This lady knows her stuff.
Kris Gilbertson literally wrote the book on podcasting. Her business is focused on teaching simple, inexpensive (or free) tools to create a podcast that will help boost traffic, leads, and sales. Here is a succinct look at the On Track Tips Hangouts on Air (HOA) interview with Kris:
On Track Tips: I’ve heard you talk about the attention span of podcast listeners, and you gave a statistic I found amazing. Kris, why are internet marketers hailing podcasting as a powerful tool for finding customers?
Kris Gilbertson: We have so much technology available today … it is an exciting time … but what we want most is content on demand. The average podcast listener will give you 90 seconds before they decide whether to stay or move on – and most will listen 30 minutes or more. People don’t stay on your blog nearly that long. When you combine audio with video (as with Hangouts On Air), you get live engagement – that is an epic connection. You get more time in front of your potential customers, and they get to know, like, and trust you that much quicker. Podcasting shortens your sales cycle and brings you high quality leads.
On Track Tips: Podcasts have been around for a long time. Is it too late to get started? Isn’t the space oversaturated?
Kris Gilbertson: That’s a myth. Today, it is all about content on the go. We all have a smartphone or a computer of some type … and that has made it easy for podcasting to get downloaded (one click of a button) and consumed. You no longer have to be a techie to understand or access podcasts. Now we are seeing devices that play through the speakers in your automobile. Podcasts have taken a place of trust through the radio. You become the expert, and you have a built-in audience. Moreover, there are over a billion podcast subscribers on iTunes, and they have over 800 million credit cards on file – that is TWICE the size of Amazon. This is a natural search distribution center – a natural joint venture partnership for you – where the minute you launch, your message goes GLOBAL, and you can attract listeners from all over the world … and more leads for your business. The magic happens because people want to consume content on demand.
On Track Tips: Give us 3 specific ways that our listeners — small business owners, brick and morter, Mom and Pop — can use podcasting for business.
Kris Gilbertson: Small business owners wear a lot of hats. If you want to drive more traffic into your local store, then you need great content and you need engagement with that content. Podcasting can help your small business in these three ways:
- By helping you rank on the first page of search engine results (SERP) for your keywords.
- You can re-purpose content you already have (blog posts, for instance) and turn it into an audio or simple video. That allows you to grab the attention span of additional consumers. Not everybody likes to read.
- When you launch a podcast, you can get featured in New and Noteworthy for eight weeks. If you are looking for press and for local coverage, that’s a big deal. Not only can more people find you, but you can send that out to your local news channels so they can see what you are doing.
Question From the Audience: Can I use podcasting to promote fine arts?
Kris Gilbertson: With podcasting, you can do audio OR video. That said, 80% of podcast listeners are still audio-only, but people will listen to your podcast, then come see your video presentation. For podcasting, tell your story and invite them to your other media. Business is all about story and engagement. Best advice is to start with what you have and keep it simple. You can always upgrade when you are ready.
On Track Tips: What does it take to create and launch a podcast? What equipment do you need?
You can launch a podcast on a shoestring budget, using your internal microphone on your computer. You can also use your iPhone, iPad, or buy a suitable headset for less than $30. If you want to upgrade, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Three microphones I recommends are:
- The Heil PR40 is the mic I use – it’s a great microphone and gives you the look and feel of a professional setup, but it must be run through a mixer.
- The RODE microphone plugs in through your USB and doesn’t need a mixer.
- Another great unit is the Blue Yeti – a USB microphone for around $100.
On Track Tips: Talk about the anatomy of a Podcast. Of course we don’t have the time to get into all the tips and tactics that you lay out in your podcast school, But what does the skeleton of a podcast look like?
Kris Gilbertson: Here are the basics of getting started:
- The first thing is to get focused on who you want to attract – on who your hyperactive buyer is. That is who you want coming into your business, and that is going to build your tribe.
- Then create a theme around that ideal client. iTune visitors see your album cover before anything else, so you want to make sure your theme and title are going to grab that potential listener’s attention. You only have a FEW seconds to do that – but, then they GIVE you 90 seconds or more to decide whether your podcast is for them.
- Next, know your pain points for that client and make sure your content is benefit-driven – beginning with the title.
- Then, be sure to have an intro and an outro … welcome your listeners to the podcast, provide valuable information, then let them know where to go to leave a review and how to get more content from you.
- Upload your files to Libsyn.com (recommended host).
On Track Tips: I have polled the On Track Tips community and they are predominantly Android and PC users. So, in terms of marketing your podcast, where will your audience come from? Do you try to bring your existing community over to iTunes, or do you try to target a new community?
Kris Gilbertson: PC’s do have access to iTunes … there is an app for that. Also, most listeners are now streaming podcasts through their phone. You don’t have to be into iTunes. All you have to do is know how to get your lead in there. You can market through iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud. Concerning feed and apps and all of that – really, all you need to know is there is a HUGE audience out there. You don’t have to know how it works. There is already an audience there looking for you; you just need to know how to tap into it.
Question From the Audience: What are sponsors looking for when making a decision on sponsorship?
Kris Gilbertson: Always begin with the results you want and reverse engineer the process. First, there is a difference between sponsors and advertisers: Sponsors will pay you for an idea that has yet to be produced. Advertisers, on the other hand, are looking for the number of downloads per episode. Build your audience, get your download numbers increasing … then look for sponsors and advertisers. Shoot for at least three shows per week to get more downloads and catch the eye of advertisers. They are looking for about 3,000 downloads per episode. If you have a package of deliverables – maybe a large mailing list, live events, and such – then you can sell a bigger idea for a package to sponsors. Bottom line: Get focused on your theme and who you want to attract, market that out … then bring sponsors and advertisers in.
Question From the Audience: Is it worth going back and creating podcasts for old Hangouts On Air (HOA’s), or is it best to stick with current programs?
Kris Gilbertson: I love repurposing content. The big thing is to remain consistent – getting content out regularly. With content that is already recorded, all you need to do is put an intro and outro on it and get it into the feed. I would weave old content in to what you are already talking about. Another idea is to chop old content up into smaller episodes to focus on one tip per podcast. You don’t need to deliver super-long podcasts. You can keep it short and simple – as long as you deliver great information. The idea is to drive traffic back to your hub … where you can get them signed up on your mailing list. Your subscriber list is your greatest asset as a marketer.
Question: If I have had a podcast around for a while, and I missed New and Noteworthy, Should I cancel my Podcast and relaunch it?
Kris: Relaunch and tweak with new content. Have a launch party and a blitz to fire up the enthusiasm.
Question: Which stats are better, Libsyn or Blubrry?
Kris: It doesn’t matter. All are similar. All you need is a reference point.
Question: Are podcasts better than videos like HOA’s?
Kris: Most people are still audio-only, but they can listen to your video without having to watch it. Don’t get caught up with one versus the other; use them together. Repurpose your HOA’s. Put your feed out there and it will automatically update.
About Kris Gilbertson:
She is the Founder of the LifeStyleAcademy.com and Hosts an iTunes Podcast by the same name. Her guests have included Mari Smith, Amy Porterfield, Mark Schaffer, and many other celebrities. She’s the author of Podcasting For Promotion and The Lifestyle Entrepreneur Book. She is the founder of Podcast School and creator of Expert Launch Blueprint. Kris coaches speaks, authors, and entrepreneurs about how to create a world-class podcast by partnering with iTunes.