MarketWise: Podcasting for effective content marketing

Karen Sherrill
Karen Sherrill

Tips for podcasting

1. Determine your theme. Are you delivering best practices, industry information or testimonials, or all of the above? Pinnacle's promise to provide five key takeaways adds value to the podcasts.2. Organize your thoughts in advance. Good podcasts first introduce the topic and why it's important. If your format is an interview style, be prepared to introduce your guest and have questions written out in advance (for best results, share the questions with your guest in advance.)3. Recap following your commercial break. If you've included a commercial break, transition back to your show by recapping the key insights covered to that point. This repetition is very effective in building a lasting impact.4. Consider transcribing podcasts. A transcription of the podcast provides the content in written format for those customers who prefer to read. Follow best practices for SEO text and the transcript will also help in internet search of key words. A win-win.5. Record a promo clip to use through social media. Want to increase listeners? Use your email and social media platforms to promote the benefits received from the podcast. This is also a great way to promote and leverage podcast guests.

Offering educational content to potential customers is good marketing. It provides information customers need to make good buying decisions and positions your company as an industry thought leader. It's the primary reason for a blog on so many company websites. But blogs can be so much more than written articles. Today, podcasts (digital audio files delivered via the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player) offer a number of benefits that written articles cannot.

Podcasting is more popular than ever with the rise of broadband access and mobile devices. In 2013, Pew Research reported that 27 percent of Internet users ages 18 and older downloaded or listened to podcasts. Just one year later, that number increased by 25 percent with Edison Research reporting that fully one-third of all Americans 12 years of age or older now saying they have listened to at least one podcast. Additional reasons for the growth in popularity are the increase in quality content and ease of one-click connecting. Most podcasts are easily found on iTunes as well as specialty podcasting channels.

Pinnacle Financial Partners, a Nashville-based banking firm that is acquiring CapitalMark Bank & Trust in Chattanooga, uses this popular format in the Pinnacle 5 Podcast Series, a collection of information and advice on financial topics. In each podcast host, Summer Yeiser, Pinnacle's learning and development manager, talks with other associates about the latest trends in their areas of expertise.

True to the series' name, listeners receive five key takeaways in every podcast. The series, launched in 2011, offers customers an alternative to the bank's written articles and videos.

"We are always striving to provide effective advice to our business clients," said Nikki Klemmer, Pinnacle's communications strategist. "We know that people learn in a lot of different ways."

Topics for the series came from a e-newsletter poll of small business owners.


There are a number of benefits for companies choosing to launch podcasts, including:

' Portability - As mentioned above, a podcast can be downloaded for on-the-go listening making it ideal for busy people. Both potential customers and existing customers can take your information on the road (especially with Wi-Fi available in so many new car models), while they exercise or during breaks from work at any time of day or night.

' More information - Podcasts are generally delivered as a "radio show" allowing companies to deliver more information than a typical written blog article.

' Interesting formats - Formats for podcasts are often extended monologues but they don't have to be. A more interesting format is an interview which features a "host" and a guest, often an industry leader; the same format Pinnacle uses.

' More personal connection - podcasts offer hosts the opportunity to inject humor or other human attributes (including the occasional error) that offers listeners more insight into the person behind the podcast. This deepens their connection with the host in much the same way people often feel some connection to talk radio hosts. Research shows that when listeners like the host and/or the information that is delivered, there is transference of affinity to the brand, so good shows build brand value.

' Allow for special offers - Many podcasters find their "shows" to be a good time to promote special offers that relate to the podcast topic, making the podcast "actionable." Unlike other media in which listeners scan out commercials, listeners tend to stay engaged throughout the podcast.

"We learned that 10 minutes is the best length of a podcast for our audience," Klemmer said.

What's the future of podcasts? As we continue to look for on-demand ease and more broadband access, watch for new entries into this expanding medium and for hosts learning how to monetize the most popular shows.

Karen Sherrill is a partner in MarketWise, a full-service marketing firm equipping companies with marketing strategies.

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