Podcasts are now essential to your marketing plan

Blake's Banter Why Podcast

Ok, I get it. You’re the head of an association. You have a marketing budget. For the marketing and communications plan you MUST do some or all of the following things:

  • Build and maintain a web page
  • Host one or more trade shows, award ceremonies, and/or other live events every year
  • Create one or more videos for your annual event
  • Develop and maintain social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Gather information and news to publish in your weekly/monthly/quarterly newsletter

I am about to give you yet another thing to do. Start a podcast.

In other articles, we’ve discussed many reasons to start an audio podcast. It can create an intimate connection with your audience. Usually, your audience spends more time with a podcast than with other forms of marketing because they can do other things while listening. It turns boring chores into productive time, allows for much deeper coverage of your topic, and it is less intimidating than video to potential show guests such as members, policy makers, donors,
experts and others. I am going to go into another key reason why an audio podcast is essential to getting your message out to as many people as possible. It’s all about the guests.

Yes! When it comes to guests on a podcast like this, associations have a very wide playing field. You can reach out to so many people to come to spend some time talking with you in an intimate, let your hair down setting. Start with the obvious–experts and specialists on your staff who will have lots of stories and information to share, guests from outside the organization, high profile members of your association. Soon you will think bigger. Like anything else, your show will slowly get better and better, and the market impact will increase. At that point, all sorts of guests will want to be a part of it. Members of Congress, other elected officials, executives, authors, and celebrities are always looking for exposure. Your podcast gives them what they are looking
for, and it’s win-win, because those people have their own followers who are sure to learn about your association. Having listened for at least that one episode, they may turn into loyal listeners. Other associations are also great sources for potential guests. I have seen this happen on many, many occasions.

Break it down. Suppose your association has a mailing list of 35,000. You invite a guest from an association related to your field, for example, a convenience store association may invite a guest from a beverage association. The guest’s association also has a mailing list of 35,000. You both promote the episode to your mailing lists, and now 70,000 people have exposure to one of your episodes that will be (like every podcast episode) available until the end of the Internet (or until you choose to take it down). Now compound that by a weekly show. 70,000 x 4 weeks = 280,000 potential listens in one month. Obviously, not every person on the mailing list will listen to the show. But if only 15% open the mail and only 5% actually listen, consider the fact that the shows are available until the end of the Internet. With good search engine optimization, people will continue to listen for many years, and, most importantly, prior shows will still be available when the next association guest sends out the episode to their mailing list. Some of our clients have had exponential growth right out of the gate going from 500 total downloads in the first month to over 20,000 by the end of the year, with little to no marketing other than to their own and their guests’ mailing lists.

I have talked about your podcast reach in terms of numbers of listeners. And yes, that is one reason guests and their mailing lists are an important motivation to make podcasting a part of your marketing plan and a way to measure success. But consider this thought: let’s say you are an ice cream association. If the CEO and executive team of Breyers, Häagen-Daz, Drumstick, Nestle, Turkey Hill, Hershey’s, and Ben and Jerry’s listen to this show, would that be a success? In addition to the number of listeners, the quality of listeners that podcasting makes possible is enormous. Just think of the benefit to the association of having industry or group leaders as
your podcast audience. In developing shows for associations, we find the outreach to industry leaders is a key component of a great podcast appearance.

Lastly, there may be that Gold or Platinum level member that you have been dying to have a conversation with but just cannot seem to get in for a real conversation. Imagine calling that person or their assistant and inviting them on to a show that has already hosted 3 elected officials, 2 of their competitors, and maybe 3 of their clients. That could potentially get you in the door or rather they will walk through your door.

Of course, there are many other reasons to have an audio show or podcast developed for your organization. Member engagement, outreach, awareness campaigns, personalization of a brand, etc., but maximizing the quality of your guests and expanding your reach to include all your guests and their organizations is a modern day reality of marketing efforts and goals.