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Podcasts: What’s all the fuss about? Why do I need one?

Podcasting is certainly intriguing many businesses and charities, but a vast number of directors are telling me they’re struggling to join up the dots on why they might need to invest time in making one, and what benefits they can bring to their organisation.

A popular subject when clients first meet me is on how they’re scrambling to find, capture and promote more ‘content’ around what they do.

It’s no secret that websites which just 'list' their company blurb are straining to keep up with competition these days. So if the days of SEO are slowly fading away in a crowded digital market on Google, what other tools are companies using to keep at the top of their game?

This is the reason why plenty of curious CEOs and Marketing Directors are asking for my time and expertise…

Recording the 'Discover Brightlife' podcast series in Cheshire

By day (and night!) I regularly work with charities and a variety of businesses via my company, ASFB Productions. My vision is to help them create content for promo videos and focus their media strategies. With a background in the UK broadcasting industry – I've spent the last decade at the BBC (and continues) in TV and radio. But it’s no secret that my true passion is helping folk create their own podcast series.

So why is it that many business owners openly admit that they aren’t up to speed with podcasts and the benefits they may bring? And why are they surprised to hear that despite a boom in Vlogs and YouTubers, the latest stats say that audio isn’t dead?

Here’s the stats bit.. 22.5 million people listen to online audio every week in the UK (41.1% of the population). Whilst live radio is still the most popular format for digesting audio (88.3%), speech based podcasts make up almost 10%. Recently, the Internet Advertising Bureau revealed the share of the UK population listening to podcasts each month is 21%, and research shows that’s growing rapidly.

It’s worth a note on target audience too - the age range 25 – 44 years old is key podcasting ground where folk are choosing exactly what THEY want to listen to and when they want to listen to it – aka the ‘Netflixers’. And whilst having a podcast is not a big money spinner, it does bag you coverage in a market and a platform you currently might not be reaching. The big bonus is that whilst video promos are great for YouTube – they’re also pricey. Podcasts are another platform without the top end price tag to help businesses showcase what it is they do without needing to take out a loan or sell a few tons of gold… But best of all, as a director you get to control the output, the overall message and content. No more ad agencies, no more choosy editors.

Behind the scenes at the BBC Philharmonic Studio

Pods have also opened new doors for advertisers because of the level of trust built between hosts and audience. A live read or branded content make ads and sales pitches appear more like recommendations, especially when they are specifically tailored to the listener’s interests. And – whilst it’s early days in the UK market, revenue sharing is something I’m seriously looking into make work for all my clients.

Let’s take ‘wedding planning’ as a quick example. A quick search on iTunes for some of the keywords: Live events, weddings, entertainment…

There really isn’t much strong competition out there when it comes to these niches. Especially in the UK.

There’s plenty on wedding photography and even a series on Disney weddings…but a good quality show on ‘secrets to running a great event’ or ‘how to decide on the wedding band of your dreams’ could be a great niche to suit a podcast series..

Have you searched your business speciality or keywords on iTunes? What does the competition look like? You may have spent a fortune building an all-singing-dancing-website or running adverts on billboards or magazines, but what if your competitors are dominating in the podcasting world with huge market share - and you don’t even have a single slice of the pie?

So if you’re a SME, budding public speaker or charity - here are a few things to think over when pondering over the subjects of podcasting…

  1. Your podcast doesn’t have to be weekly. Be realistic on what you’d like to commit to. In fact, many folk these days release a series of a few episodes in bursts. iTunes loves this too as it’s great for activity for them.

  2. Think keywords on your podcast name, on your artwork, on your episode title, on your programme description. Use google trends to look up popular search terms around your subject.

  3. Think of a podcast as a way of letting prospective clients get an insight into who you work with and what happens behind the scenes. Weave in some of music, and you’ll bag yourself some really rich content. The idea of a brand telling its ‘story’ is huge in the world of marketing right now. What stories do you have of how you’ve got where you are? What insight or tips can you share with others?

  4. If time is money, then episodes only need to run for 20 to 30 minutes. Some pods even have bitesize eps, a ‘three things in three minutes’ approach. We’re not talking a huge commitment here if you don’t have it. Keep things simple. The aim is about just being there. Present in a market or platform you’re currently not.

  5. Grab a great photo of you and your guest recording together, even a short video for social media, transcribe the interview for a blog post – and you’ve created several ‘great content’ posts. Google seriously loves websites that post great content regularly.

  6. Think big when it comes to guests. Want Richard Branson? Tom Jones? Tony Robbins? Just ask. Podcasts aren’t really considered press, so you may find by asking for 15 minutes on Skype with one of your heroines/heros that they might just say yes. If they share your conversation with their audience then you open up the possibilities with increasing your reach too. Just ask. All they can say is no…

More tips on the three C's of podcasting on my previous blog here:

Red light radio in Montreal, Canada

Need a helping hand with all this? Here’s how it might work using me and my super skillsets:

  • Book me as Content Producer – I have my own mobile recording kit (Rode NT1As + preamps + top of the range audio recording software), you book me and my kit to set up, cover all the technical, in a quiet room/office/dining room – all you do is talk and set up the guest!

  • Tap me up for Post Production - I edit, mix down via top of the range audio recording software, upload, sort the hosting site for you, provide short audio teaser clips for social media, write your programme description and teasers.

  • One thing that’s worked well with other clients is by allocating 2 or 3 days in a row, and recording back to back episodes throughout each day. Allow about 90 minutes per 30 minutes recording, for set up and sound check.

  • Good quality is important if you want to sustain listeners – I’m happy to provide post-production only, providing the audio you give me is of reasonable quality. Excuse the French, but even the best sound engineer can’t polish a turd!

  • My fees are per day, when you book me - you take my energy and time for the whole day. I work with one client per day, meaning my time is limited - but you know you’re not sharing me with anyone else. It’s £250 per episode inc of VAT. Where clients opt to use me for recording AND edit, I offer a discount down to £200 per episode. For longer series and simpler set ups, my fees may be negotiable.

I tailor my work to each and every client, no solution is the same. Therefore set some time aside so we can talk. Let’s really think about how success will look for you, and the great talkers and content already at your fingers tips ready to highlight your organisation on an international platform!

My consultations are free with no obligations to sign up, just email on and let’s get bouncing ideas straight away.

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