Are you interested in adding some audio content to your marketing plan? You might want to consider marketing with podcasts. A high volume of users listen to these downloadable digital files on a regular basis. In fact, a third of the U.S. population over the age of 12 has listened to a podcast at some point, according to Edison Research.

Here's how you can leverage this exciting medium for your small business:

Marketing With Podcasts: Choosing a Platform

Podcasts are recorded audio presentations, discussions or stories that are made available to download or stream online. There are several podcasting platforms available to small business owners; most offer a free trial option to allow you to test the waters before you invest in the product. The most popular podcasting platforms include iTunes, Podbean, BlogTalkRadio, Libsyn and Podomatic.

When selecting your podcast series name, consider something that reflects the theme of what you will be discussing while being intriguing enough to prompt potential customers to download and subscribe. Make sure to add keywords to your podcast's name, host page description and episode titles to allow relevant listeners to find you more easily.

Creating Great Content That People Want to Listen To

Podcasts are a form of audio content marketing, a strategy in which a business attracts and retains customers by sharing ideas and information, as opposed to making a hard sell. For example, a package delivery company might start podcasts by offering tips for packing different items, such as breakables, liquids and heavy objects. A local insurance agent might provide a few basic tips for protecting your home in case of emergencies. In both of these cases, the business in question should refrain from mentioning offers, prices or sales information. However, they may take time at the end of their podcast to provide their location name and address, inviting customers to stop by their business.

Once your podcast is ready to share, it's time to promote it. Be sure to take advantage of social sharing buttons, and use links provided by the podcast system to place widgets or radio players on your company's website. Finally, you should email links to your new podcasts to your customer list on a regular — but not excessive — basis.

Podcasts provide you with a great platform through which you can add engaging audio content to your company's website, social media platforms and more. They're inexpensive to start, and don't require much more than a time commitment to maintain. As podcasts can be downloaded and shared for years to come, they can serve as a great marketing technique over time.

Tags: market research Marketing Campaigns Business Strategy