Pod life...

Garage owners could benefit from the popularity of podcasts to communicate with potential customers

Published:  14 October, 2020

Driven by the change in the way people consume television programmes, which has seen a significant shift to on-demand services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer, the country’s listening habits are being transformed.
    
Until the recent stay-at-home warnings, the number of people listening to live radio had been dropping and is expected to do so again once the Coronavirus crisis has passed. Conversely, those choosing to listen to podcasts has increased significantly, with the latest RAJAR data reporting almost a quarter of 15 to 34-year-olds now listen regularly to podcasts.
    
A podcast is a set of digital audio files that are made available on the internet for people to listen to immediately or download for later use. Users can subscribe to specific podcasts to ensure they receive it as soon as a new one is uploaded.
    
The biggest brands in the world, like Jaguar Land Rover, Nike and Microsoft understand the power of branded podcasts, but regardless of the size of a business, podcasts are a great way to communicate your value proposition to an engaged and captive audience.
    
This on-demand format reflects the growing trend amongst the public and lets brands tell their story anywhere, anytime.
    
For a small garage owner with local clients, there may not be an urgent need for a high-quality global podcast in normal circumstances, however, the current coronavirus crisis has caused uncertainty for businesses of all sizes.
    
This uncertainty has led to a slowdown in business, with many workplaces temporarily closing their doors to adhere to the government’s social distancing measures.
    
During this period, it’s crucial that garage owners maintain their existing relationships and communicate frequently with customers, offering advice or guidance to those who need it most. For this reason, podcasts could be an effective way of keeping in touch with clients, allowing them to take information from podcast episodes and feedback on posts with further mechanical questions.
    
Once you get started, you may find that the podcasts are offering value as a separate forum to promote your business and it could be an idea you want to maintain when business eventually returns to normal.
    
Businesses now use podcasts for a variety of purposes, including sharing information about new products, company news or general information related to the sector in which they operate and even information aimed only for the ears of their employees.
    
Incorporating podcasts into your marketing strategy offers numerous benefits for your business and there’s never been a better time to get started.
    
Your podcast is the opportunity for you to demonstrate, then share your experience and expertise to listeners. Traditionally, you may have relied on the written word, but podcasts are a better way to show your true personality and enthusiasm for what you do.
    
Regular podcasts offering information, opinion and new ideas for discussion help establish you and your business as a leading authority, to be trusted by customers and new prospects alike. Inviting similar respected individuals from within your business or from across your sector to help create the podcasts, will only add to your credibility and generate further trust from the audience, whilst expanding the number of likely listeners.   

Building a stronger connection
Hearing people present sector news or discussing topics creates a stronger connection with the audience than them simply reading the information on a web page. When your podcasts are regular, listeners recognise your voice and presentation style, hopefully finding it a pleasant experience.
    
Listening to you explain in person helps the audience better understand your values and the way you run the business. You become a companion voice, a source for interesting news to be listened to whilst they undertake other tasks; unlike video or reading, which requires their undivided attention. If you’re good, there is the added benefit of your podcast being recommend to others who may be interested in what you have to say and sell.
    
In a survey conducted with 300,000 podcast listeners in the US, around 63% of respondents indicated they had bought what the host had been promoting, which demonstrates the power of podcasts to positively influence the buying decisions of the audience.
    
A podcast may be relatively easy to produce, but the content is critical to the success and longevity of your activity. The mechanics are easy enough, requiring just a good microphone connected to your computer to make the recording and a way of editing the finished sound files. However, while it is often lauded as a DIY project, it is easy to make a podcast that only you want to listen to and professional producers will enhance the quality of the output considerably.
    
The producer is also helpful for handling the transition between speakers, asking the questions, requesting clarification of unclear points or jargon and ultimately editing the hours of chat into a professional and efficient 25-minute sector-specific podcast that thousands will enjoy. The content can cover current events, changes in the sector, news specific to your business, a discussion around sector-specific topics, trends, legislation etc., but it must be interesting to the target audience and delivered in short sections.
    
Thirty minutes on a single topic might bore the average listener, it’s easy to break the topic up into pieces and deliver several podcasts that revisit the subject. It’s also good to point listeners to your website if you have more detail on a topic, like a guide or catalogue they can download.
    
You don’t have to be funny or try hard to entertain. You just need to use your experience and imagination to deliver short bursts of interesting chat or discussion, in a professional manner, with the content tailored to your audience. The more you do, the easier it will become. Once finished, you can start promoting your podcast to increase its exposure to a larger audience. You would need to make the podcasts available on a variety of distribution channels, or enlist the help of a podcast producer, who will know the best channels to choose.
    
If you want to talk in detail about sensitive information only for your employees, perhaps explaining strategic decisions, or current lockdown policy, a private podcast can be created and a link emailed to specific recipients - it can be password protected if necessary.

And finally
Podcasts can be a uniquely spontaneous, informal and intimate medium, perfect for delivering important insight with emotion, warmth and passion for a topic.
    
It’s not all about well-edited scripts or carefully crafted questions, but about researching the topics carefully, agreeing what’s to be covered and then talking with friends as you would in the pub, not the boardroom – it’s where the authenticity comes from.
    
Everyone involved can be in a separate location, which at the time of writing makes podcasts the perfect tool for bringing people together to create memorable content that an engaged audience will find truly valuable.

 

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