Time for a new episode of The Story Behind the Lemon, my podcast about podcasting and the fun of running a business in the world of podcasting. (New episodes drop, as the kids say, every Friday afternoon.)
In this episode I talk about ways for a business to be involved with podcasting besides the obvious way of just starting a podcast.
You can listen right here on the site thanks to Transistor’s sweet embedded player – in dark mode (cue dramatic music):
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How Can a Business Get Involved in Podcasting?
Lately I’ve been having conversations with people who feel like they should be doing some sort of podcast but who’s jobs or businesses don’t immediately lend themselves to an obvious podcast format or style. So I thought I’d talk about 4 ways that a business might get involved in podcasting.
Sponsoring a Podcast
If you’ve listened to any podcasts in your life, there’s a good chance you’ve heard a sponsor message.
Whether it’s for a developer focused service like Cloudbees Rollout, building your website with Squarespace, buying a new mattress from Casper, or getting some new underwear from MeUndies, sponsors are a big part of what’s made podcasting as successful as it is. While many podcasters work on their podcasts regardless of it bringing in money or business, without sponsors, many podcasters wouldn’t be able to work on the shows they want to create.
To figure out how to sponsor a podcast you think your business should advertise with, generally you can contact the host or visit the website for the podcast. If they’ve had sponsors before, they’ll definitely be looking for new ones. How much you’ll pay for a sponsored spot on a podcast will vary depending on how many listeners or subscribers the podcast has, as well as how focused into a niche the podcast is. If you sell vintage Star Wars toys, a podcast all about Star Wars is going to be worth a whole lot more to you than a podcast that talks about how to grow lemons in Saskatchewan. That’s one of the huge perks of advertising on podcasts – if you pair with the right podcast, you can speak directly to your target market.
If your business is a national or international operation – maybe selling your products or services on the web to the world – then it’s pretty easy to find bigger podcasts that have a global reach and try and sponsor them.
Where it gets more difficult is at the local level. There might be a lot of podcasts around you being created by people in your city or region, but it can be very hard to find them. They might not have your city in their name. They could be speaking to your perfect niche of listeners, but you don’t know they exist. A podcast with financial advice for rich folks with too much money might be a great one for an upscale clothing store, home builder, or realtor to sponsor.
p.s. if anyone wants to start a podcast targeted at super rich people and needs an editor, give me a call.
If you have followers on social media, start by asking for suggestions of local podcasts – not necessarily podcasts made locally – but podcasts that have a local focus. And when you find some, try out a sponsorship of an episode or two.
You likely won’t see any immediate return on that – podcasting sponsorship is a long game play. It’s why you hear about Squarespace for 200 episodes straight. But you’ll get the experience of working with the podcaster and see how professional they are, how well they handle your requests for what the sponsor read should say and sound like.
Helping Someone Start a Podcast
What if you can’t find any local podcasts serving your area or niche? And you’re too busy to actually start your own podcast. Send an email out to your best customers and ask if any of them currently do a podcast talking about your industry – you never know, there might be someone out there already that’s been too shy to talk about it. But assuming nobody has, ask your best customers if any of them are interested in starting a podcast. And offer to help fund the development and recording of the first season – say 10 episodes – of the podcast. You might spend $500 on gear, and another 5 to $10,000 on production and editing time – but if it’s done well and with the right people who are already passionate about your industry or market, you could help jump start a successful podcast.
It doesn’t even have to be a podcast about your industry specifically. Maybe you’re a local beer brewery and you pay for the development of a podcast telling local ghost stories and lore.
If you really want to open the floodgates, create a “Podcast Startup Fund” with a $10,000 pot of cash going to the best podcast pitch that aligns with your market.
Make Your Own Podcast
And of course, you could start your own podcast in house – but be sure to hire me to edit and help you produce it. Obviously.
It can be as simple as an audio version of your blog posts or newsletters you already are writing, just in audio form. It won’t necessarily garner you the widest array of listeners, but it will help those who enjoy what you’re trying to do to listen along while they’re doing things besides sitting and focusing on your blog or social media efforts.
One level up from that is talking with your employees or people in your industry about the work you do. If you repair shoes, talk about all the intricacies of shoe repair. I might not subscribe, but an episode you create about how to get gum off your shoes might get shared into my social feed and I listen to that episode and then remember your shoe repair shop when it comes time to get my winter boots fixed.
If you’re a home builder, document the process of building a home with you – in audio form. It’s more work than taking pictures, sure. But done well, it creates an instant audio story that you can share on your podcast as well as re-use on social media.
If you’re a coffee shop, interview some regulars. Do the small town coffee row political conversations in front of a microphone. See what kinds of conversations it sparks.
In the previous episode of this podcast, I talked about some of the podcast ideas that people wish they could find. Maybe go back and listen to episode 11 and see if there’s an idea you’d like to start.
If you’re curious about making a podcast and the costs associated with it, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter at lemonproductions.ca/newsletter – I’m planning to have some intro to podcasting training sessions in the new year at my office.
Talk About the Podcasts You Enjoy
Even easier – and cheaper – than putting any money into podcasting is to talk about the podcast you or your team enjoy listening to. You could write a blog post once a month with the 5 podcast episodes you and your employees enjoyed or found inspiring. It’s guaranteed to generate some conversation, especially as you share that out to social media and in your company email newsletter. Someone who already listens to podcasts is generally very interested in finding out more podcasts to listen to. Invite people to respond with their favorite shows or episodes. Just like talking about favourite bands and songs, people who are into podcasts love sharing and talking about their favourites.
If you’ve got questions about podcasting you’d like me to cover, here’s your chance to get them on my to do list.
Got Questions for a Future Episode?
If you’d like to send in a question for a future episode, there’s a few different ways to do it:
- Leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
- Send me a tweet on Twitter.
- Send me a DM or reply to a Story on Instagram.
- Sign up for my email newsletter.
I hope you enjoy the podcast. I’m excited to continue telling both my own story in podcasting as well as answer your questions about podcasting. I’ve been podcasting for almost 10 years and it’s awesome to see how it’s grown and changed over the years. I continue to believe that it’s one of the best ways to engage and communicate with your audience, fans, or potential customers.