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Podcasting for Small Businesses: Why and How to Start One

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Podcasting for Small Businesses: Why and How to Start One

Podcasting is hot right now. And while most businesses have a social media or a web presence, few dominate the podcasting space. 

If you feel your competitors have surpassed you with their social media or web presence, then starting a podcast can be a way to counter their advantage.

Let’s go into more detail about why podcasting might be vital to your business and how to start one. 

Why does your small business need a podcast?

Small businesses should really consider using podcasts to grow their businesses. Here’s why:

Podcasting is popular

A growing number of people are getting into podcasting as a hobby. According to this report by Edison Research, 62% of Americans have listened to a podcast at least once. 

So by creating a podcast, you can reach a large number of people that you would not have reached through your website or your social media. 

It’s a low-cost marketing strategy

Podcasting is cheap. 

Sure, you’d need to initially invest in a microphone, a headphone, recording software, an audio interface, and a camera (in case you’re recording video). This can cost anywhere between $300-$3000. 

But other methods of marketing, including running ads, turn out to be much more expensive than this.  

The other benefit of podcasts is that once you have your equipment set up, it’ll serve you for a long, long time (and with no extra expenses). 

It makes you an authority in your field

Starting a podcast will set you apart as an industry leader in your field, making customers choose you over your competitors. 

It’s great for networking 

Podcast hosts often bring guests on their show. As a result, they develop close relationships with big names in the industry.

So by starting a podcast, you’ll get to meet other leaders in your niche. You’ll also increase the authority of your brand when your customers see you interacting with these big names. 

Repurpose content

Podcasting is not just about podcasting. It’s also about TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube videos, and blog posts.

Let me explain. 

After you’ve created your podcast, you can take snippets of it and upload it to different social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, or Instagram. And if you’ve made a video podcast, you can upload snippets or even the whole video to YouTube

And that’s not all — you can reach even more people if you transcribe your podcast and distill the essence of it into a blog post. 

As a result, you’ll reach more people by taking advantage of the algorithm of multiple platforms. 

Neat, huh?

How do small businesses use podcasts?

When you think of podcasts, you’re probably thinking of ‘branded podcasts’ (the ones that you produce yourself). 

But there are other ways businesses use podcasts. In fact, there are 3 ways small businesses can leverage podcast for their growth. Each type serves a different purpose. These are.

  1. Branded Podcasts
  2. Podcast tours
  3. Podcast sponsorships/ads

Branded podcast

This is the traditional kind of podcast. With this method, you grow your own audience, without relying on being a guest on other people’s podcasts to gain followers. 

When creating a branded podcast, you should focus on creating content that listeners will find valuable. 

Benefits of branded podcast

  • Brand marketing: Branded podcasts make your potential customers aware of your brand. It also makes them trust your brand after listening to your podcast for long periods of time. 
  • Build relationships with other leaders in your space: You get to build relationships with other leaders in your niche when you bring them on your podcast as guests.
  • Content engine: As we mentioned before, podcasts can be repurposed into blogs or videos for social media to further drive your marketing.

Podcast tours

Here, instead of actually creating the podcast, you go on other people’s podcasts as a guest. 

This strategy especially works if you’re in a crowded niche and you want to stand out from the crowd. 

A podcasting tour is a potent way of getting your brand in front of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people.

Benefits of podcast tours

  • Get (a lot) of potential customers: By joining different podcasts, you can gain 1000s (or millions) of new followers. 
  • Inbound leads: As is customary with many podcasts, the podcast host directs their listeners to the guest’s social media handle or website. If a host recommends your social media platform, you get free inbound leads – leading to more people will believe in your brand because of the host’s recommendation.
  • SEO backlinks: Podcaster’s often link to their guest's websites on the show notes page of their podcast’s website. 

If this happens to you, it can help boost your website's Domain Authority and your organic Google search rankings. 

Podcast sponsorships

If you've been listening to a lot of podcasts, you may have noticed that some hosts start their show by naming the sponsor for their video. For example – think of the VPN sponsorships you’ve come across when watching your favorite podcaster or YouTuber.

If your business sponsors a podcast that’s hosted by someone t people know and like, it makes your company seem trustworthy in the listener’s eyes (or should I say ears). It implicitly suggests that your brand has been ‘vetted’ by the host.  

Being a podcast sponsor is yet another way to get in front of a new audience. 

Benefits of podcasts sponsorships

  1. The best (but also the costliest) method: Making your own podcast or getting on other people’s podcasts is difficult. However, sponsoring an already successful podcast is a more surefire way to market your brand. 
  1. Reach: Sponsoring popular podcasts gets you in front of many people.

How to start a podcast for a small business?

Step 1: Is starting a podcast for you?

Before starting a podcast, you should know this – gaining followers isn’t easy. 

It will be some time before you see listeners pouring in. 

And moreover, a podcast is an indirect marketing opportunity; it doesn’t directly drive sales. 

So when starting a podcast, it’s better to focus on helping your audience, rather than on focusing on sales. The latter will come later, once the audience trusts your brand and authority. 

If you’re willing to help people and put in the work of publishing episodes consistently (in spite of not seeing results from the get-go) then sure, a podcast is a great option. But if not, maybe you might want to reconsider. 

Step 2: Decide what the podcast will be about 

So you’ve committed to starting a podcast. Great!

Now it’s time to decide what your podcast will be about. 

People listen to podcasts to be educated. They also want the host to be honest and authentic. 

So when coming up with the theme and topic for your podcast, you should make sure it is educative, authentic, and entertaining

When choosing an idea for a podcast, here are some pointers to keep in mind. 

Choose a topic that interests you:

If you are already an expert and are interested in a topic, then great! If not, it doesn’t matter – as long as you’re willing to learn about the topic, and you have an interest in it, you’re good to go.

Avoid niches with too much competition:

Here’s the rub – if you choose a niche with no competition, you’re likely choosing one with no demand. 

And if you choose a niche with plenty of competition, you’ll have to fight your way up the ladder.

So find a middle ground. If you choose a popular niche, then narrow down your focus on a topic in that niche that’s unique and not talked about much.

That being said, if you trust your expertise, and believe you can destroy the competition with the value you bring, then choose whatever topic you’re comfortable with! 

Verify the popularity of your topic:

Check different social media platforms to see how your chosen topic is performing. Also check Amazon to see if anyone has written books on this subject.

Step 3: Decide the format

There are a variety of podcast formats. The popular ones for small businesses are:

  • Interviews
  • Conversations with your co-host(s)
  • Panel discussions
  • Monologues

Choose any one format from the above. 

Or if you’re versatile, choose all of them. Play around with the different formats and see what works for you. 

Step 4: Plan your podcasting schedule

First, decide how long your podcast will be. 

While you can create a podcast as long as you want, it’s best to make sure that you keep things interesting if you want to keep your audience listening. 

Some podcasts are as short as 10-15 minutes. These are podcasts often with daily episodes and are intended to be quick listens. On the other hand, you have more in-depth podcasts that are much longer. 

If you choose to create a more in-depth show for your business’s podcast, we recommend your podcast be anywhere between 20-50 minutes long. This is because platforms like Apple Podcasts penalize your podcast if your audience bails your 2-hour podcast at the 30-minute mark. You want your listeners to listen to most of your podcast, if possible. 

The next step is to decide how often to release episodes. We suggest a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or a daily podcast. 

The key thing, however, is consistency.. 

That means if you release a podcast on Sunday at 9:00 am, commit to releasing an episode at the same time every week. This’ll make your audience anticipate the podcast at the same time. 

Another good idea is to have at least 4 to 8 episodes pre-recorded in advance, so you don’t have to worry about a random personal event derailing your schedule.  

Step 5: Create your episode content

There are three ways you can host your podcast:

  1. Freestyling: If you have the gift of the and can work without an outline, then you don’t need to prepare for the podcast. Just have the topic in mind and speak on whatever comes into your head. Be careful, though –  if you aren’t great at freestyling, then this method can backfire on you, especially if you ramble incoherently. 
  1. Scripting: In this method, you completely script the podcast. This is a good option if your podcast has a lot of technical details. The downside here is that your delivery can seem robotic and wooden if not done right. 
  1. Scripted freestyle: This method is a mix of the best of both worlds – you create a general outline and then freestyle off of that. 
Read more: Podcast Script: How to Write One [With Free Templates & Examples]

Step 6: Get the right equipment

We have a more detailed article on this topic, which you can check out here

For a quick rundown, however, here are the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need. 

  1. Microphones: Some of the best microphone options include the Blue Yeti USB Mic, the Pyle Classic Retro, and the Shure MV7
  1. Headphones: You’ll need headphones to monitor sound quality and to listen to your recording during the editing process. Great podcasting headphones include Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, Shure SRH440, and the Sony MDR1AM2/B.
  1. Audio Interface: This piece of equipment allows you to connect all your fancy podcasting gear to your computer. It converts your microphone signals to a format your computer recognizes and also routes audio from your computer to your headphones. The ones we recommend are Midiplus Smartface II Audio Interface, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio Gen USB Audio Interface Bundle, and the MOTU 8pre USB.  
  1. Podcasting Software: You’ll need good podcasting software to create high-quality podcasts, rather than ones that sound like they were made in your mother’s basement. We recommend trying Riverside (which is specifically geared towards podcasting). The other things you many need are a video camera (if you’re recording a video podcast), lighting, a microphone arm, and shock mount.

Step 7: Name your podcast and create the cover art

Now that you’ve given birth to your podcast, it’s time to name it! 

Choose a title that suggests to your audience – at first glance – what your podcast is about. 

Next, add a description. It should be clear and enticing enough to make your target audience excited to listen to your show. 

And finally, create the artwork for the podcast. 

Read more: 12 Tips on How to Make Podcast Cover Art That Works

Step 6: Publish Your Podcast 

The next step would be to submit your podcast to a podcast directory like iTunes, Apple Podcast, and Spotify. Getting your podcast on the biggest podcast directories in the world will help you reach a large audience. 

Various platforms work differently, but in general you’ll use a podcast host to store your podcast and get an RSS feed. This is a site summary that you’ll connect to podcast directories for them to collect information on your podcast episodes and share them straight away. 

Read more: How To Publish A Podcast (Beginner’s Guide 2023) 

Step 7: Promoting your podcast

So you’ve done all the hard work and you’ve published your first podcast! 

But you still need to market it, otherwise there’s no one listening to it. 

Here are some ways to get your podcast out there:

  1. Social Media Marketing: It’s a good idea to start building hype for your podcast much before the launch. Use social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to promote your podcast.
  1. Email Marketing: If you have a good chunk of people on your email list, let them know about the podcast. And if your podcast is good, they’ll share it with their friends and colleagues, leading to organic growth. 
  1. Collaborate with other podcasters: Become a guest on other people’s podcasts. This helps you get in touch with a new audience who may follow your podcast if they liked your interview. 
  1. Podcast directories: A podcast directory is a platform people use to find and listen to their favorite podcasts. 

You should submit your podcast to multiple directories like Apple podcasts, Spotify, and more so you can reach a wider audience. For more detailed information, check out our article on podcast directories

Best software to start podcasting for small businesses: Riverside

Riverside software for podcasting for small businesses

The best podcasting software should be able to record high-quality audio and video, as well as have great editing tools.

That’s why Riverside is one of the most popular podcasting software – it records uncompressed audio at up to 48kHz and video at up to 4K resolution. 

Its excellent editing features also enable you to edit your podcast live as well as in post-production.

Below are the key features that make Riverside a popular podcasting software.

Key Features

  • Multiple participant recording: Add up to seven guests, so you can host interviews and panel discussions. 
  • High-quality video and audio recording: Record your podcast in up to 4K video and uncompressed 48kHz audio.
  • Local recording: Your podcast will be recorded directly on each participant's device. This ensures that the recording quality doesn’t fluctuate depending on yours or your guest's internet connection. 
  • Multitrack recording: Get separate recordings for each podcast participant, thus giving you more control over the editing during post-production. 
  • Editor: Riverside’s editor can stitch together separate audio and video tracks – with three simple clicks! It also allows you to customize your background, add logos, remove background audio noise, and more. 
  • Media Board: Reduce your post-production workload with the help of Media Board. Add intros, outros, theme music, and any other audio and video live and on the fly. 
  • Transcriptions: Automatically generate a podcast transcript with Riverside’s transcript generator. 
  • Clips: Create short shareable clips from your podcast that you can share on social media. 
  • Mobile apps: Android and iOS mobile app for recording on the go.

Tips to leverage your podcast to grow your small business

Here are some tips to leverage your podcast to grow your small business. 

Use podcast SEO

Proper keyword research can get more people to find your podcast when they search for a topic. So it’s important to find and include the right keywords in your podcast title and description. 

Market your content

Whenever you upload an episode, also focus on promoting it. Here are some things you can do:

  • Create promotional posts, videos, and graphics for Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Make a blog post on your website using the content from your podcast.
  • Leverage your email signature to promote your podcast. 
Read more: How to Promote, Grow, and Monetize Your Podcast in 2023

Newsletters

A great way to get your listener’s mail is to start a newsletter. 

To do this, you'll need to start a newsletter that shares exclusive content you don't share on your podcast. 

Then let your audience know about this newsletter. Also let them know they can access it only by going to your website and adding their email address. 

This gets people on your email list – making it easier to sell your product or service in the future.

Call to actions 

After every episode, include a CTA that’ll bring your listeners into one of your marketing funnels. Here are some ones that you can use:

  • If you liked the podcast, and want more resources to learn the things we teach, remember to follow us on [insert website/social media]. 
  • Visit our website to subscribe to our exclusive newsletter, where we share exclusive material. 

Network

Once your podcast becomes popular, you'll probably have subreddits and Facebook groups dedicated to it. 

Being active on these forums can help you build a relationship with your listeners – making it easy to sell your product or service in the future. 

It’s time to start your podcast!

Podcasts are gaining intense popularity, and the market isn’t as saturated compared to other platforms like YouTube or Instagram. 

Starting a podcast in your niche will make you stand out from your competitors and prop yourself up as an authority in your field. 

By following the tips in this article, you should be ready to create a podcast on the best possible footing. Try Riverside to start your podcast today. 

Good luck, we’re rooting for you!

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