In a previous article, “10 Types of Content That Work for Every Business”, I listed the most popular types of content that is guaranteed to work for any company - from any niche industry - no matter how boring. Although podcasts were not on that list, we knew that this type of content deserved its own spotlight as a great way to tell your story.

A podcast is essentially a non-streaming webcast, in audio or video form. Podcasts are typically downloaded through what is known as a Podcatcher. A Podcatcher is a type of software client that downloads podcasts and can manage and transfer files to a media player. iTunes is by far the most popular Podcatcher, but there are manyservices out there that willdo the same thing.

Why are Podcasts so Valuable?

The term “podcast,” as opposed to “webcast,” originated with the invention of the iPod, so podcasts are inherently associated with audio syndication. But as we know, handheld technology is constantly evolving and growing with next-generation tablets, mobile phones, and other multimedia devices that can easily handle high-quality video --this just wasn’t the case when podcasts were first introduced. Because of this, podcasts have evolved with new-gen technology and now video podcasts have almost become the norm.

podcast audio recording

Many radio news outlets, for example, make use of video podcasts as a way to distribute their news, sometimes separating it out by topic (music, politics, business, etc.). Podcasts are a huge distribution channel, so it can help with building your brand, image, and authority. Because Podcasts can beeasily shared among the popular social networks, they also have the potential to become a viral hit (depending on topic-matter, of course).

Developing your First Podcast

Now, you are ready to expand your content portfolio and create your first podcast.  I’ve seen Podcasts produced from very basic equipment (mobile phones, laptops, webcams) to professional sound and video equipment – Even if your video and sound quality is not “Cinema Quality”, that’s okay!  You should always have room to grow and improve, and you’ve got a long way to go before Podcasts are recognized by the Academy.

It’s much more important to get your ideas down on paper and create an outline for the podcast in order to stay on track during the recording. Remember, this is your first podcast, eventually you will want to track metrics and measurable goals for each piece of content you publish – but we’re new to this – so let’s keep it simple at first and consider the most basic factors:

·         Who is your audience? Your audience for the podcasts might be very similar to the audience that eats up all your social media content. But depending on your industry, these podcasts can allow your brand to speak to individuals with a higher-level knowledge about your field. The format of podcasts invite enthusiasts or interested followers to listen to your brands in-depth discussions.  This enables your brand to establish itself as an industry leader and get new conversations started that can greatly benefit the listeners. You must have this target audience in mind first, otherwise you won’t know what topics to cover, or where to promote the podcast once published.

·         What topics will be covered? Once you have established a target audience, determine what topics you would like to cover in the podcasts.  Finding topics should be easy, this is your first podcasts after all! What is your audience asking or talking about on social media?Start listing these questions and decide on which topics you want to cover.  Put them in specific order and create a time-limit for each topic. This will help keep the podcast moving and the audience engaged.   

·         How long will the entire podcast be? Joe Rogan will fight you in the octagon over these statistics – but I think that’s due to his extended time in a sensory deprivation tank - Rogan’s Podcasts can last well-over 3 hours.  I am also willing to bet that your clients aren’t up at 3:00AM questioning their place in the Universe with Joe Rogan, so your brand will have to act much faster.According to the popular podcast site, Stitcher, the average listener stays connected for about 22 minutes. TED Talks has famously set an 18-minute maximum for its presenters.  From a content marketing perspective, 18 minutes is an absolute eternity. You can get a lot covered in 18 minutes, and if you don’t believe me – ask David Christian – who was able to brilliantly explain (in its entirety) The History of Our Universe… in just 18 minutes.

Podcasting Tips from the Experts

Although trends will vary depending on the audience and industry, iTunes can provide some pretty interesting insight on successful podcasting habits. Here are a few tips from podcasting experts:

Tuesday is the Best Day to publish your Podcast

Kevin Lee of buffersocial noticed that among The Top 25 Podcasts in the iTunes store, 60% of podcasts posted early in the week; Wednesday afternoon at the latest.  The most common single day was Tuesday.  He noted that Tuesday is also the day when new music hits the iTunes store, which might result in more visits or podcast downloads.

Stick to a Schedule by Using a Content Calendar

Top 25 podcasts on iTunes publish once or twice per week on a regular schedule. Podcasts that were sporadic and unorganized did not perform as well as the ones that stuck to a schedule.Keep in mind that audiences typically subscribe to a podcast channel, so whenever you publish a new podcast, it gets distributed to all the subscribers, automatically.

Don’t Dismiss Audio Content

Many people continue to use podcasts for audio. Don’t discount the value of audio in favor of video – audio can fill a niche and connect with your followers in a way that video cannot do. What’s great about audio is that you can use it to turn your blog posts into podcasts. You could record someone reading your text blog post into a microphone if you want a human narrator. Or you can use a dictation software tool to automatically read the text to an audio file. Dictating blog posts, for example, is a great way to make them more accessible. The files can be repurposed to a podcast for an additional distribution opportunity. Podcasts are a great way to distribute your email interviews, too. Any audio you produce for your webpages should be podcasted. For a minimum of effort, you get the huge bonus of expanded distribution of your content.

Whether its audio or video, podcasts are quickly becoming a popular form of content that audiences trust and share among friends.  This high-level content is a great way to promote your brand’s thought leadership, propelling authority and trust among the biggest industry influencers.  Do not be intimidated by different forms of media to tell your story.  With some preparation and structure, you can share stories or insights to a massive listening audience.