Opinions expressed by entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Podcasts are nothing new. Odds are, you’re subscribed to one or two at this very moment.
but podcast marketing is still taking a bit of time to catch on. While prominent brands like LinkedIn and Shopify are standout success stories in the brand podcast world, many businesses have been slow to embrace the podcast as a marketing medium.
But let’s back up for a second. What exactly is podcast marketing?
Brand-run podcasts allow you to market products and services directly to consumers through this modern audio medium. But that’s not all. Through brand-centered podcasts, you have the opportunity to reach consumers who align with your brand, share updates on your business, give a better glimpse into the human side of your business and more.
And perhaps most importantly, you can control the narrative from start to finish, creating full-length episodes of engaging content that serve as a powerful and impactful marketing tool.
Many businesses may see podcasting as a challenge, but let’s break that down, find out why and provide some helpful tools for capitalizing on this valuable marketing medium. After all, a brand podcast allows you to unlock a highly engaged audience of potential customers and build relationships that could boost awareness and bottom-line revenue for years to come.
Here’s how to clear the hurdles of podcast marketing.
Related: 4 Reasons to Start Your Own Podcast
Why podcast marketing can be challenging
There’s a reason many companies have been slow to embrace the podcast. At first glance (or listen), starting a podcast can seem costly, time-intensive and intimidating. After all, compared to whipping up a quick social media graphic or building out an email newsletter, conceiving and executing a crystal-clear audio interview with guests, appropriate topics and product marketing can seem like a monumental undertaking, even with tech- and trend- savvy marketers on staff.
What’s more, some assume that a brand podcast can be hard to market beyond the actual podcast itself. “There are so many podcasts out there now. How will ours stand out?” is not an uncommon inquiry. And in a sea of choices, designing a captivating brand podcast can become an intimidating prospect.
Finally, there is the question of gathering insights. Most campaign managers are accustomed to traditional social, email and website traffic tools. But many feel out of their depth when it comes to podcast data. It’s also true that podcasts offer severely limited analytics, at least when compared to the many other marketing channels out there.
But while these three hurdles certainly exist, they are quickly cleared. Here’s how.
Related: 5 Ways to Use Spotify’s Podcast Growth Strategies for Branding and Marketing
Tip 1: Use the right software and experiment
Are you worried about the time and effort it will take to start a brand podcast? Luckily, this format has been around for a while now, and plenty of easy-to-use tools are at your disposal. Gone are the days of high-tech recording studios. these days, anyone can make a podcast with an affordable USB microphone and any number of available editing software products.
If you’re concerned about the creative element of your show, try to mix up guests (and even hosts!) so the burden isn’t on one person to produce excellent content for each podcast. You also don’t need to create weekly episodes — make sure you have an established calendar. Start slow, and experiment regularly!
Related: 5 Reasons All Entrepreneurs Need A Podcast Today
Tip 2: Cross promotion is your best friend
Sure, there seems to be an endless number of podcasts out there. But there is something already available to help market your new podcast: existing platforms! While organic discoverability is certainly an issue in the podcast world, it doesn’t need to be a barricade to your success.
Cross promotion should be your best friend. You can use everything from social media accounts, email newsletters, and even physical products to promote your podcast. Additionally, you can also pay or trade with similar podcasts for shoutouts. And when it comes to organic reach, you can always ask loyal listeners to review your podcast on whichever platform they choose. This will make a big difference over time.
Related: How to Use Podcasting to Help Your Brand
Tip 3: Get smart with gathering data
Many businesses are hesitant to use podcasts for marketing purposes, often due to a data deficit. As I mentioned, podcast platforms tend to have less robust data than quasi-traditional digital marketing spaces like social media. Still, this is where you can get creative.
Experiment with converting podcast listeners to your other platforms. For instance, inserting specific links in each podcast episode description — those linking to third-party sites — can be a great way to gather audience data. Or, setting up social media accounts just for the brand podcast can help shape your listener demographic. You could even run podcast-specific campaigns (promo codes on products, for instance) to test how, when, and to what extent that audience is converting into customers.
Notable success stories are coming out of the brand podcast space. And with constantly developing technology, the barrier to entry has never been lower. By utilizing cross-promotional marketing strategies and getting creative with audience data, some of the most often-cited hurdles to podcast marketing disappear. So, what are you waiting for? Get recording!