You’ve probably heard by now that podcasts are one of the top marketing trends of 2023, and that trend shows no sign of slowing down in the coming year. But is a podcast right for you and your business? And is it right for you at this time? Here, I’ll cover some basic considerations you’ll want to address before you dive in to recording your first episode.
- Is a podcast an effective and efficient (in terms of both time and money) way to serve your current business and marketing goals?
Before you begin any work on a podcast for your business, be sure you clearly know your overall business goals, and that your marketing goals are aligned with serving them. Then, look at who your podcast audience is, how it compares to your existing audience for your other marketing efforts, and determine if podcasting will effectively reach members of your target audience that you either aren’t already reaching, or that you will reach them with new information in a way that could convert them to customers in a way that your other marketing efforts cannot. Then, even if it can, consider the time and money you expect to invest into producing your podcast, and if it is the best way to spend that time and money in order to reach and convert that audience.
- Who is your target audience? What topic(s) will appeal to them?
I mentioned your target audience above. Many businesses start out thinking “everyone” is their desired audience. However, you want to reach the audience that will give you the highest return on your (marketing dollar) investment. Sometimes, you might want to reach more of the same age rage and gender as you already reach through other streams, but perhaps you’ve found that some of them are better reached via podcast than your social media platform(s). Or perhaps you are targeting a new age or gender demographic that you believe offers a lot of potential customers, and you’ve determined that podcasts are a great way to reach them. Podcasts can also be a great way to shape an audience. Since they are longer form, and the audience can listen while they do other things, perhaps your podcast can educate them on a topic that will shape them into customers in a way you couldn’t do through simple ads.
After thinking about that, you’ll want to make sure your podcast topics will appeal to the particular audience you are targeting. It is easy to make the mistake of starting a podcast from what you as the business want to tell them. However, your topics need to be those that will intrigue your target audience and make them choose to listen to your podcast over all the other options out there.
Do some digging and explore podcasts similar to what you envision yours will be. Determine how you will differentiate yours enough for your target audience to choose to listen to it.
- What will be your content pillars for your podcast?
Within the topic for your podcast, you want to have 3 content pillars. For example, one could be you demonstrating your own business’s expertise on current topics in your domain; a second one could be interviewing complementary business owners on their work; and a third detailing case studies of your past client successes.
- Will you record your podcast solo, with a partner, interview-style, or some combination?
You’ll want to think about this in terms of your own comfort level for what you can handle and enjoy for an ongoing podcast, workload, and also your candidate pool and the availability of potential partners and interview guests and the ongoing task of scheduling.
- If you plan to have guests, who will they be? Remember to account for both appeal to your target audience and incentive for your guests to agree to appear on your podcast.
If you plan to have guests, make sure you have a decent pool before you begin promoting your podcast. I recommend reaching out and gauging receptivity in advance, perhaps offering a tentative schedule and whether you would record together in person or long-distance. It’s also a great idea to ask your guests for their own referrals for future potential guests, and/or, once your podcast has begun, ask your audience who they would like to hear from as future guests.
- Develop a realistic schedule for frequency that accounts for scheduling and recording as well as time for post-production/editing before each episode is to be posted.
This will become easier once you have a little production experience and a clearer sense of how long producing an episode takes. In the beginning, you’ll want to start on the safer side with a lower frequency, rather than putting too much pressure on yourself when you are first starting out. Once a month or once every two weeks is a good goal for first beginning, and then you can increase your frequency if you feel you can take on more. Also, be sure to determine in advance who will be doing your post-production work and ask them for insight on how much time they feel they will need on their end.
- Decide if you will also record video of the podcast (e.g., for YouTube, YouTube Shorts, TikTok) and include time for this post-production also.
Videos are also a top marketing trend currently, in particular, short-form, such as YouTube Shorts and TikTok, but also reels for Instagram and Facebook. Video can engage an additional audience that your podcast may not reach on its own, and perhaps bring additional viewers over to your podcast. However, if you want to add video to your podcast, be sure to account for the additional equipment, set-up, post-production, and visual considerations (lighting, set appearance).
- How will you promote your podcast?
Don’t assume that your target audience will naturally find and choose your podcast from all of the options out there. Consider promoting your podcast by appearing as a guest on other complementary podcasts, podcasts that already reach your target audience. Also, what other forms of marketing do you utilize through which you could promote your podcast? Organic social? Paid social? Email newsletter?
- What is the title of your podcast? Make sure it conveys the point and will connect with your target audience, and then do research to make sure it is not already taken.
If it feels clever, it may already be taken. However, sometimes previously used titles aren’t copyrighted and maybe only did a couple of episodes before dropping out. Do some brainstorming and come up with a number of potential titles, then do your research to eliminate candidates until your down to the best choice. If you plan to have a YouTube account, email address, social media usernames, or website URL’s match your podcast title, make sure those aren’t taken in advance, as well. It’s always best to keep the same name (and name format, such as spellings and underscores or numbers) across accounts to prevent audience confusion and prevent making yourself an easy target for impersonators.
- You will need a graphic. You can acquire a graphic by designing one yourself, hiring a designer, using an image from a free site (such as Unsplash), or paying for a licensed image and incorporating your podcast title.
Your podcast will need an image, the way you see an album cover when listening to music on a streaming site. Be sure you have your graphic ahead of starting your podcast, and that you have the rights to the image you use.
If you’re just starting out in podcasting, Spotify for Podcasters is a great place to start! Be sure to practice, either on your own if you plan to do a solo podcast, or with friends or colleagues who agree to be your practice interviewee, before diving into your first legitimate interview. Then do a run-through of your post-production to be sure you have a grasp of it and determine how long it takes before committing to a schedule. It’s always best to start out light on investment in equipment and upgrading as needed. By taking all of the above considerations into account before you begin, you should be off to a great start!
Kate is a lifelong learner who now applies her accumulated skills and knowledge to marketing, including strategy, content creation, and analysis. Before getting certified in Digital Marketing Science at Kennesaw State University, Kate completed her undergraduate degree at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta; followed by a Master of Public Affairs, specializing in Nonprofit Management, at The University of Texas at Austin; received her M.A. in Cinema Studies from SCAD Savannah; and, finally, completed her Ph.D. coursework in the Communication Dept. at Georgia State University, while teaching undergraduate film studies, writing, and public speaking. Nowadays, when she's not immersed in marketing or greeting every animal she encounters, you'll find her cooking up a new recipe or crafting a new cocktail.