Tuesday 09 July, 2013
In recent years, the comedy industry is suffering. There are fewer gigs for stand-up comedians and the money isn’t there like it was during the flush times of the 80s and 90s. Even while this is so, many comedians are growing their fan bases and reaching more people than ever before, and this is leading to career-boosting opportunities.
They’re doing it through podcasting. A podcast is like a radio show that’s streamed or available for download on the Internet. Podcasts are audio files such as mp3s and are available through networks like iTunes. Like these comedians who are enjoying more career success than they would have imagined, marketers can use podcasts to reach the world.
Arguably the most popular comedy podcast is Marc Maron’s WTF. Recently, Maron got his own show on IFC and it was largely due to the massive fan base he built through his podcast. Like the best podcasts, WTF has a clear focus – It’s about comedians talking about comedy.
To launch a successful podcast, you need a focus. It needs to be about something and the narrower the focus, the better. Brainstorm topics that are of interest to your target market, focusing on problems they have. Also brainstorm sub-topics within your niche that you could blab about endlessly. Keep in mind that podcasts can be anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours (although around 30 minutes is the recommended time for most).
Your Podcast’s Format
There are many different podcast formats you can choose from. WTF and many other comedy podcasts are interview-based. After a short introduction, the host interviews someone in the comedy world. For you, it may be someone in your industry, an expert in your niche, or even a regular person with whom you can discuss common problems.
Some podcasts take listener calls or questions. This can be done either live or beforehand, which allows you to screen calls before airing them and prepare answers. Many podcasts have segments. There may be a caller segment, an interview segment, a news segment, and so on. Some have music.
Another idea is to create a podcast series. Take a large topic and break it up into sub-topics, and turn each of those sub-topics into a podcast. Consider your topic and your audience before settling on a format.
Spicing It up
Podcasts can be simple as long as they offer value. It can be just you and a guest talking, as long as what you’re talking about is interesting to your listeners. However, with audio editing software, it’s not hard at all to spice up a podcast. You don’t need a great deal of bells and whistles, but intro and outro music makes it more fun to listen to.
The beauty of podcasts is that they allow you to build a fan base. They’re not great as a monetization strategy. However, there are some ways you can make money with your podcast.
One is to offer advertising, using the traditional radio model. Your podcast needs to be pretty popular before you can attract advertisers. You can play their ads during your podcast or read their ad text for them.
Another option is to offer free and premium episodes, or to offer half the episode for free but listeners have to pay for the rest.
Whether you monetize or not, you can use podcasts to brand, build your fan base, and bring new prospects into your sales funnel. Focus on providing an entertaining and informational experience that helps your listeners solve their problems.