What is a Podcast? Why Podcast? Is a Small Business Podcast Right for Me?

Podcasting is one of the "latest and greatest" technologies implemented by businesses today. Don't do it just for the sake of doing it. Learn how to strategically place your podcasting in your business-building efforts.

Podcasting is a recent phenomenon. It’s so recent, in fact, that the word itself was only coined in 2004! Now, it gets searched millions of times each month.

Podcasting is a combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcasting” (but it doesn’t actually require an iPod to hear). In fact, you can hear it on your computer, on some cell phones, and on any mp3 player. Think of it as a free subscription to a specialty audio magazine.

Without getting too technical, here’s how you can podcast: Select a format (for example, a talk show format) and record an “episode” into an mp3 format, then attach it to a special file and put that file on your website. People can subscribe to that file and every time the podcaster makes a new show, it gets downloaded to the subscriber.

Anyone with a computer can become a podcaster. You don’t need special equipment. In fact, you can simply use the microphone that came with your computer! All you need to be able to do is create mp3 files on your computer. (Inexpensive software is available at office supply stores to do that).

So what can business owners podcast about? The simple answer is: Anything.

Do a search online for podcasting host sites, and you’ll come across many sites that podcasters use to advertise their podcasts. There are podcasts on just about every topic and for every niche you can imagine!

As a business owner, you can use podcasting for two primary reasons:

  1. To establish yourself as an expert in the field
  2. To drive people to your site.

For example, if you own a business selling saltwater aquariums, you can podcast regularly for saltwater aquarium owners on how to own and manage saltwater aquariums. You can bring in experts, you can host call-in question-and-answer shows, and you can help listeners by offering tips and suggestions on getting the most enjoyment out of their saltwater aquariums.

As you produce regular, interesting content for your listeners, you will position yourself as the person to go to when there’s a problem with a saltwater aquarium. What’s more, listeners who stumble across your podcast in one of those podcast host sites, will hear you constantly referring to your site so you’ll get free advertising to boot! Some podcasts even include a brief “word from our sponsor” although this can be controversial with an audience that may not appreciate the blatant advertising.

It’s easy to get started in podcasting.

The first thing you need to do is make sure your computer can turn sound files into mp3 files.

Next, select your niche. Very likely it will be the niche that you are typically marketing to anyway, however, you might find it easier to podcast to an even narrower niche. Or, if your marketing plan calls for adjustments to your niche, consider podcasting to your target audience.

Then, select a format. (There are many formats out there: a talk show format is popular and easy to listen to. Listen to several podcasts yourself to get an idea for other types of formats and see if they’re right for what you’re selling).

Write up a script, find a few quiet moments in the day to read your script into the microphone, and you’re podcasting! It will literally take a few moments to create and produce your very own podcast. If you think you can create an ongoing podcast, you’ll find it to be an effective marketing tool to promote your business.

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