By Ben Anderson, founder and Managing Director of Sound Rebel.

Driven by the change in the way people consume television programmes, which has seen a significant shift to on-demand services, the country’s listening habits are being transformed.

Until the recent stay home warnings, the number of people listening to live radio had been dropping and is expected to do so again once the coronavirus crisis has passed. Meanwhile, those choosing to listen to podcasts has increased significantly, with the latest RAJAR data reporting almost a quarter of 15 to 34-year-olds now listen regularly to podcasts.

A podcast is a set of digital audio files that are made available on the internet for people to listen to immediately or download for later use. Users can subscribe to specific podcasts to ensure they receive it as soon as a new one is uploaded.

The biggest brands in the world understand the power of branded podcasts, but regardless of the size of a business, podcasts are a great way to communicate your value proposition to an engaged and captive audience.

Projecting your authority

Businesses now use podcasts for a variety of purposes, including sharing information about new products, company news or general information related to the sector in which they operate and even information aimed only for the ears of their employees.

Incorporating podcasts into your marketing strategy offers numerous benefits for your business and there’s never been a better time to get started.

Your podcast is the opportunity for you to demonstrate, then share your experience and expertise to listeners. Traditionally, you may have relied on the written word, but podcasts are a better way to show your true personality and enthusiasm for what you do.

Regular podcasts offering information, opinion and new ideas for discussion help establish you and your business as a leading authority, to be trusted by customers and new prospects alike.

Inviting similar respected individuals from within your business or from across your sector to help create the podcasts, will only add to your credibility and generate further trust from the audience, whilst expanding the number of likely listeners.

Creating a memorable podcast

A podcast may be relatively easy to produce, but the content is critical to the success and longevity of your activity. The mechanics are easy enough, requiring just a good microphone connected to your computer to make the recording and a way of editing the finished sound files.

However, whilst it is often lauded as a DIY project, it is easy to make a podcast that only you want to listen to and professional producers will enhance the quality of the output considerably.

The producer is also helpful for handling the transition between speakers, asking the questions, requesting clarification of unclear points or jargon and ultimately editing the hours of chat into a professional and efficient 25-minute sector specific podcast that thousands will enjoy.

The content can cover current events, changes in the sector, news specific to your business, a discussion around sector-specific topics, trends, legislation etc., but it must be interesting to the target audience and delivered in short sections.

Content is key

Thirty minutes on a single topic might bore the average listener, it’s easy to break the topic up into pieces and deliver several podcasts that revisit the subject. It’s also good to point listeners to your website if you have more detail on a topic, like a guide or catalogue they can download.

You don’t have to be funny or try hard to entertain. You just need to use your experience and imagination to deliver short bursts of interesting chat or discussion, in a professional manner, with the content tailored to your audience. And the more you do, the easier it will become.

Once finished, you can start promoting your podcast to increase its exposure to a larger audience. You would need to make the podcasts available on a variety of distribution channels, or enlist the help of a podcast producer, who will know the best channels to choose.

If you want to talk in detail about sensitive information only for your employees, perhaps explaining strategic decisions, or current lockdown policy, a private podcast can be created and a link emailed to specific recipients - it can be password protected if necessary.

And finally…

Podcasts can be a uniquely spontaneous, informal and intimate medium, perfect for delivering important insight with emotion, warmth and passion for a topic.

It’s not all about well-edited scripts or carefully crafted questions, but about researching the topics carefully, agreeing what’s to be covered and then talking with friends as you would in the pub, not the boardroom – it’s where the authenticity comes from.

Everyone involved can be in a separate location, which at the time of writing makes podcasts the perfect tool for bringing people together to create memorable content that an engaged audience will find truly valuable, particularly when it comes to buying decisions.