Are episodes of your podcast “the thing” at the bottom of your marketing funnel? Or are you using them at the top of the funnel? What about as content in the middle of the funnel? And what the heck is a marketing funnel?
You don’t have to be a marketing expert to put out a podcast. But unless you’re doing your show purely for fun, your podcast episodes play a role in marketing. Yes, even if you didn’t intend them to.
This episode will not teach you how to create an effective marketing funnel. Instead, I’ll hit the highlights, sharing a simple metaphor for the marketing funnel with you to help better understand the various states of minds people are in when they encounter your podcast episodes.
That metaphor? See. Think. Do.
Or in the case of podcasting: Listen. Think. Do. And let’s take them one by one, understand where podcast content fits all the way down.
The See (or Listen) level is the very top of the funnel. When you produce content for this level, you achieve success when people — probably lots of people, yet still within your target audience — see (or listen) to your content.
That’s it. That’s the entirety of the job of content produced at the See (Listen) level. It’s pure awareness building.
A lot of businesses podcasting today are creating podcast content at this level. Perhaps unwittingly. A good chunk of my clients create content at this level, simply as a branding play. More eyeballs (ear holes) on their content is a Good Thing. Hooray for more Listen-designed content!
At the other end of the funnel sits the Do stage of the marketing funnel. This is the payoff. The point at which action is taken. And for a lot of podcasts you listen to (maybe most podcast that are making money today?), that podcast episode is “the thing” at the bottom of their marketing funnel. No action required on their afterward.
That’s how selling ads often works. Sure, the person who paid the money to run the ad on the show likely wants some action taken. But for the business-focused podcaster, just getting someone to listen is the Do action they are looking for.
But that’s not enough for my clients, because my clients aren’t selling ads on their content. And because of that, my clients don’t produce podcast episodes for people at this stage of the marketing funnel. Yes, they want listeners, but they require listeners to do something else to make the podcasting investment pay off.
A growing number of my clients are making podcast episodes that fit in the middle: the Think stage.
The middle part — you may have heard this referred to as the consideration stage — of the marketing funnel is where podcasts can really shine. The Think level is when people are actively consuming your content and really considering you and/or your services.
This is where thought leadership reigns supreme, and podcasting often represents a significant advantage over other mediums. Producing podcast content at the Think level isn’t a branding play. It’s not enough to make people aware. To be successful at making content at the Think level, you need the listener thinking about how you, your products, your services, your thoughts benefit them. Not just once, but again and again.
Producing Think-level content on your podcast gives you a chance to really tell your story to an engaged audience. You already know that people like spending lots of time with podcasted content. More time than they like reading your blog posts. And a heck of a lot more than they like spending time with advertisements.
Can podcasting work at the top of the funnel? Absolutely. Can it work at the bottom? You bet! Podcasting has a part to play in all stages of the marketing funnel, but perhaps the biggest play is to be found in that middle Think level. That’s where well-thought-out podcast content can be interesting for the listeners and result in big payoffs for business-minded podcast producers.
Do you know someone with a business who needs to know this? Send them this article. Or pass along the podcast version of this episode. Then have them get in touch with me, because my firm launches podcasts for businesses, taking care of all the heavy lifting and technical considerations that go into making a podcast that achieves business goals. firstname.lastname@example.org reaches me. Or you can go to PodcastLaunch.pro to see the services we are currently offering our clients.
This article started as a podcast episode. The 176th episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen.
Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler Media Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.