How To Use Podcasts To Grow Your Small Business

barbgiamancoEvery week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Barb Giamanco heads up Social Centered Selling. She’s the co-author of The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media and authored the Harvard Business Review article Tweet Me, Friend Me, Make Me Buy. As a small business owner herself, Barb has spent the last 14 years implementing unique marketing approaches to drive revenue results. For more information, visit: www.scs-connect.com.

SmallBizLady: WHAT IS A PODCAST?

BarbaraG: A podcast can either be an audio or video conversation. Many people who host audio podcasts like I do, invite guests to be interviewed about their topical area of expertise. Think of it as a radio show.  Listeners can then download the podcast to listen in their car, at their office or while walking on the treadmill. Podcasts are unique because once a user subscribes to a podcast, new episodes will be automatically downloaded as a new episode is released so subscribers don’t need to check for updates manually.

SmallBizLady: WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER CREATING/HOSTING A PODCAST?

BarbaraG: In short, it is a great way to share valuable, educational content that helps you market you and your business. You don’t have to interview other people. You could also create short podcast sound bites. For example, a small business sales tip of the day that would expose your message to more people.

Remember that not everyone consumes content in the same way. Some people like to read, some like to watch and other people like to listen. Podcasts have surged in popularity the last few years for that reason. They are portable and you can listen any time. A podcast also helps you demonstrate your expert authority as you interview guests on topics that your potential buyers will find interesting and lead to inbound inquiries about your work. Use a podcast to expand your following as people subscribe to your podcast, and grow your network as you invite a variety of guests to join your show. And don’t forget that guests will be sharing their interview with their networks, which also increases your exposure.

SmallBizLady: HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO SET UP A PODCAST?

BarbaraG: If your podcast is going to be simply tips and tricks that you want to share with people, creating a podcast can be as easy as using the Voice Recorder function in Windows. You could also record mini-podcasts from your smartphone. If you want to create a podcast in which you interview guests, it will take a little bit of time to set up your software and systems. You can plan on setting up the basics in 2-hours or less.

SmallBizLady: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PRODUCE A PODCAST?

BarbaraG: The answer will depend on how much time you have. I release one podcast per week. To maximize my time, I record on Monday’s and Friday’s only. On each of those days I will stack the interviews, so that I record 3-5 interviews in one day. This ends up giving me plenty of content that I can then schedule in advance. You don’t want to scramble week to week to find guests for your show.

SmallBizLady: HOW MUCH TIME DOES THIS TAKE ONCE I’VE DONE MY INITIAL SET UP?

BarbaraG: You will spend time seeking out guests to interview. You’ll want to ask them to provide you with a brief bio, their headshot and 5-7 questions they want you to ask. If you have an assistant on your team, you can offload the communication process to them. Not every guest gets their information back to you in the time you want it, so plan for some follow up time. To minimize the hassle of going back and forth over interview dates and times, you can set up a calendaring system that lets guests choose the best interview date and time for them. I use Schedule Once. Once the guest books their time, it automatically is added to your calendar.

After the podcasts are recorded, it should only take you about 15-20 minutes per podcast uploaded to your host site. I always do a brief recap of the show and that takes a few extra minutes. If you don’t do that, you can get the time to about 10 minutes. Again, an assistant can help you. If you don’t have an assistant, plan to invest about an hour of time to upload 4-5 interviews at once and schedule them for the upcoming month if your host provider gives you that option and many do. This is why stacking interviews is helpful. My podcast content is already complete going into March 2017.

SmallBizLady: WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE DO I NEED AND WHAT WILL IT COST?

BarbaraG: If your goal is to produce a more professional podcast that people will subscribe to, here are the tools that I use for my podcast. I host and record my guest interviews using Skype (FREE) and a program called Callnote Pro. I pay for the pro version because it provides me with additional capabilities but the FREE Callnote Premium will give you what you need to record great podcasts. You will also want to invest in a decent microphone and or headset. I use an Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, which you can purchase on Amazon for less than $100. If you like headsets, I also recommend the Sennheiser Century SC 660 USB CTRL Premium Dual-Sided Wired Headset. Whether you purchase a microphone or a headset, the quality is worth it. Don’t skimp on the audio investment. If your podcast sound quality isn’t good, people won’t listen.

As a backup option, I use Free Conference Call but you are limited to people having to call into the conference line. If you don’t plan to interview people internationally, as I do, a conference line (FREE) can work fine, especially when getting started. Keep in mind that using a conference line will give you good quality but not as good as using Skype with a professional microphone.

Most sites where you will host your podcast is free and you may want to check out their pro features to see if it is worth the investment. For example, I pay for SoundCloud Pro because I don’t want ads showing up in my podcasts.

SmallBizLady: WILL I NEED ARTWORK FOR MY PODCAST?

BarbaraG: Yes. Especially for your iTunes channel. High quality artwork attracts new subscribers to your podcast. You will want to include a title, brand, or source name as part of your artwork. You can use a source like Fiverr to have a someone design artwork AKA logo for your podcast. Or, you could hire a local graphic designer to do the work for you.

SmallBizLady: WHERE DO I HOST MY PODCAST?

BarbaraG: Sticher, SoundCloud, Podbean, Libsyn and Blubrry are some popular sites. All of them have their pro’s and con’s. If you are just starting out, you might want to go with a site like SoundCloud or Libsyn. Both give you different types of analytical data. But I also just heard about Blubrry, which I plan to use because it also includes a plugin that gives me even more detailed data and the ability to integrate with my Wordpress blog. This is certainly a more sophisticated way to go but if you have a technical or web person to help you, you might want to start with Blubrry.

SmallBizLady: HOW DO I GET MY PODCAST ON ITUNES?

BarbaraG: You cannot host podcasts directly on iTunes. You must host media files and RSS feeds on your own web servers or use a third-party host (i.e. SoundCloud, Libsyn or Podbean). You can then submit your podcast feed directory. You need to apply and submit the RSS feed to your podcast. The host company you use will generally create the RSS feed for you.

SmallBizLady: WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER HOSTING SITES YOU MENTIONED, DO I NEED TO APPLY TO THEM TOO?

BarbaraG: Not all of them. Sticher does have an application process that you need to work through. Other sites like SoundCloud or Podbean simply require you going to their website to set up your account.

SmallBizLady: HOW DO I GET PEOPLE TO SUBSCRIBE OR FOLLOW MY PODCAST?

BarbaraG: Include the link to your podcast in your email signature, promote through your social media channels, embed on your website or blog and include in your newsletters. You could also include a link to your podcast in any presentations that you deliver. Increase the number of followers or subscribers by asking guests to promote to their networks. Don’t be shy about asking people to subscribe or follow your podcast channel.

SmallBizLady: AM I ABLE TO MAKE MONEY WITH MY PODCAST? IF SO, HOW MUCH DO I CHARGE?

BarbaraG: Yes. Many podcasters have paid sponsors for their podcast. The fee you charge will have a lot to do with how much data you know about your audience. The number of subscribers is certainly a big factor in how much you can charge a sponsor to advertise on your podcast. The standard approach to determine your pricing is based on something called CPM, which stands for Cost Per Mille. As it relates to podcasting, this means the amount of money an advertiser will pay per thousand people listening to your podcast. So if your CPM is $2, an advertiser will pay you $2 for every 1000 people that hear an ad of theirs that you put in your podcast. In the beginning, you won’t have a lot of listener data to base your advertising pricing but you could include numbers related to your newsletter or social followers reach.

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz

Become Your Own Boss Now!

Order SmallBizLady's new book Become Your Own Boss, 2nd edition! It includes everything you need to launch a small business and new chapters on crowdfunding, build a great website, content strategy, and leveraging social media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *