Take the mic: Local marketing expert says now is the right time for businesses to launch a podcast

These days, it seems like the old cliché of telling your friends, “Hey, let’s start a band together!” has been replaced by a more updated version:

“Let’s start a podcast together!” »

Or so it seems based on the numbers. In March 2021, there were 1.95 million unique podcasts totaling 47 million episodes, according to the podcast resource. Podcast Information. With so many podcasts, it’s understandable that you might conclude that there’s no point in adding one more to the pile of podcasts.

But if you think you or your business have missed the mark when it comes to starting a podcast, local marketing expert Ryan Alford begs to disagree.

“Look at the amount of money that Spotify and Pandora and all of these companies are putting into podcasts right now,” Alford said. “They don’t quadruple their investments because we’ve reached the top of the bell curve. They do it because it keeps growing.

Alford, who runs the Greenville-based marketing agency Radical, isn’t wrong when it comes to big companies going all-in on podcasts. Over the past two years, music streaming platform Spotify has spent $1 billion on podcast-related acquisitions and production. Pandora recently paid $145 million to acquire AdsWizz digital audio advertising technology. WarnerMedia, the television powerhouse behind HBO and dozens of cable networks, recently signed two separate multi-year deals with Spotify and iHeartMedia for exclusive storytelling-focused podcast content.

Ryan Alford says it’s still a great time to start your own podcast. Photo by Radical

Advertisers have also noticed smaller-scale podcasts – called “micro-influencers” – as a way to reach a more specialized and engaged audience.

“Influencer marketing isn’t just for big brands,” said Barbara Rozgonyi, CEO of the Charlotte-based company. Corey West Media. Speaking on his own InfluencePros podcast, Rozgonyi said targeted advertising has already become the norm. “What I love are micro-influencers,” she said. “Some of them [larger] influencers may have a million followers, but how many of those followers are active? »

And then there are the likes of Alford, who started his own marketing-centric podcast, The Radcast, nearly 10 years ago but still hasn’t chosen to fight for overt monetization, despite dozens of thousands of unique downloads.

Instead, he uses his podcast to build his brand, build relationships, and find new leads, which is his own form of monetization. His podcasts have featured a range of guests, from “Top Chef” winners to entrepreneurs to social media influencers, all telling their stories and discussing how they developed their own personal brands.

“If I get one good lead a month from the podcast, it’s still a good month. It’s about building those relationships organically,” Alford said. “But even if you’re trying to get paid directly for your podcast, it really isn’t as hard as you might think.”

Whether you’re looking to grow your brand or earn revenue from your podcast, here are Alford’s tips on how to get started — and why now is the time to jump on the podcast bandwagon.

Don’t worry too much about the technical aspects

“I think a lot of people wonder if your podcast sounds professional enough or not. But a $20 Amazon microphone plugged into your iPhone will sound wonderful to 8 out of 10 people, and that’s really all you need if you’re just starting out. Focus less on the equipment and focus more on the topics of your episodes.

Be consistent and have a plan

“I see it all the time where people get three or four episodes and then you never see them do another podcast. You must describe at least your first 20 episodes. There are around 2 million podcasts worldwide, but only 400,000 exceed 10 episodes. If you can cross this barrier, you are already positioning yourself much better than the majority.

Describe each episode

“Think of it as a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Even if this is a casual conversation, outline five to seven questions or topics you want to discuss. You don’t need to more than that, because people will talk and dialogue around it, but five to seven questions should give you a 20 to 30 minute episode.

Understand when people are listening

“One of the most common questions I get is, ‘How long should my podcast be?’ Think about when people are listening, which is mostly when they go to work or practice. Now, how long does that take most people? I’d say 15-40 minutes is the range, but you probably want to keep it around 20 minutes, because with the shortness of attention spans today, you better have a damn good talker to fill 40 minutes.

Find your niche

“You can easily monetize with advertisers, even with a small audience, as long as you have an engaged audience. Micro-influencers are all the rage with brands, so even if a brand can look at a guy with 100,000 followers, they can still turn to the guy with 50 followers who listens religiously and is willing to spend on what you’re selling If I’m a B2B company selling servers and I only have to sell two servers a month I’ll be on a podcast that talks about network security even though they only have 40 listeners a month.

Overcome shyness

“I listen to every episode I put out, and it’s not because I’m self-centered but because I want to improve. At first I wasn’t listening, but when I looked back, I realized that I could slip into that energyless tone without even knowing it. You have to bring our personality and amplify it. Bring that level of energy. I like to say “Develop your character” because even if it’s just you who speak as yourself must always build your own personality.

It is not too late

“I can’t overemphasize the benefit that I think [podcasting] is our business. Even though I never got anything directly out of it, the way it kept me excited and engaged in my industry was such a big ancillary bonus. Over time, things can get stale or you can’t keep up with trends, but when you engage directly with topics relevant to your industry consistently, that’s an advantage that’s impossible to fully calculate.

Resources for future podcasters

Podmatch is a service that matches podcast hosts with potential guests based on over 40 different criteria

Founded by Alex Sanfilippo — host of Creating a Branded Podcastwhich is ranked among the top 20 entrepreneurial podcasts in the United States with over 10,000 unique downloads per episode – Podmatch is best described as “Tinder for podcast guests”.

“You can always find guests for your podcast, but the problem is that so many people I know had trouble finding the right guests for their show,” Sanfilippo said.

Podmatch, which serves over 7,000 different members, is a free service with a paid upgrade option that meets the needs of travelers and hosts. Unlike a podcast booking agent, which caters to bigger names (celebrities, best-selling authors, politicians), Podmatch simply connects potential guests to the right podcasts, and vice versa, and allows them to take things from there.

Sanfilippo said the free model, suitable for the type of podcast that wants to book a new guest every week or so, meets the needs of 90% of users. Those who want to get a new guest every day, for example, will want to upgrade and pay $39 per month for more extensive connections. Agencies pay $69 per month plus $5.99 per added user, which means a PR firm would pay the base rate plus $5.99 per client.

Sanfilippo also recommends potential podcasters consider booking podcasting studios, which allow hosts and guests to simply meet in a studio and play the show, while all technical equipment, mixing, editing and online publication are managed by the studio.

“My big takeaway for anyone finding out about this is that there are tons of people out there offering podcasting services,” he said, “so you don’t have to do it alone.”

Do you warn about finding local podcasting studios? We have what you need:

Pronk Studios

9/8 Central

Recording Studio 101

Sit-N-Spin Studios

PodHub

Apex Studio South

Media Lifeline