Podcasts have become unbelievably popular in recent years. It makes sense – podcasts can be delightful background listening for those extra-crafty days when you need something to focus on besides stemming flowers. Plus, they’re more accessible and cover more topics than ever (my husband literally listens to two comedians who hate each other rank fast food restaurants).
But…should you start a podcast? It’s a thought that I suspect most of us have had at least once. After all, the cost of entry is comparatively low, there are a lot of benefits to launching your own audio content, and hey, you’re just recording a conversation between you and your buddy! What’s not to love?! That said, the podcast world can be more complex than you might suspect.
It may be a fantastic strategy for your business. Then again – it may not.
Here are the pros and cons of podcast production:
It’s a Peek Behind the Curtain…
Brands, of course, have their impeccably polished and carefully curated content that they put out. But many podcasts aren’t about polish (some are – and they spend a ton of time producing and interviewing. For our purposes, let’s assume we’re all more of the “set up a mic and start talking” crowd). These conversational podcasts, as we’ll call them, thrive on imperfection. It’s a feature, not a bug.
And the truth is…audiences love a little grit! A peek behind the curtain could allow audiences to better understand the real You, which in turn will humanize your brand and your business and encourage more positive sentiment towards your work.
…But You’ve Got To Watch Your Filter
The absence of careful curation gives audiences a more real perspective on your brand. BUT it also means that there’s a lot more to scrutinize. How does the tone of your voice sound? Your pacing? Breathing? Does your mood represent and reflect that of your brand? If filming your podcast, how’s your body language? Your expressions? OH was that one thing you just said too aggressive??
In other words, reality is good. Too much reality might not be.
It’s Another Brand Touchpoint…
A brand touchpoint is a shortcut to making you think of a brand (and branding, in general, is a shortcut that represents your work, quality, personality, output, customer service, and so on).
There are a lot of examples out there. Logos, for one (a random swoop that looks like a lazy letter J makes you think about high-performance sneakers, for instance.) Colors can be a touchpoint, as can the way they style their product photos.
Often overlooked though are audio touchpoints. “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” It’s a musical jingle that makes you think of their brand (which makes you think of what they offer).
A podcast is a PERFECT opportunity for you to weave more audio branding into your mix. Repeat exposure to your intro song, for instance, could be a touchpoint. So could the sound of your voice. Heck, even a catch phrase could become a big part of your branding.
All of this sensory input, when pleasant and cohesive, can be a huge sentimental driver for your audiences.
…But Those Brand Touchpoints Need Work
It’s very, very easy for me to say “yeah, add audio, it’s fine!” The thing is – all of this stuff takes a LOT of work. There are entire large agencies out there who JUST do audio branding. They scrutinize every tiny bit of audio to make sure it’s aligned with brand visuals, goals, output, and more. So, everything I’ve said above is true. At the same time, it will also take a lot of work to get right and pay off. And, as a small business owner, you’ll need to determine if you have the bandwidth to work on all of that.
It Allows You To Advertise Your Other Content And Products…
If someone is listening to your podcast, you have their attention. This is a perfect opportunity to promote various sales and deals.
If that’s too hard of a sell, and you’re trying for a more gentle approach, consider simply introducing your audience to the wide range of additional content you produce. If you run a blog, for instance, reference the blog throughout the podcast and vice versa. Drive traffic from one of your creative outputs to the other. Create a content web of audio, video, and composition with one thing leading to another. The strategy here is to basically Ikea people with your content (yes, I’m using Ikea as a verb). Once they’re in the store, keep touring them around.
…But That Takes You Away from Creating
Sure, an easy entry into your content could be a good strategy. Then again – this will take your time and focus away from your other core business needs – outreach, customer service, photography, and CREATING. Content strategy is powerful, but it takes effort.
The Decision Is Up to You!
For the right brand, podcasts can be an amazing tool of brand awareness and acceptance. Under the wrong circumstances, it could be an awkward fit. As always, we encourage you to take this advice and check it against your brand and business. And if you do start a podcast, let us know! We’ll be among your very first subscribers.
BONUS - Here is a good example from the Oh You're Lovely podcast about ways to use it (answering customer questions) and a big why it is helpful to your brand (you can peel back the curtain much more and show your customers more of who you are):