Growing a Franchise with Podcasts

I’m an English major. I love to read. I consume a ton of media – business books, fiction, articles, blog posts, tweet streams, e-Books, pretty much anything I can get my hands on. So the idea that video and audio work as marketing tools better than the written word scared me. I don’t watch online videos. I don’t listen to podcasts. So the rest of the world must not either . . . right?


About two months ago, I started doing video blogs, just to see what all the ruckus was about. Turns out, our blog traffic quadruples when we post a video. So I stopped being cynical and began podcasting, too. (You can hear my podcasts at InsidePR, where Martin Waxman, Joe Thornley, and I wax poetic about how the web is changing the PR industry.)

We’ll talk more about using the power of video in a later article, so this article focuses solely on podcasting because it’s so easy to get started. You don’t need to buy any special equipment; you can just have at it!

I tell you this not because I want you to listen, but because it’s important to understand that podcasts work for marketing in the franchise industry. Franchisors such as Computer Explorers CEO Deb Evans and Tasti D-Lite social technology officer BJ Emerson are using podcasts to enhance their personal brands within the industry and create interest among potential franchisees. You can find them at Social Geek Radio and subscribe to their iTunes feed there.

The audience for podcasts is growing . . . and it is set to explode. eMarketer projects growth will continue through at least 2013, when there will be 37.6 million people downloading podcasts on a monthly basis. This is more than double the 2008 figure of 17.4 million.

People learn in different ways. Some people (like me) like to read. Some are visual and want to watch videos. But we all like to listen, which is why podcasts are becoming so popular. I mean, how cool is it that you can exercise, drive to work, or whatever else you want to do and learn while you listen to a podcast?

Ready to create your own podcast? Follow these steps:

1. Choose your topic – make sure it’s one that has longevity, meaning you can speak on the topic weekly for a long period of time.

2. Download Audacity or other audio editing tool.

3. If you’re on a Mac, upgrade to QuickTime Pro. If you’re on a PC, buy a podcasting microphone.

4. Write a script.

5. Keep the podcast to 20 minutes or less.

6. Record your podcast in a noise-free environment. I wear my headphones to reduce additional noise.

7. Apply the noise-reduction filter in your audio editing software and save the podcast file.

8. Upload the podcast to iTunes, your website, your blog, your newsletter, and to all of your social networks.

9. Then submit your podcast to PodPusher. PodPusher will push to all of the major podcast directories for free so you don’t have to do it manually.

Soon you will have an audience of people who really love what you have to say, will subscribe, and will help promote you in ways you never thought possible. And you got all of them with a tool that you recorded in 20 minutes or less.

If you create a podcast series, comment here with the link so we can all subscribe. And if you have any questions, comment here so we can help!

Gini Dietrich is the founder and chief executive officer of Arment Dietrich Inc., a firm that uses non-traditional marketing. The author of Spin Sucks, Gini has delivered numerous keynotes, panel discussions, coaching sessions, and workshops across North America on the subject of digital marketing tools. One of the top-rated communication professionals on the social networks, Gini was recently named the number-one PR person on the channels, according to Klout and TechCrunch, and number one on Twitter, according to TweetLevel.