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Podcasts are an odd phenomenon. Just when it seemed like iPods were poised to kill the radio star, a whole new generation of goofy hosts and commentators rose up to create one of the most popular mediums of our time. With nothing but their personalities and microphones, they’ve created an entirely new way of reaching the public that rivals the reach of any traditional media you care to name.

Think I’m overstating it? More than 67 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly according to Edison Research. That’s a number that should pique any entrepreneur’s interest.

Plenty of savvy business owners and professionals are already embracing the power of podcasts to reach new customers and increase their market presence. While it might feel like an odd thing to consider, a podcast could be just the thing your business needs to grow.

Why exactly? Let’s take a look at what a podcast can do for your business.

Build your brand name

A podcast is an excellent way to get your name out there and build familiarity with your brand. I think of it a lot like a blog, as a way to demonstrate knowledge, authority, and presence in the market while elevating your profile. “These guys must know what they’re talking about, they have a blog after all.”

Stretch your content further

You’re probably already writing a blog for your business, or holding seminars, offering courses, or publishing a newsletter. A podcast gives you another way to present that content as well as dive into it a little deeper. Instead of thinking about a podcast as another medium you’ll need to create entirely new content for, think about ways to take the work you’ve already made and explore it in more detail. This way you’re not biting off a huge amount of new work, and you’re gaining the opportunity to create a kind of cohesiveness in your brand’s content (the blog supports the podcast which supports the blog).

Speed up your sales funnel

Half the battle in online marketing is building trust and familiarity. A podcast provides potential customers a chance to hear directly from you on a regular basis. It’s a weirdly intimate relationship, a kind of one-sided friendship. And if it sounds like a little much to call a podcaster a “friend,” take it from someone who used to commute for more than two hours a day and would listen to podcasts to fill the time. Regular listeners can become very familiar and very connected to their favorite podcasts. When they need the product or service you happen to sell, there is no way they’ll go to anyone else.

Show the human side of your business

Podcasting is great for injecting a little personality into your business. Taking some time to sit down and discuss things that interest you and your customers, joke around a bit, and build up the kind of unique rhythm most podcasts do is a good way to remind your customers that there are living, breathing, humans behind your business.

It’s extremely cost effective

Podcasting is not an expensive endeavor. You either probably already own most of the equipment you’d need to produce a professional sounding podcast, or can get it for free. Hosting options are plentiful and should only cost between $5-15 a month for a podcast. Meanwhile, you have a chance to personally connect with hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers. That’s a ROI I can get behind. Remember when businesses would spend hundreds of dollars for a postage stamp sized ad in a newspaper that would inevitably be used as bird cage lining?

Give your business a voice. Producing a podcast may seem like uncharted waters for a business to navigate, but it is the businesses willing to step outside their comfort zone that will thrive in the coming age of direct customer communication.

Nic Rowen is the content manager for Lifeline Design. Hailing from a background in writing, Nic believes great stories make great sites.

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