How to create a successful podcast for a small business (infographic)

Podcasts can be big business for small businesses looking to find their audience. If you can pick the right topic, plan and produce a show that is worth listening to and successfully promote it, podcasts have proven to deliver results for businesses, with one survey finding that 63% of listeners had bought a product that had been promoted on one.

In case that statistic didn’t convince you of the potential in podcasts, here are some more. In America, 55% of people have listened to a podcast at some point, with nearly 25% listening within the last week. That’s a big audience out there that you could tap into if you get your podcast right.

Starting up a podcast can be daunting though, so BusinessFinancing have created a guide for how to start your own podcast, with actionable tips to help you get going and make your podcast into a success:

Picking a topic

This is key to the success of any podcast but especially one linked to a business. Your podcast needs to be something that stands out in a crowded market by offering something that’s valuable to the listeners (ie, they gain something from listening to it), is sticky (ie, interesting enough to keep them listening) and unique (ie, something only you could deliver).

Getting the right equipment

We’ve all had to get used to talking at our computers while working from home and using Zoom and Teams, but for a podcast you need the right equipment rather than relying on your laptop’s inbuilt microphone. Depending on what your podcast will involve, there are different types of microphone out there (cardioid, omnidirectional, bi-directional and shotgun, to name four) so understanding which will suit your needs is crucial before you buy one.

Once you’ve recorded it, there’s plenty of free options for editing software that will help you craft a professional-sounding podcast, like Audacity and GarageBand. You’ll also need somewhere to host the files, with affordable options available at Podbean, BuzzSprout and Simplecast.

Plan your content

The best podcasts sound unscripted, informal and fun, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of planning involved in their production. Without an outline plan for your episodes, they’ll be unfocused and will quickly lose the interest of your audience, so you need to create rough timings for each segment and aim for the whole podcast to last not much more than 20 minutes in length.

This means keeping things tight, so don’t fall into the trap of having a long-winded introduction, because Apple’s Podcast Analytics has shown that listeners often give up and get bored during these. Keep your introductions brief, to the point and make sure you’re selling what’s coming up to entice people to keep listening.

Help people to find it

If you’ve created a killer podcast for your business, you need to make sure people can actually listen to it, so don’t just post it on your corporate website and wait for the listeners to roll in. There are many podcast aggregators out there, like Spotify, Apply Podcasts and Google Play, so you need to submit it to all of them to maximize the likelihood of people finding it.

You also need to optimize your listings to hook people in, so this means using keywords in the title to increase searchability, getting stylish cover art that catches people’s eye in the listings and writing descriptions that really sell what you’re offering. According to the 2020 Podcast Discovery Survey, the description is the most important factor in deciding whether someone will listen to your show or not.

How to promote your podcast

Even after following all of those steps, you can’t guarantee that your podcast will be a huge success. You need to work hard to promote it, especially at the start. When you are just launching it can be a good idea to upload 3-5 episodes on the first day to give your new audience the chance to listen to several episodes rather than just one.

Not only does this give you more of a chance of making an impression and earning a subscriber, it will also boost your listening time straight away, which will help move you up the rankings and increase your visibility. You could then go with another couple of episodes for each of the next two weeks to keep building that momentum before switching to one episode a week.

Another good way of getting your podcast’s name out there is through guest appearances. If you have a strong network of big names, leverage it by getting them to guest on your podcast and encourage them to promote it on their social media channels.

You can make it easy for them by providing a promotion pack with pull quotes, images, links and pre-written social media messages. Offering to appear as a guest on popular podcasts is another way to increase your visibility and promote your own podcast.

While you’re creating episodes you can also multipurpose your content and make it easier to promote. One way of doing this is to film yourself making the podcast with a decent camcorder and a tripod. This gives you the ability to post that video on YouTube, hugely boosting the potential audience for your podcast.

During the editing process for the podcast, it’s worth keeping an eye (or ear) out for great soundbites that you can create as clips to use on social media as part of your promotion for the episode. Uploading them to SoundCloud makes sharing them on Twitter nice and simple and these clips can go a long way to convincing people to give your podcast a listen.

Podcasting for small businesses might seem like a lot of work to get started with, but if you follow these tips you’ll find that it’s an enjoyable and rewarding experience that can help you find a huge new audience for your products and services. So why not have a think about what your unique topic could be and see if you have the next great business podcast in the making?

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