Blog or Podcast: What Best Helps the Entrepreneur?
For my translation agency, I am used to blogging. For my other company Meemoeder.com, I have added vlogging to the marketing mix and started a YouTube channel. It allows me to reach my audience in different ways. However, in the area that I work in, I encounter many podcasters, as well. I never listen to podcasts myself. I have been on several podcasts as a guest, though, as I understand their media coverage can help me. It does make me curious about the benefits of hosting a podcast for entrepreneurs. Is podcasting a good move for entrepreneurs raising brand awareness or do the benefits not outweigh the effort and costs? So, blog or podcast?
True, this could be a richer question as it leaves out video marketing and offline media, among other things. For the sake of clarity, I want to break the topic down to these two marketing forms. Below, I examine what the experts have to say about the blog or podcast question and how easy (or not) it is to start a podcast. Also, I found some tips for being on the other side of the podcast: how to be a good podcast guest. So, if you think podcasts require too much effort to create, but you are convinced of their merits, you can learn how to become a good guest and make money off podcasts that way.
Blog or podcast? Advantages and disadvantages
Nicki Kamau has listed five limitations of podcasts that she found. They are:
- Limits to SEO (even though Google has just taken a modest step)
- Inability to provide links
- A listener cannot skim content for relevant information
- Rudimentary analytics
- Lacks a natural opportunity for lead generation
For blogging, on the other hand, one does not need special equipment, it is easily optimized for search, and the audience has control over its content consumption experience. Still, a podcast may offer you four advantages.
Blog or podcast? A podcast offers you a human connection
A podcast allows you to give your audience a sense of your brand’s personality and a way to connect with you on a human level. As Kamau says, “the only way to connect more intimately would be to provide a visual layer to the connection by adding video.”
Blog or podcast? A podcast offers you firsthand information from trustworthy sources
Your brand can invite guests who provide firsthand, real-time information from reliable and credible sources. This builds credibility and trust, and it requires less work than interviewing and writing content based on the interview.
I do have to say that apps that help you transcribe an interview significantly reduce the workload. I always create written content from my video content. So, I do not agree with the final part of Kamau’s argument.
Blog or podcast? A podcast offers your audience a chance to multitask
Usually, people are doing something else when they are listening to a podcast. Your prospects and clients might be riding a bike or doing the dishes while listening to your podcast. In those cases, a podcast makes it easier to grab their attention than a video or blog post.
Blog or podcast? A podcast offers your audience more time with your content
I have recently written a blog post about long-form content. In it, I actually advised against focusing solely on long-form content. The reason for this is that Google may like it, but your audience does not prefer it. In fact, people skim long blog posts.
Kamau has found a study conducted by Edison Research, which focused on the time spent listening to podcasts. It turns out that 80 percent of podcast listeners listen to the entire podcast, they listen to seven different podcasts per week on average, and weekly listeners listen six hours and 37 minutes per week on average. That is not the attention that blog posts receive at all!
Kamau concludes that regarding the blog or podcast question, “each complements the other’s weaknesses.” It all depends on what your consumers prefer, and whatever form you choose, it should be part of a well-rounded marketing strategy.
Blog or podcast? Well, how do you even start a podcast?
If you have read the information above, you might think that adding a podcast to your marketing mix is a good idea for your brand. Where to start? Dan Bova has asked Ralph Sutton, podcaster and entrepreneur, this question. Below is his advice.
· Just begin
This is not advice that we usually here. We typically hear that we need to do proper research before embarking on a new adventure and ask the right question. Sutton thinks you should just start doing it and see if you like it. If there is something remotely good in it (most first tries are not great) and if you enjoy it, it is worth the investment.
· Listen to similar podcasts
Listen to podcasts on related topics and figure out what you like and do not like about them. Find inspiration. Now you know the competition and how you can approach things differently to become authentic.
· Start with cheap recording equipment
Find a cheap mic that works on your smartphone. Later on, you can invest in better quality, but that is not necessary at the start.
· Learn how to use audio editing software
Do not depend on anyone else in the beginning. Sutton mentions Soundtrap, which is cheap, and Audacity, which is free. From editing, you will learn what you can improve.
· Get a logo and a theme song
You do want to hire a professional for a logo and intro music.
· Find a name for your podcast that is available on all social platforms
My blog post covering brand consistency might help here.
· Build a website
As mentioned, Google has taken some steps towards showing podcasts in search results better. The only thing is: they need a website with the same name. So create one. In my blog post How to Start a Business on a Budget, I already mentioned that it is relatively easy to start with a free website.
· Think about adding a co-host
Hosting a podcast by yourself might be hard, so having a co-host helps with the talking. You do have to make sure your co-host will stay for a while and that your graphics and intros do not mention your names in case the co-host leaves.
· Invest in a media hosting provider
Plenty of hosting sites are available, but if you pick a free or cheap one, you get what you pay for or did not pay for. Sutton recommends Libsyn, which creates an RSS Feed for your podcast and gives you a destinations page where you want your podcast to go.
· As with all social media platforms, be consistent
As I have said plenty of times before, you need to be consistent with the timing and length of your podcast. Sutton even suggests to keep an evergreen episode in the can so that in times of crisis, you can still upload an episode.
· Promote your podcast
Promote your podcast face to face, on social media, and by being a guest on another podcast that is similar to yours. It helps your audience find you.
· Monetize your podcast
As with all content, you can monetize your podcast. Look for best practices. Go to a relevant business in the neighborhood and ask for a deal where you mention their name in your podcast for a month in return for money. Let your listeners mention your podcast when they visit the business, and you might end up with a lifelong partnership.
Blog or podcast? Why not become a podcast guest?
You might be overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done and investments to be made. You might still see the appeal of podcasting. Blog or podcast? Well, why not both? But without all the extensive work. Podcasts are always looking for guests on their show. They probably want to hear what you have to say as an authority in your field of expertise.
Nevertheless, there are right ways and wrong ways of approaching things, and this applies to a podcast as well. Dan Moyle has listed how you can be a good podcast guest and how you can even make money off podcasts by “merely” being a guest. As Moyle says: ‘Podcast guest spots, where you or your brand is the subject matter expert, can increase your reach tremendously. Like guest blogging, the audience knows and trusts the host, so they trust you by proxy.’
· Prepare for your appearance on the podcast
There are four ways you can prepare. You can research the show and listen to at least a couple of episodes. If they have bits, get to know them. Finally, research the host. Referencing past episodes will make you sound interested in the show and audience.
· Offer value
Listen actively to ensure you are aligned with the host. Answer the host’s questions and make it an authentic conversation. Give concise answers as much as possible, and remember that it is a dialogue.
· Do not only sell your product or service
Mention it once or twice but not in every answer. If you engage in a real conversation, listeners will begin to trust you.
· Tell stories
Answer your host with stories. You can prepare for them easily by creating a list of trigger words. You probably have several stories to work from. Stories have a structure. They have a beginning, middle, and end. They also have a point. Why are you telling it? You also have to be flexible with your stories. You have to be ready to have an authentic, relevant conversation, which means you might have to go off-script.
· Have a custom URL on your website for the podcast
This is the tip I especially liked. If a host comes up with a topic that you can go on and on about, it might be wise to choose a short answer and refer the listeners to your website with custom content. It should be in the form of yourwebsite.com/podcast.
The custom content is scalable content packed inside a template where you reference the show. On that landing page, reference the show in the intro and add the podcast’s logo for trust. Let them know they are in the right place and promote your offer(s). As Moyle says, these custom pages “can increase website traffic, build your audience, improve your SEO, and drive revenue for your business.”
· Ask for a reference to another show
After the podcast, you can ask the host to refer you to other podcasts and ask if they would take recommendations from your network. Offer help, ask for help, and stay in touch.
· Send a thank-you note
According to Moyle, not many podcast guests send a thank-you follow up after the recording. It is a great way to set yourself apart. Offer to help in some way. Strengthen your relationship with the host.
· Share the episode
Share the podcast episode with you in it with your audience. It helps show your network what you are up to and gives the perception of a growing brand. You will also help the host with it.
Blog or podcast? More than one way
If I have learned one thing, it is that if brands decide to go for podcasts, these podcasts deserve their own strategy. Freestyling is no option. For me, it seems too big of an adventure to go on now, but I do see the merits of podcasts. I enjoy being on them, so I might decide to put myself out there as a guest more. I enjoy talking LGBT+ topics, and there are plenty of podcasts available in this field. (In case you host an LGBT+ podcast, hi!)
If you do decide to write long-form or short-form blog posts, I might be able to help you increase your reach with them. After all, it takes much work to create them. If you want to get more mileage out of that work, you could consider translations. I am a professional translator, and I can help you with that. I translate from English into Dutch and from Dutch into English. Also, I can help you find translations into other languages. And if you are not sure about the work that you have done, you can have me proofread it. You can find my affordable rates here. Please email me to talk about your translation project! The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!