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Why your small business needs its own podcast

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Image: Essex Business Radio
By Anna Jordan

Firms are keen to set up their own small business podcast to bolster their brand and take advantage of the medium’s exponential growth.

According to 2019 figures from Ofcom, around 7.1m people now listen to podcasts each week. That breaks down to one in eight people which is a 24% increase on the previous year. It seems that new audiences are still emerging – half of respondents have started listening to podcasts in the past two years. Regular podcast listeners consume an average of seven podcasts per week.

Three quarters said they’d listened to a podcast of a BBC radio programme, the highest proportion of any type of podcast, with iPlayer Radio (now BBC Sounds) being the most popular audio-only service for all age groups.

Ofcom’s findings, combined with RAJARChartable and BBC, revealed that entertainment is the most popular podcast category, followed by comedy and discussion/talk shows.

Interestingly, 22% of people who own a smart speaker use them to listen to podcasts – one in five homes in the UK now own one or more smart speakers.

Small businesses have already started to carve into the world of business and branded podcasting.

What can my small business gain from having a podcast?

According to Appypie.com, 39% of SMB owners listen to podcasts generally while 65% listen at least weekly. The upshot is that people can listen to it whenever they have a spare moment so podcasts are ideal for busy people looking for inspiration, entertainment or self-development.

Statistically, podcast audiences are educated, ambitious and affluent. Plus, they’re interested in pursuing continuous education – say, starting and growing a business. Or taking up a hobby like improvisational comedy, which you just happen to run a course in.

If you get it right, you could be seeing some major returns. Appypie.com’s research also shows the biggest increase in purchases after listening to business podcasts. Make sure to include links to products and services mentioned in the podcast with your show notes to drive sales and boost revenue. Placing a link back to your website in the episode summary will also increase your web traffic and attract advertisers too.

Having a podcast for your small business creates and spreads brand awareness, giving you authority and setting you apart as a thought leader in your sector. Not only that, having a voice adds a more personal touch to the brand.

If you post regularly, you’ll build up a loyal following. To further your reach and following, collaborate with other podcasters and build up a network. You can do a collab in person or if they’re based in another part of the world, do remote recordings. There are loads of opportunities for growth and exploration.

Convinced? Great – let’s get you started in creating your own podcast.

How to start a small business podcast

Your first set of decisions is based on the core ideas of your podcast. So, what are you going to talk about? Try and find a niche in the market you’re targeting. Have a look on podcast libraries to find out what’s already being done and have a listen to your would-be competitors. Find a new angle or a new way of presenting information. This is a handy point to decide if you’re going to do a solo show, have a co-host or do interview-style episodes. In fact, you could do something utterly different – perhaps you do antique-based podcasts recorded in different locations.

If you’re doing interviews, will you be doing those in person? Face-to-face podcasts will give you better sound quality, but with USB microphones you can operate remotely too. Just be aware that the quality won’t be as good.

Now it’s time for your small business podcast’s name. You’ve a few options here but keep it snappy and memorable if you can. Saying that, some of the UK’s most popular podcasts have longer titles, such as My Dad Wrote a Porno and There’s No Such Thing as a Fish.

Next up is length. Podcasts are typically between 20-45 minutes but you can get creative here. For example, Chompers is a twice-daily podcast that is two minutes long – the time it takes you to brush your teeth.

The shorter your episodes, the more frequently you can release them. Weekly, fortnightly or monthly is advisable. It’s best to have a regular upload schedule so that your audience know when you’ll be posting an episode. Even if they don’t subscribe, they could still be looking for it on Apple, Google Play or wherever they get their podcasts.

Don’t forget about a logo. Those with the tools and knowhow can design them themselves but there are online platforms that can help. One such website is Canva, where you can design all manner of personal media, including logos. Or if you don’t trust yourself at all, wrangle a graphic designer to create one. Websites like Fiverr have people with graphic design skills who could mock up a logo. Alternatively, you could find someone to work with locally.

Audience feedback is crucial in the setting up and running of your podcast. Ask honest family and friends what they think of your ideas and survey people with an interest in your podcast’s topic area. Find willing participants on Facebook groups and forums, but get permission from the moderator before posting your questionnaire.

What equipment do I need?

You don’t need a lot in the way of equipment, but one essential is a high-quality microphone.

A lot of microphones have a USB port so that you can hook them straight into your computer, tablet or smartphone and start recording.

To give your podcast some lift and identity, incorporate a jingle. YouTube has copyright-free tracks which you can download. Again, websites like Fiverr have people on hand who can create one or, if you know somebody with a musical gift, why not ask them to write one for you?

For post-production, you’ve got the option of free (Audacity) or paid-for editing software like Adobe AuditionGarageBand (for Mac), ReaperDescriptHindenburg Journalist or Pro Tools.

Lastly, sign up to a hosting platform. This will be the base for your podcast, where it will be distributed to popular platforms like Apple, Spotify, Google Play and Soundcloud.

Dos and don’ts of podcasting

Lastly, some quick dos and don’ts.

Even if you have a dedicated and informed audience, avoid overly jargon-y language. Podcasts are generally informal and lighter in tone so you don’t want to weigh it down with heavy details.

While we’re on the subject, podcasts are more intimate than other media – a high proportion of listeners consume episodes through headphones, as if it’s just the host and listener. Audiences trust podcasts so make sure to keep them in mind when creating your content and sourcing commercial partners.

Original Article: Smallbusiness

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