Not only are podcasts convenient for listeners, they’re a relatively simple, cost-effective content opportunity for marketers. Considering adding podcasts into your B2B content marketing mix? Before you get started, take some time to map out a strategy. Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Topic: A search for the term “marketing” on the iTunes Podcast app returned over 500 shows and thousands of episodes. On one hand, this means there’s a big market for this topic; on the other, it means there’s quite a bit of competition. Fortunately, you can get as specific as you’d like with your topic to really focus on your niche.
Length: Podcasts range from one minute to two-plus hours, so the length of your show will depend on your subject matter and the format you choose. For example, you could keep it short by recording 60-second industry tips, or you could conduct one-hour discussions with experts in your field.
Frequency: How often you release your podcast is entirely up to you—just make sure it’s consistent. Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute put it well when he asked, “Is your content anticipated? Are you doing it on a regular schedule?” You can release your podcast daily, weekly, or quarterly as long as your audience knows when to expect it.
Format: One of the benefits of podcasting is its on-the-go audio format, but you can also create a video podcast. The benefit of this is the ability to upload it to your Facebook and YouTube pages for easy cross-channel promotion.
Distribution: How will you distribute your show? Buffer has a great guide for creating podcasts and submitting them to iTunes, but you shouldn’t stop there. Keep in mind that 51% of listeners tune in on the go, while 46% listen on their computers, so it’s a good idea to offer your show both on your website and on podcast apps (Edison Research). Then create a plan to promote your show on your social channels and your blog.
Solo This is often a scripted podcast featuring one individual. Just as you wouldn’t have only one voice in your webinars, blog posts, videos, and other content, you should avoid having only one person featured in an entire podcast.
Interview: The most popular format for podcasts. It typically consists of one or more hosts interviewing one or more guests about a topic.
Multi-Host: A show with two or more hosts. They can chat among themselves on a particular topic or they can interview a guest.
Reporting: Typical NPR show or podcast, where the interviewer is reports on an issue and brings in an interview or two to support that reporting.
Narrative: The style of public radio’s This American Life and Serial. Uses a mix of the reporter/host and guests telling a story, which could be true or fictional. Very popular podcasts for listeners.
The podcasting investment
Time: In total, it takes about a full day to develop and post a decent-quality interview-style podcast. For more advanced edits, or additional content creation, more time may be needed. The breakdown below assumes one podcast episode per week.
1. Finding and securing guests: 1 hour/week
2. Researching guests/creating interview questions: 2-3 hours/week
3. Recording the podcast: 1 hour/week
4. Editing the podcast (in-house) + adding an intro & outro: 3 hours/week
5. Posting and marketing the podcast: 1-2 hours/week
Podcasts are pretty lean monetary investments. It’ll cost about $100 to get started, with an upkeep cost of about $30-$50 per episode, for ongoing hosting and transcription.
Recording software: I use Skype (free) and Ecamm call recorder ($29.95 purchase).
Microphone ($40-$300) — It’s tempting to go all out with a mic because it looks cool and makes you feel like a deejay, but I don’t recommend spending too much on technical equipment at first. Find a less expensive option that works for the first few episodes, and once you know whether or not the podcast will be a long-term commitment, you can choose to invest more budget.
Editing software: GarageBand is free for Mac owners, and it works. Otherwise, I’ve heard great things about Adobe Audition ($19.99/month) and Audacity (free).
Music: There are plenty of royalty-free music options.
Transcription: I highly recommend hiring a transcription service for each episode. This is not only for the SEO benefit of written content, but also for hearing-impaired audience members, or those of us who prefer to read our content. There are many transcribing options on Fiverr, and Speechpad is a service that specializes in transcription. Cost is usually around $1/minute.
Hosting: SoundCloud ($15/month for unlimited uploads) is great for embedding podcasts in blog posts. Libsyn ($5+/month) is a host many professionals use. Both publish out to iTunes, Google Play and other podcast feeds.