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Could Podcasting be the Next Big Thing for Inbound Marketers?


Lately, it seems there's been a resurgence of interest in podcasting. And, I'm beginning to think it's a potential big opportunity for inbound marketers to add to their content mix.

podcast microphone

"Podcasting," as defined by the Podcast Answer Man, (a.k.a. Cliff Ravenscraft) "is a series of media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often delivered through web syndication feeds." The term, according to Wikipedia comes from the mash up of "iPod" and "broadcast." Audio podcasts are most often delivered in MP3 format and played on MP3 compatible devices.

When you think about the market opportunity, consider there have been over 85 million iPhones sold in the U.S. since 2007 and 34 million iPads since 2010. Couple those figures with reports that there are approximately 37 million gym memberships and 97 million people who drive to work alone over a daily average of 26.4 miles, and you have a prime podcast opportunity.

I first started subscribing to business and marketing related podcasts with an iPod around 2005. I found going on a 3-5 mile run a few times a week was also a great time to learn something new, get inspired and get new ideas.

Consider too, not everyone is a reader or has time to read. A colleague of mine recently shared that with work, a growing and busy family he just doesn't have time to sit down and read a book, or keep up on blogs. But he consumes audio books on his 45 minute one-way commute, and he's now thinking about subscribing to some podcasts, as well.

There's no doubt there's an entirely new and hungry audience who can be served by an audio podcast.

Granted, podcasting may not be very well understood or widely used as a marketing tool. The SEOMOZ "State of SEO and Internet Marketing in 2012" report lumped it as: "Audo, music, and/or podcasts" and showed that less than 10% of respondents used it. But if I was to make a prediction I'd say in just a few short years we'll see podcasting being broken out into its own category and rise to the 40% range - right along with video.

Here are some reasons why podcasting could be huge:

1. Apple has built and now includes the Podcasts app on iOS devices. Podcasts are more easy to find, subscribe to and enjoy. So, technology and tools enabling better awareness and access are in place that will help drive more adoption. It also doesn't hurt that Apple is behind it.

2. Michael Stelzner is now podcasting. The guy who built to onesocial media marketing podcast of the most recognized social media destination sites on the Web, and a multimillion dollar business in just a few short years has launched the Social Media Marketing Podcast. The content and production value of his podcast is second to none. In just a little over a month he has over 17,000 subscribers and is already recognized as a top 5 podcast in his category. At the time of this writing he has 82 reviews and a 5-Star rating on iTunes. He is creating a lot of buzz and awareness among marketers that podcasting is a viable content marketing strategy. For more on this, check out his 9th episode titled, Podcasting Renaissance: Is Podcasting Make a Comeback? I guess the way I look at it is if Michael Stelzner is having a ball at podcasting, the rest of us should pay attention and not be too late to the party.

3. Michael Hyatt is podcasting. Hyatt's got about 27 episodes out on his This is Your Life this your life podcastWeekly Podcast. In case you've missed hearing about him, Michael Hyatt is the former CEO and chairman of the board of Thomas Nelson Publishers. His blog is focused on what he calls, "intentional leadership" and is one of the top blogs in the world. He has a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today besteller in the book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. I first heard of Hyatt through listening to others like Pat Flynn who would quote him via his Smart Passive Income Podcast.

Please note: I'm linking to these podcasts because not only do I think they're exceptional content for those interested in marketing, social media, leadership and business, but because they each have a blog to complement their podcasting. And that brings up my fourth point of why podcasting can be a great strategy for inbound marketing.

4. If blogging is the yin to building an audience, podcasting might very well be the yang. There might be no better way to reach a new audience and build your blog than by starting and maintaining a podcast. For proof, check out The Podcast Answer Man's episode #267 recorded at the 2012 BlogWorld in NYC: Why Bloggers Should Consider Podcasting with Pat Flynn, Adam Baker, Derek Halpern and Katie Davis.

So, those are some pretty good examples and reasons to start thinking about adding a podcast to your content marketing mix. I think it's one of those opportunities a business could jump on and get first-mover advantage. I also believe it takes some strategic and practical planning. You want to do it right with a high production value.

podcast answer manIf Podcasting is of interest, I recommend checking out some of the podcasters I mentioned and linked to in this article. Become a listener and a subscriber first to learn of the benefits and consider the different formats and what appeals to you.

Then if you want to learn how, check out Ravenscraft's free, Learn How To Podcast 101, 8-part video series. Ravenscraft has been called the grandfather of podcasting. His Podcast Answer Man is a podcast all about podcasting. Whether you take his free video tutorial or listen to his weekly podcast, you'll get a good sense of what's involved and how to get started.

What do you think about podcasting as a content marketing strategy?