Live from #IFA2013: Podcasting as a Marketing Tool and Franchise Development Tactic

Live from #IFA2013: Podcasting as a Marketing Tool and Franchise Development TacticIf you’re looking for more ways to create great content to help build your company’s brand, you should consider using podcasting as a marketing tool. And if you’re a franchisor, podcasting is a great tactic to add to your franchise development strategy.

I joined the roundtable discussion on “Podcasting as a Marketing & PR Tool” hosted by Deb Evans of Deb Evans Consulting and that Christian Pillat,  marketing coordinator with Qiigo, at the International Franchise Association’s annual convention last week in Las Vegas. Evans has been in franchising for 17 years and has been podcasting for almost three years. She and co-host AK Stout, the owner of Saying It Social, have a weekly podcast called Social Geek Radio that airs every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET. Social Geek Radio is one of Blog Talk Radio’s featured tech podcasts and has nearly 200,000 downloads of its most popular episode.

Why Use Podcasting as a Marketing Tool?

Like blogging, tweeting and other forms of content marketing, podcasting is “about positioning yourself as an expert in the field while bringing in the ideas that others are using and sharing,” says Evans.

Everything I wrote last week in my post on “Blogging and your Franchise Development Strategy” also applies to podcasting as a marketing tool, but podcasting has some additional advantages.

  • Podcasting is easier than blogging. You don’t have to agonize over the wording of every sentence in a podcast the way you do when you’re writing a blog post. Part of what makes podcasting great is that you’re having a flowing conversation, not delivering a highly structured set of information.  You do need to write out some bullet points to keep yourself on track, but they don’t have to be detailed or complex, says Evans.
  • Podcasts usually don’t need editing. Blog posts require at least a couple of reads and a good edit before you put them online to ensure you don’t have any glaring or embarrassing errors. The slip-ups and imperfections are often what make podcasts more interesting, says Evans, so unless something truly awful happens or someone accidentally reveals proprietary information on the air, there’s no need to edit a podcast.
  • Podcasts create content that’s easy to reuse.  As John Paul Nettles wrote in his post last week, “it takes a lot of time to create original content, but savvy content marketers know that you can save loads of time and effort if you strategically reuse content in a variety of ways.” A podcast is a great way to create content that you can reuse in a lot of ways. “While we’re podcasting, we’re also tweeting and then we use Storify to turn our tweets into a blog post or two,” says Evans. Also, podcasts are usually live, but you can post the recording to iTunes and embed it in your blog or on your website so people can come and listen after the fact. “There are shows I created years ago that people are still listening to because the SEO is great,” says Evans.
  • Podcasts are engaging. Evans and Stout aren’t the only ones tweeting during their Social Geek Radio podcasts. “We get people who call in, text in, join the podcast chat and post on Facebook,” so a lot is happening all at once, says Evans. That listener engagement is part of why Social Geek radio is so popular.

Podcasting with Blog Talk Radio

Evans and Stout use Blog Talk Radio as the platform for Social Geek Radio and Evans highly recommends it for others who are looking to use podcasting as a marketing tool for several reasons.

  • Blog Talk Radio is inexpensive. For just $39 a month, you can do up to one two-hour show a day, take up to 50 live callers at a time, and get access to training and other useful benefits. There is also a stripped-down free version that allows for shorter shows.
  • Blog Talk Radio has analytics. With your paid membership, Blog Talk Radio offers analytics that help you track your content’s effect and really help boost the power of podcasting as a marketing tool.
  • Blog Talk Radio makes it easy to put your podcasts on iTunes. iTunes is where many people turn to find podcasts and is an easy way for them to download the ones they want to hear. Blog Talk Radio not only stores your old podcasts on its site, but also makes it easy for you to add them to iTunes, says Evans.

Best Practices for Using Podcasting as a Marketing Tool

Evans and Pillat offered a few tips for anyone who wants to get started using podcasting as a marketing tool.

  • Set a regular time for your podcast. You want to establish regular listeners and give them a regular time that they can engage with your podcast, so pick a time that works for your audience and remember to take all time zones into account.
  • Promote your podcasts early and often. Set each podcast’s topic at least a month in advance and then promote it through your social media channels.
  • Keep your podcast to an hour or less. You don’t want to go on too long, so 60 minutes is about the limit for a good podcast. Some can be done well in just 30 minutes, so don’t worry if an hour sounds too long for you.
  • Don’t use your podcast to sell. You want to use your podcast to share information and establish yourself as an expert in your field. You can include a bit of information about the business you do in your introduction, but don’t dwell on it and don’t make it a focus of the podcast. Once you establish yourself as an expert, people will come to you to ask what you have to sell without you pushing it.
  • Don’t make your podcast all about you. The best podcasts aren’t all about their hosts, but include great guest appearances by other experts in the field.

Reputation Capital Media Services is a Baton Rouge marketing agency that helps B2B companies and their marketing agencies produce high-quality digital content, including blog posts, e-mail newsletters, white papers and multimedia. Our editors and writers are experts in their fields, which include HR technology, employee benefits, and financial services and accounting. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation to find out how great content can help you attract and retain your customers.

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