|Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.|
Starting a Small Business Podcast
If you enjoy talking about your industry or business, and solving customer problems, a podcast can be an effective tool in helping you build your business.
Podcasting offers a cost-effective branding and marketing tool for small businesses as the audience grows for audio programs. For a modest investment in equipment and time, your small business podcast can help you reach new prospects, build your credibility and establish your company as a trusted resource.
Among the many reasons that podcasting is effective for small businesses is the loyal audience that successful podcasts can attract. Many podcast listeners have made their favorite shows a regular part of their commuting and exercise routine, in part because, unlike videos, you can listen to a podcast while performing other activities.
Audio content like podcasts help you establish strong connections with listeners that are far more personal than a text article. Because many people listen to podcasts with headphones or earbuds, your voice helps create a closer connection than video or written content can provide.
Podcasts also help you build or enhance your industry credibility. By following industry trends and sharing your perspectives on the implications, you help your customers understand not only what is happening, but why it is happening and, more importantly, what they should do about it.
Podcasts also offer an opportunity for continued and ongoing engagement with your prospects. If you distribute your podcast weekly or twice a month, for instance, you’re able to reach them consistently with new ideas and reminders about your company and your expertise.
While the benefits of podcasting can be compelling, it’s also important to be realistic and to understand that starting a podcast is not as straightforward as creating Facebook or Instagram posts.
For example, you’ll need to develop a consistent theme for your show and the topics you will cover. It’s helpful to spend time thinking of a defined niche that’s underserved. In most instances, you’ll be more successful with a targeted podcast than a general show that’s likely to have more competition.
You also need to think about the format for your podcast. Popular approaches include interviews with industry leaders and experts, or discussions with a colleague, about customer issues or industry trends. How-to advice to help customers address common challenges can be another effective source of show topics and discussions.
You’ll also need to make a modest investment in equipment and software. Many shows rely on guest interviews or discussions that use recordings of videoconference or VoIP conversations. You’ll also want a good microphone or two for recording the show opening or in-studio conversations with guests. A USB mic that plugs directly into your laptop can be an affordable way to get started.
You also may want audio software to edit your recordings, such as cutting out unrelated details, coughs or passing fire engines. Podcast listeners don’t expect perfect sound, but you’ll want to cut out distractions that can dilute the power of your content.
While the equipment investment is modest, understand that you’ll have to commit to a schedule for researching topics, recording your episodes, and editing and promoting your content. None of these steps are complicated, but they do take time and effort before the benefits of your podcasting efforts will emerge.
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