As the world of technology continues creating platforms for connection, the game of marketing keeps evolving. With the growth of podcast popularity in recent years ‒a demographic which grew by 55% between 2006 and 2020‒ podcasting has become a medium that marketers can no longer ignore. The potential to reach new audiences has SME owners across all industries wondering how to launch a podcast.
The benefits of adding podcasts to an SME’s marketing tool belt can include increased authority, exposure, and networking opportunities. Podcasts can drive engagement, garner new leads, and boost site traffic, which is why they are quickly becoming a new must-have for marketing teams. With user-friendly podcast hosting platforms, audio editing software, and social media marketing tools, podcast marketing can be accessible to every SME.
How to launch a podcast as an SME
To help SME owners figure out how to launch a podcast, Capterra interviewed seven Canadian-based entrepreneurs who are using podcasts to grow their business. Each entrepreneur offers a varied approach to podcast structure and marketing. Equipped with expert advice, SME owners can learn how to launch and promote a podcast that suits their business model.
The first question that arrives to those considering making a podcast is usually “What do I need to get started?” Hardware like microphones and headphones are often considered essential equipment for podcasting. If your podcast has a video element to it, a ring light may also be necessary.
Software is vital for podcast creation, as well; without software like podcast hosting platforms, the recording, editing, and posting of episodes become separate, manual tasks. These platforms also often provide website creation tools, eliminating the need to hire an IT professional to build one for you. For podcasters just starting out, software can streamline and simplify much of the production process.
Define the concept behind the podcast
Once basic podcasting equipment has been chosen, it’s time to define the strategy for your podcast. Choosing the theme of a podcast comes first in strategizing. However, SMEs wanting to create a podcast can fall into a common trap while choosing. While it may seem natural to create a podcast to discuss topics around the operations of your SME, that isn’t always the most engaging content to create. Many of the podcast ingenues interviewed, such as Mathieu Chevalier of the podcast “Partir en Affaires,” say it’s more important to choose a subject that you’re passionate about rather than one you’re working in.
Not only will following a passion with your podcast save you and your audience from boredom, but it can also keep you motivated when recording episode after episode. According to Kirsha Campbell of The Cash Lab podcast, creating a podcast based on her values has helped her push past insecurity and uncertainty.
Establish your podcast’s listener persona
Understanding the demographics of your target audience is the key to reaching them. A survey conducted by Gartner found that brands that establish and use personas are far more likely to exceed expectations of customer experience (full study available to subscribers). Creating a listener persona for your ideal podcast listeners can help identify the needs, motivations, and struggles your listeners are facing.
For example, if your average listeners are young professionals, centering episodes around retirement isn’t likely to resonate with them. Research on Canadian podcast listeners can help SME owners understand the demographics of the average podcast consumer, while listener personas offer more specific insights on your podcast’s target audience.
Defining a listener persona can also help when deciding on the structure of your podcast. Once you know more about your ideal listener, you can structure your content based on their habits and preferences. A detailed listener persona can help you decide on podcast length, style, format, and even the social media channels that would be most preferred by your audience.
How to promote a podcast as an SME
Once initial doubts on how to launch a podcast are resolved and the recording is finished, it’s time to plan its promotion. The marketing strategy behind a podcast should be as unique as the podcast itself, with marketing efforts tailored to fit the same listener persona used before.
Although each podcast host’s promotion strategy will look different, these tips will help SMEs cover the basics of podcast marketing as they make tweaks to suit their audience.
Repurpose podcast content into other media types
While recording a podcast is a great creative feat in itself, it’s far from the end of your content creation needs. When marketing a podcast, visibility should be drawn to it in a multi-level way. This includes leveraging various types of content across different channels to maximize reach.
Using images, audio clips, quotes, and even video elements to promote your podcast helps bring new listeners to your page with each post. Jordan Choo of Kogneta and the Franchise Marketing Podcast says reaching his intended audience has been one of the biggest challenges in podcasting, which he uses diverse media to try to overcome.
Create strategic partnerships
As with any business venture, strategic partnerships can help increase brand reach. Promoting an unknown podcast can be tricky, as listeners may not trust the expertise of a brand they aren’t familiar with. Creating connections and networking can lead to a better diffusion of your podcast, as it did for Marco Bernard of Académie du Podcast and the podcast l’Accélérateur.
Not only can partnerships help your podcast get discovered by your target audience, but they can help in other ways, too. Partnerships can be used to include new connections not only in the creation but also in the distribution of your podcast. Take Hughes Chandonnet of Déraison and the podcast Les Dérangeants: he not brought together seven entrepreneurs to create content for the podcast, but also sought a partnership with a traditional production company to help market the podcast.
Leverage your interviewee’s networks
There are countless ways to work in a partnership. If your podcast invites guests to be interviewed, this is another partnership that can be leveraged to gain exposure and authority.
Maximizing the potential of a collaboration between interviewee and host requires attention both pre- and post-recording. According to Antoine Gagné, president and CEO of J7 Media and host of the Hypercroissance podcast, he researches his guests extensively to ensure that he gets the most out of his collaborations. Once the interview is over, he also makes sure to leverage the network of his interviewee by reaching out to their audience on social media channels.
The advantages that an interview-based podcast can provide to new hosts are too broad not to be considered. Even if you create a podcast outside of the interview format, occasional guests to the show can offer new leads, expertise, and higher engagement.
Monitor your podcast’s progress
Just as with any other business investment, the progress of podcast marketing should be tracked and reported on. Monitoring podcast performance will help you evaluate which marketing tactics are most effective, and which should be experimented with.
Re-evaluation of marketing tactics does require some help from technology, however. Tools in the marketing analytics category can automate tracking and reporting, which helps SMEs evaluate podcast performance based on concrete metrics. Simona Constantini of Constantini Productions and the Happiness Happens Podcast says these progress evaluations should be done every three months.
Takeaways on launching and promoting a podcast as an SME
Although the advice from fellow podcasters is very insightful, there is still a lot of customizing involved in creating a podcast. SMEs who don’t employ research to help their audience meet their needs can suffer unnecessary missteps and face irrelevance.
To be certain that you cover the fundamentals while setting up your podcast, remember these takeaways:
- Create a podcast with a concept you are passionate about.
- Choose the hardware and software most useful for your specific podcast hosting needs.
- Define your target listener’s persona to tailor your podcast to their habits.
- Repurpose podcast content into other promotable assets.
- Make and leverage partnerships with production and media professionals as well as experts within your community.
- Monitor the performance of your podcast marketing.
With these fundamentals in place, you’ll have the space to experiment and continue tailoring your podcast into the ideal experience for your target listeners. Podcasts can play a huge role in your digital marketing strategy so get clear on your desired objectives and hit record.