Why Podcasting Is Great for Your Business

Podcasting has come a long way and is a growing medium, yet still unsaturated. With a 54% increase in podcast listenership since 2017 and with 55% of the US population having listened to a podcast in the last month, it's safe to say that there is a great opportunity in this mode of communication.

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In this week's episode of Growth Hack, Caitlin Van Horn joins us as a guest host. Caitlin is the Marketing Manager at Simplecast and the questions she asks are as insightful as her experience in the space.

Why Podcasting is Such a Growth Hack

Podcasting is an untapped source of potential that many businesses can benefit from. When done right, the medium can cement your business's place in its niche and help grow your brand's sphere of influence. There are two major reasons why podcasting has such a powerful effect.

1. Content

When it comes to digital marketing, content is king. One of the major roadblocks many businesses run into is an inability to produce enough content to make a dent in the market. Podcasting offers a surefire way to skyrocket a business's ability to put out content.

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A single podcast episode can produce multiple pieces of information-rich content. You can extract value-rich quotes and create graphics with them. If you've spent any time on social media, you will know that quote images make the rounds on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, often becoming viral.

An hour-long podcast episode can also be the springboard for several blog posts. By delving into a handful of topics during the podcast, each area can spawn a separate post. This can end up multiplying your content output by orders of magnitude.

2. Reach

Distribution is the other key factor to consider. Podcasts are the ultimate way of offering value-rich content for free. Podcasts are inexpensive to create, yet entertaining and informative for large audiences.

Is Podcast Right for You?

There are many ways to market a business. If you have found the Holy Grail and can avoid digital marketing, feel free to go forth and multiply your business. Marketing, especially the digital kind, takes time to produce results.

Therefore, podcasting is not recommended for a new company with limited resources or a company that is currently struggling. Podcasting is for businesses that have at least a six-month runway. It isn't recommended for companies that are struggling to pay their bills to entrust their hopes to podcasting. If cash flow stabilizes in time, then podcasting can be brought into the equation.

Podcasting is a brand-building exercise. As such, you need to be in a position where building a brand makes sense, financially and logically. If your business is running smoothly and you're ready to take it to the next level, you can begin your podcasting journey.

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Finding Your Target Audience

Before you can reap the rewards that podcasting has to offer, it's important to hone in on your target audience. Using your business's customer avatar attributes, you can leverage social media platforms to help you with your audience targeting.

Facebook's detailed targeting can help you single out audiences based on specific attributes. One example of this is popular entertainment. Movies have big audiences and can be used as vehicles for arriving at a targeted audience for your podcast.

Once you have your audience dialed in, you are ready to start setting up the podcast structure; creative being your next step. What you think will work will most likely end up not working. Arriving at the best type of creative requires testing. Try five or more types until you reach the one that suits your target audience.

The key is not to give up and to trust the process. Don't overextend your business in the process. A $500 budget can scale a particular piece of creative to 50-100,000 people. If you need to test an audience, spend $500-$1000. Don't throw good money after bad. If you hit a dead-end, cut your losses and move on. With the proper gameplan, you will find your ideal target audience.

How Much Do Podcasters Spend to Enact a Campaign?

Julian Espinosa discusses how he built a mafia-themed podcast centering around the story of Joe Pistone. If the name doesn't ring a bell, Joe Pistone is the basis for the Johnny Depp film Donnie Brasco. Julian gets $0.08 per listener at scale. This is a far departure from the tens of dollars that inexperienced per listener that some people end up paying.

This proves that with the right strategy, a great return on investment can be achieved. From a media buying standpoint, it would take around $2,000 to $3,000 to enact a campaign successfully. The key lesson here is that you need to spend money on the distribution of a podcast, not just content creation.

Influencers in the digital marketing space are exceptions to this rule. They can start distributing successful podcasts without significant investment by leveraging their massive followings.

Does This Method Translate Across Niches?

The keys to a successful podcast are:

  • audience
  • creative
  • scale

The same process holds for every niche. Caitlin Van Horn suggests focusing on the listener and what they enjoy in their daily lives.

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The example of pet insurance comes to mind. A podcast that hopes to sell pet insurance will probably not be creating podcast episodes about insurance. No one wants to listen to endless drivel about premiums and payouts. On the other hand, pet owners love cute and inspirational stories about pets. If the podcaster can cater to their audience's interests, sales of pet insurance will come as a result.

Takeaways for Podcasters

Podcasters should think about distribution. By recognizing landmark episodes, valuable insights can be obtained and used in subsequent episodes. Landmark episodes are top-performing installments of your podcast. Chop these episodes into small clips and get them out on the digital sphere. Chances are, you will build multiple pathways back to your business.