Start A Podcast: The Hottest Tool in Your Content Marketing Kit

Start A Podcast

Written content is the king of content marketing, but don’t let that limit you — multiple media is what will keep the crown.


Did you know, business podcasts have fans in more than 60 million households? B2B marketers use podcasts to reach their market.


Your business could also benefit from podcasting as a promotional tool for driving sales and bringing new customers into your marketing funnel.


So why is podcasting so popular?

1. Businesses and Podcasting

Podcasts are pre-recorded, uploaded to a hosting platform, and are accessible via mobile apps like Spotify and Stitcher.


You can reach your listeners wherever and whenever they prefer.


Here’s why you should consider podcasting for your content marketing:

  • Lower Cost All you need is a good microphone, some basic editing software, and a hosting solution
  • Creative process — Podcasts are relatively easy to produce without a lot of technical know-how
  • Hosting and promotion — Music and podcast apps like Spotify will also help promote your channel to subscribers of similar podcasts

Podcasting is easier to accomplish and more affordable than you think.


Next, let’s look at the benefits it can bring to your business.

1.1. Benefits of A Business Podcast

Benefits of A Business Podcast

Source: Podcast listener insights on Spotify via Rain News

Podcasting has distinct advantages over other types of content:

  • By hearing your voice, your audience feels more connected to you which is vital in building an online brand and standing out in the crowded online world
  • Because many listeners engage in podcasts on the go, your content can reach them even if they’re too busy to sit down and read an article you wrote
  • You establish your authority in your niche because podcast marketing lets you share your thoughts and expertise with your audience

A podcast is a great addition to your content marketing toolkit if you’re looking to increase exposure for your business or boost engagement among your existing audience.


In the next section, we’ll look at some ways to get started.

2. How to Start a Podcast

Start a Podcast

Podcast marketing is not a one-size-fits-all medium — you’ll need to find what works for you.


We recommend posting more than one episode when you launch to help you gain and maintain momentum, boost your downloads, and give your listeners a better idea of what to expect.


Before your launch, you can promote your podcast by posting short snippets of the first episode on your social media accounts.


If you have an email newsletter, why not link a short teaser on YouTube to rally your subscribers?


Here’s what you’ll need to get started.

2.1. Equipment

Equipment

If you watch popular podcasters online, you may be intimidated by their extensive equipment and audio setup — but there’s no need!


The only equipment you need to start is:

You can use online video conferencing software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams if you're remotely interviewing guests as part of your podcast.


These tools give you both audio and video capabilities — and you can set them up to save as separate MP3 and Video files to make publishing easier.


When upgrading your equipment, these items are particularly useful:

  • An XLR output microphone — useful if you’re co-hosting so that mics (and hosts) can interact
  • An audio interface — to connect your mics to your computer
  • A mixer — to control levels, inputs, and outputs of multiple mics and guests
  • A pop filter — to improve sound quality and minimize plosive sounds
  • Closed-back headphones — to listen to yourself as you record and prevent mistakes
  • Headphone amplifier — especially useful if you have guests or a co-host to split and amplify each set

You could spend a fortune on equipment like this, so take a look at Podcast Insights’ guide to basic equipment and where to find it.

2.2. Choosing a Platform to Host Your Podcast

When you start a website, you search for a web host — the same is necessary when starting a podcast.


You need to choose a hosting service that will store your MP3s and create your podcast’s feed without breaking the bank.


Here's a list of podcast hosting platforms that have free offers:

When choosing a platform to host you, look closely at their features — if it’s for a business podcast, you want to use a tool that integrates well with the rest of your digital marketing suite.


Here are some features you can’t do without:

  • Multiple team members — so that your co-hosts and editors can access the podcast files
  • Podcast analytics — measure how, where, and when people are listening to your podcast
  • Embed player — so that your listeners can listen without opening their browser
  • Mastering — useful editing and post-production capabilities to prevent needing multiple platforms
  • Show notes — create and edit important descriptions and tags
  • Unlimited storage — store all your episodes on one platform

If you’re thinking you can just upload your podcasts using your web host, think again!


Podcast files are massive, especially if you plan to produce both video and audio versions of your episodes.


Many podcast hosting platforms now offer digital marketing services too — but they’re not built for it, so their capabilities are limited.


We suggest moving to an all-in-one platform like systeme.io and then integrating a separate podcasting tool.

2.3. Targeting Your Audience

Targeting Your Audience

Smart content writers and marketers create buyer personas for better insights into their audience — smart podcasters do the same!


Creating a listener persona helps you decide what kind of content you should create to better target and satisfy your audience — keeping the show focused and your content will be fresh and relevant.


If you already have an audience, you can and ask these questions:

  • What is your biggest pain point?
  • What obstacles are you facing?
  • Which area of your life needs enrichment?

Information like age, race, gender, and other demographics are also important when creating your listener persona.


Once you have an idea of your ideal listener, give them a name and use that to keep your content targeted at them.


However, don’t let this process of inquiry keep you from starting — “done” is better than perfect!

2.4. Structure and Content

A podcast storyboard from Milanote

Source: A podcast storyboard from Milanote

You’ll have to decide whether to have a specific topic of discussion for each episode or keep it free and unstructured.


Structured podcasts are recommended if:

  • You’re a beginner
  • Your content is dense and complicated
  • If you’re explaining an ordered process
  • You plan to host the podcast alone
  • You want to keep your podcasts short

Unstructured and free-flowing podcasts are great if:

  • You’re an experienced podcaster
  • You want to focus on guest narratives
  • Anecdotal advice is your goal
  • You want to use humor
  • You want to host live shows
  • You want longer episodes

We recommend the former if you plan to use your podcast for content marketing, though there are those that make the latter work.


Bloomberg’s Odd Lots, featuring Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway, is one example of a subject-based business podcast — it covers economics and finance.


Remember, your brand podcast must address customer concerns and provide useful information.


Here are some popular structural formats for podcasts.

2.4.1. Interviews

A podcast guest form via FireNation

Source: A podcast guest form via FireNation

Interviewing well-known figures in your niche is a great way to get started on a business podcast.


Here are some probing questions to ask your guests:

  • What moment in your childhood had a profound effect on you?
  • Was there a time when you wanted to give up? How did you overcome it?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time?
  • What does success look like to you?
  • If you could go back in time, what would you change?

Your guests will have their own following, and a single social media post from them could grow your initial listener base substantially.


You should:

  • Send your guests a link to their episode
  • Ask them to share it with their followers
  • If they like what they hear, they might listen to your future episodes

The quality of your recording should be your number one priority — make sure you test your audio before getting stuck in.

2.4.2. Going Solo

The Brendan Showby Brendan Burchard, a solo podcast

Source: The Brendan Showby Brendan Burchard, a solo podcast

Doing it on your own means you’ll have complete creative control over your show, including the topics you’ll discuss and the guests you invite.


You’ll also have more freedom to develop your signature style without clashing with someone else.


The Brendan Show includes 2 episodes per week that give listeners practical, expert advice and recaps the host’s exciting life — establishing him as an authority figure


However, going solo does have its drawbacks — you might run out of things to say or your show might feel like one very long monologue.


Follow these tips to avoid falling into that trap:

  • Create a script or episode outline before you start
  • Keep it short
  • Break up sections of talking with music

If you’re recording alone, don’t forget that you can easily re-record or edit out any sections you’re not happy with — try Podbean or Buzzsprout for your podcast hosting and recording solutions.

2.4.3. Topical Debate

Some Intelligence Squared episodes

Source: Some Intelligence Squared episodes

Many co-hosted podcasts take the form of a debate on a specific subject.


These debates are often free-flowing, conversational, and without hard and fast rules.


As the host, you could debate the pros and cons of a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform with your co-host and use their affiliate program for your benefit.


On the other hand, there are podcasts like Intelligence Squared which are closer to a formal debate.


This show features some of today’s leading public intellectuals, using an Oxford-style debate structure in which everyone shares their opinions on a topic and responds to others’ viewpoints.

2.4.4. Instructional Guide

An instructional podcast, PM Happy Hour

Source: An instructional podcast, PM Happy Hour

Instructional content is always popular because people love to be taught how to do something.


Since many people are aural learners, instructional podcasts serve the same function as how-to articles and blog posts.


This is an especially useful structure if you run online courses and webinars in your field of expertise.


They also help build brand awareness and establish thought leadership.


The Project Management Happy Hour podcast, for example, offers various tutorials that help with project management.


The hosts, Kim and Kate, also tackle topics such as bias in project management, project financials, and stress reduction.


The approach is practical and instructional, offering actionable takeaways to listeners.


Remember, format and structure do not need to remain rigid throughout all of your episodes — interviews include elements of debate, and solo podcasts can have co-hosted episodes.


What does need to remain consistent is your content — that’s what your listeners are after.


Once you’ve chosen your format and content, here’s some useful advice for planning and producing your podcast.

2.5. Be Prepared

Be Prepared

Planning your podcast goes beyond your content and audience — you need to have plans for the episodes themselves.


When planning your podcast, you need to decide on:

  • How long is each episode? (20-45 mins is the sweet spot)
  • How often will you release episodes?
  • Do episodes stand-alone or link in a single season?
  • What will you name each episode?
  • What is each episode about?

Once you have set these parameters for yourself, there is further planning that can keep you on track.


Before recording an episode you can:

  • Research content you plan to include
  • Research your guests or co-host
  • Compile an episode outline of topics
  • Test sound quality in different places
  • Set up a timer only you can see

Pre-record 3 - 4 episodes so that you can automate the release of your first episodes — saving yourself a whole lot of time and effort.


Go the extra mile and plan your podcast’s release like the launch of any other product — sign-up with systeme.io and create an email campaign to launch your podcast online.


Interview or debate-based podcasts are a popular format among businesses so if you choose that format you need to find a way to stand out.

2.5.1. Scripted Improvisation

While improvised conversation is what sounds natural on podcasts, you may miss out on important topics if they don’t come up naturally.


One way to avoid this mishap is to create a kind of script” to keep yourself, and your guest, on track.


But don’t let the script limit you to a question and answer format — use leading questions that prompt anecdotes or deeper insights.


You can also use quick-fire questions to close off and get advice from your guest for your listeners — this ends the episode on a positive and fun note.

2.6. Post Production

Post Production

Your podcast may be good, but wouldn’t you rather it was great? That’s where post-production and editing tools come in.


In content creation, editing is about adding the icing on the cake.


Using post-production tools can help you:

  • Correct mistakes
  • Edit out interruptions
  • Add introductions
  • Remove inaccuracies
  • Create musical interludes
  • Build advertising breaks

Add polish to your content and establish yourself as a professional with an informed opinion — that’s the power of post-production.


Here is a list of tools that you can use to edit your podcast:

Another option for post-production is to hire a freelancer to take on the editing — this will cost more but might save you from frustration in the long run.


You can find freelancers in this field on Fiverr or by posting your requirements on sites like Upwork.

2.6.1. Show Notes

Show notes act like your podcast’s blurb — they’re what people read to see if your podcast is worth listening to.


In your show notes, you should provide the following information:

  • A brief description of your content/idea
  • An introduction to you and your co-host
  • Introduction to any guests
  • Age restrictions and other warnings
  • Tags for your website and social media
  • Tags for your guests’ details
  • References for any resources you use or quote from

You can also transcribe your episodes using descript and make those transcriptions available for the hearing impaired.


Now that you’re armed with how to start your podcast, check out our 5 tips to use it as a powerful marketing tool and get inspired!

3. 5 Tips for Marketing Your Brand Using a Podcast

At the time of writing, there are around 2,000,000 podcasts globally, and more than 48 million total episodes.


Over 75% of Americans are familiar with podcasts or already listening to them.


You’re missing a massive opportunity if you’re not tapping into this medium to promote your brand.


So how exactly do you market your podcast?


Let’s look at these 5 easy ways:

3.1. Inspire Your Audience

Trailblazers, an inspirational podcast by Dell Technologies

Source: Trailblazers, an inspirational podcast by Dell Technologies

You don’t necessarily have to insert your brand into the podcast itself!


The Trailblazers podcast is produced by Dell, but it doesn’t feature the brand at all.

Instead, it focuses on stories of entrepreneurial success and experience.


When your brand publishes content that inspires its audience, it can gain their trust.


You can use your podcast to build a community of like-minded listeners.

3.2. Laughing = Learning

Even the most technical topics become more accessible to listeners when you combine them with a healthy dose of humor.


No matter what kind of business you’re in, a podcast will give you the freedom to explore different storytelling formats.


Don’t be afraid to throw some jokes in.


Humor is very helpful in converting your prospects into leads.


But remember, keep it tasteful — edgy or offensive humor might alienate more people than it will attract.

3.3. Collaboration

 A How I Built This episode via NPR

Source: A How I Built This episode via NPR

Crossovers are common in the podcasting community.


Podcast collaborations, including podcast takeovers or guest appearances, will expose your show to new audiences and introduce new people to your brand and content.


Choose your collaborators wisely though, because their values will become associated with you and your brand.


How I Built This with Guy Raz looks at the backstory behind renowned companies and startups — and has collaborated with leadership panels and its fellows.

3.4. Engage Your Listeners

The most engaged listeners according to NiemanLab

Source: The most engaged listeners according to NiemanLab

The most engaged podcast consumers are called “super listeners” — they consume twice the content of other listeners.


To target these super listeners and have them hooked on your content, you need to build an engaging podcast that they’re itching to recommend.


A podcast is pre-recorded and is often considered a one-way outreach channel.


You can get around this by inviting your listeners to send in their questions or comments and respond to them on the show.


By engaging your audience and making them feel involved, you increase the likelihood that they’ll keep coming back — this is more effective than purely passive content.


As an added bonus, you can use the questions and comments you receive as part of customer behavior analysis.


Here’s a bonus pro-tip for you: Use SpeakPipe to collect visitor feedback or testimonials as audio content and mix this into your podcast.


You could even collect your listeners’ questions and comments as a video for your video podcast version.

3.5. Upcycle Your Content

Upcycle Your Content

Smart content marketers know that repurposing content is the key to getting the most mileage out of everything you produce.


This applies to audio content too — why not transform your podcast into a blog post by using a transcription tool like descript?


You could add a short looping video over the audio content of your podcast and upload it on Instagram, allowing even more people to find you.


Why not conduct the whole episode via Zoom and make the show available as a podcast but also as a youtube video?

4. 2 Tricks to Add the Wow Factor

Podcasting for business is becoming really popular — to make this medium work for you, you have to get noticed!


Here are 2 tricks that can really make your podcast stand out from the crowd:

4.1. Trick 1: A Beautiful Podcast Cover

A Beautiful Podcast Cover

Source: Modus

As with other types of marketing, design matters.


Creating a beautiful podcast cover will make your show look professional and more inviting to prospective listeners.


Here are some top tips for creating a gorgeous cover:

  • Make sure that your podcast cover matches the rest of your branding
  • Choose complementary colors for better cohesion
  • Use a font that’s readable and communicates the mood you’re after
  • Ensure your image is mobile responsive
  • Select imagery that reflects the podcast’s themes

As a general rule of thumb, your cover’s dimensions should be 3000 x 3000.


Work with a designer who can create something beautiful if possible — you can use a tool like Canva to get started by yourself.

4.2. Trick 2: Automate Your Podcasting Process

Producing great content and sound quality for your podcast takes time and a lot of effort.


During your podcast production, why not automate the process?


Use Zapier to grab your audio files from your Dropbox folder, and send them automatically to a post-production service.


When the post-production is finished, Zapier can send it automatically if you use a hosting service like podcast.co that offers direct integration.


With Zapier you can set up a process to publish your podcast on your website and share it across your social media channels.

5. Conclusion

Podcast marketing

Podcast marketing is a fantastic medium for promoting your brand.


They’re convenient, inexpensive, and relatively simple to produce.


Creating a fun, engaging podcast that showcases your knowledge should be part of your content marketing strategy.


Ready to start your own business podcast?


Hop onto systeme.io, and get your business and content marketing going!


Keep your eyes peeled for our very own systeme.io podcast — coming soon!

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