With over 500,000 active podcaster shows on iTunes, the idea of starting a podcast has no doubt entered the minds of a few entrepreneurs hoping to profit of the “podcast goldrush”. Today, we’re going to discuss more about podcasting and what it can do for your business.

Podcasts (sometimes called netcasts) is a series of digital audio or video files created by a host or hosts which typical focus in a specific topic. They are typically created on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. While there’s no specific set of rules for creating a podcast, it typically involves a host with expertise on a subject, or a host interviewing a guest who has a demonstrated expertise on a particular subject matter. These conversations are made into digital file and uploaded to iTunes, youTube or various other sites where they can be downloaded and listened to at the discretion of the individual who has subscribed.

Podcasts are can informative, entertaining and enlightening, or they can drag out and be somewhat boring. Rating sites like http://podbay.fm/browse/top help listeners decide which ones they should pay attention to, and which ones they should ignore. Companies can use podcasts to connect with their audiences, promote their brands and foster closer relationships, while others make money selling advertisements.

Podcasting combines the freedom of blogging with digital audio technology to create an almost endless supply of content. Some say this new technology is democratizing the once corporate-run world of radio as podcatings doesn’t require a FCC license.

If used correctly, podcasting can be a powerful tool for marketers looking to reach an intended audience. Powered by the increase in mobile devices, podcasts reach an estimated 124 million people with over 73 million listening at least once a month.

Why should you use podcasting?

From an advertising perspective, podcasts can be a very effective way to zero in on a specific audience. Let’s say you’re selling Minnesota Twins baseball hats. Well, it’s pretty safe to say a podcast summarizing the performance of the team, or one that is talking about trades or acquisition is going to reach your intended audience.  As a publisher, you have the ability to capture the attention of an audience by discussing something of interest to them. That being said, it’s important to understand the passive nature of podcasts. Just because they are being download, doesn’t mean they are listed too. And if they are played, how much of the listeners attention do you really have throughout the entire broadcast? In today’s “multitasking” society, many podcasts are simply listened too while people are doing other things, like driving for example.

reaching target audience

Increased Traffic Generation

Can podcasts be used to drive visitors to your site? Sure. Statistics show that about 16 million people in the US are “avid podcast fans”, meaning they subscribe and listen regularly. Capturing a small fragment of this market can be very beneficial for any brand as eventually these people will converse about the subject matter of the cast. Any marketing expert will tell you, this “word-of-mouth” advertising is the best money can buy. In fact, companies gamble millions and millions of dollars in hopes of creating some type of content that will grow legs and “go viral”.

From an SEO perspective, it also has benefits. Many businesses publish their podcast episodes using Spotify, Stitcher, or iTunes not just because it exposes their content to potential listeners for free, but also because getting listed on these popular sites can help with SEO efforts.

increase traffic

Building trust

One thing that draws the audience nearer to a brand is authenticity. Creating a podcast is one great way to build a connection with your audience on a more personal level. They can detect the excitement in your voice and feel your passion as you discuss topics that are relevant to both you and them. This makes it easy for them to meet, like and trust you.

build trust

It can grow sales

At the end of each podcast a smart host will give clear direction on how to obtain the products discussed in the cast. By providing them a URL to a landing page or encouraging the listener to subscribe to a newsletter or special offer, you can move the subscriber from a passive listener, to a potential customer.

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As a business owner or marketer, you may feel like technology is pulling you in many different directions. Your objective is always growth, but it can be very difficult to ascertain where you should be focusing your efforts. Unlike SEO and Social Media Marketing, podcasting isn’t for every business. But if you’re business is very niche and your grow relies on moving a specific audience closer to your brand, podcasting can be an effective tool. But like any endeavor, podcasting does require some overhead to get started and be successful. So make sure you do your research before you jump in.