Does Your Company Podcast Need Improving?
Why ignore what everyone knows they don’t want?
Perhaps you’ve been told your business would benefit from a podcast.
You may have heard what a great marketing vehicle it would be. You may have been convinced by someone that a podcast is a great way to gain clients and customers. While all of this is true, there are some things to watch out for.
Every business owner knows the best way to build a customer base is to provide value to their customers. The trouble begins when you decide what “value” means. Some companies feel this means marketing their goods with their show, believing that telling listeners about their great deals is what giving value means.
Do you see why this might not be the best interpretation?
You’ll end up with a podcast that sounds like an infomercial or the QVC network, just endless descriptions of products. Yes, this style might work in the short term as people check it out, but it will not lead to repeat or long term listening, which should be what you’re aiming for.
Some companies attempt to make this style more interesting, like Trader Joe’s, although I don’t think what they’re doing is effective. They have two friendly hosts who try to share interesting facts about things related to their products. If they want to talk about their cranberry goat cheese, for example, they might mention that goat cheese has been made for over 10,000 years, and that it has a relatively low lactose content. But ultimately, it still sounds like an ad because they spend a great deal of time on the product itself..
So if pimping your products is a bad idea, what should you do?
Don’t make it about your business.
At least not directly. Make it about the field you’re in. Using the Trader Joe’s example, they should be talking about trends in food, and where they see the grocery business going. They should be having guests who talk about how the grocery business has changed, and how stores have adapted. They should be interviewing their suppliers, who may have fun insights into their segment of the business. They should be talking about innovators in the retail space, especially since TJ’s business model was a huge disruptor.
Maybe now you’re saying to yourself, “But wait! When do I get to talk about my products and/or services?”
I’m not saying you can’t take some time here and there to talk about your products, I’m saying they shouldn’t be the main focus. People won’t listen to hear your episodes because of the ads, but they won’t mind hearing them if the main content is compelling.
People don’t want to feel like they’re being sold.
Or at least not in a space they’re coming to for enjoyment or enlightenment, like a podcast. Ads? Yeah, we expect to be sold in those so it’s okay to have them, just understand we’re not going to listen to only that, or too much of that.
Also, I’m not saying you should talk about your competitors. When I mentioned innovators, I meant talk about other parts of retail, and how your business compares, or talk about disruptors in your suppliers.
Think in terms of what kind of podcast about your business your team would be interested in listening to. They won’t listen to an audio version of the Fearless Flyer, despite what they tell you in marketing meetings.
You may also need to let go of the concept that you’re creating a podcast where your audience is everyone.
That animal doesn’t exist. Know that even in your loyal customer base, you won’t appeal to everyone. There is still a large segment that doesn’t listen to podcasts, and they’re not going to suddenly start because you created a show and put signs about it in the aisles (although that’s still a great idea).
If anything, you should be trying to capture people who don’t already shop at your store.
Isn’t that the point? To grow your customer base? And you think a long infomercial will do that? If you produce a compelling podcast, you won’t have to worry about maintaining your current customers, they’re not going anywhere.
I’m not a business expert, and would never claim to be. I’m also not part of a big marketing team, and maybe they know something I don’t.
I only know two things. The first is that 30+ years behind a microphone taught me a lot about what works for an audience, and a long advertisement is not going to get it done.
The other thing is that this is all so obvious the average consumer can figure it out, and they will know exactly why they’re not going to listen.