Should your business REALLY start a podcast?

From The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett to Help I Sexted My Boss, podcasts have exploded in recent years and have become as much of an entertainment category as TV and books.

It feels like every person and their dog has got one, but is that a reason to launch one for your business?

Whether you’re a business owner, a content creator, or just someone with something to say, let’s first look at the reasons FOR starting a podcast…

Build your brand

By starting a podcast, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field. If you are one, that is. This can be especially useful for business owners who want to promote their products and services, or for content creators who want to grow their following. If the content is good, and you promote it well, you can build a strong community of people who want to hear what you have to say.

Content distribution

Loads of content can be created with your podcast at the heart of it: snippets, soundbites, videos, blogs, social posts, emails… all from one episode. Filming when you record your podcast means you can stick the whole thing on YouTube and give people a visual format to consume. One episode can keep you going for weeks, months or even years!

Low start-up costs

All you need to start a podcast is a decent microphone, something to record the audio on (even an iPhone would work here), headphones, and podcast hosting. Plus, a camera if you’re going to record it. Even on a shoestring budget, it’s doable. A quick search on Amazon brings up USB microphone kits from as little as £25. The main thing is GOOD QUALITY AUDIO – nobody wants to listen to a broken, crackly recording of a conversation – it’s an immediate turn off.

Make some moolah

While financial gain shouldn’t be the goal of your podcast, successful podcasters often end up landing sponsorships and advertising deals. Plus, you can promote your business using your podcast – just bear in mind that’s not going to be the main reason why people listen! Having said that 63% of listeners have bought something that a podcast host has recommended so there’s clearly merit in it, but steer clear from always blowing your own trumpet. Remember, give don’t sell.

Opportunity to reach a large audience

As of 2021, there were over 14.5 million podcast listeners in the UK alone. This number is rapidly increasing as podcasts are getting more popular. Data suggests that there will be close to 20 million podcast listeners in the UK by 2024, so naturally, that’s a lot of ears to get your message across to.

All the points so far have been positive. So, what’s the catch?

What are the downsides of podcasting?

Time commitment

Recording and editing a podcast takes time, and you’ll need to be consistent and dedicated if you want to build an audience. People are going to expect your podcasts to follow a schedule. There’s no such thing as an overnight success and you’ll need to put in the hard graft if you want your podcast to do well. If you’re not prepared to put in the time and effort needed to create a high-quality podcast, you might want to reconsider.

Competition

The podcasting space is crowded and there are plenty of established shows that have built up a large and dedicated following. This means you’ll need to work seriously hard to stand out and build an audience of your own. How are you going to do that? This is one of the main things you’ll need to focus on.

Technical challenges

While starting a podcast might not have to cost the Earth, there’s still a learning curve when it comes to recording and editing audio. If you’re not the most technically minded person, this could be “challenging” to say the least.  You might need to invest some time and money in learning the ropes or pay someone to do it for you. *Cough* RedSprout *cough*

Promoting the podcast

You might have recorded a mind-blowing podcast episode, but it’ll mean nothing if nobody knows about it. A huge part of the success of podcasts is their promotion. You need clean, engaging graphics and videos for social, and a clear positioning – who is the podcast aimed at? What can the audience expect? How will they benefit? You need a marketing strategy for your podcast if you want to get any listeners.

Finding guests

Unless there’s at least two of you hosting the podcast, and the whole point is that you’re having a conversation between you, you will need to book some guests. A lot of podcasts follow a similar format where there’s a guest or two in each episode. You’ll want to find people who have something to say that’s relevant to your topic.

Having a guest is also handy for promotion because you’ll immediately get access to their audience. Once the podcast is live, share the link with your guest, tag them in all your social posts, and milk it for all it’s worth! Especially if you’ve landed a guest who’s more well-known than you.

Creating value for listeners

You need a niche. You probably won’t find a unique topic but it’s your unique take on it that’s going to sell the podcast. You need to have something to say that’s worth listening to. Some of us (not naming any names!) don’t have a problem finding something to say, but whether it’s worth listening to is another thing entirely!

So, should you start a podcast?

Drumroll…. the short answer is – it depends!

Starting a podcast could be a great way to reach a large audience, build your brand, and monetise your content. But remember, to make it work you need to put in time and effort. It’s not really something you can go into half-heartedly if you want it to do well.

If you can talk for England about your chosen topic and are willing and able to put in the hours starting a podcast in 2023 could be a smart decision.

Interested in hearing more tips?

Give us a shout for a no-obligation chat if you’re thinking of starting a podcast and need some tips on how to get listeners.

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