A playbook for perfecting podcasting

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In the PR world, we’re always looking at new channels to reach a client’s target audience in a way that isn’t invasive, cuts through the noise, has impact and builds fans.

A great channel that can do all this and more for many organisations is podcasting.  HMC believes in the power of podcasting so much we recently bought a mobile podcasting studio and launched our first client podcast two months ago.

In June 2019, a survey by Radio New Zealand found one in three (31 percent) New Zealanders consumed podcast content at least once a week.  They found from July 2018-June 2019, there was a staggering 107 percent increase in podcast listeners.  We can only assume listenership has continued its meteoric rise over the past year, which would mirror international trends.

Odds are, if you were curious about podcasts but hadn’t taken the plunge before lockdown, the Covid pandemic may have given you the extra time you needed to start a new listening habit.  If this is the case, you aren’t alone.

Acast, one of the world’s largest podcast hosting and analytics companies, reported in April that more people were turning to podcasts during the pandemic with listeners increasing 7 percent globally.

And the trends across the ditch may foreshadow what’s headed our way: an excerpt from a Yahoo Finance story on 25 May 2020 cited the Edison Research’s 2020 Infinite Dial report showing 37 percent of the US population now listens to a podcast at least once a month. And the average weekly listener in the US listens to six podcasts per week.

So, what are all these listeners listening to?  A whole raft of podcasts on any topic you can dream up.  Many individuals and companies are developing their own podcasts due to the channel’s ability to engage.

Now, while “everyone is doing it”, everyone is not doing it well. Podcasting can be an effective tool for growing your customer base, positioning yourself as a leader in your field, and leveraging the influence of credible guests but it’s not as simple as recording yourself talking and uploading the file.

So, if you are considering dipping your toe into the podcasting pool, here are five tips to help you do it well:

Don’t scrimp on quality

To deliver a professional podcast you need to invest in quality recording equipment. No matter who your guests are or how good your content is, you will fail to engage your listeners if the sound quality is poor.
Using the services of a professional audio engineer to edit your raw audio is also crucial to ensure you get a polished episode.

Use influential guests

Inviting notable guests to join your podcast will give it credibility and engage more listeners.
You can also leverage their influence by asking them to promote the podcast through their own channels, including social media. 

Choose a host with the most

Your podcast host is the glue that holds everything together.
They must have the credibility, voice and personality to engage your audience. Making your guests feel at ease and creating an authentic conversational tone without needing a formal script is also a prerequisite.
It’s also important that your host is familiar with the subject matter so they can drive the conversation and adapt questions on the fly with finesse. 

Content is king

Your podcast theme and episode topics must be compelling, giving listeners a reason to tune in.
Ensure you have a content plan.  Think about what messages you want your listeners to take away and have a clear call to action. Create a series of questions for each episode for your host to guide the discussion and gain guest interaction.
Also consider delivering even more value to your listeners by creating a content hub on your website where they can go for more information on the topic. Be clever with your key words to maximise Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) so your podcast – and your company – can be found.

Get the word out

Just because you upload your podcast, doesn’t mean listeners will find you.  You need to create a PR and promotional plan to drive awareness and engagement.
Think about your overall communication objectives and how you will measure the success of your podcast. What strategy will you use to target different audiences? How can your stakeholders and staff help spread the word? And, finally, a digital marketing strategy is crucial to help you ‘catch’ people who are searching or browsing your podcast topic online.

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