We’ve spent the better part of the last century with some form of audio production competing for our ears and attention. Talk radio has been around, well, since almost the beginning of radio and it’s been 18 years since Christopher Lydon made podcasting history when he took his first audio blog to the internet. With their auditory cousin, the audiobook, and the advent of new social channels dedicated to audio discussions like Clubhouse, more and more audiences are willing to spend their time listening. Which begs the question, might creating your own voiceover podcast be in your future?
Though they seem to be exploding, in the interverse of billions of websites, blogs, and social media marketing, podcasts are still a relatively small niche in the overall marketing landscape, with about 2 million podcasts comprising 43 million episodes. But as the marketing pendulum swings toward audio, they are a great mechanism for micro-targeting specific topics, letting listeners eavesdrop on conversations of interest, and marketing while providing value.
Advantages of Podcasting
There are quite a few advantages to podcasting, both as a creator and as a listener. We’ve been using audio, mostly music, to accompany all sorts of daily activities for the vast majority of most of our lives. We listen to something while we drive, walk, prep supper, even organize our sock drawers. Having something playing in the background doesn’t distract, it enhances the mundane. And now that we have spoken word content in the form of podcasts and audiobooks, we have the ability to be entertained and, possibly, learn something new while we’re chopping our broccoli.
For content creators and businesses, podcasts have a fairly low barrier to entry – the price of equipment is nominal and accessible technology is sophisticated enough to allow you to produce a quality podcast without thousands of dollars in investments. Not to mention, they provide the potential for a lot of bang for your buck as podcasts can build your audience and tribe. Some listeners may visit just once, some may turn into long time followers, but every listen brings traffic to wherever you host your podcast and if they’re on your website, that translates into longer and more frequent visits to your site, which in turn boosts SEO via increased time on site.
Methods in Voiceover Podcast
Businesses use podcasts both to keep employees informed and educated internally and in client-facing communications. I have narrated the intros/outtros for Inside the Vault – a series of podcasted messages from a bank president on a variety of topics aimed toward general consumption and whole short consumable episodes for pharma companies updating sales reps on new clinical trial data. Still, other corporations use podcasts to educate their listeners. Instead of creating eLearning content their staff or members are tested on, they record content and present it in an easily digestible podcast format. Often voice artists are hired to narrate prepared scripts. For instance, my recurring gig as one of the regular voices on the AAFP podcast series.
As you can see with these methods, podcasts are also a great way to increase your perceived authority. Without being blatant self-promotion (or sometimes even with it), they are the perfect way to let a wider audience know what it is that you do. Podcasts not only give you a platform for showcasing your expertise, but a common format of interviewing other people in your field will enrich your contacts of people in your area of interest and help attract and retain audiences.
There are also opportunities to monetize your podcast. This can be done in a few ways. Once your download numbers are high enough, you can invite sponsors to advertise on your show for a fee. (You can also use your show to promote your own products or services). Another option is to include affiliate links in a recommended resources section on your show’s website. When a visitor clicks on a recommended resource link and decides to buy their product, you earn a commission from the sale as an affiliate.
But monetizing shouldn’t be your first or only motivation for creating a podcast. Your primary motivation should be to provide interesting content for your listeners. If you have a lot of passion and expertise on a specific topic, hosting a podcast on the topic will increase your reach and grow your following. Above all, podcasting should be fun, for you and your listeners.
Consider This Before Your Voiceover Podcast
Podcasting is a very inclusive medium where getting started is easy and all voices and points of view are welcome. But just because you can podcast, doesn’t always mean you should. There are some things to consider before deciding to begin your podcasting journey.
Podcasting isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have a lot of time and energy that you are ready to devote to the creation and then the maintenance of your podcast, this probably isn’t the platform for you or your business. Though the technology isn’t difficult to master, it still isn’t a matter of simply hitting record and then hitting stop when you’re done talking. You’ll want to put in the effort to learn the audio technology enough to have a professional-sounding finished product.
And speaking of effort, podcasts are a commitment. Both to your business and to your listeners. Just as with blogging, if you don’t have the time to commit to planning, recording, and preparing a regular podcast release schedule (even if you release one a month), your listeners won’t know when to check back for more and may stop paying attention. Also, there’s nothing worse than putting together some podcasts episodes and then letting a large amount of time go by before producing again.
Also, in some ways, it’s still the wild west out there and your voiceover podcast may be open to pirating and sharing and wider distribution than you initially planned, so be very careful about the content you include in your podcast, especially for the intro/outro music or other content. You need to be careful if you include someone else’s copyrighted material in your podcast and whether you have the appropriate permission/license to use the music.
If you’re curious and want to learn more, join a podcast social media group and marinate in their questions and support. Reach out to the producer of your fav podcast and ask them about it. If you decided a podcast is something you want to create, this is a great resource.