The podcast renaissance is underway, and whether you’re a doctor, a lawyer, or a blogger, you need to get in on the podcast game if you really want to market yourself and your business online.
I work for a Utah-based online healthcare marketing firm, and podcasting is a primary way I build my online audience. Podcasting helps me grow my company, while sharing knowledge to help other professionals grow their own businesses.
Read on to learn the benefits of podcasting, the main steps to start your podcast, and the process I use to create my own podcast, the 10 Minute Healthcare Podcast. I’ll also deliver some podcasting pro tips you can use to make each episode shine.
4 Podcasting Benefits for Businesses
The benefits of podcasting for a business are manyfold. Here are some of the main reasons you should start podcasting:
1.) Benefit from the on-demand economy
Steaming video, music, and podcasts are all part of the on-demand entertainment trend. People want content they can access immediately, whenever and wherever they are. With podcasts, people can subscribe to the ones they like so they are automatically downloaded, or stream an episode of their choice while driving or working out.
2.) Diversify your content marketing
Content marketing is not just about pounding out the written content. Photos, videos, and yes, even podcasts, are content too. Take a break from writing blog posts every day and experiment with another medium for creating engaging content.
3.) Podcasting is easier than videos
There are a lot of moving parts to consider when making a video (camera angle, lighting, background noise, etc.) and if you’re not comfortable in front of a camera it will show. A podcast, by contrast, is much simpler and less expensive — and not to mention, less stressful — to produce.
4.) Opportunity to show your personality
Podcasts are the perfect medium to reveal your business’s personality — that is, your personality! Revealing a bit about yourself is key, as it helps people connect with your business on a personal level to build trust.
7 Easy Steps to Starting a Podcast
Now, that you know why you should podcast, let’s get into the “how” of podcasting. Here are the specific steps you need to follow to record, polish, publish, and promote your podcast.
1.) Purchase audio equipment
The equipment you’ll need to start your podcast is pretty basic — there’s a good chance you already have everything you need. Here are the things you’ll need:
- A USB microphone
- Headphones (or headset with both a microphone and headphones)
- Recording and audio editing software
For extreme minimalists, some apps allow you to podcast directly from your iPhone, without any additional equipment. But for most people, it will probably be a little easier to use your PC or Mac with a relatively inexpensive USB headset and some basic recording/editing software, like Audacity.
Find some free podcasting resources here.
2.) Record and edit your podcast
Brainstorm to come up with a plan or script for what you want to talk about in your podcast. The first few times you might stick closely to the script, but you’ll feel more comfortable speaking off the cuff the more you podcast.
Set a time limit to make sure you don’t talk for so long that you lose the audience’s attention. (All of my podcasts are about ten-minutes long, hence the name). Generally, a podcast should be between 10 and 20 minutes, 30 minutes max.
Do some tests of your audio equipment to make sure everything sounds good. Once you’re ready, hit the record button and let your inner talk-show host do the rest.
After you’re done, you’ll want to edit the audio to make sure it sounds good. If you’re a beginning podcaster with no audio editing experience, you will probably only want to mess with the very basic editing functions. Alternatively, you might hire someone to edit your podcast for you. You can find some quick podcast audio editing tips in this article.
3.) Prepare your cover art
A good podcast should have great cover art that will attract listeners and give your podcast a professional appeal.
For my podcast art, I like to use shareasimage to combine a cool image with a motivational quote.
4.) Create a feed and metadata
The metadata, or text information that describes your podcast, is part of your podcast’s marketing packaging. As with your podcast cover art, you need to create appropriate meta data for your podcast that will help the right people find your podcast in the sea of online audio.
Find a program that will assist you in making an XML document for the RSS feed of your podcast. The easiest way to do this is by using a text editor. Again, iTunes provides some useful guidelines for creating a good RSS feed, such as how to use the summary tags to your advantage.
5.) Publish and submit your podcast
Now that you have your podcast recorded, edited, and packaged with cover art and an RSS feed, it’s time to let the world hear it.
To publish your podcasts online so that you can put them on your website, social media profiles, etc., you’ll need to find a podcast host. Here’s a list of the best sites to host your podcasts — I use PodBean.
Of course, you’ll also want to submit your podcast to iTunes and Stitcher (podcasts for Androids), so people can find your podcasts on their smartphones. Learn how to submit your podcast to iTunes and Stitcher.
6.) Promote your podcast
You’re not quite done yet! To help you build a devoted following, also have to promote your podcast by publishing links to it on your social media profiles and sending out some marketing emails.
Include the link to all your podcasts on your profiles, and also make a Facebook post/tweet/email about each episode as it is published.
Here are some more ideas for promoting your podcast:
- Interview a local celebrity who has a lot of followers
- Use a program like Spreaker to put your podcast on YouTube
- Market a “top 10” list of your best podcasts
- Include a link to your podcast in your Amazon author profile if you have one
- Make an agreement with another podcaster in your field to promote each other’s podcasts
You can find more creative ways to promote your podcasts in this entrepreneur.com article.
7.) Check your stats
Now that your first podcast episode is out in the world, you can sit back and rest — just kidding! Of course, you’ll want to make more episodes and also keep track of your stats to see how your following is growing. Stats can also reveal insights on how to tailor your podcasts for your target audience to increase conversions.
You can use stats from your podcast hosting service, Google Analytics, email marketing analytics, and social media metrics to track your gauge engagement with your podcast.
Some important statistics for your podcast you’ll want to track include:
- Numbers of tweets, likes, +1s, etc.
- Number of listens
- Number of subscribes
- Number of downloads
- iTunes reviews
- Geolocations of people who listen to your podcast
- Number of conversions
Conversions are of course, the most important metric when it comes to determining the success of your podcast. After all, you are podcasting with a goal in mind — the goal of growing your healthcare practice, attracting new dental patients, or maybe just building a professional reputation online. If your podcast is successful, it will help you meet any professional goal you set out to achieve.
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My 4-Step Podcasting Process
Here’s the process my team uses to create and publish podcasts for Titan Web Agency. You may want to try something similar.
- I batch-record several episodes in a row, recording five podcasts the first Monday of the month.
- Then I send them off to somebody to edit (add the intro/outro, fix any audio issues, add meta-data, have show notes created, etc.).
- At this time, I also have the podcast episode’s cover art made. I use shareasimage to create my motivational quote for the custom graphic. Here’s an example of one:
- I then upload them to PodBean and schedule them to be released every Friday around 5am.
9 More Podcasting Pro Tips
Here are a few more tips to make your podcast a great one:
1.) Re-purpose your content
Don’t have enough things to blog about? Use your existing written content for inspiration. Modify an old blog post, article, or even white paper to create a podcast script.
In fact, you might want to turn every one of your blog posts into its own podcast. In addition to the 10 Minute Marketing Podcast, I have an audio blog where people can listen to all of my blog posts.
2.) Include some music
You’ll notice that most professional podcasts have a musical intro and outro. You probably want to hire someone to make intro/outro music for you. Or, if you’re up to the task, you can make your own — you can find royalty-free music to use for podcasts using a service such as The Music Bakery.
3.) Listen to other podcasts
When you first start podcasting, you will want to listen to other podcasts for inspiration. You can learn a lot from observing the style and content of other podcasts. This will help you develop your own unique podcasting “voice.”
Listen to podcasts in your particular niche. You should also check out these Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs.
4.) Podcast often (but not too often)
You should release a new podcast episode at least once a month, but once a week is ideal. Once a day is probably too much.
5.) Include show notes
Show notes (podcast episode descriptions) are great because not only do they provide value to the listener, but they also give you a chance to do some content marketing.
Everyone is short on time, so people checking out your podcasts will appreciate a summary of what’s talked about in the podcast so they can determine if they want to listen to that episode. When you publish the episode on your website, include this summary in the show notes, along with relevant keywords and a call to action.
6.) Get listeners involved with your podcast
Listeners like it when you engage with them. Talk about your listeners, and solicit feedback from them. You might even feature comments from listeners in your podcast, or have an episode where you field questions from listeners.
7.) Cross-promote your content
Cross-promote your podcast with your written content. For example, you can make announcements about your upcoming e-book in your podcast, reference your podcast in your blog, etc.
8.) SEO FTW
Don’t forget the SEO in your podcast. Here is a pretty good article on how you can incorporate SEO into your podcast, including best practices and bad practices for SEO in podcasting.
9.) Communicate value
No one will listen to your podcast just because you tell them to. There has to be something in it for them. The most popular podcasts provide listeners with value — either entertainment or information. Give your listeners valuable advice in the form of actionable tips they can use. Grab listeners’ attention by making it clear from the episode title and the first minute of your podcast what they will gain from listening to your podcast.
Ready to start your own podcast? I think you just might be! Feel free to check out my weekly healthcare marketing podcast for inspiration, and also find tons more online marketing tips in our healthcare SEO blog.