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March 30, 2016

Should You Start a Podcast of Your Very Own?


By Michelle Scheuermann

In my last article, I spoke of some of our industry’s top podcasts that cover a wide variety of topics relatable to today’s firearms retailers. After listening to a few, you might have asked yourself if should you take advantage of this platform as a marketing tool of your own.

From firearm reviews to how-tos, podcasts can be a way to demonstrate to your customers the depth and breadth of your firearms and training knowledge, which can go a long way towards building your brand as a go-to resource that customers seek out. But before you jump in to buy a microphone set-up and Google “how to start a podcast” (which will show you tons of options) here are a few pros and cons to consider.

Pros

  • There’s very little start-up cost associated with podcasting. You don’t even need microphones if you don’t want to make that investment (although quality mics will create a better quality podcast) because you can record everything via Skype and phone lines. There is no cost to get started on iTunes or Stitcher, but you will need to house an RSS feed online, which tells iTunes and Stitcher where to grab your podcast. RSS feeds can range from $10 to $50 per month.
  • You don’t need guests or co-hosts, although both can make a podcast more interesting.
  • Editing your podcast before posting is extremely simple using Garage Band or other editing software. In fact, it’s much simpler than creating and editing videos for YouTube, which can take more equipment, time and money.
  • Your business can own the entire podcast. You can run ads, talk about events and have your customers interviewed giving reviews of guns, ammunition and gear they’ve purchased from you. Really, the sky’s the limit when recording equipment is portable and you become more comfortable on the mic.
  • You don’t need to have a podcast every week. In fact, find a schedule that you can stick too. It might be once a month, every other week or even a set Monday through Friday schedule if you can commit to it. The key is that commitment.
  • You can run your podcast on your retail floor, doing on-site live interviews with customers.
  • If your store or range offers firearms handling instruction, that makes a great topic for podcasting, as this is a subject not currently over-crowded in iTunes.
  • Once created, your podcast will live forever (well, as long as you pay your RSS feed monthly fee). That provides you to build a library of podcasts customers both old and new can utilize, and that again helps brand your store as the one they trust to do business with.

Cons

  • Your listeners will be from all over the world. In fact, very few of your listeners will be from within a 100-mile radius of your store’s location. You can turn that issue from a con to a pro, though, if you have a solid online inventory presence.
  • Don’t expect to get paid to host a podcast via advertisers. Advertisers are still leery about forking out dough for podcast advertising. Focus on you and your business first, then consider any advertisers that eventually come on board as icing on the cake.
  • You could be very excited for the first few podcasts, then regular business gets in the way and you stop recording. Keep an editorial calendar, engage employees in helping you find new guests to interview for your podcasts, find material that’s useful to your customers (new product reviews, sales promotions, etc.), and then stick to the schedule. Random, inconsistent podcasting will not develop a following.
  • If you are reviewing a gun or demonstrating some sort of training, the podcast’s non-visual aspect makes it more difficult to get your point across. If your marketing efforts include more things like this, then videos might be a better media platform. Consider topics for your podcast to talk more about the experience of what you and your store offer.

If after reading this you are still very excited to start your own podcast, watch for my next article outlining exactly that process, from contacting iTunes and Stitcher to finding your equipment — and how, with a solid plan, you can be up and running in a week flat.

See the next article in this series: How to Start a Podcast of Your Very Own

 

About the Author
Michelle Scheuermann is the owner of BulletProof Communications, LLC. You can listen to her own industry podcast, “Back at the Lodge,” at itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/back-at-the-lodge/id1030391995
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