Don’t (pod) Cast Aspersions, Try It First

Written by Professional Academy Tutor and Marketing Expert Peter Sumpton

There are many different ways to present your work when completing an assignment. These can range from reports, recommendations, analysis, graphs, charts, tables, the list does go on! One of the more creative ways of presenting an answer is in the form of an audio podcast, a relatively new platform in the grand history of marketing communications. But what makes a good Audio Podcast?

To answer this, firstly we need to know what we mean by the term ‘podcast’. Podcasts were given christened by Apple, combining the two words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’ - streamed episodic audio shows that can be subscribed to, recorded on software such as Audacity or WebPod and hosted by a third party such as iTunes.

Although originally copyrighted by Apple, the word podcast was so widely used that in 2006 Apple took the decision not to object to others using it…. Every day is a school day.

Now stop chewing, sit up straight and listen up.

Is it for me?

It may seem like a great idea at the time, you have enough topics to talk about to last a lifetime and then you hit the record button and within five minutes all your conversation has gone and you’re struggling to find something to talk about, which isn’t engaging for listeners and will do nothing for you or your brand. In fact it may damage it.

If podcasting is something you feel will add value to your brand and for your stakeholders then best to try it out first. It is thought that recording around 10-15 podcasts initially as a trial is about right, if the conversation is still flowing after this then you maybe onto something.

I’ve Got the Key, I’ve Got Consistency

As with any form of communication planning is key and podcasting is no different. The release schedule of a podcast must be consistent. Sporadic releases will do nothing to increase subscribers, in fact listeners may literally ‘switch off’. Once a week, fortnightly, once a month, like good bowel movement, keeping things regular will be to the benefit of everyone involved!

Once Upon a Time, Every Time

Imagine starting a book from the middle or reading the chapters in a different order (bit like Pulp Fiction). Some of it would make sense, but other parts wouldn’t and it would take longer to get to grips with what is going on. On this basis a podcast should be structured in a way that is easy to follow. Regular segments, intros, outros, methodical content, themes and styles will all help to create a podcast that is easy for listeners to understand to and relate too.

The 80/20 Banana Split

80% Content, 20% Fluffy stuff (but don’t forget the fluffy stuff). Content is still king and more important than ever in podcasting to keep listeners engaged and interested.

The fluffy stuff is important too (just not as much as content), no one is downloading a podcast for the sound, but if recordings are ineligible they can be damaging. It is the bun to the burger, the milk to tea, the cream on a banana split, the biscuit in a choc dip (look it up kids)! Sound effects and background music can add to the production value of a podcast, but don’t be tempted to overdo it as this will just become a distraction (basically a weak, milky tea)!

The Measure of a Podcast is its Length

The ideal length of a podcast isn’t an exact science and will depend on what you have to say and how long you think it will take to say it, but consistency of length is important. Try and break it down into segments and roughly stick a time for each one - you can always edit later. Think about where and when your listeners will be tuning in and how much free time they have to ‘time-shift’ (I’m not talking Quantum Leap – another one for the youth). The average length of a podcast is approximately 30 minutes so try and focus on quality rather than quantity.

Me, Myself and I

Unless you really, REALLY like the sound of your own voice, get others involved in your podcasting. Variation will keep things fresh, interesting and will also help to create variation in content. Contributions from well-respected, knowledgeable guests, imparting their words of wisdom can add credibility to output and may attract new listeners, plus it takes the heat of you, the host.

Own it, Do it Right!

The legalities around podcasting are the same as with other communication media. Make sure you own your podcast in name, domain, hosting correctly and intellectual rights but also make sure you stay within the legal boundaries of copyrights and the permission to use the work of others. Just because it is audio and not print doesn’t mean there are no laws to keep things fair and square.

Hide and Seek

Finally a little word on publicising a podcast. You’ve created content that you want the right people to hear so why wouldn’t you use other media to shout about this. The more touch points, links, opportunities to download or listen will have a detrimental effect on subscriber numbers, so try it, get podcasting and shout it from the rooftops!

If you would like to improve your Digital Marketing skills or complete a CIM qualification which includes Digital Strategy why not get in touch with one of our qualification advisers today and speak to us about which qualification is right for you today?