|The Power of Podcasting: Is it for you?As a savvy small business owner, you’ve likely heard the term “podcasting” before. In fact, by this time you may be addicted to these (generally) free and info-packed downloads. In fact, it’s estimated by eMarketer that 21.9 million U.S. internet users will download or stream at least one podcast per month in 2009!Podcasting, which is basically a fancy word for a downloadable mp3 broadcast, can be a great tool for small businesses in establishing credibility, connecting with a niche audience, driving website traffic and networking with industry professionals. With all of these possible benefits, you may be wondering: Is it for me?|
It depends, although many small business owners find the answer to be “Yes, absolutely!” Consider a few of the following points when deciding if podcasting is a good fit for you: Expertise is everything It can be easy to fall into the mindset of, “Well, I don’t know if I’m really an expert. Who am I to say I know more than my customers or colleagues on a subject?” Try to steer clear of those notions and truly consider what your business has to offer in terms of unique, interesting content. Niche interests often draw high listener numbers, as the topics are usually more specific and relevant.
- Consider holding a meeting with your business’s brightest, most diverse minds to brainstorm possible angles of focus for your podcast series. Deliver a “prep kit” to each desk a week before the meeting to get minds rolling. Try loading a colorful, logo’d Tote Bag with a Mini Pen/Notebook Set to jot down ideas, a Mouse Pad imprinted with great search keywords for competitive research, and a fun Team Stress Reliever to keep minds clear and open to new ideas.
- During the session, encourage all options – from customer-oriented shows to interviews with industry professionals. As long as your final focus ends with added value to your intended audience, you’re right on track.
Map out networking opportunities What small business would turn down all-star networking opportunities if given the chance? Hopefully not yours! One of the greatest benefits of podcasting is connecting with professionals who you may not be able to connect with through other means. Networking opportunities are abound if you play your cards right:
- Invite experts to chat with you during your podcast, making it clear what benefits they will receive (i.e. potential reach, sales, web traffic, etc.). Make sure they’re aware of your business’s background to avoid any awkward moments while recording. Prepare a rough outline of your questions ahead of time to keep the interview flowing without feeling contrived.
- After the recording is through, follow-up with a thank-you. By sending a handwritten note, accompanied with a memorable tech gift like a USB Person or Sport Earbuds, you’ll be guaranteed a lasting positive impression. Then, touch base again in a month or so to let them know where the podcast can be found online (including iTunes™), and to see if there are any other opportunities for partnership or business available. You’ll have a much taller leg to stand on if you’ve already made an initial outstanding connection.
Find your break-out stars We understand that hosting a podcast just isn’t up everyone’s alley. Don’t let that hold you back in your decision making process. When considering who should host your small business podcast, keep a few things in mind:
- Personality is key. Choose someone who is comfortable at the mic, engaging in his or her speech and also able to hold an interesting conversation with potential podcast guests.
- If no one in-office immediately comes to mind, ask for volunteers. Have co-workers submit one-minute audio clips of them chatting about a relevant topic to your business or industry. Then, choose the winner yourself, hold an internal vote, or involve customers by opening the vote up online. Upload all clips to your website along with a polling widget – it’s as simple as that! Once your star is selected, award all entrants and voters with a Bandanna Pep Rag or a Root-N-Toot Horn, imprinted with the phrase – “Cheers for your participation!”
- Go through the same thought process when thinking of possible guests for your podcast. Choose individuals that are reputable and noteworthy while still being interesting and personable.
Anita Campbell, podcaster for the website Small Business Trends, says it best: “One of the things we have learned is that good podcasts have a lasting shelf life. A good episode, with excellent content, will continue to get listeners months later — even years later.” If you decide that podcasting is right for you and your business, always remember this advice when choosing the exact topics to cover. Then, all that’s left is securing the absolutely necessary tools: A decent microphone, plenty of gumption and drive for a new, potentially profitable marketing venture. Good luck! To listen to 4imprint podcasts for inspiration, visit www.4imprint.com/bluepapers.