Podcasting for Business

Podcasting on the Rise

Podcasting is on the rise, and for good reason. There are all kinds of trends going on in digital marketing now; some are old hat; some are cutting edge, and some are no-brainers. Podcasting fits all these descriptions and is something that most businesses and organisations can incorporate into their marketing mix.

Our eyes are constantly bombarded with social media feeds, binge-TV subscriptions, roadside advertising hoardings, print adverts, digital displays on escalators… the list goes on and on. And whilst all these promotional tools are all potentially valuable and effective, the space they occupy is congested and often overwhelming. That’s not a great place for any marketing message to be.

The Podcasting Edge

To consume visual content, and this includes video, it requires the recipient’s undivided attention. You can’t, for instance, watch a video clip or browse your social media feed whilst driving your car. Some people do, especially the latter, but that often ends in misery.

The consuming of a podcast can be carried out in a much wider set of circumstances and environments. In fact, listening to a podcast whilst doing things like driving a car, jogging, gardening, changing a wheel or any predominantly physical activity is wholly possible. Moreover, audience engagement levels might even prove to be higher when the audience is engaged in such activity. Unlike your eyes, your ears can be engaged on more than one thing at a time.

What audio has over video

It goes deeper than that too. Video and other visual platforms provide the audience with a complete story. They really don’t have to think about it – or use their imagination to conjure up the images for the narrative. They’re dished up as a complete plate for them. As nice as this is from time to time, like the written word, Podcasts or radio content require the consumer to fill in the visuals. This means they must be more engaged – and in this condition your business story has a better chance of sticking in their minds.

Podcasting to the world
Podcasting to the world

Think ‘Podcasting’ – think ‘Radio’

Having mentioned ‘radio’ I can’t move on without commenting on its history and its relationship with TV and moving images in general. Commercial radio broadcasts started around 1900, and some thought that the advent of film, then television and finally video, were all going to make radio obsolete. This phenomenon was highlighted by the Buggles song “Video Killed the Radio Star” – ironically the very first video that was played on MTV in August, 1981.

As we all know, video didn’t kill the radio star. In fact, radio has not only held its own but has continued to flourish and is still increasing its share of global advertising spend. According to the latest report from The Interactive Advertising Bureau, radio has now surpassed newspaper advertising revenues and, according to the trend, will soon overtake magazine advertising too. [see here] Market and consumer data provider, Statista, claim that worldwide radio advertising is expected to reach over 35 billion dollars by 2021. [see here]

Producing your Podcast

So, having whet your appetite for podcasting, how do you go about producing your first one? As a business, to test the water properly you should look at producing a short series of maybe three episodes of up to 10-minutes each. Think of three short stories you can base your podcasts on and write a script for each – keeping in mind that 10-minutes of dialogue would be 1,800 words as we generally speak at 3-words per second.

There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve already written suitable material within your brochures or website. Look for story-driven content – such as a customer case story or a press release about a new development within your business and how this is going to benefit your customers.

As for style, whilst one person telling a story is fine, it’s often easier on the listener if the podcast is recorded interview-style with one person acting as a host and another answering questions. This conversational style will often sound more natural and relaxed.

DIY or Pro Route?

Once you have your stories set out on paper you’ll need to decide whether to attempt to record them in-house or bring in some expert knowledge and equipment. I would of course recommend the latter – but for good reason. Firstly, unless you have professional audio recording facilities then the end product is going to appear amateurish – and that’s the last impression you want to leave your audience with. Secondly, whilst there’s lots of free audio editing applications out there they are not that easy to get your head around. An experienced editor, using a professional edit system, will not only save you time but will undoubtedly help make your podcasts as polished as possible.

Furthermore, it’s not just a case of outputting your podcasts to a suitable audio file format such as MP3. We will come to this next, but you’ll also need to create an MP4 video file of your podcast for distribution on social media platforms. However, if you’re just going to dip your toes then have a go at recording your first podcasts on your smartphone and use one of the many free apps that will enable you to edit and produce it. It’ll probably convince you that going down the pro-route is a much easier and better solution.

Getting your Podcast heard

You now have your first series of podcasts; how do you get them out in the world? There are essentially three means of distribution you should consider. The first and most simple way is to embed your MP3 audio files on your website with a simple ‘click-to-play’ controller and brief text explainer of what the audience will be listening to.

This article produced as a podcast

However, you really want your podcast to go further than just those who happen upon your website and spot the link. You’ll therefore need to get your podcast distributed and then listed on the key podcast platforms. These include the likes of Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Breaker and Deezer – among others.

Get in with the in-crowd!

The best distribution platform I’ve found so far is Anchor.fm. Apart from being free, Anchor’s intuitive desktop interface and mobile app will have your content hosted and distributed wherever it needs to be in a matter of moments. Whilst Anchor will automatically list your channel on various platforms, others will require manual authentication. This is no great shakes and is simply a matter of creating accounts on each platform (such as Apple Podcasts) and submitting the RSS feed which Anchor provides. This is a one-off process and, once set up, every time you add a new episode Anchor distributes it to all. This RSS feed can also be included on your own website negating the need to upload individual episodes.

You can record your podcast with Anchor via your laptop mic or smartphone, and add music within the app, but my preferred choice is to upload an already edited podcast in MP3 format. You’ll also need to create a piece of artwork which will act as your channel logo.

Social Media Distribution

The third and final means of distributing your podcast is via your preferred social media platforms. These are obviously important, but the process of sharing your podcasts here is straight forward once you have created your MP3 audio files.

Because of their visual nature, to get people to notice your podcast within a social media feed you will need to create an audiogram. These are essentially your audio file converted into a video file which includes a picture or graphic (with your logo and maybe a short description of the podcast episode), an overlaid animated waveform (to show the post has live audio) and possibly a transcription of the spoken word. This is all about capturing attention within a crowded social media feed and enticing your audience to listen in.

Thankfully, there’s a few great apps that do all the donkey work for you. Probably the most widely used and heavily featured is www.headliner.app. Just upload your MP3 file, add your picture or graphic, choose your waveform style and position it – and then let Headliner do its job. After a short while you’ll be given a link to download your video clip in MP4 format which you can then share on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.

Whilst there’s an annual subscription for Headliner accounts, you do get the first ten uploads free to get you going. You could also have a look at www.auphonic.com which is free for a basic account.

Get going!

Hopefully you’ll be a little more informed as to what the benefits of podcasting are and whether it’s for you or not. If it is, but you’re not that confident about the production process, then please do give Video Artisan a call. We have a growing experience in providing the complete podcasting process. Recordings can be created at our Loughton studios or we can bring our mobile recording booth to the comfort of your own premises.

For more details, please call us on 0208 3602 3356 or email kevin@video-artisan.com Please see our freelance rate card here.

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