Should podcasts be part of your content marketing efforts?

If you check out this blog post by Top Rank, you’ll see that podcasting is alive and well in the internet and social media marketing worlds. For those unfamiliar with the format, podcasts are audio recordings which can be downloaded via iTunes and listened to on any audio device. It’s essentially an audio RSS feed. They’re great for marketing, as there is little effort required on the subscribers side to download the content.

The perks

  • If you’re not much of a writer, or find it difficult to get your ideas down on paper, then podcasts may be the solution you’re looking for. Many people find it easier to organise their thoughts when speaking, so all you have to do is find a quiet place and think aloud.
  • I’m sure you’re wondering: why not just create YouTube videos? You could, but this would require much more effort. You’ll have to think about video recording equipment, lighting, backdrops, your clothes, and appearance.
  • Podcasts are low-tech; you can get started with just a decent computer microphone and some audio editing software like Garage Band.
  • It’s easier to source guest content if you’re podcasting. “Can you sit down for a few hours and craft a unique and interesting article” is a lot less tempting than “have you got fifteen minutes to answer a couple of questions.” You’ll get a lot more industry thought-leaders to participate if all you’re asking for is a short interview.

The downside

  • Like all things in life, developing a good podcasting style takes practice. Expect to put some time into perfecting your style and learning to be succinct with your words.
  • You may still have to spend some time editing the audio, as many subscribers won’t want to listen a full fifteen minutes podcast if they could derive the same information from skimming an article in 30 seconds.
  • This will become yet another time-consuming part of your content marketing strategy. Be honest with yourself about if you have time to maintain it; don’t be tricked into thinking its an easier form of blogging.

Are podcasts right for your content marketing strategy?

Ultimately, you have to think about your audience; are they the types of people who could benefit from a podcast? If you’re an industry thought-leader with a lot to say and opinions coming out of your ears then people will find a lot of value in your podcasts. If, however, you’re just learning the ropes and want a place to share your findings then perhaps stick to a blog.

Look around at what is already out there and see if there’s a gap in the market that you could fill; and even if there ins’t a gap, check to see if there’s an area you could improve.

Do you use podcasting as part of your content marketing strategy? How does it fit in with the rest of your goals?