Content Marketing: Podcasts and Audio Online Courses

I have my own theory about marketing. It begins with ‘curiosity’. I believe that many of us are naturally curious about new things and will often seek out those things that interest us. For some, this will be a search engine while for others, it could be a YouTube trend or podcast. When we are curious, we often explore the unknown, which leads us to learn. With that, being curious is the gateway to understanding, which leads to interest, which in turn, leads to action.

With that in mind, I think it’s safe to say that podcasts and audio online courses might be the next big thing in content marketing. Not only do podcasts and audio courses allow marketers to enter content creation, distribution, and curation in a digital format, but they also provide a relatively low-cost tool for marketing experimentation.

Before we begin to compare and contrast podcasts and audio courses, let’s examine the types of content that each form of media is most suited for.

Podcasts

Podcasts are relatively short, interactive, and often entertaining or educational audio content. If you’ve ever listened to an Atwood podcast, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Podcasts are relatively inexpensive to produce and distribute, especially compared to other forms of digital content like webinars or e-books. This makes them a great choice for marketers seeking to test out new ideas and gain inspiration from successful marketing campaigns.

Additionally, podcasts and other audio-based content are highly shareable. This is especially beneficial to marketers who are seeking to grow their audience, gain exposure, or simply want to provide value to their subscribers. Finally, let’s not forget about the podcast’s greatest asset: its listener base.

As a marketer, you may think that podcasts are a bit of a mish-mash. Although they can be used to educate or entertain, they can also be used to market a brand or product. This is because a listener can quickly become engaged in a podcast, especially if the host is interesting and entertaining. Additionally, podcasts can be used to explore new ideas or concepts, which can further lead to new learning opportunities or insights about marketing.

Now that you have an idea of what podcasts are and how they work, let’s take a quick look at the elements you need to include in your next marketing podcast.

Attracting and Engaging Your Audience

Since podcasts are short, they can be used to quickly grab the attention of your audience, which in turn, can lead to more views, listens, or downloads. As long as you have a microphone and some hosting software, you can be ready to record and distribute your podcast in minutes.

To put it simply, the shorter your podcast, the better. If you have less than five minutes, you’re going to struggle to keep your audience’s attention. However, if your podcast is under three minutes, there’s a good chance your audience won’t even notice as they’re pulled into another task or activity.

Even shorter is better. According to HubSpot Blogs research, most people prefer to listen to podcasts about two minutes in length or less.

Brevity Is Key

Shorter is better when it comes to podcasting. It’s always better to have a shorter piece of content, rather than a longer one. If you have a longer piece of content, you’re going to make it harder for your audience to get into the habit of listening to your show. They may listen for the first few minutes, but the longer they stay, the less likely they are to come back for more. This is why you should always prefer shorter pieces when it comes to podcasting.

Additionally, longer podcasts can become a bit dull. When you have a longer conversation with your host or guests, it sometimes feels like it goes on for a bit too long. This makes it harder for the listener to get into the flow of what they’re listening to. If your podcast is going to be more than three minutes long, the best option is to break it up into several shorter podcasts.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

It’s always nice when a podcast changes things up a bit. If you’ve been listening to the same podcast for a while, it can get a bit monotonous. Having variety in your podcast is always a good idea. This can be in the form of different topics, guests, or recording locations. Variety is the spice of life and it makes everything taste a bit better. When you’re talking with your podcast audience, you’re going to want to keep things interesting for them, so try and change things up as much as possible. This will make your podcast stand out and it could even become a bit addictive.

Additionally, a podcast with a variety of guests is always a good idea. This way, you’re not going to become too focused on a single topic, which may leave you short on content. Having multiple guests helps keep things lively and encourages listeners to come back for more. The more variety you have, the better. It makes content more interesting and the chances of your listeners returning are always better, especially if the guests are popular and recognizable figures in their industry.

Use Stories

Stories are one of the most effective tools you have when it comes to engaging with your audience. As humans, we instinctively like to hear stories. It’s in our nature to want to know more about others and how they got to where they are. Stories allow you to tell your audience something about yourself, which can be a bit tricky to do, when you’re talking about a marketing podcast. However, if you want to keep your audience engaged, you need to do this. What better way to tell a story than through a podcast?

Stories work well in marketing podcasts, because you can use them to educate your audience about your brand or product. You can tell stories about the struggles you’ve had as a business owner or marketer, how you overcame these challenges, and the importance you place on your product or service. Through a story, you’re going to be able to connect with your audience on a personal level, which is always something worth pursuing.

Additionally, you can use stories to promote a product or service, but you must make sure that these stories are tied to something valuable. People hate being marketed to, but they also hate being lied to. A good story and a good character are more valuable than cold, hard cash. This is why you want to make sure that the stories you tell are tied to something valuable and worthwhile. The better the story, the more valuable it is. It doesn’t have to be a huge corporate secret to hold some value. Little things that happen on a day-to-day basis can all have value. These are the kinds of stories you want to tell, not the usual marketing spiel that’s been told a billion times before. This is far more effective and unique way to approach your audience, which in turn, can lead to brand loyalty and increased revenue.

Last but not least, make sure that the stories you use are authentic. Just because you have a business relationship doesn’t mean that you can just tell whatever stories you want, without any regard for the truth. If you want your audience to believe your stories, you’ll need to make sure that they can back up these claims. This applies to all stories, even the ones that appear to be a pure creation of your imagination. Make sure you have a clear chain of evidence, whether it’s in the form of documents, comments, or other tangible forms of proof. If you can’t produce these things, it’s probably best to leave the lie alone.

Distribution

The last but not least, is distribution. You can have all the content you want, but if you don’t have an audience, it’s useless. To get the most out of your content, you need to find a way to distribute it to as many people as possible. Since podcasts are relatively easy to produce and distribute, this makes them great for marketers who want to try out new ideas and see how they perform in the wild.

Whether you decide to self-distribute or seek out a traditional publicist, finding a way to get your content out there, to the right people, is a essential part of any marketing strategy.

Additionally, since most people listen to podcasts on their phones or other mobile devices, make sure you test out various iterations of your podcast, before settling on a final version. Changes you make to your podcast, based on feedback, will make it sound more natural and better suited for your audience. Additionally, seeking out a publicist, to help with distribution, can be a good option, as they will know how to get the most out of your content, regardless of whether it’s audio, text, or a combination thereof.