By Brendan Cournoyer published January 17, 2012

3 Reasons Why Podcasts Should Be Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Whether I’m in the car, riding the train, or even just sitting on the couch in my living room, I enjoy hearing people share off-the-cuff opinions on interesting topics. Conversations are fun — that’s just me.

But I also create a lot of podcasts: Every week on OpenView Labs, we post a new podcast episode on varying areas of company development, often with the help of influential guests from around the industry. There are a lot of reasons why podcasting works. As CMI has pointed out many times, different people consume content in different ways, and it’s important to get your message and brand out across multiple channels. Podcasts can also help add variety to a mostly text-based content strategy. 

So obviously, I like podcasts. That’s great. But why should you like them too? If you’re not already creating at least occasional podcasts or audiocasts as part of your content marketing efforts, here are three things to consider.

#1. Podcasts are an easy way to generate guest content

Content marketers talk a lot about leveraging guest content, particularly from thought leaders and influencers. But one of the biggest challenges with obtaining guest content goes beyond simply building relationships with your target influencers. Often, those people are just too busy to sit down and compose something unique from scratch. “I’d love to help, but I’m just too swamped at the moment. Can we touch base again in a few months?” It’s a common response that marketers hear all too often.

But while writing an original article might sound too tedious for some thought leaders, most are much more open to a 15-minute phone call. The next time you’re looking to wrangle a bit of guest content from an influencer, develop a topic and a few questions and ask if he or she would be willing to call in for a short chat to share some thoughts. More often than not, they’ll say yes.

#2. Podcasts are a quick-turnaround format

No matter what type of audio software you use, you’ll soon find that the editing process for a podcast or audiocast is almost always a breeze. (We are partial to GarageBand, but I’ve also used free options like Audacity.) Simply record your conversation, add a short intro (I recommend purchasing some theme music as well), give the audio a listen to make sure the sound is clear and at a good volume, and you’re good to go.

Once you save the audio as an MP3 file, it’s essentially ready to post on your site. Simple as that!

#3. Transcribed podcast conversations are a simple source of written content

Obviously, one of the downsides of audio content is that there’s not much text for Google search engines to crawl. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Even if you were just slapping an MP3 file onto a (mostly) blank blog post, a well-optimized title and meta-description is still a must. But why stop there? By transcribing the audio of your podcasts, you can not only generate more written content for your site, but also increase the potential SEO value of your podcast content based on the target keywords found in the transcription.

Better yet, say you recorded a 15-minute podcast where you asked a thought leader five questions around a specific topic. By transcribing the audio, you could split each question and response up into its own mini-blog post. Suddenly, you have six pieces of valuable, unique content (the five posts and the podcast itself), all from a single 15-minute conversation.

Obviously, podcasts aren’t for everyone, and traditional written content will always be the bread-and-butter of a successful content strategy. But by choosing the right opportunities to start rolling out podcasting as part of your overall efforts, marketers can easily begin to generate more unique, influential content in very little time.

Image credit to Danilo Rizzuti/Free Digital Photos



Author: Brendan Cournoyer

Brendan Cournoyer is a content manager at Brainshark, a sales enablement platform provider that helps companies more effectively prepare employees, engage with key audiences, and advance business opportunities. For more musings on the world of content marketing, SEO, and more, follow Brendan on Twitter @brencournoyer. You can also find more tips and ideas on using online video content to enhance your marketing strategies by visiting the Brainshark Ideas Blog.

Other posts by Brendan Cournoyer

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  • Don Metznik

    Thanks, Brendan. Help me to take it to the next step: how to get quality audio via a phone interview?

    • Brendan Cournoyer

      Hi Don, like Spencer recommended, we also use Skype for recordings over
      the phone. The quality of the audio is often mostly dependent on the
      phone connection tho. Using a mic hookup instead of a phone line
      drastically improves the overall quality of the audio. I use a mic for
      all our phone interviews, and if the guest on the other line has one
      too, even better. (I’ve recorded podcasts over Skype when the person
      calling in used a mic, and the quality was so good, you’d think he was
      right there in the room with me).

      For simply recording standard phone calls from your desk, there’s lot of
      software out there you can use. Also, our friend Rob Yoegel of Monetate
      has recommended – which I
      believe both parties can dial into and they create an audio recording of
      the conversation for you. I haven’t used this myself, but I’ve heard
      the quality comes out pretty solid.

  • Spencer Thomas

    Have you considered recording your conversation over Skype? I get high quality audio using Skype + a free recording software.

    • Brendan Cournoyer

      Right on Spencer! We use Skype as well and the audio usually comes through very nice.

  • Phil Donaldson

    Right on, Brendan!

    Podcasts are a wonderful way to capture knowledge through conversations and build relationships with guests. We started with phone recordings and have since invested in an inexpensive M-Audio recording adapter for the laptop and a couple of microphones. Showing up at the subject’s office and recording face-to-face helps with visual cues (keeping folks from stepping on one another during conversation). Having the interface will help with high quality recording through Skype as well.

    Another benefit comes from having guests provide content offers with the podcast. If they’re too busy to create the relevant written content, they just may hire you to generate it. We’ve been fortunate to have that happen a time or two. On that note, podcasting helps to demonstrate an additional area of content competency.

    We’re also appreciating that the PDF transcripts help with findability (as well as provide clarity if there are new, complex terms or if a guest has a thick accent).

    Thanks for this post. I need to share it with some folks.

    • Brendan Cournoyer

      Thanks for the awesome insights Phil! Agree on all counts. We have an M-Audio setup as well in our studio, and as I mentioned below, a good mic goes a long way. Glad you’ve had success with the transcripts – they’ve been great for us!

      • Phil Donaldson

        Agreed vis-a-vis the microphone. Even something as basic as a Shure SM58 can really make a difference.

        Another benefit of the transcript is quick reference for any blog post that accompanies the podcast release. It’s cool to be able to scan for salient points of the conversation. I like that point you made about the blog posts.

        • Brendan Cournoyer

          Another great point. Sometimes I’ll just lift an interesting section from a transcript and comment on it for a Blog post w/ a link back to the full audio. Gives me a new post in a matter of minutes, and a backlink to boot

          • Phil Donaldson

            True ‘dat! 🙂

  • Spencer Thomas

    Brendan, I thing a fourth reason belongs on this list: podcasts are mobile. Submitting your podcast’s RSS feed to iTunes allows for the audience to access the audio file from anywhere. Personally, I stream a number of podcasts straight to my iPhone for easy listening while driving or working out.

    • Brendan Cournoyer

      Absolutely Spencer – No doubt the mobility of podcasts is a HUGE benefit to consider. I download podcasts to my iPhone as well and listen in my car  – it’s like on-demand talk radio. I’d be willing to bet the majority of listeners do something similar.

  • BernieBorges

    Brendan, I’m a former podcaster. I enjoyed producing the content and I enjoyed the branding value I received. But, podcasting is very time consuming. Unless you are an expert at software like Audacity, it requires a hired helper to edit the audio. Transcribing the podcast into a blog post is also very time consuming. I stopped podcasting because it is too time consuming for me. Of course, if you have the time to devote to it, it’s a terrific way to produce content. I just want to offer an opinion to someone who might be considering podcasting, that it’s a significant commitment.

    BTW, I still listen to podcasts. I’m a big fan of the medium. I’m just not a producer any more. Just a consumer. 😉

    • Brendan Cournoyer

      Hi Bernie – I totally agree, the transcription process can be a real time suck. That’s why I recommend utilizing services like Speechpad, which will transcribe your audio for you and turn it around in as little as 3 days for $1 per minute (i.e. $10 for a 10 minute podcast). They do an excellent job, and take the time to research  things like names of people and companies, so you aren’t left with a bunch of editing once it’s turned in. It’s essentially ready to post as soon as the transcription arrives in your in-box.

      • Steinar Knutsen

        Fiverr is the way to go for audio transcriptions.  Up to 10 minutes for $5 flat rate.  I’ve had nothing but good luck there.

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  • Jeremy Abel

    Brendan, Thanks for sharing. As BernueBorges mentioned, however, the process can take some time for new entrants, yet I’m sure there’s enough talent/forums available for assisting the process. From the consumer side if you can download the podcast and link it to an iPod- perfect. I’ll load my iPod with a bunch of inbound marketing, SEO, and general marketing podcasts just before the gym so I’m not losing an opportunity to  hear a new perspective. Further, it’s a safer alternative in the car, as you can listen to the story on the drive in to work. Finally, I think audio content helps listeners get a better sense of your brand’s personality-  something that can be challenging to convey in a single written post. 

  • Carl Friesen

    In my work marketing professional services firms, the product is the
    people — mostly, the subject-matter experts who are rock stars in their
    own narrow world, ranging from contaminated-soil remediation to
    logistics. I find podcasts are a good way to show the personality of
    these people. Too many times, an engineer or other technical professional will
    turn into a wooden, turgid geek when asked to write anything — it’s not
    their fault, it’s just how they were taught. But the same engineer can be
    relaxed, fluid and fluent when asked to explain her or his work in
    person over a beer.  Audio podcast interviews are a good way to show the
    good side of their personality — someone who is knowledgeable, caring
    and fun to be with.

  • Dave Thackeray

    No doubt that podcasting is the secret weapon of companies looking to wear their personality, passion and prowess on their sleeves.

    I’ve been coaching companies to podcast for years and all agree there is no better way to educate, enlighten and entertain prospective clients in an informal, whenever-you’re-ready environment.

    I’m so glad you wrote this post, Brendan – and the comments reflect the power of the podcasting medium. Bravo!

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  • Lucas Duxbury

    Hey thanks for the article…and right on with the transcription piece…especially seeing as google loves text content.

    Only thing I didn’t quite agree with is the quick turn around. Ask most podcasters and definitely the most tedious and painful part of the process is always the editing and producing of a quality audio file. Then you gotta FTP upload it somewhere…and know how to do that…then you have to create links to it and publish it on your site…all a lot of work.

    Even now with other plugins and software there is always a lot of work involved in the process of podcasting.

    I have found a great new product however called Live Audio Cast…the automates the whole process. Record in the browser…then it automatically adds your intro and outro and then automatically posts it to your site as well. Cuts out a large amount of the processing part of podcasting. Now you can really just create and influence.

    No more Garage Band or Audacity…simple.

    check it out