Good for you! It’s a fantastic way to connect with your audience. You can easily find more than enough resources on the technical and mechanical aspects. The “how to” is covered by plenty people who know way more than me about XLR cables and compressors and digiwhozamajigs.
I’m here to tell you about how to maximize the value and opportunity of podcasting. As the CMO of Magruder Laser Vision in Orlando Florida, I recently developed a podcast for the practice. So I’m coming to you from the trenches on this one.
Before I had come on board, Magruder Laser Vision was already sponsoring our city’s Major League Soccer team, the Orlando City Soccer Club. As you can guess, this is no small financial undertaking. Therefore, you want to get as much out of it as possible. We knew rolling into the second season that we wanted to get as much “bang for the buck” as we possibly could. At the same time, we also wanted to create connectivity between soccer fans. So we decided that instead of waiting for MLS and the team to create content, we would create our own content in the form of a podcast.
During the negotiations for the second year sponsorship, we realized the Orlando City Soccer Club already had a podcast called “Soccer Cast.” After the announcement that a new National Women’s Soccer League team called the Orlando Pride was coming to town, we decided to deploy a leapfrog tactic and be first to market with a fan-based podcast for the team.
You could argue that we might open ourselves up to a larger audience by tackling a broader topic such as women’s professional soccer in general rather than the Orlando Pride in particular. But the choice was right for us because we are more interested in developing a local audience than a national or global audience. After all – this is still about marketing. We want to engage and entertain soccer fans, but we also want to spread the word about the practice. A thousand loyal local fans are more powerful for us than 10,000 transient subscribers.
For us, getting the right people and the right equipment came easily. That was a low barrier to entry. We spent most of our time and effort formulating a content schedule, analyzing the audience, and looking at different ways to deploy content to reach various levels of demographic diversity.
The Live Audience
We kicked the tires on our first episode and followed the typical podcast model of recording one day and then releasing the audio a few days later. Our second show called QueensCast (in full disclosure) dropped on Friday, March 4. However, we recorded it two days later while streaming live from the studio on Periscope.
Introducing a streaming platform such as Periscope, Meerkat, or NOW gave us a bit of live audience participation, which you don’t find in most podcasts. Now we get to appeal to an audience that was invited on social media channels the day before to participate live at a specific time. It allows them to ask questions, keeps the content fresh, and allows for authentic connectivity – even if it doesn’t make it to the final podcast cut.
In many cases you find that live audiences enjoy watching both the live broadcast as well as the podcast to see what made it and what did not.
Our Podcast Audience
The interesting thing about a podcast audience is that it shares traits with both radio and social media. In many cases, it is a drive-time media, but it allows the flexibility to pause and pick up at the same spot later. Therefore, many audience members find the digestion of this media far more in alignment with their lifestyle as they are not leashed to it as you would be radio or satellite content. While it’s not the antithesis of the live audience, it is definitely a media type that is user controlled.
Throughout the podcast, we remind the audience to participate with us through social media, as well as in the real world. This invitation for communication by multiple means allows all audience types to mature with the programming and create a sense of ownership.
Many folks think a podcast is simply an audio clip that you digest and ditch. But you can use the platform as a way to pull your audience back into the “hub” channels such as your website, blog, or social. I found the best ways to do this is to reference various articles, imagery or related content that can only be viewed or interacted with if the listener seeks out the related post or show notes.
Your IRT Audience
One of the true joys of podcasting is meeting fans in real time. Nothing beats creating loyalty by shaking hands and spending time listening to people who are passionate about the content you create. As you would guess with a podcast focused on women’s soccer, you get a variety of audience types that span far beyond your prototypical profile.
And when you start breaking down soccer into sub-categories of women’s soccer and then a specific team within women’s soccer, you find an array of audience types that include:
- Fans of specific soccer teams
- Fans of United States Women’s National Team (USWNT)
- Fans of specific National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) teams
- Fans of specific players (in our case our inaugural team will also have one of the finest single soccer players — Alex Morgan)
- Parents who are instilling a love of soccer in their daughters
- Fans of soccer – period! People love to talk about “the beautiful game”
I break the audience down even further because I find that demographics and psychographics often have a lot of generalization. As you begin to mature with your audience, you will find that the motivators for their connectivity to you will all be different and unique.
Of course, you cannot be all things to all people all of the time; this is true in a podcast as much as it is true in life. That said, the more that you are open to your audience’s voice, desires and concerns the stronger the loyalty will be back to you.