Podcasts—What Are They & Should You Have One?

Clear & Convincing Feature Article

Podcasts—What Are They & Should You Have One?

Podcast: A digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be automatically received by subscribers.

The newest and fastest growing entrant into the digital marketing world is the podcast. An Edison Research study found that podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016. It also found that 21% of Americans, or approximately 57 million people aged 12 and up, have listened to a podcast in the last month. This is a 4% increase in listening over the last year.

Why the increase in listening?

The answer is simple: mobility. 64 percent of podcasts are being listened to on smartphones or tablets. People listen on their commute to work, their evening walk, their morning run, or while completing mundane tasks.

Should you have a podcast?

Adding podcasts to your website or blog increases your reach to additional audiences. Not everyone learns visually, so for the listeners among us, a podcast is the perfect medium. Having a podcast is an effective way to differentiate yourself from other lawyers and to demonstrate expertise in your area of practice.

Podcasting is cost effective, efficient, and offers the opportunity to improve client education. It is particularly appealing for small and solo practices.

Six things to consider for your podcast.

Know your audience. Not everyone listens to podcasts. If your target audience includes millennials who want to control how, when, and where they get their information, then a podcast is fitting. If your goal is to bring in more senior executives, you'd be better off visiting their workplaces and forgetting the podcast idea.

Create great content. Clients refer and are loyal to lawyers they trust, and trust is created by offering well-researched and easy-to-understand information. Your podcast should not include comments about your last family vacation; it must convey the right image and be of interest to your target audience. Interesting, informative, and entertaining messaging creates a great podcast.

Have a co-host. Radio shows and podcasts work better with two speakers. It's more interesting and fun to have someone to talk with. On your own? Invite guest speakers and use a Q&A format to add interest and liven your broadcast.

Know how your audience listens. Many audience members will listen to your podcast on your website instead of downloading it to their smartphone or tablet. Decide where the podcast belongs on your website—in a spot of its own, under a practice area, or in a new section. Podcasts can add to the value of your site for prospective and current clients.

Try to release weekly episodes. In an ideal world, you would release a new episode on the same day and time every week. Your listeners will appreciate knowing they can tune in every Thursday at 4:00 p.m. to hear your latest update on the state of the law in your practice area.

Keep it short and simple. Make the podcast as short as possible. Half an hour is the longest it should be—fifteen minutes is better. If the topic is complicated and needs more explanation, save it for your blog, a speech, or an article. Podcast listeners may be exercising or in their cars, so they won't listen to long or complicated narratives. Podcasts should convey passion, your personality, and a limited amount of content.

Finally, a great podcast needs listeners. Announce it on your website, social media, and the events section of your SBM Member Directory profile. The value of your podcast will increase as it is included in your overall marketing plan.

Roberta GubbinsRoberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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