While eye-catching social media mediums such as Facebook and Twitter have taken off, there is value in audio that companies are bringing back to the forefront of social media through a new phenomenon known as podcasting. Podcasting has even taken off in schools, and is used by teachers to help get their students engaged. When it comes to advertising, brand marketing, and education, podcasts allow your potential customers to listen to the content you provide for free either online or on their IPods.

The moral of the story: This can be a great way to engage someone with a busy schedule who would rather listen to your companies ideas than try and read the tiny print on a mobile phone or lug around a big laptop on the train. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to do once you get going.

5 Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Podcast

Just this year Apple surpassed 1 billion subscriptions for podcasts via iTunes, and the great thing about podcasting is that is it easy to do and fairly inexpensive. If you are new to podcasting, there are a few key questions you should ask yourself before you begin:

  1. How long should my Podcast last?

Most podcasts run for about 15 to 25 minutes, although they can last as long or as short and you feel necessary. The length usually depends on what kind of information you are trying to get across to your listeners. If you are going to podcast a speakers speech at a seminar, your podcast will be longer, however if you just want to pitch a funny idea out to your listeners, 15 minutes should do the trick.

  1. Should I have regular segments or be sporadic?

If you have regular podcasts your listeners are more likely to listen because they will know what to expect. If you have a regular Monday morning segment, then listeners will know they can count on something to do during that early morning commute. If you put out a podcast whenever you want, you run the risk of your listeners not checking your website that particular day.

  1. What kind of equipment will I need to create a podcast?

Creating a podcast does not have to be expensive. You will need a microphone for each person who is speaking, but a top of the line microphone is not usually necessary. If your audio quality is not that great, but what you are saying is interesting and informative, you should have no problem creating a following of listeners. Aside from a microphone, it would be beneficial to purchase an audio editing program (you can get a good program for around $99; although prices vary greatly). The programs are usually simple to use and install and come with instructions so that your podcast can be free of awkward pauses and all of those “uhmm”s. You can learn more about the specifics of the equipment here.

  1. What kind of content should a podcast include?

A general rule of thumb when it comes to podcasting is the shorter the better. Podcasts should be entertaining, yet informative and to the point. Remember: a podcast is not a commercial. You should not sound like a salesman when you create your podcast. You can explain why someone may need a product or service, but do not spend all 20 minutes talking about the features of your specific product.

  1. How will I get people to listen to my podcast? How will I know who is listening?

People will actually need to subscribe to your podcast, which is why the initial start of a podcast can be tricky. A great idea to get more subscribers is to give them a choice. If you can record a few podcasts a week, then you will be more appealing to more audiences. For example, some like to hear interviews, while others like to hear the latest news on your company, while others may be more interested in the future ideas that your company is considering. Do not limit yourself to one type of podcast, and your subscribers will follow.

The SEO Implications of Podcasts

As far as SEO goes, you can think of a podcast the same way you would a video or a piece of content on your website, but you of course have to publish the podcast on your website to get all of those same SEO benefits. Unfortunately this is a step that many businesses forget; thus they don’t get the SEO juice they could be getting from anyone who might want to share a podcast somewhere on the web.

Aside from sharing, you can also market your podcast and help bring traffic to a page or even an entire website full of your podcasts. It’s a great way to offer something different to your customers and show credibility and authority.

Other than those two options, there isn’t much to know about SEO and podcasting. Podcasting is all about earning subscribers and keeping them coming back for more. It is generally easier to record a podcast than a video so you may get quite as high of a response, but because it’s so quick and easy I think you’ll find it’s worth it in the end.

Have you ever tried podcasting for your business? What about listing to a podcast as a consumer from a small business? Let us know about your experience and your thoughts in the comment section below.