Podcasting Revisited for Social Media Marketing

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Podcasting Revisited for Social Media Marketing

With Amazon recently investing in a podcasting company, the popularity of podcasts continues to grow. Podcasting can be an effective marketing and communications tool for any small business. Podcasts integrate nicely as multimedia content for social media marketing.

Before you start podcasting, there are several things to consider: the type of podcast; the platform or platforms you’ll use; the format of the podcast and general content and style; and frequency and length.

  1. Type of Podcast

    Podcasts used to be audio files that could be listened to online or downloaded to a device, such as an MP3 player, to be listened to when not connected to the Internet. Today, podcasts can be either audio or video or both, usually made as video with the audio extracted in post-production as a separate file to distribute in addition to the video. Audio production can be much simpler than video production. Producing both at the same time gives you many more options for how you use the multimedia content.

  2. The Podcast Platform

    Where you post your podcasts can help you determine both how you’ll record them and how you’ll market them. Wherever you decide to host, make note of all the features they offer and what is missing that you’ll need to supplement. Think about recording, editing, hosting, and distribution or marketing. There are audio-only hosting platforms such as Podbean and Soundcloud where you upload your audio files that you’ve recorded elsewhere and easily post them to social media, your website and blog. There are also apps like Anchor.fm and Spreaker that provide podcast recording tools along with hosting and distribution. Video podcasts can be recorded on - and uploaded to – on popular social networks including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter. Podbean, the popular audio hosting platform, now offers video podcast hosting as well.

  3. General Content and Style

    The content of your podcast, and how you arrange it or the style of your podcast is key to reaching the right audience and getting the most benefit as a business out of your podcasting. The style of your podcast can vary, but the more successful podcasts maintain a similar style for each episode or show. Some common podcast styles include:

    • Talk Show format – interview or Q&A style or conversations between hosts and guests
    • How to format – host provides tips or instruction, more scripted or demonstrative
    • Storytelling – a narrative form with a story arc of beginning, middle and end
    • Magazine style – combines narrative with interviews in segments
    • News reporting – a more journalistic approach

    Note that a podcast can combine several styles as segments.

    As with any marketing tactic, go back to your business goals: Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to get them to do? How will you measure the success of your podcasting efforts? Podcasts are another form of content marketing, but they can also generate revenue if you obtain sponsors. Nail down not only how you will podcast, but why you want to podcast, for your business.

  4. Frequency and Length

    There is no hard and fast rule about the length of your podcast, however, with shorter attention spans, short can be more effective. Podcasts can be a few minutes long – five to seven minutes is common for shorter podcasts. Ten to twenty minutes would be more of a mid-length podcast. Longer form podcasts are typically thirty to sixty minutes. Most podcasts don’t run over an hour in length. If your content is strong – and you have the resources to produce longer-form podcasts, you can break it apart into smaller pieces and distribute both longer and shorter clips. Conversely, you can record shorter segments then stitch them together in post-production to produce a longer form “show.”

    If podcasting is a way to produce more interesting content to share in your social networks, keep production needs simple so you aren’t overloading your team – or yourself – with more content and post-production tasks. Podcasts can be a welcome addition to your social media marketing mix, but they come with additional resource demands that you should consider before you begin podcasting.