20 Sep Podcasting For Small Crafty Businesses
You run a craft business because you love your particular craft and have seen a way to improve the materials, tools, or products available to crafters. It may have started as a hobby and now it’s your livelihood and your life. Of course, you love talking about products, techniques, and tools – so it’s not a big step from there to starting a podcast.
Why Start a Podcast?
Podcasts are a popular way to deliver content in the crafting world. Audio podcasts that offer product reviews and trend discussions are a great way for crafters to enhance their crafting pleasure, as it is easy to listen while sewing, knitting, crocheting, scrapping, or doing just about any craft that doesn’t involve power tools. Video podcasts are popular because they show techniques and products, but it’s not as easy for their audience to craft to as they watch. Both formats, however, give you a chance to connect to an audience who is already interested in the craft your products serve and embraces this kind of content as a way to enhance their crafting experience.
A podcast is another format in which you can talk about and/or show your products and share what other people have done with them. The conversational nature of podcasts, both audio and video, puts the social in social media marketing and puts a voice and face to your brand. Your customers hear and see you talking about your products with other craft personalities whom they admire and follow. It’s a way to show them the people behind their favorite tools and materials, and it allows them to see themselves with the brand. A podcast is you and your craft friends talking about the things you love best, just as your customers talk around the table with their crafty friends.
At Stitchcraft Marketing, we started our own podcast, The Business of Craft, as a way to help you understand the marketing side of running a craft-based business. In Episode 7, our owner Leanne Pressly spoke to Stephen Woessner of Predictive ROI, author of Profitable Podcasting: Grow Your Business, Expand Your Platform, and Build a Nation of True Fans, about lead generation and how podcasts in particular can generate leads for your business (You can listen to the podcast here at your leisure). In the rest of this post, we’ll apply some of Woessner’s advice specifically to the business of craft.
Marketing is Like Dating
Woessner used a brilliant analogy to put the concept of lead generation into context. In our personal relationships, most of us didn’t go from “Hey, s/he’s cute,” to “Do you want to marry me?” over the course of our first encounter with our significant other, and neither does your potential new customer go from visiting your website to placing a huge order within a short time frame. Well, maybe once in awhile that happens (we all know some couples who knew from the moment they met), but generally, there’s a courtship involved in both business and love.
A podcast is an excellent way for your potential customer to get to know both you and your brand. As long-form content, it can be both informational and entertaining. What it doesn’t need to do, according to Woessner, is go in for the hard sell. Just as you’d be suspicious of the suitor who pulled out a ring at the end of your first date, you don’t want to put your customer off by trying to close the deal at the end of your podcast. What you want to do instead is offer them something of value, completely for free. It can be an instructional video, a downloadable tutorial, a pattern–something connected to your craft that doesn’t require a credit-card number from them, that’s an invitation to interact with your company through a different medium.
That valuable freebie can require perhaps an email address to sign-up for your newsletter, so that you can continue to build the relationship that allows your potential customer to learn more about your products, or a request to follow your company on your social media platforms, so that s/he can see more of what you do and like it, the marketing equivalent of introducing you to friends, and finally, after ongoing interaction via your website, blog, Facebook page, and email newsletter, which you’ve tracked and analyzed, an offer to buy your products which is specifically tailored to that customer, i.e., the proposal.
But What Will I Talk About and to Whom?
The what is easy: you’ll talk about the craft that you and your customers both love.
The who is not as difficult as you think. Woessner’s advice, whether you’re targeting a B2B or B2C client base, is to identify the people in your industry or craft with whom you would like to do business. Start with folks you know through your professional contacts, then approach interesting strangers and introduce yourself. You can find them on general social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook, or on craft-specific sites like Craftsy, Etsy or Ravelry. Extend an invitation to them to be a guest on your podcast, talking about their career path, their insight on your shared craft or whatever it is that most interests you about them. There’s a good chance it’s what your audience wants to know, too.
From there, you will promote the podcast not only to your own customers, but to your guest’s customers as well, introducing your brand to a new audience. It is also likely that you, in turn, will be invited to be on some of their podcasts, extending your brand even further. It is this cross-collaboration that offers benefits to both you and your guests. Even a handful of half-hour episodes each month will quickly widen your audience while fostering relationships within the industry for you and creating familiarity and comfort for your customers.
Promote Your Podcast
Your podcast is only useful to your business if it has listeners! As we outlined above, your current customers are your base audience, and the customers of your witty and interesting guests are next place you want to go, but you’ll want to reach as many potential new customers as you can. Invite your listeners to subscribe to your podcast, then rate and review it on iTunes. Subscriptions, ratings, and reviews all contribute to podcast rank on iTunes, and naturally, the higher your rank, the likelier interested listeners are to find your content as they look for new shows to follow.
You’ll also want to feature your podcast on your website and promote new episodes on your social media site and in your e-newsletter. It will be as much a part of your brand as your blog and your Pinterest board–it’s just another way to connect with your customers through a different medium. Adding a podcast as a channel to your brand media will reach a different segment of your customer base, one who may be looking to you as an enhancement for their leisure time. Give them entertainment and crafting value and it will help you build the relationship that will turn them into loyal customers.
After you’ve read our blog and listened to our podcast, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the services we offer to help grow your crafty enterprise.