Should you launch a podcast? Well, the answer is likely yes, and for a variety of great reasons I will get to in a moment, but first consider these startling podcast statistics:

  • 42 million Americans now listen to podcasts weekly – that’s 5 times the number that go to the movies.
  • Podcast fans listen to 5 podcasts a week and subscribe to 6 different shows.
  • Monthly podcast listening has swelled to more than 1 in 5 Americans.

I guess I would be considered a podcast pioneer, as the medium is only a little more than a decade old, and I have been podcasting my popular show Small Business with Steve Strauss for more than half that time. I couldn’t be more pleased with my investment, and I bet you could be too if you choose this route.

Why should you consider launching a small business podcast?

It is a great way to promote yourself and your business.

With so many people listening to podcasts these days, the opportunity is ripe to get yourself and your business out there in front of a new audience.

One thing I always advise small business owners is how vital it is to continuously add to their marketing mix. Doing the same ol’ thing time and again gets you in front of the same ol’ audience. New marketing means new eyeballs. (And that, by the way, is one reason I really like what my friends at Thryv are doing.)

If you look at the iTunes store, you will see there are podcasts for almost every imaginable topic or interest – from home brewing to writing to gardening to, yes, small business, and thousands more.

Whatever your business or specialty, a podcast can help you burnish your image as an expert while simultaneously exposing you to a whole new audience.

It’s great for your brand.

Whether you want to establish yourself as a thought leader or get the name of your business out there, podcasting does that. Having and hosting your own show, interviewing relevant guests, and having people share your show and content all go a long way toward building your brand.

It’s easy to get started.

One of the great things about podcasting as a marketing tool is that it is pretty easy and affordable to jump right in. Especially for small businesses with limited resources and staffing, the fact that doing a podcast costs almost nothing should be welcome news.

There really are two ways to launch and do a podcast. Either you can do it all yourself, or you can hire a producer, engineer or audio professional to help you.

Personally, I chose the latter. Given that I did not have the time or inclination to do everything myself, I put an ad up on Craigslist. Within a couple of days, I got responses from several highly qualified candidates. I hired Greg, who is still my podcast producer and engineer to this day. For a few hundred bucks a month, Greg books my guests, records the show in his studio, edits it after we’re done, and posts it to my website, iTunes and other similar sites. In fact, we have since launched a second podcast together.

The other way to go, and this is a fine choice too, is to do it yourself. In this case, all you would need to do is invest in a professional quality microphone (as the one on your computer is not quite good enough for these purposes) and record and edit the show yourself.

Your top options for that are:
Podcast audiences are very loyal.

Once subscribed, podcast listeners tend to be very loyal. According to Edison Research, 85% listen to a show mostly or all of the way through. Wow. Where else online can you get someone’s undivided attention for 15 or 30 minutes?


How to Launch a Podcast in 4 Easy Steps

1. First, you need to come up with a topic and name for your show.

Whatever it is that you and your audience of potential consumers are passionate about is a good place to start. Look at the many podcasts on iTunes to get some ideas. Also, consider how long your show will be. Will you have guests? If so, a good way to go is Skype. We use Skype for all of our recorded podcasts on my show.

2. Next, you need to record it.

Using the equipment above, get a few shows in the can. And while you have heard this advice countless times before, it bears repeating: Just be yourself. Let your passion for the subject matter come through.

3. Third, get a host, and post.

Just as you have a host for your website, so too will you need a host before you can launch a podcast – the place where the show will live and from where it gets posted. A search will give you plenty of options. We use Libsyn (Liberated Syndication), but there are plenty of options.

4. Finally, share and reap the rewards.

As with any content you generate, creating the great content is only the start. You have to get people to notice it and share it.

And you know the options to do that of course – share it on your website, social channels and in your email marketing. You may want to buy some inexpensive Facebook ads at the beginning to get the word out.

Other podcast marketing ideas include:
  • Posting transcripts of the show on your site as an article
  • Adding a media link for the show in your LinkedIn profile
  • Having interviewees share the show with their networks
  • Cross-promoting with other podcasters

And there you have it. Launch a podcast today, and take advantage of the amazing opportunity.

If you’re looking for more ways to connect with customers digitally, check out my on-demand webinar.

Special Thanks to Our Guest Author – Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss ImageBetween being USA TODAY’s small business columnist, the author of 17 books including the best-selling Small Business Bible, and a popular media personality, maybe it is no surprise that Steve Strauss is often called “the country’s leading small business expert.”

Steve’s Podcast: Small Business with Steve Strauss