Though traditional radio has fallen off in the age of smartphones and MP3 players, podcasting has taken off in its place. Podcasts allow anyone, including hobbyists, professionals, and businesses, to put together a simple radio show on any topic. These files can easily be downloaded to smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, and other mobile devices, making them a great way to get a message out to people on the move. Unlike streaming Web radio, which has to be listened to live, podcasts are downloaded when a user has Internet access and can be listened to at any time. Users can also subscribe, receiving podcasts from a given content creator whenever they are available.
Podcasts, like many other forms of new media, provide an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with your customers. Awareness of this medium has more than doubled since 2006, and the percentage of people who have listened to a podcast has nearly tripled according to a 2012 Edison Research study. There are numerous techniques you can use to supplement existing customer relationship efforts through podcasting, none of which require anything drastically different than what you’re already used to.
You generate so much data. Use it.
Use the information you gain from other sources, such as CRM software, sales figures, and market research, to structure your podcasts. Have a large number of clients or leads asked about a particular topic on recent sales calls? Consider addressing that topic during your next podcast. Similarly, if a product you’re trying to push isn’t seeing the adoption rates you’d hoped, try spending a little time on the benefits of that product in your next show.
Think about your audience.
While typical podcast listeners, according to Edison Research, are younger than 35 years old, they also skew more affluent than the average and more likely to use social media. A podcast is a great way to reach these younger, tech-savvy individuals, so if your organization regularly sells to young entrepreneurs, a podcast could help keep you at the top of their minds.
Consider whether a call-in or letters segment is right for you.
Many podcasts provide multiple opportunities for listeners to make their opinions known or ask questions regarding current issues affecting the field. Not only does this give you the chance to further manage your brand’s image, it also generates new data points for a few customers. Customers given a “shout-out” or who have the opportunity to speak on the podcast will also likely share that experience with others, spreading awareness of the podcast as well as the company itself.
Use the podcast to drive sales.
This can be accomplished subtly, by mentioning a product the company offers that relates to a current issue in the field, or overtly, by offering a special deal for podcast listeners. Either way, by tying your podcast to sales in such a manner, you reach out to individuals who already have some baseline interest in your products, your message, and your brand, and who in turn are more likely to make purchases. Be sure to note who takes advantage of any such opportunity with your CRM system.
Stay current and dynamic.
Your podcast will be more of a hit with its listeners, and in turn attract more new listeners, if it touches on current events that are important to your target audience. If a major development affects your business, touch on that as well. It can be tempting to stick to a simple format wherein your presenter covers basic facts about a product, service, or current event. Switching it up a little on occasion, however, can keep listeners more engaged and help make your podcast a highlight of their drive to or from work.
Build your brand image.
Just like a blog, a podcast offers a great chance to give your company a voice and an image all its own. Consider the traits you want your brand to broadcast, and find someone who can bring that image to life in an audio medium. Your Web host should be able to tell you how often your podcast is downloaded, and may be able to give you other statistics on it as well. If your podcast isn’t seeing extensive adoption, consider ways to push customers and website visitors to the podcast. If you’re at your wits’ end, as with any brand-building exercise, consider terminating it.
If you think a podcast is the right move for your business, the tips above will help you use it in a strategic, effective manner. Have you had success with a podcast? Do you have tips for how to structure a podcast in a particular field? Let us know what you think in the comments.