a learning community.
1. Create useful, engaging content
In our examples earlier about the rubber duckies, the hairstyling tool, and the gardening equipment, notice how podcast themes aimed to offer genuine value to the audience.
There is no shame in using a podcast as a marketing platform but you will lose listeners if you do not serve up something that offers some value.
Your podcast can be a plug, but it must not read like one. Do your research, get hold of actual best-practices.
Be engaging by identifying and catering to your audience’s language and colloquialisms. Do you start with Hey Guys or Howdy or Namaskar or Wassup?
If your topic is fun enough, have a catch-phrase!
Be sure to script and time yourself because even the best of us might go off on a tangent or might lose their orientation somewhere along the way.
2. Make a plan to ensure consistency
You definitely do not start with “Hey Guys…“ in the first podcast, then move to “Howdy” for episode 2 and on to “Namaskar” a few podcasts later, and then “Wassup” a few episodes later.
Unless you’re literally talking to different audiences in each of those instances, that sort of inconsistency does not – and most likely, will not – fly.
Here’s what you need to predefine:
- Average duration of podcasts
- Frequency of their release
- Range of topics and target audience
- Language and tone
- Methods of calling the audience to action (will you have a CTA at the end of every podcast saying “You can get all the items you need for a micro-garden in your home at ABC Garden Tools”?)
Jot down a plan and stick to it. It doesn’t need to be elaborate; it simply needs to cover these 5 basic areas.
3. Encourage user feedback
Invite users to drop their comments in your concluding remarks (and don’t forget to be consistent about it). Offer space for comments. If you do not want to get your hands dirty with commenter politics, at least offer a forum for users to send you feedback privately.
4. And, act on that feedback
Those comments are for you! Don’t let them pile up like your SMS messages do. Be sure to go through and respond to user feedback regularly. If you’re specifically doing a podcast topic due to feedback or popular demand, call it out!
Say something like “I guess a lot of you are planning to get away for the summer because I’ve received a lot of questions about how to keep your micro garden hydrated while you’re away. I’m doing this podcast to help you figure this out.”
Yes, your readers are listening to you and they would like to be heard too. Don’t be a narcissist.
5. Always allude to current political/social context
It’s alright to be making a podcast on getting celebrity style hair despite the fact that the world is amidst a pandemic. You have a product to market and people are indeed socialising within reasonable limits (well, for the most part). There is room to talk about a hair styling tool.
However, ensure that you stay – and sound – relevant. You might start with something like: “We’re not getting out much these days and that’s why when we do go out to dinner that once in a blue moon, we want to look just dazzling. A mask cannot hide your glossy locks…” or something to that effect.
6. Take a page out of those MTV VJs’ book
VJs were celebrities in their own right, and they often read fan mail and requests right through the episode. Why not have one podcast every few weeks or every few months, or at least once a year, just for QnA and responding to reader communication? Again – maintain consistency.
This is another move that will engage your readers and foster a bond by making them feel heard.
7. Offer downloadable/shareable resources
The rubber duckie folk could offer its listeners downloadable bath time rhyme lyrics. The styling tool brand could offer you the best hairstyles for different face shapes. The garden equipment company might want to offer a cheat sheet on popular plants and how much to water them.
It needs to be a small, useful and relevant keepsake. And, since it’s all virtual, it need not cost you anything. It also furthers the platform proposition of why you’re doing the podcast in the first place.
The downloadable item can have an advertisement for your product, or some product branding, on it. You seem more useful, the listener gets something ‘extra’ that he or she can share – your listener gets respect, you get a reference… it’s a win-win-win all around.
8. Don’t forget that share button
If you have followed all the tips so far, your listeners are sure to love your content. They’ll love it so much they’ll want to share it with the whole world. But how can they if you haven’t put a share button? Do not forget this little treasure while planning your landing page.
9. Later – host a ‘Live event’ or a webinar
Once you have built a sufficient user base, you’re sure to start getting requests to host a webinar or some sort of face-to-face interaction.
Get your wits together, make plans on how to deal with haters (you could listen to a podcast on how to disagree politely :p), set your time, date and duration and let your audience know about it. Take live questions, maybe call in a “guest speaker” for both hype and moral support.
Podcasts are here to stay as a marketing tool and as a learning and entertainment tool.
There is also increasing focus on podcasts amidst recognition that there are different types of learners out there. Auditory learners simply absorb information they hear better – they store information in the form of sounds.
Podcasts are a serious pro tool for you to reach out to auditory learners in your audience. We’ve given you all the tips you need to get started. Happy podcasting!