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How to Use Podcasting as an SME Marketing Tool

While podcasting may have existed for a while, it has yet to be fully embraced by the world’s SMEs. This may well be down to a lack of clear understanding or perceived gaps in technical knowledge, but the fact remains that ignoring the potential of podcasting can be detrimental to your venture and its digital marketing efforts.

After all, the rate of podcast listening increased by a staggering 23% between 2015 and 2016, while 21% of all U.S. citizens aged 12 and above have listened to a commercial podcast during the last month.

This is a trend that is prevalent across the globe, and one that highlights the potential influence of podcasting as a marketing tool. The question that remains is how to successfully leverage this on behalf of your business, so the following article will discuss practical tips that you can follow: –

  1. Understand the Nature of Podcasting and Your Audience

While podcasting has typically been described as a B2B marketing channel, it can also be used to target specific consumer audiences and demographics. The nature of podcasting as a structured, audio-visual publication means that it is often described as push or audio content, which in turn dictates that it must be aimed at specific markets or available on-demand if it is to be truly successful.

Understanding this is crucial for SME markets, who usually operate minimal budgets and must spend their capital wisely. It will also help them to create and publish content in real-time, optimising their chances of engaging audiences and driving traffic.

As for your target market, it is also imperative that you understand their needs before creating content. While this can also be said for any marketing channel, it is particularly import in the case of podcasts as they are largely accessed through mobile devices in the modern age. In fact, 64% of podcasts are now listened to on either smartphones or tablets, which opens up more opportunities for consumption and increasing your audience exposure.

Understanding this type of behaviour is crucial, as it can inform the nature of your podcast and optimise engagement levels.

  1. Ensure That Your Podcast is Interactive and Conversational

In terms of the content itself, this will be determined largely by the nature of your SME and your target audience. There are a number of universal rules that you should adhere to when creating content for your podcast, however, particularly in terms of its purpose and the way it should be delivered.

In terms of the former, it is crucial that your podcast adds some form of tangible value to listeners. Whether this assumes the form of educational material, industry insight or inspirational case studies remains unimportant, so long as you avoid being overly promotional and advertising your proposition outside of the context of the podcast. This ensures that the content is focused on core topics and material that adds obvious value to the listener base that you have targeted.

When it comes to delivery, you should also avoid publishing monologues or podcasts that feature a single opinion. Instead, it is conversations that work most effectively, as they are far more engaging and offer a wider array of fascinating insights relating to your chosen subject matter. They also inspire debate among listeners, enhancing the connection between your brand and each targeted consumer group.

Interviews also make for excellent podcast material, as we can see in this example set by UK media outlet Slinky Productions. This group publishes two, bi-weekly podcasts every month, using a format in which Slinky’s founder Scott Ledbury interviews various industry experts in great detail. This simple format makes it easier for listeners to draw insight from the podcast, while it also has obvious audience in the form of fellow media and marketing professionals.

  1. Don’t Forget About the Importance of Entertainment

Interviewing industry professionals also adds value as it encourages SMEs to think reach outside of their brand and key management stakeholders. In a similar respect, you should also strive to empower your own employees to contribute to the creation of podcasts, as this also establishes a diversity of tones and opinions that optimise engagement levels.

The main reason for this is that such diversity creates a more entertaining podcast, and this is crucial to the overall success of your content. After all, people will not listen to your podcast if it lacks a natural hook or genuinely insightful data, so it is crucial that those who are casually browsing content are encouraged to hear the duration of the broadcast and download future publications.

The previous steps we have discussed will help with this, but you should also consider adopting the type of mind-set that drives radio producers. As well as creating shows that have a predetermined target audience, they also deliver engaging content that can easily capture the attention of casual listeners.

Entertainment is key to achieving this goal, whether you use humour, debate or a creative format to add an exciting dimension to your show.

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