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Creating your own videos

The step-by-step guide to creating your own videos from scratch

Videos are being used more and more in marketing. With shorter attention spans, they help get your message across in a short space of time. It really is time for you to start using videos in your marketing. If you need any more convincing, here are some very persuasive statistics.

  • In 2016, over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day. (TechCrunch)
  • 55% of people consume videos thoroughly, which is the highest amount all types of content. (Hubspot)
  • 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. (Vituets.com)

This trend is only going to gather momentum, so you need to start using videos today!

Now, at this point, you’re probably thinking that you can’t afford to create your own videos in that much volume. I say you can! Anyone with a smartphone can create their own videos – people are always keen to see the person behind the business and get behind-the-scenes exclusives. And for this, your smartphone is your best friend.

Outside of videos you create using your phone, you really should try Facebook Live. Look back at the first stat above. Don’t you want some of that exposure?

Don’t like being in front of the camera?

There’s a brilliant tool to help you make your own videos. It’s called Lumen5, and below is a step-by-step guide for you to follow.

Thinking you don’t have the time? My first video took 10 minutes to create! That’s right, only 10 minutes.

Getting started

When you log into Lumen5, you’ll be taken to your dashboard. Click ‘Create’ in the top right-hand corner and you’ll arrive at a screen like this:

Creating your own videos

Here’s the easy bit. Copy and paste the link for the blog post you’re going to use and then click create. At this point, Lumen5 will get busy with pulling the text from your blog post.

Crafting your storyboard

Creating a video using Lumen5 is essentially like building slides in a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Now, don’t be scared! It’s a lot easier than it sounds. Here’s what your screen will look like once all the text from your blog post has been pulled in.

Creating your own videos

Now, there’s going to be a lot of text in your blog post, so you need to be picky about what you’ll use. If you have sub-headings, that’s a good place to start. Click on a sub-heading, and it will automatically be added as a new slide to your storyboard. Just like this:

Creating your own videos

Once you’ve added all the slides you want, your storyboard will look like this:

Creating your own videos

Now, here’s the great thing. You can click in each one of the boxes in your storyboard and add more text. There’s a character limit, and you’ll be warned when you’re closing to reaching it. Once you’re happy, click ‘continue’ in the top right-hand corner.

Time to make it pretty

The next step is to add images or video clips to the slides in your storyboard. The great thing about Lumen5 is that it already comes with loads of images and videos you can use. You can, however, upload your own images too.

Creating your own videos

Take your time with each slide to get it looking how you want. Search for what you want and when you’ve found it, click and drag it to the relevant slide.

Now, there are a few menus to the right of each slide. Here’s what they help you to do:

  • Preview – you can see what that individual slide will look like when animated.
  • Text – you can decide whether the text on that slide is a title, a quote or normal text. You can even decide not to have any text at all.
  • Text position – this is where the text will appear on the slide when the video is finished. I’d avoid putting it at the bottom of the slide.
  • Highlight – this feature lets you highlight the key message in the text on your slide. You can pick the colour too (more on that later.)
  • Black bar off – this is a great new feature. When turned on, it inserts a black bar behind your text so that it can be seen more clearly when used with images.

Wired for sound

The next step is to add some music to your video. Here’s where you pick:

Creating your own videos

Choose something that you feel is appropriate for your business and the message in the video. Now, there’s no option to add your own music, as with images. But there is a huge choice and they are all cleared for copyright, so it really is worth choosing one of these pieces of music.

Are you on brand?

You want people to associate the video with your company, so need to add some of your branding to it. The branding tab lets you do all this.

Creating your own videos

Firstly, you can add a watermark to your video. This will appear on every slide. I use my logo. So, make sure the slider for watermark is switched to on and upload your logo.

The next thing to sort out is the highlight colour. This is where you make key words or messages stand out by using a different colour. I added the hex value for the green I use. You can do the same. If you’re not sure what yours is, use a tool like ColorCop which will help you grab the hex value. Copy it and paste it into Lumen5 in the highlight drop-down menu.

Another new addition is a choice of fonts. Click the drop-down menu and pick one that closest to your font.

Lastly, add an outro logo and message. These will appear on the last slide of your video. It’s a great way of reinforcing your brand. The outro message should be a call to action. At the moment, Lumen5 doesn’t support buttons to be able to link to content, so I ask people to share the video.

Top tip: if you want to add a link to the full blog post, shorten the link in Bitly. Edit it, so it’s something memorable. Then add this to a slide before your outro message.

Get ready to publish!

We’re almost there. Once you’re happy with how all your slides look, click ‘continue’ in the top right-hand corner. Here’s what you’ll see next:

Creating your own videos

Some of the options here are only available if you pay a subscription. I’ve found the free version works well for me. The thing you’ll need to remember is that at the very end of your video, there will be a black screen telling people you used Lumen5 to create the video. If you don’t mind this (and I don’t because it’s a way for me to share a great resource) then the free version will work fine for you. If you’d like a different size format, this will open up when you pay as well.

Here’s the screen where you can watch your whole video through to the end, with music included. It’s a great time to check everything’s as you expected. When you’re ready, click ‘publish’ and work on creating your video will start. This is what your screen will look like:

Creating your own videos

When your video is ready, here’s what you’ll see on your screen.

Creating your own videos

If you have to go off and do something else, don’t worry about keeping the site open. They guys at Lumen5 will email you when your video is ready.

Ready to share!

Once your video is ready, here’s what you’ll see on your screen:

Creating your own video

At this point, I watch the video all the way through again, just to make sure it looks like I was expecting it to. Also, once you’ve had a break from working on it, you’re more likely to spot any typos, so it really is a good idea to watch it again.

If you do spot anything, just click on ‘edit video’ and you’ll be taken back to where you can make changes. If everything’s OK, then click on ‘publish’ and the video will start to download. I prefer to download it, rather than share straight to Facebook. This gives me the flexibility on when to share it, and to upload it to my YouTube channel.

So, there you have it! Remember, it only took me only 10 minutes to create my first video. It’s so simple, you can do it too. Go to Lumen5 today and start creating your masterpiece!

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Successful with social media

The 6 things you need to be successful with social media

Whenever I meet small businesses I haven’t seen for a while, they always mention how well I’m doing on social media. Now, you might think it’s because I’m a marketer that I’m successful with social media.

The thing is, it’s like any other skill. Yes, that’s right. Social media is a skill. You need to learn the systems and processes you need to have in place to make it work. Once you know these, and you dedicate time (I know it’s a precious resource), you can make social media a successful part of your marketing. If you’re ready to get started, here’s what you need to do.

What do you want to achieve with social media?

If you approach social media like you would any other project, having an objective just makes sense. We do it with pretty much everything else we do, so why not social media?

So, get a piece of paper and write down what you want to achieve for your business by using social media. Is it one of these things?

  • Raise awareness of your business/product/service
  • Find new customers
  • Find partners to work with
  • Increase sales
  • Increase revenue

There are any number of objectives you might decide on, and it doesn’t have to be just one either.

Now you know what you want to achieve, the next thing is to put numbers against your objectives. These are your targets or goals. Keeping track of them is the way you’re going to know if you’ve achieved what you set out to do.

Examples of social media goals you might set:

  • Website clicks
  • Email list growth
  • Brand mentions
  • Impressions
  • Reach

Next, add a time by which you want to achieve your goals. Make these realistic. You’ll only be disappointed if you set unrealistic deadlines and fall short of your target.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a blueprint of how social media will help your business achieve its objectives.

How to get great marketing results

Be strategic – pick and choose wisely!

We’re all attracted to the shiny, new things. And that’s no different with social media. There’s a plethora of networks out there and if you try to be everywhere, you’ll spread yourself very thin.

Don’t be tempted to do too much. Doing a few things well is the way to succeed. And whatever you read about social media being quick “to do”, I’m here to tell you it takes time and effort.

So, here’s the thing:

Pick the network(s) you want to use wisely. If your current customers or target audience use Facebook the most, why should you waste your time with Instagram? You want your message to reach the people who will buy from you; use the networks they use most to help you achieve this.

The next thing to do is to work out who you should follow. Remember, social media is your opportunity to reach audiences wider than your own network. Strategically following people who may have the same interest as you, are in the same business or have bought from you will help you spread the word about your business. Take the time to research who these people are.

Finally, remember the “social” part of social media and make sure you engage with your followers and those you follow.

I love it when a plan comes together!

This is really important:

You need a content calendar. You’ve worked hard so far, don’t fall at this point. In marathon terms, you’ve probably hit the wall and want this planning part to end. Now’s the time to take a deep breath and push to get past planning fatigue.

The content calendar you create is going to pay dividends in saving you time. Every day when you go to post on your social network(s), imagine how you’ll feel when you know exactly what you’re going to post. It beats drumming your fingers on your desk every time!

Another benefit of knowing what you’re going to post is being able to create any images, videos or other assets up front. When you dedicate time, you’ll be surprised at how much you actually get done. It really does work wonders.

Once you’ve plotted out your posts on your content calendar, look at what you can use to create another piece of content. For example, if you’re launching a new product, you might want to follow up the launch post with a blog on the best ways to use your product. Finding ways to get more out of what you’re already doing is going to save a tonne of time.

How to create your own images for social media

Choose your tools

Here’s what you should be thinking about when you choose your tools:

  • Automate
  • Create
  • Measure

You should have a tool in each of these three categories. Picking tools that are easy to use and understand is key here. I’m not going to go into too much detail here. If you want to read my recommendations, click the button below.

Marketing tools for small business

Make the time

No matter what you hear, social media does take time. If you don’t plan it will take even longer. But, don’t be too despondent.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Make sure you have dedicated time to “do social media.” That means putting aside time to focus your energies on creating and scheduling those posts.

For me, that’s 30 minutes each day to work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. These are the places my target audience is. What’s more, that 30 minutes is scheduled in my calendar, and that means it happens. Work out how much time you need each week and put that time aside.

Don’t forget this:

Remember that you are on social media. That means you should be interacting with people as well as posting your messages. Again, if you dedicate time to this every day, it will get done. I will usually look at my networks around lunchtime and at the end of the day. I will spend time liking, commenting and sharing content. This helps me be seen. Doing it consistently will help you be seen too!

Is it working?

This last step is every bit as important as all the ones before it. But, it’s often the step that small businesses miss doing.

Why it’s important:

If you don’t measure, how will you know whether what you’re doing is working or not? Do you really want to waste time and money on things that don’t help your business grow? I thought not!

If you put aside time every month to measure what’s happening on your networks, then you’ll be able to tweak things to help you achieve your objectives. And on that note, you should also be tracking the goals you set. Looking at all the little milestones will help you paint a picture of how you’re doing and whether you need to reassess the objectives you set.

There is no magic wand to wave when it comes to using social media for your business. Like many things, it needs work. However, when you put in that work, the results start to speak for themselves. Don’t leave your success to chance, make the time to do it properly!

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What is a lead magnet?

What the heck is a lead magnet and why do you need one?

I always tell my readers I won’t blind them with marketing jargon, but “lead magnet” is one of my favourite terms. So, I just had to use it in this post. But, I’m not going to leave it there. Read on to understand exactly what a lead magnet is and why your business needs one. It’ll all be clear by the end. I promise!

What is a lead magnet?

Before we get into that, I’m going to talk about what a lead is. Typically, this is a potential customer for your business. They might buy from you. But you want them to definitely buy from you! So, you need to make sure that the leads you attract are the right ones. To understand who your potential customers are, you need to do a bit of research. Start with your existing customer base and profile them. The better picture you can get of who buys from you, the better you can target your marketing to find new people just like them.

So, now you know what a lead is, let’s move on to what a lead magnet is. Simply put, it’s a piece of content that draws the type of leads you want to your business. It’s a way for you to identify potential customers.

Now, a lead magnet can come in different forms:

  • A one-page PDF
  • An eBook
  • A video
  • A webinar

I’m sure you’ll think of others. The thing that these different formats have in common, when used as a lead magnet, is value. What you offer should be valuable enough for a person to want it badly enough that they will give you their details in return.

That means no selling! What you put in a lead magnet needs to be informative and solve a problem your target audience experiences. When you put together your lead magnet, think about your audience’s pain points and ask yourself if you’re solving them. If you can say ‘Yes’, then you have yourself a great lead magnet.

Why do you need a lead magnet?

The main reason I use lead magnets is to grow my email list. Once a person has given me permission to email them, that means I can build a relationship with them. I know it may be old hat, but people really do buy people. Particularly if you’re the only person in your business!

Here’s the thing:

If I had a pound for every small business owner who tells me social media is how to get new customers, I’d be on a very luxurious holiday right now!

What you need to remember is that you don’t own the social network you use. It could disappear tomorrow, taking your audience with it. More likely is that the algorithm will change (just when you thought you’d worked it out) and your engagement will drop.

An email list is yours. You have more control over whether your email gets seen or not. In fact, did you know that email converts 3 times as much as social media?

Focusing on growing your email list will give you a ready-made pool of potential customers. That’s no bad thing. In fact, it’s how you’ll grow your business. Because when you have a new product or service to promote, your list will be ready to hear about it. They know you, like you and trust you. So it stands to reason that they’ll be more likely to buy from you.

What is a lead magnet?

So, just how do you create a lead magnet?

That depends on what you’re creating! Here are some ideas:

  • For a one-page PDF, you can use Microsoft Word or Canva. If you use Microsoft Word, then remember to turn it into a PDF before promoting it. You can do that easily with free PDF converters.
  • For an eBook, if you have the budget, I’d recommend hiring a graphic designer. If that’s too much of a stretch, then, again, Canva would be my go-to tool. They have templates you can use and you can download your design as a PDF directly from Canva.
  • If you want to use a webinar, then there are platforms to help you do that. I typically use Go To Webinar, but I have seen more and more people use Zoom.
  • If a video is your choice, then there’s a great tool I use called Lumen5. You can create your own video in about 10 minutes.

What is a lead magnet?

Remember this one thing:

The reason you’re creating a lead magnet is to capture people’s details to grow your email list. So, you need a way to do that!

  • For a one-page PDF or eBook, use Privy. If it’s your first visit to my website today, you will have seen a purple box pop up offering a freebie in return for your email address. I do that using Privy!
  • I’ve mentioned two webinar tools. The beauty of using tools like this they capture people’s details on the registration page you create. Don’t be tempted to ask for too much information, though. People get put off and will likely not complete their registration.
  • If you’re going to create a video, consider using a landing page to collect people’s information. Something like LeadPages will work well.

Did you forget something?

Now you have your lead magnet, the important thing to do is promote it. After all, you want to collect all those email addresses! Here are some ideas, but I’m sure you’ll come with your own too.

  • Share on social media by creating eye-catching posts.
  • Make the call to action on your blog posts to get your lead magnet.
  • Don’t forget to tell your email list. I know you already have their details, but what a great way to see who your engaged readers are.
  • Add a link to your email signature. If you’ve had an email from me (rather than my newsletter), you’ll know I always add something for people to click on.
  • Change the cover images on your social networks and tell people how to get your valuable piece of content.

So, now you know what a lead magnet is and why you need one, what will you create? I’d love to know, so please leave a comment.

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Creating images for your marketing

The step-by-step guide to creating great images for your marketing

Creating images for blogs and social media can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. If you can’t afford a designer, there are lots of tools that you can use to create your own great images. The one I love, use and recommend is Canva. I use it to create all the images I use on my blog and on my social networks.

Here’s the thing:

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I first started using it! I’m not a graphic designer, but I soon got to grips with it. Now, I want to show you how easy it is to use with this step-by-step guide.

Add your brand colours

Canva has the facility for you to save your brand colours. This makes it easier for you when it comes to designing your images. If you’ve saved them to Canva, you don’t have to dig around for the code you need because they will already be in the colour palette. So, find out the Hex code for your brand colours. An easy way to do this is to use a colour picker such as ColorZilla (which has an extension for Chrome).

Once you know your Hex codes, click on ‘Your Brand’ on the menu on the left and under ‘Brand Colours’ click on the plus sign. You’ll see a colour wheel pop up and at the bottom, there is a box for your colour code. Paste the code for the colour you’d like to add in here.

Creating images for your marketing

Add your logo and fonts

This feature is available if you pay to use Canva. There is another way to save your logo, however, if you want to use your own fonts, you will need to pay to use Canva.

You can add both in ‘Your Brand’. To add your logo, click the plus sign in the logos box and find where your logo is saved on your computer. Select the version you want to use (I recommend a .png file) and then click OK.

Creating images for your marketing

Follow the same process to add your own fonts.

Once you’ve done this, your logo and fonts will be available each time you create a new image.

Create a design

Now you’re ready to get started on your design. Canva has plenty of blank templates to get you started; all the major social networks are covered.

So, pick the layout you need. If you don’t see what you want, click on the plus sign on the top right-hand side of the screen and this will reveal more pre-sized templates. Select the one you want to use and Canva will open a new tab for you to start your design.

Creating images for your marketing

Time to get creative!

If you like designing your own images, you can easily do this using Canva’s different elements. Simply pick what you want to use and click on it. The element will be added to your design. If you add a shape or line, it will automatically use the first of the brand colours you added.

Creating images for your marketing

If you need some inspiration, this is where Canva’s layouts feature comes in handy. Scroll through until you find a layout you really like. Then click on it and it will be added to your design.

Creating images for your marketing

Now’s the time to change the colour to match your brand colours. Click on the element you want to change. You’ll see a colour menu above your design. Click on this and pick the colour you want to use from your brand colours.

Creating images for your marketing

I will say here that some of the layouts are free and there is a cost for others. If you pick one that has a cost associated with it, you will be asked to pay for it before you are able to download your image.

Add your own photos and images

Whilst Canva has images that you can use (these are in the ‘Elements’ menu), you can add your own, which will make your designs unique to you. Here’s how you do it:

Create images for your marketing

Click on the ‘Uploads’ menu on the left-hand side and the click the ‘Upload your own images’ button.

Now, remember when I said there’s a way to add your logo if you choose to use the free version of Canva? Here is where you do it!

Download your masterpiece

Once you’re happy with your design, all you simply need to do is download it and save it to your computer. Now, your image is ready to use.

Create images for your marketing

When you download the image, you can choose between .png and .jpg files. I recommend opening the image once you’ve downloaded it to make sure everything is in the place it should be. If not, go back and edit it.

Magic resize

I just have to tell you about my favourite feature in Canva. It’s called ‘Magic resize’ and it saves me a huge amount of time. I create the image for my blog, but I want the same images for my social networks. Here’s where the brilliant feature comes in. ‘Magic resize’ lets you resize the images you’ve just designed to any of the other size templates Canva offers! This is a paid feature, but it’s well worth it if you want to create lots of images in various sizes.

Create images for your marketing

And there you have it. Creating eye-catching images for your blog or social networks doesn’t have to be hard. Using tools like Canva gives you a simple way to create bold images that will complement your blogs or social posts. Using imagery in your marketing is important – it helps them stand out. Why not read my blog post on how to create your own infographics?

If you’d like to get my weekly tips sent directly to your inbox, just likely over 250 other people do, then join my email list today!

5 Google Analytics metrics you should use for marketing success!

I talk a lot about how small businesses need to measure all their marketing activities. It’s such an important part of marketing. I know many business owners don’t do this. And you know what? They’re missing out on a wealth of information that could really impact their businesses.

I started to think about what I measure and what’s making an impact on how I approach my marketing. One of the tools I use regularly is Google Analytics. It’s an invaluable tool which tells me exactly how my website is performing.

There is a mine of information that you can access in Google Analytics. I’m going to take you through the five things that I check regularly.

The dashboard

If you don’t have a lot of time, this is a great way to check your stats quickly. As it suggests, it’s a dashboard of the main metrics. Here’s what it looks like.

Using Google Analytics

Below this, you can see the summary of how people found your site, where they come from, what devices you use, which pages they visited and few other things. For an ‘at a glance’ view, this works just fine and gives you a snap shot of what’s happening.

Audience overview

Do you know the breakdown of your audience? Well, here’s where you find out. This is what it looks like.

Using Google Analytics

For the time frame you’ve chosen, you’ll be able to see the following things:

  • New vs. returning visitors
  • Number of sessions
  • Number of users
  • Page views
  • Pages per session
  • Average session duration
  • Bounce rate (how many people left the site)
  • Percentage of new sessions

Why is this information important?

Well, armed with this, you can see whether you’re attracting people from the right location, you’ll be able to compare different time frames and see the progression you’ve made. Ideally, you want people to spend as much time on your website as possible so the ‘pages per session’ and ‘bounce rate’ numbers are important to keep an eye on.

Need to attract the right people to your website? Read this blog post.

Acquisition

I sometimes get lost in this one. I think that I’ll take five minutes to look and before I know it, I’ve been there half an hour. Acquisition is where you see how people arrived at your site. It looks like this.

Using Google Analytics

Take a look at the pie chart. You can see how the traffic has been driven to this website. Everyone strives for good organic traffic, and you can see here that 50% of the traffic is organic. But take a look at the green segment. That’s social media. And the yellow segment is email. This is where your social networks and email list come in. Sharing content from your website helps guide people to it.

Why is this important?

It helps you understand which methods are the best at driving traffic to your website. If there are one or two that you’d like more traffic from, you can focus on those to see what you can do to increase traffic.

Want to know how to write emails that get action? Read this blog post.

Behaviour flow

This helps you understand what people do once they arrive on to your website. This is what it looks like.

Using Google Analytics

Within the time frame you’ve chosen, this will show you which page people started their visit on, and then show you where they went next. Remember the pages per session metric we talked about above? This is the visualisation of those pages as the visits happened.

Why is this important?

It will show you whether people find your content interesting. This will help you figure out whether you need to change what you post, or whether to post more similar things.

Goals

I think this is my favourite! Setting goals helps you understand how successful your content is. This is what it looks like.

Using Google Analytics

In the above example, you can see that there four goals being tracked. Each time someone completes one of these goals, Google Analytics registers this and shows you what your conversion rate is.

Why is this useful?

Well, your website should be registering a sale (if you have products) or it should be capturing leads. Goals help you understand how many of the latter you have achieved.

Want to know how I manage the leads I capture on my website? Read this blog post.

I always say that you need to measure the impact of your marketing regularly. By using Google Analytics, you can make sure your website is playing its part in helping you achieve your marketing objectives. Don’t guess, rely on the metrics that will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. It’s really worth taking the time to get to know Google Analytics better. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start to investigate the more advanced metrics. Dive into yours today!

If you’d like to get my weekly tips sent directly to your inbox, just likely over 250 other people do, then join my email list today!

Getting started with podcasting for small business

Getting started with podcasting for your small business

This is a guest post from Kristian Downer of Dow Social Digital Consultancy.

Podcasting is a huge content platform that for many flies under the radar as blogging and increasingly video draw mainstream attention.

The unique way that users consume podcasts and the relationship it allows broadcasters to build with their audience make it a platform that business owners may be able to leverage.

In the UK alone 4.7m adults are estimated to have listened to a podcast with the majority listening via their smartphone with the morning commute a favoured time of consumption.

This audience makes creating a podcast a potential opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs to build an audience for their expertise. This audience if engaged enough can then be monetised as a standalone venture or used to support a core business.

What is a podcast?

The simplest way to describe a podcast is that is like a radio show where the host is in total control, there is no fixed format and any topic can be covered.

This content can be distributed through multiple channels and can give you access to audiences outside your usual sphere of influence, particularly if your podcast is able to chart on one of the main distribution channels such as iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud.

People may listen to your podcast on their commute, in the shower or whilst working, giving you access at times when other content distractions could be limited.

Many podcasts are focused on entertainment but the top business podcasts can get millions of downloads every week and broadcasters range from traditional powerhouses such as the Financial Times to independent specialists in areas such as property investing or being an entrepreneur or a “one girl band”

Podcasts can be solo projects where someone talks about a topic, or they can be a number or presenters with or without guests, it really is up to you the broadcaster to decide.

The power of podcasting for small business

Podcasting is powerful as it allows you to create content that quickly engages and builds rapport with a like-minded audience. A podcast allows you to speak directly to your target audience on a regular basis.

This shortens the time it takes for a user to know, like and trust your business and can quickly build an army of engaged advocates.

Every listener hears your voice, your message and your expertise, which can be leveraged directly via adverts or affiliate deals or passively by building influence amongst your target audience that will have an indirect impact on your business success.

The key is building an audience that keeps coming back and downloading/engaging with your content. Whether the intent is to generate a direct income, influence or both the power of reaching your audience is undeniable.

A great example of this is the Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas, JLD publishes a daily podcast where he interviews entrepreneurs from across the world.

Unlike many business podcasts which are extensions of a core business, the podcast is the core of JLD’s business.  Since launching in 2012 he has generated more than 30 million downloads reaching people in more than 145 countries.

A unique podcast style and the consistency of his message means that his audience feels like they are talking to him directly. Despite never having met the audience feels like they know JLD and maybe even that he is a friend.

By sharing the highs and lows of his and his guest’s entrepreneurial journey’s his audience is invested in him and that has powerful results. He uses this audience to monetise his podcast with a mix of advertising, affiliate deals and his own range of products.

He even runs a free podcasting course online.

How to start a podcast

The technical barrier for starting your own podcast is quite low, in theory, all you need is a microphone, an internet connection and something to say to get started.

Like any marketing project, it is important to understand what success looks like and what will be needed to achieve that.  Is building an audience and a reputation within your target audience sufficient or will the podcast need to generate revenue?

Once you have decided a topic and your target audience (the more defined the better), you will need to work out the format and realistically how often you can commit to publishing new podcasts and on what schedule.

Consistency is the key to ensure that your audience knows when your content will be available and what to expect.

From a technical perspective, there are decisions to make such as what microphone to use (I recommend using a professional one rather than the one built into your PC)

Podcast start-up decisions

  • Target audience
  • Topic for podcast
  • Format
  • What technology and software you will use
  • How often you will publish

Once your podcast is ready it is now about promoting it like you would any other content platform, this can be via social media, SEO and by getting good rankings to get your podcast found in the distribution platform charts such as iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

Is a podcast right for your business?

The success of a podcast depends on how well you can build rapport with a defined audience and your commitment to making it work. Once created this content is evergreen and can be shared repeatedly so the value as you build is exponential.

If you understand your audience, can add value to a topic and are able to commit to making your podcast a success then a podcast can be a powerful platform.

Podcasting can be a powerful tool for small businesses. Just make sure you understand your objectives before you get started.

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