The word podcast is actually a smart combination of the words “broadcasting” and “iPod”. A podcast is basically a radio entertainment show that you can access through the Internet. You can download it directly to your computer, tablet, or mobile phone. It got associated with Apple’s iPod because people normally listen to podcasts using their iPods. Of course, this does not mean that you can only listen to podcasts using iPods. You can still listen to podcasts using any gadget such as your laptop, mobile phones, and tablets.
Podcasts are commonly released in MP3 format, but there are also other file formats that are being used. However, as long as you have a music player on your device, you can listen to your downloaded podcast. You can also listen to the podcast through a website while connected to the Internet, which is called streaming.
What is so special about Podcasts?
You may now be thinking that podcasts are not really that different from music and other mp3 files that you search for online and download. However, there is a big difference. The main difference lies in the fact that you subscribe to a podcast, the same way you subscribe to a blog. Some podcasts have feed readers or kinds of software that automatically download podcasts that you have subscribed to. In effect, the podcast goes to you instead of you going to (or searching for) them.
Most podcasts are distributed through a blog. So if you subscribe to a blog that also has podcasts and you use, say, iTunes, iTunes will automatically download new episodes of the blog’s podcast automatically for you. You don’t have to go into the hassle of searching for the blog again and manually downloading new podcast releases.
Podcasts have become popular recently, with its popular hosts having millions of audiences worldwide. Podcasts can reach so much more people as compared to traditional radio because access to it depends on the broad Internet usage rather than the limited radio frequency.
What are the different types of podcast?
When you think about podcasts, you should not associate it with music. Most podcasts are talk shows, rather than music demonstrations because you might get in trouble if you use music that you are not licensed to use.
Now that you know what to expect, let us discuss the four types of podcast that are popular these days.
Location Based Podcast
This type of podcast is focused on where the podcast is recorded in. The best example of this is The MeatEater which records hunting and other outdoor activities from where it is happening. Thus, each podcast episode is about different locations all around the United States.
Needless to say, this type of podcast is interesting because all locations are different, with each one offering a different experience for the podcast host as well as to the listeners.
Interview Style Podcast
The most common type of podcast is the Interview Style podcast. The host interviews someone else, say an expert on a certain subject matter, in each episode of the podcast. This is basically a talk show and usually follows the same format.
For example, if the podcast is about digital marketing or digital entrepreneurship, the podcast host will need to interview digital marketing experts who can enlighten listeners about the subject matter. The podcast host may interview different experts for each episode.
Teaching or Instructional Podcast
This type of podcast aims to teach its listeners about a certain concept or thing in an instructional way. Podcast that aim to teach a certain language to its listeners make use of this type of podcast. Take for example the podcast entitled Coffee Break Spanish. The podcast host gives Spanish lessons to its many listeners.
If you want to teach people about social media marketing, you can use this type of podcast as well.
For people who are not fond of reading novels, this type of podcast is very effective. Each episode of a storytelling podcast aims to tell one single story, much like a drama series but in MP3 format.
The first episode should be the beginning of the story, and it tells about how the story has started. The next episodes will tell how the story unfolds. They should lead to the last episode of the podcast which is the conclusion of the story.
Perhaps the most popular podcast that uses the storytelling type is Serial. In 2015, the podcast had five million downloads on iTunes. The key is to make each episode interesting, thrilling, and fun for the listeners.
Mix of Types
Podcasts can also be a mixture of any two or three of the types discussed above. For example, you can have a podcast that teaches (teaching podcast) listeners by interviewing experts (interview style podcast). There are also podcasts that are centered on location (location based podcast) and in each location the podcast host will interview someone (interview based podcast).
There are really no clear cut rules about what type of podcast to use in order to be for your podcast to be successful. However, here are a few tips on how to launch a podcast successfully:
1. Choose Your Podcast’s Style Carefully.
This entails conceptualizing what you want your podcast to be and what you aim to achieve. Before launching, you have to choose what style or type of podcast you will use all throughout the duration of your podcast. You cannot use interview style during the first episode of your podcast and then switch to storytelling type later on.
Although you can use a combination of podcast types, this combination must be planned beforehand, and not decided upon spontaneously. You should follow a plan, and that plan should include a theme for your podcast show.
You also must put your target audience in mind when selecting the type of podcast to use. Ask yourself what type might engage your prospective listeners. Will the interview style of podcast click with them? Or would they rather hear what you got to say in a storytelling setup? Do some research on your target market before deciding.
2. Record at Least Three Foundation Episodes
When you launch a podcast, you only have about eight weeks to get into the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes. That is a limited duration within which you should make a good first impression. The first three episodes of your podcast will serve as a foundation of your podcast. The impression of the whole community depends on these three episodes, so you really need to make them interesting.
When you launch your podcast, you should launch three or more episodes. You cannot just have one single episode and expect followers to flood in. Here are a few tips on how to make your first three episodes effective and successful:
- Select topics that are very popular. The first few episodes of your podcast must interest people in order to make them come back, so stick with topics that are close to your target audience’s hearts. There are a number of ways to find out what topics are popular to your prospective listeners. You can check out which posts on your blog have a lot of traffic. Alternatively, you can use certain tools to check out which competitor blog posts or competitor podcast drive a lot of traffic. This is called competitor research, and this is widely used by digital marketers. However, using these tools might get your IP address banned. The workaround this issue is by using proxies for marketing while doing competitor research in order to avoid being banned.
- In your future episodes, always refer back to your foundation episodes by mentioning them. You can also create a list of all your episodes and link them in the show notes page. By linking back to the first three episodes of your podcast, you are also increasing the number of downloads and ultimately your rank on iTunes.
3. Launch Your Podcast With a Buzz
Of course, you would want to create a buzz when you first launch your podcast. You want people to talk about it. You want people to know that your podcast is ready for download. Basically you want people to download your first three episodes, subscribe to your podcast, and leave a positive review. So how would you do this?
You can launch your podcast with a contest! A contest is a sure way to get people to download and subscribe to your podcast. When creating a contest, keep in mind that you need to give a prize. Creating a contest and not giving a prize will discourage people from engaging with you and any of your future endeavors.
The prize must be something that is valuable to your target audience. Do not give out a prize with the whole world in mind, just be specific to the people that you want to attract. What do you think will make them want to win the contest? For example, if your podcast is specifically about gardening, give out gardening tools or books on gardening as a prize. Concert tickets are great, but they won’t necessarily attract people who are fond of gardening (who are your target audience, actually).
4. Continue Making Noise
Since you can only be in the New and Noteworthy section for roughly eight weeks, the next thing to do after that will be to continue making noise and converting to downloads.
This is done by creating a distribution schedule. However, to help with your ranking on iTunes, you don’t need just a fixed distribution schedule. You need a diversified distribution schedule. Let’s examine the difference.
Fixed Distribution Schedule
A fixed distribution schedule involves you publishing your episode and distributing it all in one day. Let us cite an example. You can schedule to release an episode every Monday. On the very same day, you will distribute it though emails, advertisements, and social media campaign
This will result to a high number of downloads, which is actually the goal, right? But this happens only on Mondays. The rest of the week, the number of downloads will decline, and will peak again on the next Monday.
The cycle goes on every week. This will not help your ranking on iTunes because iTunes doesn’t care about your downloads peak. It cares more about consistent download rate.
Diversified Distribution Schedule
Since iTunes converts consistent download rate into a high ranking, then you would need people to download your podcast episodes at different days of the week, and not only on Mondays as in our example above.
An example of a diversified distribution schedule is something like this: You publish an episode every Monday. On Tuesday, you email your subscribers about the new episode (and while you’re at it, include a list of all your episodes).
On Wednesday, you can post about the new episode on Facebook. You can even boost that post in order to reach more people. The rest of the week, you can continue distributing your new episode and the old ones through social media campaigns and advertisements, and also through emails. You can employ different marketing techniques all throughout the week to ensure that people are downloading your podcast episodes.
For social media, you can make use of proxies in order to have a more effective marketing technique. Proxies work by hiding your real IP address so that when you visit a site, say Twitter, a different IP address will be detected, not your real one. In this case, you can gain a lot of benefits in marketing with proxies.
The Bottom Line
Podcasts are a great way to reach people in your target market. Like blogging though, you really need to create a podcast content that is interesting and fun. Your goal is to get people to subscribe to your podcast and download the episodes. Interesting topics will definitely drive people to do these things.
So how do you know what topics to tackle in your podcast episodes? An effective way to find out is to scout competitor blogs and podcasts and see which topics are getting a lot of responses.
You can use tools in order to check out the competition, and in order to avoid getting your IP address banned, you can make use of proxies for marketing. Proxies can further help you in your social media campaign, so they are really a great marketing tool. Sign up with a proxy provider such as LimeProxies today in order to have a more effective marketing strategy.