Make the Most of the Wonderful World of Podcasting

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As an emerging tech entrepreneur, you should consider all communications mediums suitable for telling your company story, being viewed as an expert in your field, and gaining the attention of investors, customers and partners.

One medium that many companies often overlook is podcasting.

It’s estimated that 62 million people in the U.S. listen to podcasts weekly, while one of the most popular podcasts in the world, The Joe Rogan Experience, is estimated to have over 90 million global listeners.  According to the latest statistics, there are currently more than 700,000 podcasts and more than 29 million podcasts episodes available on iTunes alone, and those numbers are rising rapidly.

Once relegated to the backwaters of media, podcasting has come into its own.  For smart entrepreneurs, it’s past time to investigate what’s possible in the world of podcasting to reach the valuable eardrums of the audience.

What has driven the growth of the podcast audience?  According to Ron Ploof, a podcast pioneer and storyteller, an initial factor was when Apple pre-installed its Podcast app on new iPhones, making podcasts more accessible by the company’s enormous customer base.  The more recent rise of voice-activated assistants has made it even easier to listen to a favorite podcast.

The breakthrough popularity of the Serial investigative journalist podcast, with its true tales of justice denied, was also a key moment as it became the subject of office ‘water cooler’ talk.  Google’s introduction of its own podcast app for Android phones has also expanded the podcast audience.

Ron says companies should take a good look at podcasting as part of their marketing efforts.

“Podcasts are an intimate medium where someone is talking in your ear,” Ron said.  “They can be accessed anywhere – in your car or while you’re working out.”

“People focus when they’re listening to podcasts – it’s eyes- and hands-free,” he said. “You can’t skim a podcast like you can an article.”

So how should companies proceed?

According to Fred Fishkin, a Bloomberg radio broadcasting veteran who now runs the Techinstation podcast, companies should consider starting their own podcasts.

“If a company has something new they could talk about every week or so, it makes sense to consider doing a podcast,” Fred said. “If you have someone in-house with the right skills, you can do it yourself or bring in an outsider to run it for you.”

Fred said the key is to make the podcast listenable, with interesting topics, a non-scripted conversational approach, and by using quality mics, mixers and other audio tools.

Once completed, podcasts can be made accessible to audiences far beyond your company website on platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher.

Of course, companies can also pitch podcasters to become interview guests as they would traditional media outlets and bloggers.

Before approaching podcasters, make sure you’ve done a thorough study of the kinds of podcasts that might make sense for you and your company.  iTunes has a podcast directory that you can scan by category to find shows that fit your communications objectives. You can also simply pull up the podcast app and add a keyword to find shows that focus on your firm’s relevant topics.  You will also want to read a podcast’s show notes which often contains guest booking guidelines as well.

Targeted podcasts for the emerging tech executive may include This Week in Startups by Jason Calacanis who covers the world of tech entrepreneurship, or Something Ventured by startup insider Kent Lindstrom who interviews founders of the most compelling new startups.

You can also approach podcasters in your specific industry such as The SaaS Podcast or Stacy on IoT.  Don’t ignore the smaller niche podcasters because of audience sizes that might be less than 10,000 or even 1,000.  Many companies will send executives half-way across the world to address a target audience of a few dozen in their space.  Podcasts can be an easier and more affordable way to reach those early adopters, and they often grow a “long tail” of audience over many months from social media sharing and Google searches.

Listen to the episodes of your chosen podcasts to get a feel for how the podcaster interacts with his or her guests.  See what angles you might be able to offer that would interest the podcaster.  Don’t shy away from the controversial if it makes sense for your business.

Remember the cardinal rule for the podcast guest – BE INTERESTING.  The focus of your interview should be about solving an industry issue, or how you persevered through a business challenge, not a commercial about your company’s offerings.

The good news about podcasts is that they are generally long-form interviews, so you can really get into the details of your topic.  The caution is that podcasts are often live or recorded live, meaning there is rarely any editing before they are posted.  Make sure you are well-prepared for an audio medium that will be heard by an audience just the way you presented it.

To hear podcasts produced by the two pros interviewed for this story and to learn some valuable communications tips, visit SmartDrivingCar.com by Fred Fishkin and StoryHow.com by Ron Ploof.

 

 

 

 

About Author

about author

Mike Kilroy

Mike is Group Director, Technology at HKA Marketing Communications. He is a former journalist turned PR professional who has spent the past 25 years representing a variety of technology firms, from venture capital funded startups to top-tier brands.

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