Digital Marketing

What the heck is podcasting and what can it do for your business?

Do you ever feel like technology is passing you by, no matter how hard you try to keep up? Like you’re pedaling your bike as fast as you can down the middle of the business superhighway, but cars are speeding by so fast that the breeze just tosses you into the ditch?

Now I’m a pretty technological guy. I pride myself on having the latest and greatest tech gadgets for my personal and business life; including multiple laptops, the latest cell phone, and a Global Positioning System in my car to always tell me where I’m not. I know, it’s supposed to tell me where I am, but my brain doesn’t work that way.

But only recently have I cemented my position among true entrepreneurial technorati by adding a podcast to my business marketing repertoire. What is that you say? No idea what a podcast is or how it can help add dollars to your results? Then sell faster, my friend, and I’ll explain it all to you while you get up to speed.

A podcast is a digital audio file that you record using your computer, recording software, and a microphone. You then upload that file to a podcasting web service so listeners can download the file or subscribe to the podcast stream and listen to it on their computer or audio player.

If that’s too techno-babble for you, try this; A podcast is like an internet radio show that you produce and publish on the web so that people interested in what you have to say can listen to it on their computer or download it to an mp3 player.
Now for the big question: why should you care to know what a podcast is? Because used wisely, a podcast can become a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. It can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field, drive traffic to your website, attract new clients, open up new opportunities, and create a new source of income that you might have otherwise missed out on.

Why am I so excited about podcasts? Trust me, it’s not because I love the sound of my own voice. As my mom says, “Some people talk just to hear their heads pound.” I think she was looking at me the first time she said it.

I’m excited about podcasting because podcasting is today where email was ten years ago. Many people derided email as a geek fad and refused to believe it when experts predicted that one day we would all use email to communicate with everyone from our bosses to our grandmothers. It was also hard for the average Joe to imagine how anyone could make money from email. Now, not many years later, entrepreneurs who understood the potential of email marketing and got on board early are making millions of dollars a year selling to customers all over the world; all through the magic of email.

I think podcasting actually has more potential than email because of what I call “The Passion Factor.” With a podcast you can hear the passion in a person’s voice and be moved by their message. And podcasting is much easier to use than email. You don’t have to read or deal with mountains of spam and you don’t have to be in front of a computer. All you have to do is listen; And you can do it anywhere using an iPod or other portable audio player.

I started producing a weekly podcast for my internet marketing business about six weeks ago. The point of the podcast was to drive traffic to my websites and customers to my sales pages and eventually use it as a platform to promote my book. My podcasts are usually 20-30 minutes long and consist of me speaking for a few minutes on a business-related topic and an interview with an expert in the field related to that topic. I record my part of the show using a microphone with headphones and a computer. I record the interview with the expert using a cable that connects my phone to my computer. Once recorded and edited, the podcast sounds like a radio show (on an amateur scale, of course). I then upload the podcast to a website called Podomatic, which makes the podcast available to the world via RSS (True Simple Syndication). Listeners can download my podcast to their computer or iPod and take me with them wherever they go.

What has the podcast done for my business? I’m averaging 50-100 new subscribers to my podcast each day and have noticed a nice increase in traffic to my website. I see an increase in sales and I get more questions from potential customers. I am establishing my credibility as an authority on small business and having fun doing it. And isn’t fun the best thing to have?

Here’s an example that illustrates the potential of podcasts: I met a couple at a recent seminar who have a counseling practice for divorced men dealing with child custody issues. This couple started a podcast on the topic of father’s rights and posted it on various podcast streaming sites. Before long, hundreds of listeners were downloading his podcast every day. And at the end of each podcast they invited listeners to visit their website to learn more about their products and services. As a result, his small consulting business added more than $100,000 in new revenue in just a few months. They’re on track to make several hundred thousand dollars this year, thanks to the attention their podcast attracts.

How could you use podcasting in your business? If you work at a dry cleaner, you can record a podcast on how to get tough stains out of clothes. Get listeners to mention the podcast to get a discount on their next visit. If you’re a car dealer, make a podcast describing the new models. If you’re a CPA, make a podcast about tax tips. If you are a lawyer, make a podcast giving legal advice. The possibilities are endless. You are limited only by your imagination.