We’ve all heard the aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats” in conjunction with the economy–but have you thought about it in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) authority for your webpage?
One of Google’s algorithm nuances is that sites rank higher based on the number of visits, backlinks, comments, etc… no matter where on the site they are. In other words, if you have something that drives traffic to your website, even if it is about nothing directly connected to your business, it will help drive traffic and build authority for your entire website. It’s an insight that I heard Dale Bertrand from Fire&Spark talk about at Inbound 2021, and it really piqued my interest in podcasting as a tool for authority-building.
How would podcasting to drive traffic work?
Do a Google search for “winter hats” and you might never find Love Your Melon. Their winter hats have become ubiquitous but not necessarily for their style - it’s their “why” that caused them to grow from a college class project to a multi-million dollar business (they sold in early 2022 for a reported $40million). Love Your Melon gives 50% of their profits to charities that fight childhood cancer and they’ve done a tremendous job communicating their why. And while they don’t have a podcast, if they did, I hope it would be telling heartwarming stories about overcoming childhood cancer.
Those audio stories could then be leveraged as part of their inbound marketing strategy with related blogs written for a microsite. Pictures and audio clips of the featured guests could go on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter–all driving links and backlinks to their website and raising the SEO authority of all the content on their page–even the articles about winter hats.
Now, not every brand has as clear a case for launching a podcast as this, so it might take a bit of work to see if podcasting would be a good fit for your brand. However, my guess is that your company does have a differentiator that could be leveraged to engage with your audience. It might not be your ‘why’, but it might be a segment of your business that is unique (like our podcast on marketing for private clubs), or a specific product offering that you are an expert in (such as the podcast we produce for Redpath and Compay CPAs about mergers and acquisitions).
Important Questions to Consider
If you’re thinking that a podcast might be a good fit for your business there are some important first steps that you need to take. Like most inbound marketing strategies, podcasting is a long play. It’s going to take months before most people start seeing results, so you will need to commit to the strategy. Not only will you need a host that’s in it for the long haul, you’ll also want the organizational structure around them to help support lining up guests, booking studio time (if needed), producing and editing the content, posting, promoting, etc.
Consider Your Audience
Once you have that buy-in, it’s time to dig into the listener benefit that you can provide. There are millions of podcasts being produced, so start thinking through these questions:
What need are you filling in the space?
- What’s going to make your podcast unique and interesting?
- Who are you talking to?
- What questions do they have that you will answer?
- Do you have the expertise to sustain a podcast inside your team or will you need to find guests to interview?
- Is there enough content to sustain an ongoing podcast?
How Often Should You Release Episodes?
Release cadence is also an important factor to consider when producing a podcast. Whether you’re producing a podcast for daily distribution or once a month - the important thing is to stick to your cadence. Your audience will grow to expect new episodes on the cadence you set, so once you determine what the cadence will be, you need to stick to it. To help with this, we suggest producing a number of podcasts in advance to have “in the can” so that you can maintain your release cadence. Distractions come up, people get sick, you know how it goes, so working 3-5 episodes in advance helps to ensure that you’re hitting your marks.
Should You Record Remotely or In-Person?
You have options when it comes to how to record your episodes. One of the easiest is to use an online recording tool. Over the past couple of years, most people have invested in good audio and video equipment for their work computers to take part in remote meetings. This will likely be high enough quality for the production, but we always suggest holding a pre-production call where you test and troubleshoot technical issues to ensure that the recording goes smoothly and maximizes everyone's time.
While remote recording is a great option, you may want to consider renting a studio or purchasing audio equipment to record your podcast in person. There is nothing like sitting and having an in-person conversation.
Who Will Produce & Edit the Episodes?
If the podcast is a reflection of your business you’ll definitely want a polished, professional sound. That’s the job of the producer and the editor. The producer will be there for the recording with suggestions on making sure that the conversation is accessible to your audience. They’ll help make sure you stay on topic, and explain acronyms or other business jargon that might be lost on your audience. The editor will then work with the producer to add the finishing touches that make your podcast stand out.
What Is Your Distribution & Release Strategy?
To get the most out of your podcast you’ll want to really discuss how to leverage it as a part of your overall content strategy. While having people find your podcast through traditional channels is great, the goal here is to really have them find it on your website so that you can maximize the benefit of the traffic.
This part of the strategy falls back on tried and true inbound marketing practices. You’ll want to do keyword research around the topics you’re discussing. Write high-quality recap blogs that are filled with useful and helpful information (not advertisements for the podcast) and are optimized for search (don’t forget to include an embedded link to the podcast). Consider writing guest blogs for your guests’ websites. Plan out a social media distribution strategy for your site and for the guests. And distribute the blogs and thus the podcast through all of your regular channels.
Through following these steps, you’ll not only be driving traffic to your website (read: great for your SEO), you’ll also be sharing beneficial content with your target audience. How’s that for a win-win?