Podcast Movement 2021: 10 Lessons To Extend Your Audio Marketing Reach

Audio Marketing ReachWant to extend your voice & audio marketing reach?
Then add podcasting to your marketing mix.

While podcasts have been around for years, they’re experiencing a resurgence like other forms of voice content.

Create your podcast to:

  • Support your brand,
  • Be your core content offering, or
  • Start your side hustle.

Whether you’re a podcast newbie or an experienced broadcaster, use these 10 lessons presented at Podcast Movement 2021 to grow your audio marketing reach.

What Is a Podcast?

A podcast is defined as a digital audio file that can be downloaded for individual listening on a variety of devices. To attract and retain an audience, the audio is recorded in a series of episodes and ideally published on a consistent basis. Most frequently podcasts use one or more services such as Apple iTunes, Spotify and others to expand their reach through subscriptions.

In reality, podcasts are a form of talk radio. Like blogs, podcasts can be created and published by anyone with a microphone and the right type of recording and editing technology.

While most podcasts consist of original audio or video recordings, they may be the recorded broadcast portion of a:

  • Television show,
  • Radio program,
  • Lecture series such as a university class or Ted Talks,
  • Live performance such as readings or concerts, or
  • Other events with an audio component.

In general, podcasts fall into a number of major categories including:

  • Host(s) only,
  • Interviews, and/or
  • Serialized fiction or nonfiction.

As with most content, at the heart of podcast success is good storytelling. Because it makes your content memorable to your audience.

Podcast Movement

Libsyn’s Rob Walsh at Podcast Movement 2021 speaking about

“When it comes to podcasting, great content trumps great marketing!” – Rob Walsh of LibsynClick To Tweet

 

Contrary to popular belief, the average length of a podcast is 60+ minutes based on the top 200 episodes on Apple iTunes as presented by Rob Walsh of Libsyn at Podcast Movement. Also, a mere 8% were 20 minutes or less! Further, none of these podcasts was available in video format!

Why?
Because listeners can stop midway through a podcast and pick it up again later.

Ideal length of a podcast to increase audio marketing reach

Actionable Audio Marketing Tips:

  • Publish 10+ podcast episodes in a rolling 90 day period to remain visible in podcast aggregators. Because an active podcast is a show with a new episode in the last 90 days and 10+ episodes released to-date.

Why Should Marketers Care About Podcasts?

Podcast listenership is on the rise globally according to eMarketer’s latest projections (February 2021). These forecasts include people who listen to a podcast via a direct download or livestream on any device at least once during the past month

By 2025, US podcast listeners will number 144.6 million or 42.0% of the population. 

US Podcast Listeners - eMarketer-February 2021-Chart

Further, podcasts add another dimension to your content marketing and extend your audio marketing reach because they’re a form of on-demand audio content.

So podcasts add a human component to your brand experience. And, like other voice-first options, they allow listeners to access your content when their eyes and/or hands are busy doing something else.

Also, podcasts have less competition than blogs. The ratio of blogs to podcasts is 2,350 blogs to 1 podcast. YIKES!

Active Podcasts

Podcast Movement: 10 Audio Marketing Reach Takeaways

1. Do You Know The Why Of Your Podcast?

Have a reason for podcasting that extends beyond “I think a podcast would be nice.”

Why?
Since podcasting takes A LOT of work and you need to keep going.
Otherwise you’ll have less than 10 podcast episodes so no listeners will find them.

At a minimum, your podcast should support and extend your brand. Jack Daniels does a great job of this with their Around The Barrel podcast, now in its fourth season. Note how the visuals for the podcast extend those of the brand.

Around the barrel podcast

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Create a podcast mission statement aligned with your brand. As with other forms of content marketing mission statements your objective is to use this content to extend your brand.

2. Who Is Your Podcast Audience?

Know your podcast audience so you can create more content that will delight them.

At a minimum, create a persona for your best listener. If you have other listener audience segments, develop different personas for them.

Also, know what content, interviews, stories and other formats resonate best with your audience. Use a combination of data and listener feedback.

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Ask your audience for feedback on what type of content they want from you. Include the request in the body of your podcast and make it easy for listeners to respond to you via email, text or voice mail.
  • Include a request for listeners to tell their friends about your podcasts. This relates to what Tom Webster said in his Podcast Movement keynote. Word of mouth is the strongest way to grow your listener base. To this end, use an easy-to-spell and say podcast title.

 

3. Why Do You Need To Determine the Format of Your Podcast?

When it comes to podcasts, your format encompasses more than audio content.

To develop a high quality podcast use these questions to cover the key elements:

  • Will you be the only presenter or will you host various guests? If you invite guests to join you, how will you find, vet and schedule them? HINT: Calendly.com can help reduce administrative back and forth.For example, Jack Daniels selected Lucas Hendrickson, a local voice talent, to represent their brand.
    Lucas Hendrickson
  • How long will you make your podcast? Contrary to popular belief, the average podcast is more than 20 minutes!
  • How do you make your podcast repeatable? Include a branded intro and outro.
  • Do you have an audio logo? Do you need one and where will you play it during your podcast?
  • How do you convey key information during the first 30 seconds? This is CRITICAL! So don’t insert a pre-roll ad or it can hurt your podcast’s findability.
  • What schedule will you establish for your podcast? Will it be every day, week days or weekly? What is your rationale for this schedule and how does it jibe with the needs of your audience? Bear in mind that consistency matters to build and keep your audience.Don’t forget to build in production time to ensure that your content puts its best foot forward.
  • What is your editorial calendar for your podcast? How does it work with your overall editorial and promotions calendars?

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Consider how to extend the life of your content with related metadata. This includes how you conceptualize the information each podcast covers to make it easier to find and use later.

 

4. Why Build a Podcast-Related Website  to Increase Your Audio Marketing Reach?

As with any form of content marketing, your podcast should live on your owned media (aka: your website). Don’t lose the results of your hard work building a listener base to be lost when another platform goes poof!

From a voice perspective, publishing your podcast on your owned media has the added value of associating the user question with the appropriate data and unit of content.

While you don’t need to create a dedicated website for your podcast, it helps to make it easy to find in your navigation and list at least the last few episodes on your homepage. This is what Mark Schaefer does on his homepage.

The Marketing Companion Podcast

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Allow your owned media readers to receive either RSS feeds of your podcasts or emailings. Keep these notices separate from your other content formats so listeners can get ONLY the podcast.
  • Promote your podcast content across your other owned media such as your newsletter.

 

5. How Do You Create Repeatable Workflows For Your Voice Marketing?

Kate EricksonSince your goal is to deliver consistent quality content, develop a set of checklists to ensure everyone involved in the process knows what to do. Kate Erickson made this point in her Podcast Movement keynote.

Use these repeatable workflows to create for your podcast to ensure you increase your audio marketing reach:

  • Build process to find, select and schedule podcast guests. Erickson recommended using an application form to prequalify the best candidates.
  • Develop an interview process. Include an outline to keep the guest on track. Also include post-interview follow up for any questions, additional content and share when video goes live.
  • Create an interview tracker to manage interviews. It helps you to manage podcasts by guest and tracks key information like dates and times for later reference.
  • Develop a template for editing your podcast and creating show notes. BTW, Erickson does her own editing so she can control the quality of the show.

Actionable Marketing Tips:

  • Document your processes to help your employees to follow the same workflows over time.
  • Streamline and document your processes with easy-to-use tools like Calendly. This is particularly important for scheduling interviews and related reminders.

6. How Do You Improve and Optimize Your Audio Content To Increase Reach?

Tom Webster“Edit, edit, edit.” was the big take-away from the keynote by Edison Research’s Tom Webster.

More specifically, Webster advised, “Edit your content to make each episode as good as it can be.”

Consider Webster’s comments about attracting and retaining new podcast listeners:

  • Since listeners spend an average of 6 hours and 45 minutes per week with podcasts, they probably won’t increase their total amount of podcast listening time.
  • Instead, they’ll drop a podcast they already listen to add yours to their weekly listening.

Bottom line to expand your audio marketing reach:

  • Your podcast must be good enough to hook new listeners and better than their current mix of podcasts to become part of their weekly must-hear list.

Also optimize your podcast show by adding a full transcript of each podcast and publish it on your own website.

Get legal permission to use music and other audio clips since they may be copyrighted. For example, CBS Radio licenses its older shows.

Lastly, where possible create evergreen content so that it remains relevant and viable over time.

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Beyond your text transcript of your podcast, edit it or write a better piece of content. BUT—make sure that it includes your keywords. For example, EB Moss creates a new piece of content related to each new podcast.

 

7.  Why Do You Need to Include Stories In Your Podcasts?

Regardless of the format of your podcast, integrate stories into your content to make it memorable. This includes interviews by asking interviewees to include stories in their responses.

Why?
Because stories make your podcast more memorable as science proves.

The Science of Storytelling

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Use the Problem, Action, Result structure for your podcast stories. This helps your listeners to get the points you want to make faster.

 

8. Where, and When Do You Distribute Your Podcasts to Increase Audio Market?

Unlike other content formats, most podcasters publish their podcasts on their own and a variety of third party platforms at the same time.

Why?
Because listeners use different platforms for different forms of audio.

Otherwise, you face a challenge getting listeners to download a specific audio player that they may not use. This adds another hurdle to attracting new listeners.

As Libsyn’s Rob Walsh said at Podcast Movement, “Be Everywhere!”

The Top 10 audio destinations yield a reach of 1.85+ billion monthly users.

Look deeper to discover that podcast listeners use a wide variety of platforms and apps to get their regular shows and find new ones. They include:

  • Apple and Google Podcasts,
  • Spotify,
  • Music first destinations,
  • Social media,
  • Blogs,
  • Audio aggregators, and
  • Personal apps.

Podcast Destinations

Actionable Marketing Tips:

  • Transform your podcast content into other formats to extend your audio marketing reach. While only 14 of the Top 50 Audio Aggregator Apps support video, YouTube video is the second largest search engine. So think in terms of extending your content to other formats, platforms and devices.
  • Use the TIP Method to distribute your podcast and related content to keep your podcast’s best episodes visible over time.

 

9. How to monetize your podcast

As with any other form of content, build a loyal following before trying to monetize your podcast. Also, understand that you’re competing against podcasters who have built their audiences over long periods of time.

5 Podcast Monetization Options

  • Increase brand affinity and time spent with brand-related content. In its fourth season, the “Around The Barrel”podcast produced by Jack Daniels has increased brand affinity.
  • Support sales of podcaster products and services including books. For example, John Lee Dumas has launched online courses and books to his Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast audience.
  • Drive affiliate revenues. Instead of creating revenues for your products and services, sell other people’s products. For example, the Actionable Marketing Guide has an affiliate program with its email provider, AWeber. If you decide to use AWeber and click on our link we’ll make a small commission.
  • Offer sponsorships and advertising. Depending on the size of your audience, you can add sponsors who pay you for mentions as part of your podcast such as “This podcast is brought to you by “BLANK company”.
  • Use a membership service like Patreon. Like public radio and television, these are your “true fans” and they’re willing to pay a premium to get more of your special content.

The key to podcast monetization success:
Diversification.

Entrepreneur On Fire’s publicly available income statements show that John Lee Dumas and Kate Erickson monetize their podcasts with sponsorships, online courses, affiliate marketing and books. (BTW, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income also is transparent about his income statements.)

On FIre

Actionable Marketing Tips:

  • Incorporate your brand consistently across your podcast’s audio, visual and text branding. Take a page from Jack Daniels and tell stories about or related to your business.
  • Have your show host read the sponsorships and ads to increase response rates. Ads read by the show’s host perform the best. This makes sense since listeners think that it’s part of the show. (Nielsen)Host read podcast ads drive strong brand recall
  • Set membership tiers. Also create annual member levels and make special offers with deadlines to create a sense of buyer urgency. Lastly, include an aspirational membership tier, even if no one pays for it.

Content Inc. model

10. How Do You Track Podcast Results?

Beyond downloads, consider what you want your audience to do.

So, track episodes and seasons where appropriate. This gives listeners a sense of the longevity of your podcast and let’s them know that yours isn’t a flash-in-the-pan.

Ideally, build an email or text list so you can contact listeners to let them know that you have published a new episode. Even better, your housefile of listeners adds value to your business’s Balance Sheet because the number of listeners times the average lifetime value of a listener is a rough calculator for the value of your business.

Also ask listeners to take that specific action. Podcast actions you can include in your audio:

  • Provide feedback about what your listeners want from your content
  • Share your podcast with their family and friends.
  • Give your podcast a shoutout on on your audio platform and/or social media.

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Always include a call-to-action in your podcast. Where possible make your request trackable such as feedback or use a verbal code. To this end it must be easy-to-remember
  • Use tailored landing pages for subscribers and advertisers to improve results tracking.

 

 Audio Marketing Reach Conclusion

The bottom line take away from Podcast Movement 2021 was:
Podcasting provides an opportunity for brands, entrepreneurs and content marketers to create must-hear content.

The key to podcast success is quality. So edit it to be the best it can be to attract new listeners and keep existing ones.

Why?
Because there’s lots of audio content available so the BEST QUALITY wins!

To add podcasting to your content offering, have a strong mission that is aligned with your “why” for creating it.

Then set up a set of workflows to manage the additional editing and post production work involved.

With the increase in voice-first devices, chances are the consumption of podcasts will continue to increase.

So start now to build the best podcast you can!

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

 

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Photo Credits by Heidi Cohen August 2021

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