40 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have done it.
67 million – just under a quarter of the U.S. 12+ population – did it last month.
Another 42 million did it last week – roughly five times the number who went movies.
“It” is listened to a podcast.
The numbers are huge, and they continue to grow at a very healthy clip according to the latest Infinite Dial report from Edison Research (free download).
Why should online course producers care?
It’s a way to bolster you position as an expert in your chosen topic and pull people to your courses to go deeper. And – here’s a really heartening piece of data from Edison – 85 percent of the people listening to podcasts are listening to all or most of the content.
Now, you don’t have to produce and publish a show to benefit from podcasting. I know, as someone who has produced multiple shows and currently has a long running podcast, that podcast producers are always looking for experts. We need content that is relevant to our audience.
I’ve written about this before. Podcasts can be a powerful marketing channel, particularly if you have a course ready to go, but don’t yet have a substantial audience. If you haven’t already, find the popular – or even semi-popular – podcasts in you niche and try to arrange an interview. (Really. Don’t just nod: read the post.)
Of course, there are also all sorts of potential benefits to producing your own podcast. Some of the key benefits of podcasting include:
You can connect with and showcase other experts. Far from diminishing your brand, this can actually build your reputation as a thought leader.
You can reach your audience and prospective audience in more places than before: commuting, working out, cleaning the house, doing the dishes – you get the picture.
You can create a body of work that complements your paid offerings and provides lasting value to your audience.
You can push yourself to learn more and enhance your expertise by putting yourself on the line to deliver content regularly.
Maybe you can even get your podcast to do the dishes and take out the trash 😉
But seriously, it’s a powerful medium and these are still relatively early days. What a great time to stake a claim in your particular niche.
If you are interested, here is a quick rundown of my current podcasting set-up (what we use for the Leading Learning podcast):
- Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone – Excellent quality at a very reasonable costs. Has a USB connector as well as an XLR connector. We use two of these. Along with them we use:
- Ecamm Call Recorder – for recording interviews over Skype. Ecamm is Mac-only. PC users can use CallBurner
- Garage Band – for editing. This is free on Macs. You can also use Audacity, also free, on Mac or PC. Or, if you want to go higher end, Adobe Audition.
- Libsyn – for hosting. Soundcloud and Blubrry are also good choices. Don’t just host the files on your Web site, though. You want a host that can support streaming well and provide you with stats.
- The intro and outro music we use for the podcast is called You Are So Money and was licensed from RoyaltyFreeMusic.com for about $50 or so. You may also be able to find something you like in the stock music clips included in programs like Garage Band.
- I also use a free tool called The Levelator to “normalize” the audio levels in each episode before outputting to Mp3 format that gets distributed on the Web, iTunes, etc. Unfortunately, The Levelator is no longer supported, though the update released for El Capitan in 2015 works fine on my Mac. You can take your chance, or go with a commercial option like Auphonic Leveler, which might be a safer bet at this point.
For a good guide on how to podcast, see the Ultimate Podcasting Guide page the John Lee Dumas has put together at Entrepreneur on Fire.
If you are not thrilled about the idea of trying to produce a podcast yourself, but still want to capitalize on the benefits of podcasting, you might want to look into a service like Podfly.
Finally, if you are an established podcaster, please comment and let me know about your show. I’ll do my best to spread the word.