Content Marketing With Podcasts – Part 1

Podcasting Mic and Headphones

Photo by Patrick Breitenbach / Creative Commons

In this episode of Digital Marketing Madness, John Maher discusses content marketing with podcasts – what podcasting is, why it might be a good idea for your company, what makes a good podcast, and how you can transcribe a podcast to create great content for your company blog.

John Maher:  Hi, I’m John Maher and this is Digital Marketing Madness. This podcast is brought to you by McDougall Interactive. We’re an Internet marketing agency in Danvers, Massachusetts. Today our topic is content marketing with podcasts.

This is part one in what will be a three part series on content marketing using podcasts as a way to generate content for your website.

I’m John Maher. I don’t have a guest today. As the resident podcaster at McDougall Interactive, I’m going to talk to you a little bit about what I do, what podcasting is, and why it might be a good idea for you to use podcasting as a tool to generate content for your website for your company.

What Is Podcasting?

What is podcasting? If you’re listening to this on iTunes you probably know what a podcast is, but there’s a chance you’re listening to this through the audio player on the blog on our website. If you’re doing that, you might not know what a podcast is. You’re just listening to the audio there on the blog.

Podcasting actually comes from the word iPod, like the Apple iPod that came out as an MP3 player. It allowed people to have their music or other audio files on a little handheld player with headphones. People could walk around or listen to music in their car.

One of the things that happened is people started latching onto that and started creating audio, like radio shows that could then be put up on iTunes for people to download onto their iPods and listen to. Because of that “iPod”, and then the word “broadcasting”, they combined and made this “podcasting”.

These days, though, there’s not a lot of iPods left around, but people do have smartphones now. Smartphones have taken over from where the iPod left off. Smartphones now have the capability of having lots of music and other audio files on them. People listen to music and radio shows on their smartphones, whether it’s with headphones or whether or not they listen to it in their car, etc.

The other thing, you can also listen to podcasts at home on your computer, as well. Or maybe you’re at work and you have headphones on and you’re listening to a podcast while you’re doing some work. People listen to podcasts in a lot of different ways.

A podcast is basically just an audio only recording. It’s like a radio show. You’re just listening to the audio. There’s no video, generally. There are video podcasts that people do but you have to, obviously, be watching video. It’s not as common because it’s hard for people to watch video while they’re in their cars. Of course, that’s not safe. At work, people tend to not be able to watch a video while they’re at work. You can maybe have headphones on. Maybe you’re allowed to have headphones on and listen to music.

There are podcasts for almost any topic imaginable. If you go to iTunes or another program that lets you search for podcasts you’ll find there’s Star Wars podcasts, and there’s tech podcasts, there’s marketing podcasts like ours, and lots of other podcasts about different types of businesses. There are lawyers talking about what they do on a particular topic.

Just about any hobby that you can think of – there are people podcasting about that hobby. It’s a great educational resource. You can learn a lot by listening to podcasts. We hope that you, as the listeners, learn a lot by listening to this podcast, Digital Marketing Madness.

A podcast is available for download or streaming from a website. Usually it has the ability to subscribe to the podcast via what’s called an RSS feed so that any new episodes are automatically downloaded onto your device, whether it’s your computer or your smartphone, etc., by somebody who subscribes.

When somebody subscribes to your podcast, every time you come out with a new episode it automatically gets downloaded onto their device for them to listen to.

You don’t have to do that. You could just have an audio file up on your website and people need to listen to that audio file with a little audio player on your website. But by putting it up on iTunes and having it available on other types of podcast platforms, it spreads it out a little bit more and lets people find your podcast through search on one of these devices.

Why Should You Podcast?

Why do you want to podcast? It’s far easier to get noticed in a podcast than it is with video on YouTube or even just by having a blog on your website. That’s because there’s a lot less competition right now. It’s an up-and-coming thing. A lot of people are getting into podcasting so this might not always be the case, but right now there are much less podcasts than there are videos and blog posts.

Less Competition

In fact, there over 450 million active English language blogs out there on the web. That’s 450 million. Trying to get your blog noticed among all of those is a tall order. There are 100 hours of video being added to YouTube every single minute. Just hundreds and hundreds of hours every day being added on to YouTube and so trying to get your video noticed on YouTube is a tall order, as well.

There are only about 300,000 podcasts. If you think that out of those 300,000 how many podcasts are about your topic, your type of business? When it comes right down to it, by having a podcast about your particular topic you might just be one of a handful of other podcasts that are talking about your topic.

If you have a real niche, it’s possible that you could be the only podcast about your particular topic right now. That’s just the reality right now on the web. There’s not a lot of competition in podcasting.

As more and more people are starting to listen to podcasts, then you have a much greater chance of somebody looking for your topic and finding that podcast and listening to it. That’s a really good thing. It can be really good for your company.

Podcasts Are More Accessible Now

The other reason is that smartphones have made podcasts accessible to millions of people. As I mentioned before, podcasting is really growing in popularity now. When it was relegated to just those people who had Apple iPods, there were only so many people who had those devices. Your audience was necessarily limited by just the people who had those MP3 devices and could listen to podcasts in that way.

Now with so many people who have smartphones, and it doesn’t have to be an Apple iPhone. It can be an Android device. It can be a Windows phone. All of these devices have the ability to listen to podcasts. People carry around their phone with them all the time.

You can be listening to this, again, while you’re at work. You can be listening to this while you’re driving in your car, while you’re out jogging, while you’re working out at the gym. There are a lot of people that are listening to podcasts now. They’re listening to podcasts in all of these various places, wherever they go throughout their day. You have the chance to reach those people through your podcast about your company.

Connecting Directly To Your Audience

The other reason that podcasting is really great is because your voice really helps you to connect you personally to your audience. They are literally hearing your voice speaking directly into their ears. If you have headphones on, you’re wearing headphones and you’re listening to the voice of this person coming over this podcast broadcast and you’re listening to that person’s voice right there in your ears. That’s a very intimate experience. It really is.

I feel like over time, as you start to listen to a podcast in the same way that you listen to a radio show and there’s a host of the radio show, you start to picture in your mind what they look like. You start to think about their personality. You get to know them a little bit.

When you’re listening to a podcast from somebody who’s talking about a particular topic, you’re really listening to them in a close and intimate way. You’re getting to know them. You’re getting to trust the things that they say. It really develops this interesting relationship between the podcaster, who is the host of the show, and the listener.

Connect To Experts and Influencers

The other reason that podcasts are great is that podcasting can really help you to connect to experts and influencers. What I mean by influencers is that they are the leading authorities in your industry. One thing that’s really great is that the authorities in your industry will gladly jump at the chance to be interviewed on your podcast, especially if you’ve got a popular podcast that has a lot of subscribers.

Even if it’s not, if it’s just up on iTunes and you have a little bit of presence, if you call up somebody in your industry and you say, “Hey, I’ve got this podcast. We talk about this particular topic. I really would love to do an interview with you on my show and talk about what it is that makes you tick. Pick your brain a little bit.”

They are much more likely to say, “Oh, yeah. I would love to be interviewed on your show,” than they would be if you just called up one of those authorities in your industry and said, “Hey, I just wanted to have coffee with you and pick your brain about some things.”

That person’s going to be like, “Who are you? I’m a busy person. I don’t have time in my day to go and give you information or download all the information that I have in my brain to you.”

When you say, “Hey, I’ve got a radio show, a podcast, and I want to interview you. It’s going to be out there in public for people to listen to,” now they want to be in on that because it’s going to help them, as well. It’s going to help to promote them or their business or their product. Maybe they wrote a book or something like that and they want to promote that.

You’re much more likely to get these interviews with leading authorities and experts in your industry when you have a podcast. That’s great for your listeners, too, because then your listeners get all of this great information, not just from you, but from the people that you’re interviewing, as well.

That can be a really, really excellent thing, especially for a company, to be able to talk to other people in the industry and make that be just a part of an awesome show where you’re interviewing people about lots of different topics. It’s great for your listeners.

It’s great because then what happens is when you post that podcast up on your site you let the person who you interviewed know, “Hey, I’ve got your podcast. It’s live on my site now. It’s up on iTunes. Would you be willing to promote that?”

That expert, they want to get the word out about them being interviewed on this podcast, as well, so they’re going to share that on social media. They’re going to get out there on Facebook and Twitter and say, “Hey, check out the interview that I did on this podcast here.” They might even link to it from their blog so you can generate links to your site by doing that.

That’s a really great strategy.

What Makes A Good Podcast?

Next I want to talk a little bit about what makes a good podcast. The first thing, I think, is that you want a narrow focus. You don’t want to be too broad. For example, if this podcast was just the “marketing podcast”. Marketing is a lot of different things.

A Narrow Focus

That might be a little bit too broad for people because maybe one day I’m talking about digital marketing and search engine optimization, but then another day I’m talking about print ads or creating a television commercial. Maybe you already know all about print ads and television commercials and radio, things like that, traditional advertising, but you really wanted to learn more about digital marketing.

Now, because it’s the marketing podcast, it’s just too broad, and half of the shows are not going to be relevant to you. So you have to weed through the non‑relevant things in order to get to the relevant things. That might just not work for you.

By keeping your focus more narrow, you actually do gain a larger audience because that audience knows what your topic is, that narrow focus that your topic has. In our case, it’s digital marketing. People who are interested in digital marketing listen to this podcast. They know that all of the topics are going to be related to that.

Otherwise, you’re not going to get subscribers to your podcast. Part of your content is going to be irrelevant to a listener who’s really more narrowly focused than your topic is. Pick a narrow focus for your podcast.

Great Content That Adds Value

Great content adds value to your podcast. Don’t be afraid to give things away. Don’t be afraid. You’re the expert in your industry. You know a lot about the topic of what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to give some of that information away.

You’re never going to be able to teach somebody everything that you know in a podcast. People aren’t going to be able to necessarily pick that up and all of a sudden be a competitor of yours or something. Don’t be afraid that by giving away information you’re ending up shooting yourself in the foot and you’re not going to get business now.

What you’re doing by giving away good information is you’re showing people that you’re the expert. You’re the expert in your industry. You’re the expert on the topic. When people realize that you’re the expert on the topic and they need help with that they’re going to come to you anyway. They’re going to hire you, perhaps, to help them with what it is that they’re trying to accomplish because they know that you’re the expert and that you can help them.

Don’t be afraid to give things away.

Good Audio Quality

Lastly, to make a good podcast you want to have good audio quality. You don’t want your podcast to sound too amateurish. If it sounds like you just stuck a microphone in the middle of a big hall and then you stood 20 feet away from the microphone and you can barely make out what they’re saying because it’s echoing all around in this big room — it sounds like you’re in a church or something like that — it’s hard to listen to.

That can really turn people off. It can make it difficult to listen to that podcast. People may not stick around long enough to hear that great content that you have.

Those are the things that I feel make a good podcast. A narrow focus, having great content that adds value to your podcast and not being afraid to give away things, and then good audio quality.

Podcast Transcripts for Content Marketing

The last thing that I want to talk about is transcripts of your podcast because we at McDougall Interactive do things a little bit differently than a lot of people do with podcasts. Most people, when they record a podcast, they will put what’s called “show notes” up on their website. Maybe they have a blog on their website and they’ll have a blog post for each of the episodes of the podcast show.

That blog post will just be a little paragraph summary about what the podcast episode is about and maybe some links. Maybe during the podcast I mentioned, “Oh, you can go to this website and learn more about this topic.” Maybe it would have the notes of that, links to the websites or things that I mentioned in the podcast. Maybe a little bullet list of some of the main topics that I covered.

That’s good, but that’s not a lot of content for a blog in terms of Google coming to your website and reading that content. It’s not likely that that blog post is going to come up in the search engines when I search for that topic.

What we do at McDougall Interactive is we actually do a full transcript of the podcast content. If you’re looking at this on our website you can obviously see that we have the audio player at the top of the podcast blog post and then we have the full transcript of the audio below that.

The reason that we do that — although it does cost us some money, we use a transcription service that transcribes all of that content — the reason that we do that is so that Google comes to our website and comes to the blog post and can read all of that content.

It’s just robots on Google. They’re not listening to the audio content and trying to figure out what that content is all about but they can read the text that’s in the transcript below it.

By doing that, Google indexes this whole page that has the transcript of the topic. Of course, while you’re talking in your podcast, you’re talking about your topic. You’re using some of the words that you would naturally use when talking about that topic. Now when somebody goes on to Google and searches for some keywords that have to do with that topic, it’s much more likely that your blog post with the transcript of your podcast will show up as one of the results in Google search.

You have that chance that people will come to your website by finding your topic through Google search. Of course, other search engines, as well, do a very similar thing. If you’re searching with Bing your site might pop up there, as well.

When people come to your site they’re coming right to that blog post and they’re seeing, “Oh, it’s a podcast and they’ve got audio there.” There’s a transcript below it. Maybe they’re at work and they can’t listen to the audio but they can read the transcript. Maybe they can listen to the audio. Maybe I have a link right on that blog post to iTunes where I have the show on iTunes, so if I do want to go to iTunes and subscribe to the podcast, so that it automatically gets added onto my device, then I can do that.

Give those options to people and let them choose how they want to consume your content. That’s the way that we go about creating podcasts and the way that we put our podcasts up on our website in order to generate content.

Content Is Still King

We’ve been talking about content for years. It’s even more true now that Google really is looking for good content and for you to be constantly adding content to your website. We’ve been telling this to people for a decade now, that content is king, and trying to get our clients to add content to their websites.

It’s difficult for some people — especially small to medium businesses — it’s difficult to come up with that content, to write for your website, to get on a program where you’re writing a blog every week or every day, even.

But by doing podcasting, you’ve got all this knowledge up in your head. You can get it out in an audio way by just talking. If you do a transcription of that, now you’re generating content for your website in a very unique and different way. Then you have all of this other possibility of people discovering your content through iTunes, or another podcast program or app on their smartphone, so that can be another channel where people can now find your content.

They can find it through search, using Google online on their computer, or they can find it through search on a podcasting app like iTunes.

That’s going to do it for this part one of Content Marketing with Podcasts. What I’m going to do is, in part two we’re going to talk a little bit more about the equipment that you can use for podcasting. I’ll go through some options for podcasting with just a small digital audio recorder, like a little portable recorder, all the way up to a full studio with microphones on boom stands and a mixing board and all of that kind of thing.

We’ll go through all of the options for equipment for podcasting and a little bit about how to set that up. We’ll also talk about adding music to your podcast to make it sound more professional. We’ll talk about editing of the audio files, which is easier than you might think that it is.

When we do part three, I’ll talk more about recording interviews remotely. I mentioned that a little bit in this episode, about finding influencers and authorities in your industry and interviewing them. We’ll talk a little bit more about the logistics of how do you go about doing that, especially if that person can’t come to where you are and record face to face with you. You can actually do it over the computer, whether it’s over Skype or Google Hangouts, etc.

We’ll talk about hosting your audio files online and then submitting your podcast to iTunes. That will be part three.

Thanks again for listening. For more information about digital marketing please visit our website at mcdougallinteractive.com. Do make sure that you subscribe to this podcast on iTunes. Thanks for listening.

I’m John Maher. We’ll see you next time on Digital Marketing Madness.

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