We all know the era of buying links from sketchy and unreputable link farms is something of the past, or so we hope. So how does a website build authority without the spammy link requests from your neighbors?
Content. Yes, we’ve all heard it before, but creating great content that humans actually want to digest (gasp!) is the best strategy for building authority. From blogging to videos, seminars to e-books, there are countless ways to create meaningful and linkable content. But what about podcasting? What should you know about the radio and book-on-tape alternative, and would it be helpful for your brand?
Podcasting is Growing
Podcasting is booming. Gone are the days of getting a blank stare anytime you ask your friend, “What podcasts do YOU listen to?” Over 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast at some point and 57 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly! This is a huge market and if you’re not tapping into the eager ears of knowledge-thirsty Americans, you’re missing out. Not to mention, these numbers are only growing, with monthly listeners increasing by 21% to 24% every year.
Additionally, podcasting hasn’t hit peak competitiveness yet. With only around 250,000 podcasts, compared to 400 million blogs, podcasting is a smaller arena, making it easier for your content to stand out.
Creating a Podcast Builds Trust and Affirms Authority
Podcasting has the potential to create authority while building your brand. With countless topics out there, everything is up for grabs, and those who podcast about their business, fields of interest, and niches inherently become ambassadors of their brand and industry.
Potential clients want to feel trust before buying your product or whatever service you have to offer, and nothing creates a sense of intimacy to strangers than listening to someone’s voice – it’s a natural form of communication.
Podcasts also have an advantage over written content by creating bonds with your audience; the mere act of listening creates connection and trust, converting listeners into customers. Unless you’re of the monotone persuasion, people will feel a sense of kinship with you and what you have to offer.
But who should create and host the podcast for your organization? Creating a podcast means dedicating a large amount of time to generating content, hosting guests, and being the brand ambassador for your organization. It’s important to find someone who enjoys speaking, is knowledgeable about the topics at hand, and is excited about what they do. I never get bored listening to someone who is passionate about what they’re speaking about, it brings a sense of excitement and curiosity for the listeners. If you’re concerned about letting a single employee become the “voice” of your organization, consider having multiple hosts – doing so also splits the work of podcasting among several people.
I find myself believing many podcast hosts to be my friends, even if it’s a one-sided relationship. Listening to my favorite podcasts on a weekly basis only perpetuates this idea of familiarity– the amount of trust I place on these people is unnatural. I’m not just taking my dog for a walk anymore, I’m walking with my “friends”!
If you’re worried about content ideation, there are many ways to discover new topics in your personal niche. Build episodes around common questions from current clients or customers, ask your listeners what they want to learn about, join online forums to discover new topics of interest, and check out your competition. Pay attention to what your audience responds to and create more content in a similar vein.
Consuming Podcasts is Easy
The average listener will spend over 4 hours per week consuming podcasts, with most listeners making it to the end of each episode. That is to say, even though podcasts might range from 30 minutes to 3 hours, most listeners will take the time to hear the whole product. Reading an article online? Not so much.
In fact, only a small number of people actually finish articles on the web, even if it only takes two minutes to read. According to data from Slate.com, only 11% of readers actually finished reading articles on their site. We simply can’t stay as focused reading something online; it’s just easier to grab a headline and tweet it out to the world.
This may be due to a number of factors: our collective decline and inability to focus on anything; the fact that, in general, people are reading less every year; and perhaps that listening to a podcast is just…easy. We can listen in the car, while walking the dog, working out, cooking, or shopping. And while we could technically read while doing all those activities, it’s not necessarily safe or effective.
Written Transcripts Mean Robust Text Content
For those afraid of losing written content on your site for SEO purposes, podcasting may be the best way to create endless amounts of written content. Repurposing your podcast into text has never been easier. Just look at the podcast, Freakonomics. With an average episode lasting around 45 minutes, their transcript for the episode, “I Don’t Know What You’ve Done With My Husband But He’s a Changed Man”, has over 7,000 words. With around 300 recorded episodes, the website has over 2 million words of text created from the transcripts alone.
Example of a “Freakonomics” Transcript
Huge amounts of text will be created, basically shouting to Google that you have relevant information which needs to be indexed and superiorly placed in the rankings. It’s a win-win!
Podcast Listeners Link Naturally
Podcasting also boosts links back to your site naturally, as long as the product is engaging and something people actually want to listen to. When informative, interesting, fun content is created, people want to share with everyone they know – this is the foundation of the whole “content is king” philosophy.
With 60% of podcast listeners actively engaging with social media, it’s unsurprising that many podcasts have active and involved social media followers boosting a business’s reach and authority. Building a successful podcast means creating content for an audience that is significantly more likely to engage online than the average content consumer.
Take a look at the true crime/comedy podcast, My Favorite Murder. A show which began with little fanfare in January of 2016, now has a rabid listening audience and fanbase, a private Facebook community boasting over 150,000 members (and growing), 80,000 followers on Twitter, a successful t-shirt business, and an ever-increasing reach. The number of social shares, downloads and link opportunities created by this unassuming podcast is constantly growing.
Interest in the ‘My Favorite Murder’ Podcast Since its Inception
Don’t be intimidated to start a new podcast just because others on the same topic already exist. The true crime sphere was already crowded before the ladies of My Favorite Murder stepped in, but there was obviously an audience waiting for their unique content. Everyone has something new and interesting to say, and each podcast has their own niche.
Connect with Experts in Your Niche
Your audience won’t be the only ones to link and share your amazing new content – your guests will too. Podcasting allows you to connect with other professionals in your industry – those with a lot of clout and following. Invite experts on your podcast to share what they know with your listeners. Additionally, each guest will have a new audience to share your podcast with, thus engaging more potential listeners and potentially attracting additional links to your site. As with guest blog posting, you don’t want to have just anyone on your podcast; the quality of the content should be more important than the potential of a link or two.
This is not to say that authority building with podcasting is easy. There are no shortcuts when it comes to building authority, and creating a podcast is no different. Similar to blogging, it’s important to stay consistent, motivated, and active when deciding to jump into this world – it may feel like you’re talking into a black hole for the first several months, or even years (oh my!) of production.
However, if you stay focused, engaged, and excited, your audience will come. The amount of potential in this still new and shiny landscape is innumerable. And with more advertisers jumping on board this exciting medium, who knows what will happen in three years if you start podcasting today.
If you’re interested in starting a podcast, check out these resources to help get you started!
- How to Start Your Own Podcast — Lifehacker
- How to Start a Podcast (Ultimate Guide for Beginners) — Website Setup
- 20 Stats About the 2017 Podcast Listener — Salesforce Blog