Podcasts Take Professional Marketing by Storm
The Facts About Podcasting
Podcasts have become more popular than watching videos, reading electronic newsletters, and viewing television. For many professionals, they are used as a successful marketing and business development tool. Professionals in every area of business now use podcasts to connect with a broader audience. There are many genres for podcasts; everything from music (the most popular), TV, and movies, to comedy, technology, and kids and family. Other popular genres today include games and hobbies, sports, society and culture, arts, and business.
Did you know that the average podcast consumer listens to seven podcast episodes per week, and 93% of podcast fans listen to most of an episode?
According to Podcast Insights:
- There are over 750,000 podcasts and 30 million episodes as of June 2019;
- 51% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast, and it is expected that by 2022, 132 million people in the U.S. will listen to podcasts;
- Listeners are loyal, affluent and educated;
- Smartphones drive podcast usage with an increase of more than 150% since 2014; and
- Podcast listeners are much more active on every social media channel (94% are active on at least one versus 81% for the entire population)
10 Questions to Ask Before Launching a Podcast
Before you leap into podcasting, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the purpose of the podcast?
- Why do I want to enter the podcast space?
- Who is the audience, and do they listen to podcasts?
- Is the podcast focused on a B2B or B2C audience, or both?
- Do I have the time, bandwidth, and patience to produce a podcast? If the answer is no, stop here.
- What do I have to offer via a podcast, and what will be its impact?
- How will my podcast be different from all of the others out there?
- What does the success of a podcast look like for me?
- How will I measure the key performance indicators (KPIs) or return on investment (ROI) for my podcast?
- Can I monetize the podcast? In other words, can it be a source of business (I’m not referring to ad dollars here)?
How to Get Started in Podcasting
I asked several experts how professionals can get started in podcasting. Here’s what they had to say:
Nancy Myrland is the founder of Myrland Marketing and Social Media. She is an early adopter of digital technologies and the first legal marketing professional in the world to launch and host an Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing, which also is the Legal Marketing Minutes podcast. She said, “Although the technology required to launch a podcast successfully has never been more accessible, professionals must be interested in launching a podcast, and committed to follow through because a lack of consistency can make the professional look bad.” She said, “Strategy always comes first. Professionals should discuss the strategy around their podcast, including who the intended audiences are, what the tone of the podcast will be, what the format will be, what music to use, whether it is solo or will involve guests, who will record the podcast, who will edit it, how it will be marketed, who will be involved in the ongoing development and evolution of the podcast, and much more.”
Kristin Dohan, the Marketing Manager for Klasko Immigration Law Partners helped launch and has produced all episodes of the firm’s podcast Statutes of Liberty: An Immigration Podcast. She said, “There has never been a better, or more important, time to use podcasting and voice marketing to grow closer to your clients, potential clients, and others who have an impact on the success of your business. We are experiencing a critical time in marketing history when voice is being used to accelerate relationships with those we serve. Adding podcasting to your marketing mix can help professionals to stand out in what is a very crowded sea of messages coming from all different directions. It allows you to connect with listeners in a way others are not able to because they cannot replicate your tone and your approach.” She said, “It’s so easy to get started today – almost as easy as starting a blog. You need a bit more equipment. We started our podcast on less than $300 – by using an old laptop with free editing software, purchasing two mics, one mixer, and a pair of headphones. After that, you need hosting software (there are many services these days for this too.) We went with Omny Studio and have been very happy. After you host the podcast somewhere, you then need to distribute the RSS feed to podcasting platforms (Apple, Spotify, Google Play, etc.). Omny hosts the episodes, automatically distributes them to all platforms to which you have it set to publish, and provides analytics.”
When asked about podcasting for law firms, Rich Bracken, the Director of Business Development of Fredrikson & Byron said, “First, figure out why you want to do it (branding, business development, etc.). Next, it’s critical to assign multiple attorneys to run/manage the process. Nothing will tank an initiative quicker than the lack of buy-in and consistency. Not only will they be the topic creators, but likely the commentators on the podcast itself. Third, build a calendar to keep consistency and stick to it. Consistency is the absolute key to podcasts. Finally, set some goals on content and engagement versus the number of clients to get from it. That way, you can focus on the content itself, and the clients will come.” Bracken has worked on nearly two dozen podcasts, supported the launch and production of six legal podcasts, and is the host and producer of Enrich Your Soul.
Adrian Lurssen, the Vice President and Co-Founder of JD Supra, an online platform that distributes law firm content (text, video, audio) to target readers and subscribers said, “Whether or not you want to make a long-term investment in podcasting with sophisticated audio editing software, top-level microphones, and other such bells and whistles, getting started is actually painfully easy. There are enough solutions available, that an early investment is just a matter of time.” He said, “It’s easy to test out podcasting to see if it deserves greater investment. It can be as simple as just recording an audio file using your phone (on an app like Voice Memo or something similar) and then using software like GarageBand (GarageBand for Mac and Windows / PC) or others to add a musical introduction at the start and end of the program.” Lurssen said, “If you see engagement and a growing audience, you’ll know it makes sense to solicit additional help — assigning the task to someone in a supporting role to help polish the audio via software that can do this, potentially bringing in a voice over person to record an introduction to your program, buying hardware that enables you to record at an even higher quality. It begins with what you already own and a desire to capture your insights in audio.”
20 Podcast Best Practices
There are many things to consider when planning a podcast.
- Set realistic expectations.
- Come up with a compelling and optimized podcast name and stick with it.
- Purchase a URL consistent with the name of the podcast, even if you redirect the URL to your existing website.
- Create an editorial calendar, also known as a content schedule, and be consistent.
- Invite clients, prospects, colleagues, business associates, and thought leaders as guests.
- Keep the content diverse and exciting.
- Determine a format and voice that works for your brand.
- Keep it brief; 30 minutes or less (20 minutes is optimal). Keep in mind that most podcasts that are 20 to 30-minutes in length are weekly. If you’re considering a monthly podcast, 45 to 50 minutes is optimal.
- Seek speaker training for all hosts.
- Write show notes, optimize the content, and repurpose it.
- Record multiple episodes in one sitting and keep episode numbering simple.
- Use quality equipment or a professional podcast provider. Consider purchasing a Zoom H6 Portable Recorder, Marantz Professional MPM-1000, 18mm Condenser Microphone and a MOVO WMIC70 UHF Wireless Microphone System.
- Pay close attention to the sound quality. It matters.
- Use professional graphics.
- Draft a clear and compelling intro and outro with a neutral music choice. Blubrry provides a list of free music sources for your podcast
- Create an outline for each episode while not scripting it fully.
- Promote the podcast across marketing channels and submit to multiple directories. Don’t forget to add it to your email signatures.
- Use syndication and RSS feeds.
- Keep track of the highest performing episodes.
- Include a disclaimer, legal language, and beware of copyrights when naming the podcast.
6 Benefits of Being a Podcast Guest
The benefits of being a podcast guest, to which I can attest, are many. Here are just six. Guests are:
- Positioned as an expert / thought leader in their industry.
- Exposed to a much larger, and often unknown (to the guest) and engaged audience.
- Endorsed, even if implicitly, by the podcast host.
- Provided free and valuable content for sharing with the guest’s audience via email, social media, etc.
- Given the opportunity to build stronger relationships with the host and its listeners.
- Provided a treasure-trove of SEO value, including relevant keywords and phrases, backlinks, re-sharable content, and social media mentions.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of being interviewed by several podcasters in recent years, including:
- LegalSpeak powered by Law.com, Mega Firm’s #MeToo Mess: How DLA Piper Is Handling a Sexual Assault Scandal
- The Attorney Search Group Partner Podcast, Episode #36: Reputation Management and Positioning Yourself for Success
- Freeman Means Business Wonder Woman in Business Podcast, Gina Rubel, My Sister from Another Mister
- What’s Your Legacy? with Yvette Taylor-Hachoose, Legacy of Critical Communications
- Legal Marketing Minutes with Nancy Myrland, Episode 031: What to do with Social Media During a Crisis from #LMA19
- Women to Watch with Susan Rocco, Gina Rubel, PR and Crisis Expert
- The Law Entrepreneur with Neil Tyra, Episode 114: Making the Most of Marketing Through Integrated Public Relations
Gina Rubel is the author of Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers. An attorney and publicist, she leads Furia Rubel Communications, Inc., an agency supporting law firm growth and reputation management through integrated legal marketing, public relations, strategic planning, and crisis communications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @GinaRubel.