An exciting trend in content media is emerging. Despite the undeniable popularity of bite-sized media like TikTok and Instagram Reels, more consumers prefer long-form content.
Perhaps everyone is tired of losing out on the nuance not captured in sound bites. Maybe everyone’s new remote work schedule leaves time to digest and absorb longer media. Or perhaps it’s a simple rebellion against the trends that dropped our collective measurable attention spans by 1/3 in just 20 years. In any case, podcasting is increasingly the kind of long-form content that most prefer.
While sites like Substack with a blog post/mailing list article format are popular, the on-the-go nature of long-form podcasts lends itself well to our busy lifestyles. People can absorb content in their cars while running errands or tidying up the house. Spurred on by the exponential growth in podcast listening largely attributable to podcasts like Serial, a podcast is increasingly the best way to grow a new business. Here’s why.
Demonstrates Your Expertise and Network Depth
Podcasts are a great way to show that you’re competent within your business niche. Whether you talk about sales, keeping track of business profits, the nuances of a small business, or real estate, talking about your niche at length is the best way to show you’re an expert. There’s no hiding behind sound bites or creative editing when you’re talking for an hour or longer, and this type of podcast is also great for educating your audience in your field before working with them as a customer or client.
A great way to reinforce expertise is by answering questions. You can do this in many ways, but two of the most popular are:
- Pre-field questions from users on social media. Then, at predetermined points in the podcast, answer the questions. You can even have a recurring segment at the end of your show to cover any questions, which is a great way to answer questions directly.
- Have an inexperienced friend or guest sit in as a proxy for the audience. By having someone listen in who isn’t as up to speed in the niche as you are, they can anticipate and ask questions in real-time that your audience is likely considering as well.
Of course, you can always do both!
The latter also reminds us that podcasts are a great way to show off your industry and professional clout. By having well-known guests on your podcast, you increase your credibility and demonstrate that you have a deep network that can also serve clients and customers.
Builds Traffic to Your Site
An unfortunate fact of podcasting is that many listeners and subscribers won’t get the audio directly from your website. Instead, many will listen to your show on a third-party platform like Google Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean, or Apple Podcasts.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t get a traffic boost from your audio show. When you publish a podcast on another platform, you can include show notes detailing topics, sponsors, etc. By including your website in the show notes, you boost search engine optimization (SEO) by distributing your URL across reputable sites and platforms.
In addition to the pure algorithmic improvement on site traffic, including your website in show notes alongside a compelling call to action (CTA) will drive traffic organically. Maybe you have an exciting blog to accompany the article or a free trial of your product – either way, a strong CTA coupled with a polished podcast means you’ll drive engagement and interest… all of which drive traffic.
Broadens Your Audience
You aren’t the only business considering podcasts to grow. In fact, with over 2 million podcasts in existence, chances are there are already several in your niche or adjacent niches. This is a golden opportunity to guest host each other and drive each other’s audience and traffic to your podcast and site. It kills two birds with one stone, too – you get two podcasts on each of your platforms and deliver content to your audience while capturing a new one.
You can also use sponsorships to do this. You’ll grow your business financially by opening up a new revenue stream – in fact, podcast sponsorship can be extremely lucrative in its own right. But, in addition to new cash flow, you can also get a spot on the company’s website as a featured podcast. This will help capture a peripheral audience that is interested in the product or came there from another sponsored podcast. They’re already interested, and checking out your podcast and site is a small step from this point.
Helps Build Brand Awareness
Finally, the most apparent and all-encompassing benefit of podcasting to grow your business is that it extends your reach and brand awareness. Bringing in a podcasting audience creates an undeniable sense of community and, in many cases, intimacy between you and prospective clients. Think about it – in our digitized world, we’re increasingly separated from each other and human connection. By piping yourself conversationally into your audience’s brains for 1+ hours weekly, you make yourself a “friend by proxy.”
We usually trust our friends over strangers, so creating that connection increases the likelihood of conversion based on familiarity. Don’t be afraid to leverage that for increased networking and social proof. Surveys show that 70%+ of customers will leave feedback if asked, and spreading feedback across review platforms increases your exposure.
Podcasts, when done correctly, are also so engaging that they can create buzz organically. Get enough people talking, and your content and website will eventually be reposted across social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and even niche industry forums like Stackoverflow for programmers. The news spreads fast, too, amongst all audiences. Since 69% of 12-year-olds now have access to a smartphone, you can rest assured that all demographics you may target will be able to see and spread your podcast.
There’s no doubt that long-form, engaging content changes how we market and grow our businesses. The attention span deficit is being deliberately done away with, and more and more of your target audience is thirsty for engaging, long-form, consistent content delivered outside social media platforms like TikTok.
Audiences want better content, too. Direct marketing still has its place, but competition is so stiff and moats so narrow that we must deliver value to clients at the top of the funnel before we can even think of conversion. Many business owners confuse this “free” content with a waste of time and effort, but delivering value is the best way to build customer loyalty early and retain it throughout your acquisition cycle.
Building a podcast is the new growth industry, and any business skipping this step is making a mistake.