Campaign studies by Podtrac and TNS found podcast advertising is three times as effective as “traditional” online advertising, and seven times more so than TV ads.
In 2007, podcasts served 18.5 million users in the US — a figure projected to rise to 65 million by 2012 (eMarketer).
These tips for launching an engaging podcast will help you build a loyal and responsive brand audience.
1. Plan your podcast schedule. An engaging podcast is more than a “one-off” episode. Plan each in advance, and launch them on a consistent day and time.
If you broadcast weekly, publish a monthly schedule so listeners get a sense of what to expect. Stick to your schedule — inconsistency encourages even devotees to look elsewhere.
2. Make it RSS-accessible. A downloadable mp3 file
is only one component of a podcast. Enable people to subscribe via RSS
so they can retrieve updates automatically.
3. Keep it short. It’s not a one-hour radio show.
Brevity encourages relevance. Unless you have a strong feature, don’t
press listeners’ patience.
A typical episode of The Wall Street Journal’s “Your Money Matters” podcast lasts a little over five minutes.
4. Don’t waste time hard-selling. Don’t discuss
your product or service all the time. When you do, invite a client or
user to speak frankly about it on air. It’s okay to promote a website
if the site contains content relevant to the episode.
5. Segment your podcasts. Think “Client Talk,” “Tip
of the Day,” “Your Questions Answered,” that kind of thing. Content
segments give listeners bearings and yield a sense of familiarity with
your podcast’s ebbs and flows. This is key to the success of any series.
6. Simplify podcast management. Keep your recording process and RSS feed management simple, so you can focus on developing content (the tough part).
Garageband, Gcast.com, ClickCaster.com and Audacity are the most
popular programs for recording podcasts. FeedforAll helps with editing,
and its simple GUI eases management of RSS feeds.
7. Submit your podcast to popular directories. iTunes lets users submit podcasts from within its program; here are some podcasting resources from Apple.
Pinging services like Autopinger and Pingoat will submit podcast
updates to major blogs and search engines. Burn your podcast with
Feedburner, which allows you to notify listeners about new episodes
through email updates.
8. Build a compelling podcast website. Any ad
campaign or product launch should have its own web destination, loaded
with up-to-date and relevant information. Your podcast is no different.
Keep the site updated with your podcast schedule, and website-only
tidbits, to build listener loyalty.
Bonus features on the website will go a long way. Coffee Break
Spanish uses its site to sell written transcripts of its free audio
lessons. The website is also the place for visibly advocating your
product or brand.
9. Let website visitors commune with one another. Provide listeners with a newsgroup so they can interact. You can also start a Facebook group or invite them to follow you on Twitter.
10. Measure and analyze. None of this does much good if you’re not keeping metrics on your progress. Some handy tools:
- Google Analytics helps track users and audio file downloads
- Feedburner lets you measure the number of unique subscribers per episode
- Podtrac and Volomedia help you gain deeper insight in behavioral and demographic data