Video is essential to building a brand. It's easily indexed by search engines, it appeals to a large portion of most audiences, it can be fairly evergreen, it sells, it can be live and archived, and it can add to any brand's customer experience.
If I had to name one shortcoming of the video revolution, it would be this: your audience can't fully absorb it whilst driving, exercising or conducting any number of tasks around the house or office.
They can listen to the video's audio as it rolls; however, if you're taking full advantage of all the interaction video offers, you're attempting to reach your ideal customers with more than audio—you're using body language, facial expressions, product demonstrations, etc. And when they can't see you, they're not getting everything you're putting out there.
So how can you appeal to those people who want to experience your brand, and who don't want to be required to watch or read?
Podcasts could be the answer.
Originally available on iPods (remember them?), Podcasts are digital audio files made available for download from the internet. They are usually offered in series, and most will be delivered through subscription. They can now be downloaded onto any type of device and enjoyed at home, away from home or whilst travelling.
Podcasts are used by brands to entertain or educate their audiences, with valuable information that listeners can use to advance themselves toward a desired result.
Most podcasts are delivered in the style of a radio broadcast. You can listen to some examples on the PodcastOne network.
Can you imagine your ideal customers listening to your voice delivering your brand's unique flavour of wisdom whilst on their ways to work, working out at the gym or cooking dinner?
If your answer is YES (or you're scratching your head, wondering if this could be the next big thing you use for building a brand), read on.
How Much Does Building a Brand with Podcasts Cost?
First, you'll want to make sure you have decent equipment, because sound quality is everything. After all, that's all you've got. If the sound isn't fabulous, you're going to send negative messages about the rest of your brand's operations.
So, at a minimum, start with a high-quality microphone. You may also benefit from a set of headphones, which will isolate the sound of your voice so you can better monitor the quality of the recording. You'll develop better microphone technique because you'll hear how your volume and proximity to the mic affect the final product. You'll also know if background noise is infiltrating your recording (i.e. being picked up by the microphone) when using a headset.
Decide which media hosting service you'll use. You can invest zero money or a significant amount. The level of service you'll receive (promotion, editing, etc.) is usually proportionate to the amount of your investment. Keep in mind that you'll need cover art to go along with your Podcast (and the submission to iTunes). You can create this for yourself or you can hire a professional.
I recommend having your audio recording edited (trimmed, condensed, etc.) if you believe your audience will demand a highly polished product. If you're not crazy about hiring a professional, research different forms of recording and editing software, which will do most of the necessary editing, like inserting the intro/outro and deleting long pauses, for you.
Details for Building a Brand with Podcasts
Most Podcasts are under 30 minutes in length, and considering that the average work commute is 25 minutes, that's just about perfect.
Podcasts are different than casual conversations in that they should be highly focussed on the given topic and free from fluff and unnecessary discourse. This requires thinking ahead and planning out the entire length of the Podcast. If you're an experienced speaker, that can be as simple as making a list of points you wish to touch upon. If you're new, and a little bit nervous, a script might be in order—however, I encourage you to avoid reading the script word-for-word, which can result in a robotic-sounding product. That’s no way to gain respect from your target audience members.
Your first Podcast may have one listener—and that listener may be your mother. Your second, third and fifteenth Podcasts may not be much better. The key to long-term success is consistency. Experts have suggested that weekly Podcasts seem to have the largest numbers of subscribers. So, start with that, stick with it and adjust as needed.
Podcasts can be an excellent contributor to building a brand; however, I would suggest having some sort of audience (even if it's a small one) in place to begin with. Work to build your list. Then invite (or incentivise) the people on that list to subscribe to your Podcast. Work to serve them in the most generous way you can, on a regular basis, for the building of your brand.
Have you used Podcasts to build your brand, or do you have questions to ask other brand builders who have tried it? Network with other business owners in the How to Build a Brand group, where you can learn to grow and develop your brand along with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Join today! It's FREE.