It may seem like everyone is getting on the podcast bandwagon these days – and maybe you’ve been mulling it over too.
But can you actually use podcasting to grow your business?
In short: yes, you can. I know this from first-hand experience, and I’ve seen many other entrepreneurs and small business owners elevate their brand, engage their audience and dramatically increase revenue once they began podcasting.
I’ve also seen my fair share of podcasters come and go, without fully realising this medium’s potential to grow their business.
If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, or you’ve already started and are worrying you’re not seeing any kind of ROI – don’t panic! Podcast listenership continues to grow and there are more ways than ever for you to make the most out of your podcasting efforts.
Here are some of the ways you can use podcasting to grow your business:
1. Establish yourself as a thought leader
Podcasting is one of the best ways to position yourself as a thought leader in your market. If you sell clothes, talk about fashion trends in your podcasts, if you provide coaching, you can offer nuggets of coaching wisdom that help your audience and all of this establishes you as the authority.
One mistake that many interview-based podcasters make is that they forget to include solo episodes that let themselves – not just their guests – shine. If you have a show where you interview guests, by all means continue. But consider slipping in some solo shows where you can speak about subjects you’re passionate about.
2. Engage your audience
Audience engagement on podcasts is a strange one: after all, there isn’t a ‘comments’ section on most podcast players. However, your audience are likely to be much more engaged than reading your blog post, simply because they are hearing your voice: we connect with voices in a much deeper way than the written word.
The way to see evidence of this engagement is to simply ask. Add a call-to-action at the end of your podcast episode: give your email address (or a company one) and ask the listener to tell you what they think. Ask a question related to the episode, or simply ask for honest feedback. You might be surprised by how much they’re paying attention.
3. Grow your email list
Another mistake first time podcasters make is forgetting to call listeners back to their home hub: their website. Even if you do suggest the listener checks out the show notes or visits your blog, very few will be bothered to stop what they’re doing to visit your website.
Unless you give them a very good reason to. It might be a simple summary PDF of key points you covered in the episode, or a gift from your guest, or a discount code for your services in exchange for their email address… whatever it is, it’s a reason to motivate a listener to visit your site and, ideally, join your mailing list.
4. Run competitions
One of the best ways to grow your podcast listenership and potential customer base, is for your audience to share your podcast. This will happen naturally over time as you turn casual listeners into raving fans, but there are ways of speeding up the process.
Running competitions is one simple way to do this. For example, a coach might offer one free session a month to someone who shares their podcast on Twitter and tags them that tweet.
Shortstack is an online tool that will let you create competitions for free.
Collaboration is something I encourage regardless of the immediate impact: because more often than not, the results will be unexpectedly brilliant and have exponential impact for your business. For example, you could collaborate with another podcaster who has a similar audience and swap 15-30 second introductions to your podcast, to play at the end of each other’s show.
There are many ways to get creative with your podcast – and none of them cost a penny. This isn’t an overnight strategy, but a bit of time spent now working out your podcast strategy will ultimately pay off in real cash for your business.
Want to learn everything you need to launch a successful podcast? Check out our next podcasting course here