Right now, your brand is sitting on a competitive advantage that gives it an edge over 94% of other marketers.
It’s a far-reaching one. It can help you connect with hundreds of millions of people all over the world. It can even help you effortlessly remain on the cutting edge of technology.
This advantage is something you already do, or are planning on doing soon: running a podcast. Research shows that even though almost a third of marketers are interested in the medium, only 6% of them are presently podcasting.
Your podcast is an opportunity to connect with people in a unique way. Few channels let you build the type of intimate relationship with customers and prospects that podcasting does. You are literally speaking directly to the people you want to convince of something, often in a captive scenario such as a commute or evening walk.
But if you aren’t taking advantage of the approaches to marketing that are only afforded to podcasters, you’re missing out on an opportune method of growing your audience and establishing authority with them.
Here are a few strategies for podcast marketing that will help you reach more listeners, further your relationship with your existing audience, and leverage your podcast to push more leads down the sales funnel.
One excellent thing about podcasting is that it allows you to connect to your audience in real-time. Even if you’ve only done pre-recorded shows in the past, live interaction with your listeners is an excellent way to change things up and attract people who are interested in your podcast or brand to communicate directly with you.
How do you facilitate live interactions with your audience that also promote your marketing interests and make people want to participate? Holding a contest. Not only will contests help engage your audience by appealing to their sense of competition, they also show that you’re interested in them as more than just a statistic.
You could hold a contest that asks your listeners to call in with an interesting story or tidbit about the way they use your product or service. Alternatively, you can hold a contest that gets them involved in the brand: have them pick a new slogan or the design of a new service or product that you are releasing, and announce the results on your podcast. These brand-driven contests will not only help you market your podcast, they will also make your audience feel more invested in your company and increase their loyalty.
A great example of this is Comedy Central’s podcast The Daily Show without Jon Stewart. Most episodes of the show end with a listener-composed rendition of The Daily Show’s regular theme, which provides a fun and interesting way for the audience to interact with the show.
The other big benefit of contests is that they are a great way to collect information about your audience so you can build an email list or refine your understanding of your listener base. Want to know where most of your listeners live or what kind of job they hold? Make it one of the requirements for entering the contest. Don’t go overboard: trying to collect too much information for a contest will turn people off, but contests are a good chance to collect a couple of key tidbits about your listeners that can greatly improve your understanding of your target persona. When hosting a contest, also remember that your podcast episodes must live on past their initial publish dates. You shouldn’t create episodes based solely around a contest: instead, include some evergreen content so that all of your episodes always provide value for listeners.
Invite your customers to share their story on-air
Case studies are a powerful marketing technique because they show people the real-world results of using your product or service. When reading a case study, a prospect doesn’t need to worry about questionable marketing tactics or distracting visual elements designed to coax them into making a purchase. They know that even though what they are reading might have been presented and structured in a way that supports a marketer’s goals, it rests upon a strong foundation of factual events. Case studies usually include quotes from real customers.
Having an actual customer on your podcast to talk about how your company’s offering has improved their life or helped their business is one of the most powerful ways to present a case study. Your audience quite literally hears the virtues of your brand straight from the horse’s mouth.
There are several creative directions that you can take this idea. You could do an in-depth portrait of a single customer and their experiences with your business, or you could host a panel discussion with multiple customers to talk about their challenges and concerns. On the Stacking the Bricks podcast, hosts Alex Hillman and Amy Hoy frequently have guests who are also customers of their business building course, 30×500. Their discussions about the challenges of building a business add depth and give listeners inside information about the course.
You could also have customers call in to ask you questions about your offering, which helps build authenticity. This past fall, in response to slowing sales and concerns over food quality, McDonald’s created a series of commercials entitled ‘Our Food. Your Questions,’ that allowed real people to present questions to the fast food giant in video format. Interspersed with these questions, the company took viewers behind the scenes by visiting suppliers, manufacturing sites, and other important food sourcing and production areas. Letting actual customers drive your marketing efforts is a great idea no matter what industry you are in, and there are few better ways to present this style of marketing than through a podcast.
Get listener feedback from social media
Social media is everywhere. As of March 2015, Facebook had just under 1.5 billion active monthly users. Other networks like LinkedIn and Twitter have grown exponentially since their early days.
In a society where social media penetration is extensive, savvy marketers are using these social networks as a thread that unifies all aspects of their marketing, from blogs to event planning. Podcasting is no exception. The best podcasters understand that social media is a great way to interact with followers of their show.
The easiest way to integrate your podcast into your social media plan is to add links to your podcast’s website or feed on your social media network. However, there are lots more creative options to think about. For example, you might create a unique cover image for each episode and post it on Instagram. You could also ask your listeners to reply to a question or challenge that you pose on the show using a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter. Some podcasts will ask their listeners to take and submit photographs of things related to the show using social media networks.
Hashtags are another big social media trend: they are currently supported by most major social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram. Promoting a hashtag with an audio format will help you stand out from the crowd: after all, how often do you hear a hashtag instead of read it? Take advantage of the popularity of hashtags by asking your listeners to use show-related hashtags both while and after they listen, which will help build your show’s following.
Use email to promote your podcast
Even after putting in the effort required to plan, record, and release a podcast episode, your work isn’t done: you still have to market it!
While your podcast probably has (or will have) regular followers who will actively seek out and keep up with new episodes, if you want to maximize your reach you need to be actively promoting each episode. Email is a great opportunity to do this, because it is delivered directly to your listeners or prospects.
There are plenty of clever ways to promote your podcast using email. You might use a funny or insightful line from your most recent show as the subject of your email message, to help pique curiosity. You could also use it to build anticipation about a special guest or new topic that your podcast is covering: the key is to only give away a bit of information to drive up interest and make people want to listen.
Whether you’re new to podcasting or have been doing it for a while and want to grow your audience, remember that you are promoting a format that affords you some opportunities that can’t be found on any other marketing channel. Take advantage of these opportunities so that you can reach more listeners and build loyalty in your current audience, to help you further your brand and achieve your marketing goals.