Start a podcast, someone enthusiastically called for on LinkedIn. Another person commented, that 99.9% of SMEs are hopeless. Who’s right?
It sounds good: start a podcast. How hard can it be? You chat a bit in a microphone, share the knowledge that you already have and reach a new audience. In theory, at least…
You can talk endlessly about online marketing. We both like to do that and do a lot. On LinkedIn, on Facebook, via our blogs, on YouTube and so on. A podcast was not included at the end of 2018. After some back and forth chatting we decided to just do it. If you don’t dare, you won’t win and the SEO Podcast soon became a fact.
You can make podcasting itself as difficult as you want. As we are pragmatic, we chose the quickest route. In other words: a free account on SoundCloud, a simple microphone and recording and editing via Camtasia.
It was not necessary to agree to record the podcast. We work from Prague, and fortunately, Google Hangouts offered a solution and the recording quality was pretty good. We were able to get started with fine-tuning the sound in Camtasia.
What did we encounter?
A podcast can deliver a lot. But the start-up did not go smoothly for us. Podcasting is just a little more challenging than blogging.
These were our biggest challenges and solutions:
You may be thinking about hosting the audio files on your own website, but that is usually not a good idea. Audio files are large and your server space is quickly full. Moreover, you naturally want your audio files to stream well and from your own website that can sometimes be a problem.
So first you will have to choose a platform to host your audio.
We finally chose Soundcloud. Here you can start with a free account where you can upload 3 hours of audio. If you need more space, you can take a paid account for a few dollars per month.
Via Soundcloud, you can have your podcast automatically forwarded to well-known podcast platforms, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and TuneIn. This way you have a wide reach and people can easily subscribe via their favorite app.
The next node you have to cut is how you are going to record the podcast. There are also all kinds of options for that.
We ultimately opted for the following set-up:
- Google Hangouts (if you are recording the podcast with 2 or more people from different locations)
- A good microphone (we chose the Audio Technica ATR2100, an affordable microphone with good quality)
- Camtasia to record and edit the podcast
There are of course many other options. Do some research and choose what works best for you.
Content marketing, such as blogging and podcasting, can provide you with a huge amount. But at the same time, the results are not always measurable. And it also costs you a lot of time.
That sometimes makes it difficult to have the discipline to make content on reasonably fixed schedules. From time to time we find that quite a challenge.
Do you also encounter this? Then these tips can help you:
- Always keep in mind the purpose of why you are doing something. Podcasting increases your authority, your network, ensures more customers and is also fun to do. Are you stuck for a moment or can you no longer afford the discipline? Then think again why you are doing it exactly and you are immediately bursting with motivation.
- A good stick is to set up a podcast for two (or more). Then you can motivate each other and also divide the tasks between themselves so that it takes less time.
It must go wrong sometimes
Every start is difficult and everyone makes mistakes. If you start making a podcast, that will probably happen sometimes. Don’t let that discourage you! You will see that it goes faster and smoother.
For example, a classic is that you record an entire episode and then it appears that you have pressed the wrong button and the recording is to the moon (this of course never happened to us).
But the more often you do it, the smoother it goes.
Tip: first make a short test recording before you start. Then you know for sure that you’re in the right place.
Conversion is less measurable
Do you want insight into how your podcast is doing? Then, of course, you can be the first to look at the numbers of subscribers and streams/downloads. That gives you an indication of whether your podcast is popular. But what it ultimately delivers in terms of conversion is more difficult to measure.
Are there new customers on the phone or have you sold some products through your site? Then it is not always clear how these customers found you. Perhaps it was via social media, your blog or your podcast (or a combination both).
Be the first to focus on the numbers that you can measure directly, such as subscribers and streams/downloads. And ask new customers how they found you. That, in turn, provides valuable insight into which marketing channels provide you the most.
Your podcast could easily become an important channel for you and a source of new assignments.
Whether the Podcast has brought us anything? Absolutely!
What went well?
Recording the ideas for the podcast, starting up (by trial and error) and recording the broadcasts. It all took the necessary time and effort.
But the results can also be there. Looking back at the past year, the SEO Podcast has brought us all kinds of beautiful things.
Listeners and subscribers
On Soundcloud, our episodes have listened to more than 7,200 times and we have 130 followers.
And that is only 1 platform.
Our podcast is also available through Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and TuneIn, for example. That way you can quickly reach many listeners.
Brand recognition and authority
A podcast is perfect for building brand awareness and authority. You can share your expertise and it is a nice extra channel where people can find you.
In that respect, it is very similar to blogging. But podcasting has some other specific advantages:
- It is difficult to read blog articles in the car, in the gym or while window poking. That is why podcasts are so popular! Ideal for listening when you are in a traffic jam or on the treadmill trying to lose extra pounds.
- People can hear your voice. That makes podcasts a bit more personal than blogging.
- Everyone already blogs and podcasts don’t. If you have a podcast, you immediately jump out.
Keeping up with your field
Another advantage of podcasting is that it forces you to follow trends and developments.
If you want to do it right, you still have to prepare each episode and do some research. This is a perfect opportunity to study a bit and to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments.
In other words: podcasting is an ideal way of active self-study.
Building brand awareness and authority is an important goal of content marketing. If people come in contact with you through different channels and they see/hear that you are an expert in a certain field, they will approach you sooner for an assignment.
Of course, it is not always immediately visible what a podcast actually delivers.
Perhaps that new customer first saw your LinkedIn profile, watched a YouTube video of you later, read a blog article from you, and then listened to a podcast from you. In many cases, winning assignments is the result of a combination of multiple contact moments through different marketing channels.
But that podcast… it does well in that mix!
It immediately gave us some assignments. Two new customers from Michiel indicated that they were approaching him because of the podcast. And Rutger also delivered indirect orders and new sales of e-books.
Below the line
Okay, we’ve seen what we came across and what went well. What is then left under the line?
These are the advantages and disadvantages of podcasts:
Cons / challenges
- It takes a lot of time
- In the beginning, it is just figuring out how to set everything up properly
- Conversion is not always easily measurable
- It is very fun to do
- It is a great way of content marketing
- You build up authority and brand awareness
- It can deliver your orders/sales directly
- Listeners hear your voice and really get to know you
- They usually listen for a long time and are involved
For us, a big plus remains below the line. And we intend to continue with the podcast for a long time.
Tips for those considering podcasting
From the egg of Columbus to a hopeless mission: the opinions about podcasting are strongly divided. It is difficult to show what exactly podcasting yields because it is difficult to measure.
After a year of recording and asking a lot of questions, we can state that it does generate revenue. Immediately, with requests and sales of e-books and online training. And indirectly, through new contacts, smarter working methods and increasing our visibility.
Are you considering starting a podcast yourself? Then we have some useful tips for you. Here they come.
1. Think before you begin
Everyone can start enthusiastically, but sustaining podcasts is a different story. Preparing, recording, editing, publishing and promoting simply takes a lot of time.
2. Consider podcasting as work
If you want to attract customers online, consider this as part of your work. Reserve for example 2 hours a week on the agenda for the client ‘yourself’. You can then include a new episode and create promotional materials.
3. Invest in a good microphone
That great microphone of a few tens via Marktplaats? So it turned out not to be that good. Good sound is incredibly important for a podcast and doesn’t save on the microphone.
4. Do it together
As busy self-employed people, the SEO Podcast rarely has our highest priority. Yet we strive to put a new episode online every 14 days and that works pretty well. The two of you are probably easier than alone. You keep each other sharp and responsible.
5. Choose the long term
Podcasting is just like blogging: it takes a long time. Therefore always choose a subject that your heart is on and keep going. To quote a pearl of tile wisdom: it doesn’t matter how fast you go, as long as you go ahead.
6. Recycle content
Do you regularly publish news or blog posts on your site? Then see if you can recycle. For example, turn a blog post into a podcast. Create tweets, updates, and photos. And share this – whether automated or not – through your channels. Then you do the thinking only once.
7. Be realistic
Finally our last tip: be realistic. A lot can be done with online marketing and podcasting is one of the options. A very nice one, we think, but you really have to be motivated and realistic.
Targeted and measurable advertising will undoubtedly have a larger ROI in the short term. However, you cannot purchase authority and the grant factor. Therefore, first determine who you want to reach and with what message, determine a battle plan and then give this a fair chance. Then you will automatically notice whether your efforts pay off and yield sufficient returns.