The right people, the right listeners, the right strategy, the right tools, and the right marketing tactics is what it takes when it comes to podcasting. For many, podcasts may seem like a strange choice for marketing, but the fact of the matter is that it’s really a gold mind for today’s social media user.
Don’t believe us? Consider this: Apple has surpassed 1 billion subscriptions for podcasts via iTunes. (Source) Even more telling, the percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the past month has almost doubled since 2008, from 9% to 17% by January of 2015. The percentage listening in 2015 was up two points over 2014 levels (15%). (Source)
That’s a lot of statistics thrown your way, but they prove a point:
Podcasts are here to stay, and they’re only getting more popular as the years pass. The best part? They’re most popular with the niche market of socially-busy, tech-savvy consumers.
While that’s all well and fine, you might be cautious to begin your podcasting endeavour because, well, it’s a new avenue for you. Podcasting is much different from other forms of marketing in that it relies heavily on audio, which can be a daunting task for marketers who have relied heavily on text, images, and video in the past.
But what makes podcasts so different from other marketing tactics is also what makes podcasts great for extending your social reach and brand awareness. The downside here is that as unfamiliar as you may feel with hosting podcasts, your customers who would love your podcast content may also feel just as uneasy.
If you’re new to the game, then it’ll pay to know these podcast hacks to set you on the right track. For podcast veterans, it may simply be time to shake up the stagnant waters and boost your consumption rates and listener counts.
Hack #1: Publish in Mono Instead of Stereo
If you’re new, this may sound like Greek to you, but bear with us. When consumers listen to your podcast, they want a comfortable experience. Large swings in sound quality can simply become annoying after a few minutes. But aside from simple annoyance is the fact that certain publishing methods can actually diminish the experience and listen-ability, as it were, for specific consumption methods.
Many of your listeners will likely use earbuds, and many also choose to use one earbud versus two. When you publish in stereo, you’re able to separate voices so that one voice might pan slightly to the left (so that it’s a little louder in the left ear than in the right ear), and the other slightly to the right. This may make the conversation easier to follow, and it can be great for times when there are multiple speakers and your listeners are using both earbuds.
If you’re publishing a podcast with just one or two speakers, or if the voices are always ‘centered’, then it’s probably better to publish in mono. This can make it every voice is at equal volume, which is great for those earbud listeners who use only one bud at a time.
Depending on which publishing system you’re using, the how-to for this may be different. For instance, if you’re using Audacity, you’ll do the following (image credit):
- Find the interview track for the podcast you’re editing.
- Click on the black triangle on the left-hand side to open a dropdown menu.
- Select “Split Stereo to Mono”. This will convert the interview track to mono meaning the sound of both voices will come out from right and left speakers.
Hack #2: Compress Your Audio
If you’re thinking ‘but why would I want my files to be smaller?’, then you’re misunderstanding what we mean here. Learn more about audio vs file compression <<HERE>>.
Good audio editing software will give you the option to compress, and this means that you’re editing by using a filter that reduces the volume of the loud parts of your podcast so that they are closer to the volume of the quiet parts of your podcast.
To learn more about how to compress your audio file, check out Scott Burton’s article on audio compression <<HERE>>.
Hack #3: Normalize the Audio
Have you ever had to crank up the volume on your device to listen to a podcast, and even then, they were still at a whisper? It can be aggravating and will likely cause your listenership to fall off dramatically. This is why you need to normalize your audio.
After you’ve compressed your audio, you’ll now want to normalize it. If your audio editing software supports it, convert your 16 bit audio to 24 bit before going through these steps to prevent your sound quality from diminishing (which can happen since you’re first compressing/shrinking and then stretching/normalizing). Then, when you’re done fiddling with your audio, you should convert it back to 16 bit in preparation for output as a finished MP3.
Okay, so now to normalize. Check out the how-to at Learn Digital Audio <<HERE>>.
Hack #4: Embed Tags
Publishing your edited and perfected podcast is only the first step. You’ll get a listenership built when you share on social and through your email lists, but to really boost your numbers, you need to find new ways to branch out and reach new listeners.
First, you need to either use:
- Software for setting MP3 metadata (commonly known as ID3 tags)
Then, you’re able to embed tagging information into your file. Make sure you include the following:
- Track number: the episode number of your podcast.
- Title: the title of the episode.
- Album: the name of your podcast.
- Artist: your name, or your company name.
- Genre: set it to Podcast.
…and that’s it! For basics, at least. If you really want to look good, take the extra step to add an image as the album artwork for the episode. Typically, this would be your podcast’s logo, but we also like to include an image of our interviewee and the podcast title as well.
Let’s Wrap it Up…
Podcasting is a great way to connect with users via audio formats, but you need to know the best hacks to help boost your consumption and listeners.
- Publish in Mono instead of Stereo
- Compress your audio file
- Normalize the audio
- Embed your tags
You tell us: Do you have a podcast? What hacks do you use to boost consumption and listeners?