Podcasts can be a key part of a business’s marketing strategy but there are a few key things to consider before jumping on the bandwagon, says entrepreneur Traci Long DeForge.

With a background in broadcasting and business consulting, DeForge started her production business Produce your Podcast after realising the potential of the medium in 2015.

Working with everyone from early stage start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, including Google and British Airways, US-based DeForge also hosts her own podcast, Journey to There.

She believes podcasts can be incredibly effective if set up in the right way but there are a few things that must be established beforehand.

“Businesses want to be sure the content they’re creating is an extension of their expertise or around regarding education or entertainment, because podcasts aren’t effective as a sales platform,” she told BusinessCloud.

“There’s also a lot of subjectivity in terms of cost effectiveness versus investment in a business’s ‘audio brand’.

“People invest so much in their visual brand with logos and product packaging but then will go and launch a podcast recorded on their phone. There’s nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t allow a level of professionalism and quality, and doesn’t create an audio brand that’s congruent with the visual brand.”

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Where people tend to fall down is cutting corners with podcast budget, when they should actually invest in it like they would any other marketing initiative, says DeForge.

“You want to allocate for quality production and equipment,” she said. “Even if you do it yourself you want to invest in a microphone.”

The other key thing for busy entrepreneurs, employees or individuals wanting to start a podcast is to factor in what’s practical for their lifestyle.

“The key to the longevity and sustainability of a podcast is consistency,” said DeForge.

“You want to come out of the box with a plan that not only has great engaging content and good quality production, it’s something you can keep up with – whether that’s once a month, once a week or daily, make sure it can work into your lifestyle.”

However, while podcasts can be useful not every business will need one, and should approach it in the same way as they would social media, says DeForge.

“Podcasts are like when everyone thought they needed Facebook and Twitter,” she explained. “Then ultimately many accounts faded because companies didn’t energetically learn or understand them.”

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When done right though, podcasting is powerful marketing strategy which can reach millennials and audiences turning away from radio on the go.

“Podcasting is a really great platform to elevate users to the position of an expert in their space, especially if you’re in the process of either writing, or have written, a book because it allows you to grow your audience,” said DeForge.

“You can have it in complement with your social media and email marketing to really gain a strong following for when the book is released, and it’s also helpful in creating content.

“The reason I started my podcast is because I wanted to write a book and prefer audio, so I decided to take the episodes and transcribe them for book content.”

BusinessCloud is compiling a list of the top podcasts in sectors including business, sport, crime and politics. Submit your suggestions to chris.maguire@businesscloud.co.uk  

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