The internet has come a long way since it was just a text based system. Overflowing with images, videos and audio files, there numerous ways in which you can market products and services.
One often overlooked method is podcasting.
What are podcasts?
Podcasts are a little bit like a radio serials, often focusing on just a single topic: say internet marketing.
Just like a serial, podcasts normally run daily, weekly or monthly. Each episode focuses on a different topic.
Podcasts can just be the podcaster ranting away, or there may be more than one – similar to radio – and guest spots and interviews are very common.
The audio files can be listened to from a variety of sources, depending on where the podcaster puts them:
- Direct on the website
- Download from the website
- From iTunes
- And in the future, from Spotify
Podcasts are an excellent way to keep up with industry news whether you’re in the car, jogging, or sat at your desk doing work.
This sort of on demand new and information has seen podcasting grow in popularity.
Why would you podcast?
Podcasting from a marketing point of view has numerous advantages.
Cheap as chips
It really doesn’t take much investment to get started with podcasting: a mic, some basic software, time, and something to say.
Your visitors can listen to the content as and when they want, even if they are not at their computer.
It’s not video
No need for fiddling with screencasts, no need to add in overlays, no need to show your face; podcasting has a very low barrier to entry.
Yup, you can still make money with podcasting, like any other marketing method.
How can you earn money by podcasting?
It doesn’t seem obvious: how can a radio style broadcast make money? Do you have adverts?
No, but there are several ways in which podcasting can make you money.
Adverts would be a faux pas, but when a podcast has enough of an audience, obtaining a sponsor can be quite lucrative. All they want is a shout-out or two in each podcast. Just make sure the sponsor is niche appropriate!
Like with normal written content, your podcasts should provide useful and valuable information, and there’s nothing to stop you creating a short synopsis below the podcast file/link, which includes affiliate links to the things you talked about.
Podcasts as courses! Create your content as an audio format, make a few episodes free and stick the rest behind a paywall. If you want, you can also hire someone to transcribe the podcasts to give your customers more value.
Talking of paywalls, you could actually charge for the podcast by providing samples (a few minute’s worth for example) and making people pay for the rest. I don’t think this is a great way to monetize podcast, as it can alienate an audience rather than encourage one, but it’s an option.
If marketing isn’t a huge focus for you, why not ask for donations? You can set it up via PayPal or even better use a site like Patreon, where people pay you some money every month in order to do what you’re doing!
Remember earlier I said you shouldn’t put adverts in your podcasts? Well, there is one situation where it’s fine. If for example you have simply tons of content, you can stick in adverts between podcasts (similar to how YouTube stick adverts in between videos). You can even co-operate with other podcasters to amalgamate all their and your content into your own network!
Use the podcasts to promote your own products and services, instead of trying to eke commissions of other people’s products. Your audio content can help and instruct people and tell them how your product/service can benefit in different situations.
Best ways to get started
Getting started with podcasting really starts with generating a content plan – the last thing you want to do is run out of things to talk about!
What is your podcast about?
Unless you’re starting from scratch, the podcast topic should be related to your websites content. For example, if your site is about internet marketing, your podcast could be about a specific side of that such as SEO or just internet marketing in general. Just remember that the topic should be of interest to your target audience.
Always have a few weeks’ worth of ideas
Things change and things happen, so sometimes you may have to change what your podcast was going to talk about at the last minute (for example, if a guest speaker pulls out the day before). Having additional content ideas secures against having to skip a podcast.
Mix it up
Unless you have a set course structure, series of tutorials, or have a specific style of podcast such as interviews, it’s best to keep the podcasts a little mixed up.
For example one week you could interview someone in your niche, the next review a product, after that a tutorial and so on. It depends on your audience, but few people want the same old thing week in, week out.
There are some basic things that you will need in order to get started with podcasting.
In theory, any microphone that can connect to your computer will do. In practice, you need to make sure the quality is at least half decent. No one wants to listen to 30 minutes of bad quality audio!
Whatever mic you go for, try to find one that keeps ambient noise to a minimum.
If you want to improve the quality of your podcasts, some editing is in order. Personally I find Audacity to be a brilliant audio editing program, plus it’s free!
Software like Audacity can help remove background hums, and delete your errs and uhms, and even allow you to chop out or re-arrange whole sections. You can even prerecord things like an intro and add it to the start of your podcast.
Nice to have equipment
None of the following is strictly necessary but it’s always nice to have.
An omni-directional mic
The Yeti is an example of this, as it has omni-directional functionality. What this means is that you can physically interview someone with the same mic and it focuses on catching the sounds from only the front and behind (where people sit).
A pop filter
These are fairly inexpensive and go between your mouth and the mic and help reduce the “p” noise in words like popping, which can often sound harsh when recorded.
Having a physical or digital mixer can improve your podcast quality dramatically as you can control every aspect of the sounds. Not for the uninitiated though and certainly not needed to start with!
The Bottom Line
Podcasting is growing trend and a nice alternative to written marketing. What will you podcast about?