Tag Archive podcasting

BySteve Austins

9 top tips for getting your podcast heard

So, you’ve recorded a kick-ass podcast.

The first few episodes are finished, and they sound even better than you hoped they would.

But though that may have seemed like a lot of work, that was just the beginning.

Now you need to make sure that people find out about your podcast; get interested in it; and of course, listen to it.

And then, you need to work out the ways to turn one-off listeners into die-hard subscribers.

One of the biggest mistakes that brands, business and individuals make when they launch a podcast, is not doing enough to promote it – and without promotion, your podcast, however great, is not going to get heard.

Here, we’ve pulled together 9 top tips for getting more listeners for your brand-spanking new podcast:

1. Make sure your podcast is on Apple – but don’t forget the rest

People listen to podcasts using a variety of different apps (sometimes known as podcatchers).

By far the most popular podcatcher is the Apple Podcasts app, which currently accounts for 70% of podcast listening. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that your podcast needs to be available via Apple in order to have the very best chance of being heard.

But whilst Apple may be the biggest player, don’t forget the others. From Stitcher to Spotify to Google’s new Android app, Google Podcasts; the more places your podcast is discoverable, the more likely it is to get a listen.

2. Launch with more than one episode

Let’s imagine that your dream listener / customer finds the first episode of your podcast, loves it, and immediately wants to listen to more.

But you only launched with the first one. There are no more (yet).

Believe it or not, podcasts sometimes receive negative reviews and low ratings on the Apple Podcasts app for exactly this reason; there just aren’t enough episodes available.

But it’s not all about reviews. In all honesty, your very first podcast may also be a bit of a warm up; it’s likely that by your second and third episodes you’ll have found more of a groove, be a bit more relaxed. Lots of people ‘binge-listen’ to podcasts, so if you give listeners a few episodes to get to know yours, you’ve got a better chance of getting them hooked.

3. Try to get an initial flurry of feedback

We’ve already highlighted that by not having enough episodes available to stream you may attract some negative reviews; but how do you secure positive reviews? And what difference do they really make?

The fact is, positive reviews and a flurry of listeners clicking ‘subscribe’ soon after your podcast goes live can be enough to send you shooting up the rankings in some of the iTunes (Apple) podcast charts.

The ‘new and noteworthy’ spot in the Apple podcasts app is the most coveted, and you have eight weeks from when your podcast launches to get there. The first two weeks of these are especially crucial, so ask explicitly at the end of your podcast for listeners to rate, subscribe and share your content with all and sundry.

4. Get busy on social media

Chances are that your business or brand has a Facebook page, a Twitter account and/or a LinkedIn page. Maybe you have an email newsletter database, too.

Wherever you already have a captive audience, let them know about your new podcast. Schedule a one-off newsletter to announce it (and continue these for subsequent new episodes); create images of quotes using free apps like Canva for social media, audiograms on the rather marvellous Headliner app, or share  Soundcloud links to your podcast on Twitter where they are playable in-stream. And make sure you share links to the podcast in your social posts to make it easy for people to find it and start listening. Prioritise Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify in your links. Twitter’s thread mechanism is super helpful for this – if you run out of space, just keep pressing the + button!

Don’t be afraid to keep talking about your podcast on social media – the average lifetime of a tweet is just 24 minutes, so don’t hold back!

5. Got any guests? Use their audience

If you often speak to different guests on different episodes of your podcast, why not try tapping into their audience by asking them to share links on their own social media channels?

Tag them in mentions of your podcast episode and share images and soundbites that will attract their existing followers and tempt them into listening and hopefully, tuning into your other podcast episodes, too. 

6. Don’t forget the text

Be sure to create podcast notes, sometimes known as shownotes, to summarise the content of your episode. These would normally sit on your  website as a blog post or news article, although they could (if they are pithy enough) be included in your podcast episode description.

Why is this important? Well, search engines don’t have ears yet, but they can see – and index – the text which you include in your notes. These descriptions will also be pulled in by third party apps via your RSS feed.

Here you can also link to websites, guests social media accounts and events that you’ve mentioned in the episode, and any other information which might be helpful for our listeners.

7. Think about advertising

Depending on the budget for your podcast promotion campaign, you may want to invest in some advertising.

Social media advertising is cost-effective and can target people specifically by interest and location, meaning you’re even more likely to reach the right people with information about your exciting new podcast that they’re bound to love.

Alternatively, you could look at placing adverts in your local or trade media; or you could try giving out flyers or putting up posters at an event you’re attending where the audience is likely to be interested in the subject your podcast covers. Yep, the traditional stuff still works.

8. Consider any PR opportunities

Is your podcast newsworthy? Are you covering a topic that hasn’t been touched on before? Or doing it in a new or radical way? Maybe you’re speaking with people that the media already has an interest in (e.g. sports personalities, politicians, celebrities)?

If so, you may be able to generate some media interest in your podcast. It may be worth speaking to your local or trade media contacts or speaking to a PR agency or consultant who can give you some ideas on how to get your podcast mentioned in the press. It’s often far more cost effective to get your story into the media in this way, than with paid-for adverts.

It is also worth searching for related interest groups / forums where your target audience is gathered, and letting them know about your podcast. For example, if you’re releasing a gaming podcast, find the forums, fan groups and online communities where gamers talk, and start joining their conversations. But remember, don’t spam them. Share your knowledge and build trust rather than just sell them your wares.

9. Guest on other podcasts

This may seem like an unusual tip, but lots of podcasters need a regular stream of interesting guests to appear on their shows.

If you would be happy to appear on someone else’s podcast, have a look for opportunities to talk about subjects that you can link back to your own podcast. For instance, if your podcast is about cooking and you are based in Manchester, is there a local Manchester podcast you could guest on where you could talk about your experience of the city, but also mention your own cookery podcast?

Most hosts will be fine with you getting a mention for your own podcast in return for appearing on theirs, and you’ll be reaching an audience that is already engaged in listening to podcasts, meaning they’re far more likely to be receptive to giving yours a try.

Love to start a podcast but no idea where to begin? From next month we’re running Podcast 101: one-day workshops that tell you all you need to know to get started – book your place now for an early bird discount of 25%.

BySteve Austins

7 Reasons To Use Podcasts to Market Your Business

This blog was commissioned by and first appeared on Tuesday Media

You must have overheard it. People talking in hushed, but excited, tones about S-Town, Serial, Dirty John or the latest podcast that they’ve discovered. One in ten adults in the UK now listen to podcasts every week – spending hours catching up with their favourite audio shows from across the world. And that number is growing.

A podcast is a series of digital audio files downloadable onto your phone, tablet or laptop. To put it another way, it’s a form of radio show which needs no radio station, nor radio set to listen to it. Anyone can record them and publish them. Listeners can search for a topic they want to hear more about, download a podcast on that topic and listen to it. Wherever they want. Whenever they want. For free.

Current research tells us that podcast listeners are young, affluent and keen to learn new things. Starbucks, eBay, Microsoft & NatWest are already doing it, but podcasting is still an underdeveloped marketing tool for businesses. So, here are seven reasons why your business needs to start podcasting.

1 Audio communication has stood the test of time

podcasts, podcast, audio, radio

Reports of the death of the radio star have been greatly exaggerated over the years – Buggles, Video Killed The Radio Star, 1979

Since Guglielmo Marconi started testing the concept out at the turn of the 20th Century, radio has been written off many times. Lord Kelvin – he of the temperature scale – once said “Radio has no future”. In the 1970s, there was even a song about it. In fact, as radio futurologist, James Cridland notes, so many things have “killed the radio star” that you’d be forgiven for thinking audio would be dead and buried by now. Instead, BBC radio is approaching its centenary with nine in ten people in the UK listening to the radio every week.  Meanwhile, Google and Amazon are making audio sexy again with smart speaker technology. Alexa won’t be able to read your blog or play your video but she will be able to play your podcast!

So why has audio survived? Well, it’s a simple, effective and convenient form of communication. What‘s more, done well, radio is your friend. Over the last two decades, I’ve seen first hand how important radio presenters are to people – and how personally they take it when you make changes. A presenter is in a listener’s life day in, day out. Often they spend more with them than they do with their own friends and family. Podcasting offers that same bond but with more of a commitment. After all, podcast listeners have made an active choice to press play and listen to you. They’re interested in what you’ve got to say. They trust you. We know how effective this is for advertisers. US ad agency Midroll polled over 160,000 podcast listeners in 2015 and found that 60% had bought products they’d heard about on a podcast.

2 Podcast listeners are likely to be your dream customers

podcasts, podcast, audio, radio

6.1 million UK adults now listen to podcasts ©Radiocentre

6.1 million adults in the UK listen to podcasts every week. That’s one in ten people who are making an active decision to take control of what they listen to. These people tend to be in their twenties, thirties and forties. And in the US – where podcasts are much more of a part of daily life – Midroll found half the podcast audience are university educated. A fifth earn more than $100,000 a year. Podcast listeners, it seems, are young, well-educated and affluent. These are, for many businesses, dream customers.

3 People spend quality time with you

Your podcast listener is a rarer species of human than, say, your YouTube consumer, or your Facebook user. But no one can match them for their passion or their evangelism. If you’re a podcast listener, you spend most of your listening time listening to podcasts, rather than other forms of audio. And 85% listen to most, if not all, the episodes that they download. That’s extraordinary loyalty when you compare it to the average watch time for a YouTube video. It also adds up to lots of listening time. Think about the way you consume audio at the moment. When you’re driving, for example, or when you’re out for a run, or at home while you’re doing chores. Audio is helping to entertain your conscious while your subconscious cracks on the everyday tasks that take up hours of your day.

4 People want to learn something new every time they listen

For many, podcasts provide a welcome break from radio ads and hearing the same songs over and over again. Podcast listeners are active listeners. Research firm Edison discovered they listen to learn something new every time.

What’s more, the beauty of podcasting is that niche is king. If you  create a podcast discussing different types of pens, you can and will find an audience for it. Saying that, it’s important to remember a podcast doesn’t work if you’re trying a hard sell. Instead, be generous with your knowledge in order to build an audience. You can create the desire around your product but encourage people to visit your website and convert sales there.

5 Be a thought leader in a small pool

podcasts, podcast, audio, radio, branded podcasts

eBay Open for Business presenter, John Henry at the Gimlet Creative Studios
©eBay

Many people see video and think why bother with audio. But there are a couple of ways in which podcasting has the edge. For starters, people spend more time with podcasts than with video, which gives you more time to engage potential customers. But also in a podcast world, you can become a big fish in what is still, relatively, a small pond. Although no one has definitive figures, there are around 200,000 active podcast series available today. Compare that with the 300 hours of videos uploaded on YouTube every minute and the 5 billion videos watched every day. Becoming a trusted voice in your field is far harder on YouTube than it is as a podcaster.

6 Great media training opportunity

Every business needs great communicators. Particularly when the going gets tough, people who look and feel comfortable in front of a microphone are worth their weight in gold. With a regular podcast, your team can get used to being on microphone in a live, studio environment. They can hone how to make your company’s key messages appeal to your audience. Podcasting is a great way to get some regular practice at those key media training skills.

7  You’ll be in good company

podcasts, podcast, audio, radio, branded podcasts

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and executive producer, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, talk about their Upstanders podcast and video series to Adriana Huffington ©Starbucks

Up to now, podcasts have been the domain of media companies and individuals with a story to tell. But with the help of experienced audio production companies, more and more businesses are getting in on the act. There are three types of branded podcasts, as they‘re known. The first type shows off your area of expertise. So, for example, Tinder has its own dating show and Mumsnet shares baby stories with new parents. The second type is where content aligns to your company’s values. Starbucks has a podcast highlighting ordinary people making a difference in their communities. Meanwhile, eBay provides inspiration for people starting up their own business. The final type of branded podcast is perhaps the most philanthropic – where you lend your name and your money to the creativity of others. The best example of this is audio drama provider, The General Electric Theater – a throwback to the US company’s role as a TV drama sponsor in the 1950s.

This blog first was originally commissioned by Tuesday Media – a new, exciting communications agency which combines storytelling skills with digital expertise to create a full inbound marketing solution for your company. Bengo Media can help you start your podcasting journey by creating powerful audio content for your business. Get in touch to find out more. 

 

BySteve Austins

Have you really got enough quality content for a 50 minute podcast? 

Your listeners are time poor, so challenge yourself to offer them value every minute – or cut your episodes down to size

I’ve spent some time this week catching up on all the news from last week’s Podcast Movement. PM is the big, annual US conference on all things podcasting. And while many sessions caught the eye, VP of Libsyn, Rob Walch’s session busting the marketing myths of podcasting was standing room only.

 

value quality content npr podcast

The myth that captured the most attention in Rob’s talk revolved around the ideal length of a podcast. Conventional wisdom says it should be about 22 minutes, as that’s just below the average length of a commute. Complete bunkum, says Rob. In fact, of the shows that had hit a hundred thousand downloads within 60 days, only 10% were under 30 minutes. 84% of them were 50 minutes or longer.

I worry people cling too tightly to stats like these. New podcasters may decide to go longer because they think that’s the way to get bigger downloads. What they might not think about is whether they have enough quality content to sustain 40 minutes, 50 minutes, an hour.

 

Ideal Length of a Podcast

So how long should a podcast actually be? The question is impossible to answer; unless your happy with the answer “It depends”. It depends on the subject matter, it depends on the target audience. Our physical and emotional circumstances dictate the length of our attention spans from one day to the next.

Your podcast should be as long as it needs to be, providing that it remains compelling. If it doesn’t, you’re likely to lose people’s attention. Harsh as it sounds, you’re likely to start wasting your time and theirs.

No one is ever ungrateful to be handed back time. No one is ever disappointed if a delivery that was due between 9 and 5 turns up at 9.05, or even 9.30. So, if you’ve got some great points to make in your podcast, make them and get the hell out of there – while your listeners still want more.

Personally, I shudder when I see a podcast stretch over an hour, because I know I don’t have an hour to give. I will make exceptions, but the chances of me listening in one sitting is very unlikely.

Of course, what feels long to me might not feel long enough to someone else. But what unites podcast listeners is the need to derive value from what their listening to. Quality counts. I may balk at an hour but I wouldn’t listen to a 20 minute podcast if I thought it wasn’t going to be an investment of my time.

 

Podcasting Gallacticos

The average duration of the Top 10 Podcasts in the US right now is 40 minutes. Take Up First and Planet Money out of that Top 10 – both of which are under 20 minutes – and that average shoots up to nearer 50 minutes. Most, if not all, of these podcasts have big production teams. The latest edition of This American Life credits 34 people, plus presenter Ira Glass. These are resources beyond the reach of nearly all of us. Most UK radio stations don’t have 35 people on their staff, never mind on a single programme strand.

No one begrudges This American Life this level of production. It is magnificent. Perhaps the original podcast gallactico. My point is that every word on every edition of TAL is measured. Poured over. Thought through. Nothing is wasted. No second of those 59 minutes is left to chance. This episode of Gimlet’s Start Up lifts the curtain a little on how much effort goes into producing big podcasts like these.

Would I give 50 minutes of me time to Start Up or This American Life? Absolutely I would. I do. But that’s because I trust them that each minute of that programme is worth the investment.

Can the same be said of your podcast? Are there any areas that are flabby? Is that introduction too long? Are you jokes too in? Is your audio quality good enough to listen to over a sustained period? Is your content well thought through? Do you know how you’re going to start, move on, end? Are you guiding your listener by the hand through your episode, so they know what’s coming next?

Challenge yourself. Does every minute offer value? If it doesn’t, cut it back.

Because, we’re all time poor. And your listener is trusting you with one of the most precious commodities they have; their time. If you handle that with care, then you’ll build a relationship that will see them transition from occasional listeners, to regular listeners, to fans, to advocates. If you don’t, then you have to expect the opposite.

Steve Austins is the Director of Bengo Media. Talk to us about helping you delivering great content, every time. 

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