As you likely heard, a court in Baltimore recently set Adnan Syed free. For many of us who listened to the first season of the podcast “Serial” way back in 2014 and learned of the tale of Adnan’s odd murder conviction, it seemed like justice was finally served.
“Serial” was fascinating for another reason as well: The show launched podcasting into the stratosphere.
Certainly the lone advertiser at the beginning of that season, MailChimp, never expected to be part of a cultural phenomenon, but no doubt it was happy it was. To date, the first two seasons of “Serial” have been downloaded – wait for it – 340 million times.
And that just got things started. To say podcasts are hot now would be an understatement. Consider these stats from Edison Research:
- “Each week, more Americans listen to podcasts than have Netflix accounts: In 2021, 80 million Americans (were) weekly podcast listeners. There are now 10 million more weekly podcast listeners than the 69 million Netflix account owners in the US”
- Podcast listeners have grown almost 30% in the past three years.
- Podcast listeners tune in an average of eight shows per week.
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Bottom line: Podcasting works, is popular and is only getting more so. It gets your name, business and brand out there and it does so in a way that is unique and memorable, which is very difficult to do in this media-saturated world.
For small businesses, this is great news because podcasting is a powerful and affordable way to attract new clients and customers. Specifically, there are two ways to use podcasts to grow your business.
- You can start your own podcast.
- You can advertise on someone else’s show.
Let’s look at both:
Should you start a podcast?
There are plenty of good reasons to do so:
- It builds the brand. With so many people listening to podcasts today, hosting a show can help establish you as a thought leader and thus is a great way to get you and/or your business in front of a whole new audience.
- It is an excellent way to network. That same Edison Research survey states that podcast listeners listen to an entire show 85% of the time. Where else do you get someone’s uninterrupted online attention 85% of the time? Right, nowhere. Moreover, if your show is one where you would interview industry experts then that is a powerful way to, well, meet industry experts.
- It’s easy and affordable. There are two ways to launch and run a podcast. You can either do it yourself or hire someone to help you. Both are pretty easy and affordable.
Let’s start with the latter first. This is how I did my old podcast. I had a great podcast producer who booked guests and did all the tech stuff. We record the show and interviews in his studio, he edited it and then uploaded it to iTunes, my site, Stitcher and so on.
The other way to go is do-it-yourself. Here, you need to choose the right app that works for you, invest in some basic sound equipment (like a great mic) and start recording. Your options are:
- Garage Band (on a Mac)
- Adobe Audition
Advertising on someone else’s podcast
I love this option too, in fact, almost more because it is just so potent. If the good news of podcasting is that it is so popular, the bad news is that it is so popular. Launching your own show and getting noticed is doable, yes, but it takes time and effort.
In the alternative, you can simply find a show that caters to your audience and advertise there. That show has already done all the heavy lifting, and yet, because it is such a niche audience, the fees should be very reasonable.
So no, you will likely not become the next MailChimp on the next Serial, but who cares? Podcasting is the future.
Steve Strauss is a popular speaker, attorney, and the bestselling author of 18 books, including his latest, “Your Small Business Boom.” Recently named by SCORE as the top small-business champion in the country, you can learn more about Steve and the Strauss Group at MrAllBiz.com, get more tips at Planet Small Business and connect with him on Twitter at @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at PlanetSmallBusiness.