Last updated 20th of September 2021
Author Lisa Hartwell
It’s Never Too Late to Start a Small Business Podcast
We recently shared an article on Twitter from the Entrepreneur website called “Is It Too Late to Start a Podcast?” where the consensus was that it wasn’t too late, but you might have to work a bit harder to find your niche or unique angle. I agree and would go further and suggest it’s never too late to start a small business podcast.
You can tell yourself you missed an opportunity by not jumping onto podcasts when they were growing in popularity. True, but believe us when we say that it was a lot harder for businesses of any size to maintain the momentum of podcasting and justify the spend when the audiences were lower. Most businesses are not early adopters of marketing trends and wait for proven results before investing time and resources.
Why Start Now?
You might question the sense in starting a podcast when there are already 2 million active podcasts and growing, but there are many more millions of businesses on social media, and almost certainly you’re marketing there and hopefully seeing good results. Direct mail, television & radio, email, search engine optimisation are advertising and marketing routes you’ve probably tried in the past, some successfully, but without testing them you wouldn’t know if they were worth continuing.
Another thing to bear in mind, and something we talk about often, is that podcasting for most content producers is not about reaching millions of listeners like TED Talks, James Acaster, Fearne Cotton or Gary Neville. You’re looking to reach your niche and appeal to an audience that could be small but is specific to your business. You want people who are rabid about your topic, whether that’s 30 listeners or 3000, and when they spend or invest in your niche, your business’s name should be foremost in their minds.
Finding Your Angle
The article suggested 4 strategies for finding a niche for your business’s podcast that can compete in the current market: cover a new topic; appeal to a niche demographic; take a new angle; spice things up. Better still, we think you should combine strategies as they often overlap.
Let’s take a look at the first two strategies…
A New Topic
If you’re a small business owner reading this, you might be wondering how you can take your expertise and find a topic that hasn’t been covered already. We’ve talked about this in previous articles, but we agree that being truly unique with your topic isn’t always easy.
Let’s say you’re in the maritime industry (we’re based in Plymouth, so there are a lot of businesses in this sector). There are many podcasts covering maritime topics: history, news, security, economy, ecosystem, even maritime gardening, that appeal to a wide, international audience. Is there a topic that isn’t covered? How about taking one of those big topics and breaking it down to something smaller. If you’re a business creating software for the industry perhaps your topic could be the impact of new technology on shipping or the marine environment. Or how technology has changed the face of the industry.
Research will show where there is a lack of podcasts on a topic. You should also note where podcasts have been started but died out. Often podcasts are started but then lose momentum and stop publishing. This is not necessarily an indication of a lack of interest in the subject. Many podcasts have been started by individuals who were interested in a subject but lacked motivation to continue putting in the time and effort once they’d begun. Make sure you check whether podcasts are still active before discarding an idea due to competition. I recently researched a podcast topic and found several that had been started but the most recent episode of any of them was from 2018.
One of the most appealing aspects of podcasts is that you can find one on almost any subject. Before the internet it could be difficult (if not impossible) to find information on small niche topics that interested you. It wasn’t worthwhile to publishers to create magazines or even books on low-interest topics but now, when you combine all those around the world with the same niche interest and the lower cost of creating content for them, you can find an audience for your podcast AND build a community around it.
Did you know there’s a weekly podcast called The Pen Addict that’s been running for 6 years covering pen and pen-related subjects? Now, tell me your business making lamp shades doesn’t have scope for a podcast.
A Niche Demographic
Finding a new topic overlaps the 2nd strategy of appealing to a niche demographic, because the more you dig deep into finding a topic the more likely you are to appeal to a tight but enthusiastic group of listeners.
Demographically you could focus on:
- Location e.g. a maritime podcast looking specifically at maritime industry or news or history in South Devon
- Sex - aim your podcast at men or women
- Age – target a specific age group and what that age group is most interested in
- Financial status – appeal to middle income listeners or target high earners and create a “luxury brand” podcast
This is where knowing your core customer or client demographic can help you make decisions.
We have been producing a bi-weekly podcast with Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce called “In Conversation With”. Now, you might think that there isn’t room for another business podcast in the market, after all there are thousands of them, but which podcast is a Plymouth small business owner more likely to listen to? The local Chamber of Commerce talking with successful local business owners about their highs and lows, best advice and strategies OR the Gary Vee podcast?
The answer is probably both! A high-level international business podcast can offer something valuable to any listener just as a local business podcast can…none of us is limited to listening to one podcast on a topic.
Starting a Small Business Podcast
I’ll leave you to think on that one before we move on to our next two strategies. Podcast listeners tend to listen to more than one podcast and even a seemingly saturated market can offer up new topics or be tailored to a different demographic. In the next article, we’ll “take a new angle” and “spice things up”.
Read Part II of this article now at: It’s Never Too Late to Start a Small Business Podcast Part II