Podcasting has been around for a couple of years now, and it is still growing. If you don’t have a podcast of your own yet, don’t worry: there is still room for growth. Right now the people who already have a podcast have a leg up, but with some determination and a little direction you can not only catch up, but shoot past the incumbents.
You can create a podcast about pretty much anything and get it listed through iTunes for free. Your users have a few other options for downloading as well. They could get the episodes automatically from a number of other programs or manually from your web site.
Choosing a niche topic could be a hurdle. If you are doing it for your business or website, you most likely already have a topic that could be expanded upon. If you want to do one for fun, make sure you choose something that will last. I can’t tell you how many times I have subscribed to a new podcast only to be waiting months for another episode before sadly giving up on what could have been a great series.
If you are not sure why you would want to have a podcast, let me tell you why you NEED a podcast.
Become a recognized expert in the topic
Anyone can start a website or a blog about a topic, but that doesn’t make them an expert. Anybody with enough money or credit can open up a business, regardless of if they actually care about what they are selling or doing. Adding a podcast screams passion for your business, your hobby, and your niche.
If you take the time to make a podcast, you develop a reputation and a voice for your industry. If you know what you are talking about and do a decent production job, then you could easily be THE voice of your industry. When somebody needs to know about buying purple elephant guns, who are they going to turn to: the person with a minuscule website that instructs users to stop into the store but hasn’t been updated since 2003, or the person who has a one hundred page site with 89 separate audio reviews about different purple elephant guns?
I’m going to give my business to the person who keeps their information current, demonstrating a passion for their industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re painting houses, cooking, or manufacturing rubber chickens – if you are passionate, it will show. Even if you don’t consider yourself an expert yet, pick something you love and go for it. You will gain more experience and knowledge the more you podcast, and eventually you will be guru of your topic.
Minimal costs to produce and deliver
Do you know how much it costs to make a podcast? The answer can vary, but you could have one up today basically for free. You can make a podcast with the cheap plastic microphone that comes with your computer. It will sound like a cheap plastic microphone that comes with your computer, but you can do it.
You can grab a microphone for around twenty five bucks that will sound okay, or you can go all out! The sky is the limit. However, studio grade equipment might be a waste for a podcast recorded in a high traffic area with inherent background noise. The most expensive equipment won’t always give you a better sound.
Bandwidth is cheap. Storage on the internet is cheap. Domain names are cheap. Recording software is cheap. A decent headset and microphone is cheap.
If you already have a website, it’s simply a matter of getting a microphone and installing some free software.
Humanize your image
Listening to a passionate voice filled with inflection and emotion is so much more persuasive than text alone. Knowing there is a real person involved creates a connection for your audience. Beyond simply sharing an interest in the topic, listeners will feel like they know you, even if you don’t ever get a chance to meet them. I have bought products created or written by people who I have this connection with. I trust the person, not their companies.
Steve Jobs is a human, and Steve Jobs is also Apple. Bill Gates is a human, but Bill Gates is certainly not Microsoft. He may have started Microsoft and perhaps was at one time the company’s face but who is the human image of Microsoft now? It’s John Hodgman, the “and I’m a PC” guy from Apple’s commercials. In Job’s somewhat healthier days, he would give the keynote addresses and introduce new products and services. Steve was the spokesperson for Apple, and made Apple more than another Silicon Valley technology company. Bill Gates would have to spend a lot more to get the same results.
Talk shows are nothing without the unique personalities providing a face for them. The jokes don’t tell themselves, and text transcripts of jokes are never as good as a solid delivery.
Expand your brand
The more ways people can consume your information, the more ways you can bring in interest. I have checked out many sites due to podcasts. I found them in iTunes and now swing by the sites from time to time.
Now I’ve got them on my radar. I will know about anything new that they do.
I wouldn’t have known that they even existed if they never produced that podcast.
From all of my projects, I have found that having other people watching and interested makes doing the work seem more like fun. It’s marketing but it is not quite the same as traditional marketing where you get out there and start beating on doors.
Very Targeted Consumers
While I haven’t checked out the scene for purple elephant guns lately, there are obscure and highly targeted niches that have more listeners than current podcasters are covering. If you start downloading podcasts, it is because you are interested in the topic. Beyond that you are interested enough to seek out, subscribe, download, and invest time listening to a very specific topic.
The only reason to go through the effort (it is a minimal effort, but it does take actions on the end users part) is because you care about a given topic.
If you produce a great podcast on a popular topic, you can gain quite a following. Even a mediocre podcast in a topic with less competition can gain quite a following. Not just a following, but people who actually care.
It is much cheaper to keep a current customer than it is to find a new one. This is one of the first things you learn in any business or marketing class. A podcast is a great feature to help you get a larger internet footprint.
Podcasting isn’t going away. People are out there downloading them every day. Every day new ones are being recorded. If you want to start, now is the best time to do so. Grab your mike, and get going! Those purple elephant guns aren’t going to talk about themselves.