Over the last few years, podcasts have become a popular form of entertainment – they are easy to listen to, often free to play, available on any device and crucially reduce ‘screen time’ which is a key concern for those of us who spend their days looking at a computer, TV or phone.
Before the pandemic hit, a podcast was the ideal accompaniment to a tiring commute, and now it can be a comfortable companion on a lunchtime walk to get away from your desk, or an accompaniment while cooking dinner and moving around the house.
Acast, the largest global podcast company, reported listening reached record levels in Spring 2020 as people turned to podcasts for coronavirus news.
Whatever the future holds, podcasts are here to stay.
Did you know that there are over 1,500,000* podcasts currently available in Apple’s iTunes?
Everyone has their go-to listen; you might be a true crime connoisseur and enjoy the likes of Serial or My Favourite Murder, or prefer something to lift your spirits like No Such Thing as a Fish, or even use podcasts as an opportunity to learn something new with the likes of TED Radio Hour.
As more brands capitalise on the increased interest in the podcast format, it is crucial to ensure your podcast has its own Unique Selling Point (USP). Here are some of our top tips to consider if you are planning to start your own podcast.
Know your audience
As a business, you know your audience best – who they are, how to reach them and importantly, what content they engage with. While the platform you are reaching them on may be different to more traditional forms of media, it’s likely they will look to you for expertise on a particular topic.
Our client Natures Menu has done just that with the launch of its debut podcast, The Pupcast. Natures Menu is the UK’s leading expert in raw and natural pet food, and it is known and loved by its customers for its advice and guidance when it comes to everything cat and dog. From weaning puppies onto adult food to how to care for your pet in hot weather or on Bonfire Night, Natures Menu’s reputation in this area is second to none.
The launch of The Pupcast capitalises on the brand’s knowledge. With Mel Sainsbury, the brand’s Veterinary Education Manager at the helm, each episode focuses on a key concern of puppy owners and features guests who are experts in the pet industry.
By knowing its audience, Natures Menu has established how it can engage with its audience in a way that is familiar to them and continues to provide them with content they will benefit from. Not to mention The Pupcast is a great companion on a morning dog walk!
Do your research
One of the best things about podcasts is that they cater for every interest, whether that be a zeitgeist topic featuring frequently in the news cycle, or you are interested in quite a niche subject area.
One crucial action to make before you start recording is to do your research. What will make your podcast stand out from the crowd? What can you say that will provide a fresh and interesting take on a topic you know well?
We worked with Mira Showers, the UK’s leading shower manufacturer, to launch its first podcast, Clean Thinking, in 2020. A poll involving more than 2,000 Brits revealed that over 50 per cent prioritise cleaning their house and checking the news over their own mental wellbeing.
Additional research conducted by Mira ahead of the podcast launch highlighted where they could make a difference, informing the focus of Clean Thinking. By creating short podcasts that people could listen to while they were in the shower, Mira was able to provide listeners with some much-needed mental wellbeing support.
Be the expert
You know your audience; you’ve done your research, what’s next?
The host of your podcast is a crucial piece of the puzzle – they need to be confident while recording, be able to steer the conversation and manage the guest, as well as being an engaging speaker who will keep your listeners entertained.
If you have an expert within your business who is an authority in your field and has media experience, they could be a great fit as your podcast host. However, you may not have anyone that fits the brief in your business and that isn’t a problem. Why not invest in a celebrity guest host, or a third-party expert, who is used to presenting and recording and can help position your podcast as the must-listen in your industry?
As with all creative content, it’s all about quality. The podcast will be associated with your business for years to come which is why it’s crucial to make sure the quality of the podcast is of a high standard. The good news is that it is possible to do this, whatever your budget.
The two most common methods of podcast recording are out-sourcing to a recording studio or managing the recording in-house. Both methods have their benefits.
Outsourcing to a recording studio is the ideal option if you are working with a high-profile spokesperson or a celebrity guest host. A studio provides a comfortable and soundproof environment, and as they come with professional equipment, you know you are going to have good quality audio.
Studio technicians can also edit the recordings, so the podcast is ready to launch. What this does mean, however, is that you are relying on the studio’s timings, which may affect the turnaround time between recording and the finished version to share with your listeners. Studio recording can often be a costly activity and is therefore better suited to a strategy with a sizeable budget to work from.
Recording in-house is a great option if you are working to a budget. It allows you to make sure your key messaging is included in each episode and that time is set aside to ensure your recordings are edited quickly and to the required standard.
Rich, our content creation arm, can support with in-house and studio podcast creation and recording, whilst managing preparation, editing and distribution of your podcast.
Get the word out
When considering promotional strategy for your podcast, it’s essential to support a new podcast with an effective launch campaign to ensure listeners know how to engage with your content. Social channels are a great way to reach your existing customers, with paid ads helping to reach out to new audiences and let new customers find your podcast. Press releases can also work to raise awareness through traditional media, but make sure you have something new to say – why not include some interesting stats from your earlier research to show your expertise?
Make sure you utilize the available podcast directories including Acast, Spotify, iTunes and Google.
It should be noted that although the number of podcasts available has grown exponentially over the last few years, the podcast is still a relative newcomer to the world of marketing. Few podcasts become overnight success stories, and this is something to be mindful of when developing a strategy and planning KPIs. Podcast producers often recommend that it takes approximately ten episodes to gauge the success of a podcast, and it’s often quality engagement that is more impactful than the quantity.
Podcasts may seem like a time intensive process but it worth the investment!
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, have fun with your podcast. They are a form of entertainment first and foremost, and therefore need to be entertaining, informative, and interesting to keep your listeners engaged.
However, podcast listeners can pick up any signs of advertising or direct selling, which can affect your results. People are more likely to become regular listeners if they don’t feel like they are being sold to.
If you enjoy the recording process, chances are your audience will enjoy the final product too!
To find out how you can enhance your business’s PR strategy with a podcast that is perfect for your audience, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Correct as of October 2020