In an age where visuals reign supreme, an old-fashioned medium is making big waves -- broadcasting waves to be exact.
With shows like Serial getting mainstream attention, and big names like CBS Sports, NPR, and even HubSpot joining the game, podcasting is becoming an increasingly popular and credible media outlet, especially for Inbound Marketers.
At #INBOUND15, the trendy broadcasts were a huge topic of discussion. While Slack CEO, Bill Macaitis, called podcasts one of the most effective top-of-the-funnel content offers, HubSpot’s The Growth Show set up camp in the middle of Club INBOUND to stream live.
To top it all off, popular comedian and podcast host, Marc Maron also took the keynote stage to recount the story of his success in one of the conference’s most high-profile “spotlight” sessions of the year.
Along with a few celebrity anecdotes (and a lot of laughs), Maron shared a number of profound pro-tips to Marketers and aspiring podcasters in the audience.
How many of your friends would sit in your garage for an hour and let you record everything they say?
Not many I’m guessing, but fortunately for Marc Maron, his friends would and they still do twice a week.
When you’re first getting started with podcasting as a Marketing medium, make like The Beatles (and Marc in this case) and get by with a little help from your friends.
In 2009, when Maron began his podcast, WTF, his guests were primarily fellow comedic friends and old acquaintances. “The podcasting community was very supportive of each other, “ he explained.
They helped him attract an audience while he was still hunting for his voice in the emerging market and ultimately helped him establish himself as a contender within it.
What should you do?
Like you would with inviting people to guest blog or comarket with you, call upon your industry affiliations and influencers to be guests on your podcast.
Having these established names on your program will not only offer invaluable lessons to your listeners, it will vouch for the quality or credibility of your program.
Hosting high-profile guests also gives you the opportunity to capitalize on their larger followings to expand the reach of your content to a new, qualified audience, and further establish yourself as an expert in your field.
2. Be Consistent & Set Goals
“[When we started] our only commitment was to be consistent,” Maron explained during his session. “Whatever I am, happened without a plan….There were steps that were taken, but there was not a plan. They happened because they evolved.”
When WTF first began, he and his peers didn’t know what they were going to talk about or what they wanted to achieve; they just knew they had to keep at it.
They wanted to have guests on for at least an hour and release a new episode at least two times a week, but these were their only real goals.
With so little direction at the time, this consistent schedule (like all good goals) provided them with motivation. They had a deadline to meet and an audience that was waiting for them, so, no matter what, they had to deliver.
They could experiment on the air, but, in the end, they had to hit those goals. Over time, this helped them establish a loyal following and a friendly, fluid reputation.
What should you do?
Set SMART goals for what you’d like to achieve. Even if you do not have a set plan on how to reach them, knowing what you’re working towards and what you need to be focusing on will help guide your next steps.
Also, always be consistent. As you would with your blog, establish a steady broadcast schedule.
People like to know what to expect from a brand. Once you begin establishing an audience, this repetition will be seen as a sign of reliability -- a very important trait to look for in a brand that you are doing business with.
3. Think About Connection, Not Content
In our digital age, true conversation has become a bit of a casualty.
Gone are the days when people would pick up a phone to chat or even sit down for a family dinner and truly listen to each other. Rather, they turn to a screen (be it their phone or their computer) to send a text, email, or even video chat.
As Maron sees it, the surge in podcasting popularity is due to people’s inherent need to connect through conversation and listening.
Instead of reading text or staring at a screen, with a podcast you have to listen intently to absorb what the person on the other end has to offer.
With this in mind, Marc urged the audience to approach their podcasts not as a piece of content, but as a point of connection, saying:
“Content is like crack; with the addiction, people eventually get exhausted. There’s a difference between connection and getting your content fix. ” - Marc Maron
What should you do?
Don’t use your podcast to sell, but to spark conversation. Speak and listen to get a sense of who your guest is and where they are coming from.
During his session, Marc Maron explained how he found that the longer he kept his guest talking, the more candid they became; the more human their responses became.
The more human you can make your podcast, the more likely it is to connect with your persona emotionally (and the more endeared to your brand they will become.)
To achieve this, consider talking to your guests about:
Where they come from
How they got started
What their pain points are
How they work through a dilemma
These authentic voices and insights are what will keep people listening and engaged long term.