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Mindful Social Media

I Love Podcasting

Don’t let low download numbers discourage you

By Michael V. Hannigan

How do you create consistent, high-quality content while spending the least amount of time and money?

That is the question facing everyone who wants to build an online audience.

One of my favorite answers is podcasting, but some people will pass on this valuable format because of a perceived lack of numbers.

It is true that podcast stats are much lower than for video. Yes, there are the big podcast stars pulling millions of downloads, but the average niche influencer with a podcast isn’t going to get big numbers.

I am still very high on podcasting nonetheless for three reasons:

  1. Low barriers to entry
  2. High quality connections
  3. Pillar content

Each of these points is important when viewed through the lens of a complete content strategy, particularly No. 3.

1. Low Barriers

It is easy and relatively inexpensive to put together a podcast. I have gotten thousands of downloads using nothing but my smartphone to record and edit the audio. Normally, all you need is a quiet room.

And even that’s not a requirement. I recorded an interview with a football coach on the sideline after an important win. I was then able to edit and post the episode for fans to listen to on their way home.

You can shoot video with your smartphone, but getting the lighting, framing, focus, AND audio all right takes more skill than recording voices.

When you are ready to raise your game, good podcast equipment is also less expensive than video equipment. You can put together a nice podcast studio or travel kit for less than the cost of a single camera.

One advantage video had until recently was the ability to go live, but even that barrier has fallen. Many podcast platforms now give you the option of streaming live. I used that function this year to live stream basketball games.

2. Quality Connections

I have always been a believer in quality over quantity when it comes to social media for small towns or niche influencers. Better to have 10 connections who will walk into your store than have 100 connections who live in another country.

Podcast listeners are high quality connections. Consider, 80 percent of listeners consume most or all of a podcast. (Buzzsprout)

That means the people you reach with a podcast care about your topic and are more likely to make deep connections. More than half of listeners say they think about buying the products advertised on podcasts.

Podcasts reach the people you want to reach.

I record a weekly podcast with my local sheriff. One week on the podcast he thanked another law enforcement agency for their help. That agency called the sheriff to acknowledge the shout out an hour after the podcast went live.

3. Pillar Content

That’s a quality connection.

The idea behind pillar content is simple. You create one piece of longform content and then build smaller, snackable pieces of connected content.

It is a great strategy, but can be time consuming or expensive for those without significant resources. Long blog posts take considerable time to research and write. We’ve already mentioned the challenges with making quality video.

This is where podcasts shine.

As an example, we’ll take a 25-minute podcast I did with the sheriff. The podcast to date has about 150 downloads. Far from impressive.

But I was also able to write two short blog posts from the podcast — with the podcast embedded in the post. Those two posts brought my website nearly 5,000 pageviews.

I also created an audiogram from the podcast. An audiogram is when you turn an audio clip into a video. This particular one received more than 800 shares on Facebook!

What are the penalties for breaking the current Executive Order rules? Up to a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.And Sheriff Hillhouse says they are going to write citations.

Posted by Michael Hannigan on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

That is an impressive amount of reach coming directly from the podcast even though those numbers did not show up in the downloads. 

Final Thoughts

Building an online audience takes a lot of time, which is a challenge for people who are trying to run an organization. A podcast can help by providing high-quality, low-cost pillar content.

Don’t be discouraged by low download numbers. Concentrate instead on the superior connections and extra content.

All you have to do is hit a record.

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