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Podcasting for Business? 7 Ways to Do It Right

Is it possible that starting a podcast can skyrocket your business?

Starting a podcast is a lot of hard work.

You take time off your business to learn how to start a podcast, maybe find guests, interview them, and do everything to get them on Apple Podcasts…

And after all the hard work, you’re sipping a cuppa hot coffee thinking:

“How on earth is this going to help my business?”

In this article, I’m going to help you by saving weeks, if not months, of your precious time by answering this very question. I’ll even give you a few reasons why you should and shouldn’t start a podcast if you’re running a business.

You’re perhaps, like any smart business owner, always looking for ways to grow your business. You’re always looking to help your customers. If you run a bigger business and have employees, you’re perhaps looking to create a workplace your employees would be proud of.

No matter what, you are always looking for strategies.

You’ve been listening to podcasts, you’ve seen other businesses start podcasts, perhaps you’ve been reading about starting one…that got you here.

You’re looking for answers, and I hate to disappoint you. Can starting a podcast help your business?

Yes, it can.

But that’s not what you want to hear. You’re looking for the ‘how’. So let’s dive in right away.

How can a Podcast Help Your Business?

There are two ways to look at podcasts:

  1. Podcasts as a tool.
  2. Podcasts as a medium.

Medium versus Tool

The outcomes of starting a podcast vary based on how you look at podcasts. When you look at podcasts as a tool, you are looking to use them to solve a problem.

But when you look at podcasts as a medium, you are looking to leverage the medium to dish out more content. 

It’s okay for your content team to think of podcasts as a medium. But as a business owner, entrepreneur, and CEO, it’s important you look at podcasts as a tool. Because you care about solving problems, and not just creating more content.

A Podcast to Solve Problems

Can a few pieces of MP3 files strung together like a necklace solve problems?

Even if it did, are these problems so big that it’s worth my time and money to start a podcast?

Is a podcast the best tool to solve these problems?

Before we jump into answering these questions, let’s take a step back.

What are some of the problems that entrepreneurs and businesses are solving using a podcast? Here are just some of them:

  1. Power customer advocacy programs.
  2. Enhance content marketing with more focused higher-value content.
  3. Build and strengthen partnerships.
  4. Build and shape company culture.
  5. Develop customer empathy.
  6. Personal brand building.
  7. Brand storytelling

Let’s take a look at each of these, and see how brands and businesses are using podcasts to solve these problems.

And before we conclude the article, I’ll answer the questions that I brought up just a few sentences ago.

1. Power Customer Advocacy Programs

What is Customer Advocacy?

“Customer advocacy is a specialized form of customer service in which companies focus on what is best for the customer. It is a change in a company’s culture that is supported by customer-focused customer service and marketing techniques.”

We cannot talk about customer advocacy too long before coming across some businesses that are leading the way. Zappos is one of them. In 2019, Zappos started the Zappos Podcast:

“A Podcast about Zappos’ unique take on company culture. What goes on behind these mural-covered walls?”

How do Podcasts Help Build Customer Advocacy?

A podcast can help you strengthen your business’s customer advocacy program in a few different ways. Recognizing and empowering your brand advocates, communicating your customer-centric culture, highlighting your customers’ successes, building trust, and converting buyers to advocates, listen to critics, and much more.

2. Build and Strengthen Partnerships

A podcast is a great platform to help you build partnerships and strengthen existing ones. No matter what kind of business you run, business and brand partnerships stem from relationships between people. And podcasts are a powerful way to build these relationships.

How do Businesses use Podcasts to Build Partnerships?

Interview-based podcasts are a great excuse to have conversations with people you don’t know. Even better, a podcast offers you the leverage of having a ready audience. Using this to start building relationships by giving value upfront, is a good first step to building great partnerships.

3. Shape Company Culture

If you run or work in a bigger company, you probably get this – shaping company culture is not just critical, but also hard. Perhaps the reason lies in the intangible nature of the very word ‘culture’. 

Many companies have used a podcast to shape their own company culture in many different ways. Slack was an early adopter with branded podcasts when it created Variety Pack, a podcast with a comedic take on office culture. It later followed up with a second show called Work In Progress.

How do Podcasts Help Shape Company Culture?

There are many ways a podcast can help shape your company’s culture. Here are a couple of ways to do that:

  1. Find powerful people to voice your company’s beliefs and values (Work In Progress Podcast by Slack).
  2. Share success stories and learnings, from the floor (Inside Trader Joe’s Podcast by Trader Joe’s).

4. Develop Customer Empathy

One of the biggest uses of a podcast in the business world is to establish connections. In this case, a connection between employees and customers. A good example of a business that does this is Traders Joe’s with its show Inside Traders Joe’s.

How do Podcasts Help Develop Customer Empathy?

A show like the Inside Traders Joe’s Podcast can help you share content that enhances your customers’ experience. Share what you learn from customers, and what you decided to do about it (and why).

For example, in this episode of the Inside Traders Joe’s Podcast, they chose to answer questions from customers like “Why did you drop my favorite product?” and “What’s up with the parking lot?!” What better than answering your customers’ questions on your own podcast?

5. Personify Your Business or Brand

Businesses and brands trying to use people (and animals) to personify and boost their identity isn’t something new. This is because people love interacting with people, and not a word, logo, or benefit statements.

How do Podcasts Help Personify Your Business or Brand?

Podcasts, by virtue of what they are, have the unusual power of personifying your business or brand. For the simple reason that a podcast is powered by a human voice, listeners feel more connected to your podcast…and hence your business.

Podcast Ads vs Other Ads

This is also one of the biggest reasons why businesses that run ads on podcasts find them to be more profitable than just any other form of advertising. Because podcast ads are not just targeted, but also read by the host to their listeners.

Podcast ads are listened to by a warm audience in a voice they already trust, as opposed to other forms of advertising.

6. Own Your Brand Narrative

Some businesses and brands have used podcasts to own their brand narrative. A good example here is McDonald’s. The popular fast-food chain once ran into a problem in one of their outlets – a shortage of a certain newly introduced Szechuan sauce. The shortage soon turned into a wreck, and into a PR nightmare. But the brand was fast enough to own the narrative by introducing a podcast called The Sauce.

How do Podcasts Help You Own Your Brand Narrative?

The best way to use podcasts to own your brand narrative is by identifying the central idea or theme in something that went wrong (like in McDonald’s case) or something you do (like Blue Apron’s case). Once you do that, focus on starting a podcast that helps you own the storyline or narrative.

In McDonald’s case, whenever people ‘searched’ online for McDonald’s + Sauce, they would find the podcast and not what happened in that outlet. In the case of Blue Apron, their podcast ‘Why We Eat What We Eat’ helps position themselves as ‘the brand’ that cares about what you eat…and hence owns the narrative.

7. Enhance Content Marketing

A podcast offers you a whole new channel for content marketing. Your customers and prospects can now get to experience your business and brand while driving their cars, running, or even while commuting to work using public transportation.

How do Podcasts Help Enhance Content Marketing?

Podcasts give a human voice to your business or brand. All other content marketing channels can come across as less personal or as a marketing exercise. But podcasts, given the way they are, offer your customers and prospects a more human touchpoint.

Is a Podcast the Best Tool to Solve These Problems?

No, it’s not. But is it an effective tool?

The answer is a big YES.

One of the biggest elements of podcasts is the very nature of how it works. Podcasts feel like a more personal and intimate experience. You as a business, get a chance to be inside people’s ears. That’s the most personal anyone can get!

Should You Start a Podcast for Your Business?

In other words, is it worth your time and money to use a podcast as a tool for your business?

A BIG YES!

Let’s see. What are the alternatives?

You can choose to take the content route and create videos and blog posts. Or, you can take the high road and use the media. But look at the amount of effort and money that you’ll need to sink in, in order for your efforts to work.

I’m not saying podcasts are easy. But they aren’t tough either.

You have options too. You can start a podcast all by yourself right now, or you can get someone to do it for you. There are many other options in between too. The point is, it’s not hard.

No matter when you’re reading this article, start a podcast now.