Podcasts are a good marketing tool


Podcasts are gaining favor as powerful communications instruments that dealers could add to their marketing program. On another note, there’s a call to action now to push Congress to pass the “Descend Act.”

What’s a podcast? Think of it as nothing more than talk radio, but on demand. Yes, there are also video podcasts but we’re talking simpler audio efforts here. Podcasting is not rocket science to implement and can be a key customer retention tool.

A recent online story in PR Daily from Ragan Communications (www.ragancomms.com) drew my attention. It cites the good takeaways for Trek Bicycles in doing podcasts. Eric Bjorling, Trek’s brand director, noted the goal was simply to share bike stories using this rapidly growing content channel. But from Trek’s example, boat dealers can learn that the range of topics available can actually be wider than just the narrow focus of our niche. In reality, podcasting could easily be called storytelling, because that what it is, and boating has unlimited stories.

For example, Bjorling cites one Trek podcast that tells the story of legendary athlete Bo Jackson growing up riding cobbled-together dirt bikes with his friends. It helped lead him to a life where he loved sports and later led him to start a charity ride that has raised millions for tornado relief.

It’s more than likely any boat dealer who reviews his customer list will find many potential stories about boaters who have come into the sport in some unusual and fascinating way, or who use their boat in some manner that impacts lives, like when my wife, Kay, and I take special needs kids out fishing as part of a program of the Old Salts Fishing Foundation.

Looking again at Trek, an element of surprise is an essential part of hooking the audience. “We want to surprise people with every episode,” explains Bjorling. “Because we want the podcast to be about cycling’s greater role in people’s lives. The technical stories of cycling professionals are not going to be enough for most people. We find that the more out-of-the-box and personal stories are well received.”

As an added benefit of doing podcasts, the same material and stories can also get even more mileage if successfully shared through other digital channels, such as a dealer’s blog, customer emails and newsletters, and social media. So that could bring the information to both ears and eyes.

As in the use of all digital media these days, content is key. After all, another definition for a podcast is “content marketing.” Strive for some uniqueness in any story. Avoid doing stuff that’s primarily technical. And remember podcasts are not sales pitches — that route will quickly lead to no listeners. Instead, look for stories that illustrate how people use and enjoy their boats. Content should always be happy, fun and engaging for listeners. One test is to ask yourself if you’d take time to listen to your podcast idea. If the answer is “not likely,” get a new idea.

Getting into podcasting in a big way could be expensive and time consuming, but for boat dealers the initial goal should be to host some podcasts on their own websites. That also means no third-party site is needed. Further, limit any podcast to 20 minutes or less. Why? If listeners are commuting, or taking a jog, it is just about the perfect amount of time to listen to an entire episode.

Finally, do some homework and study more about podcasts. Check out “Powerpress” which is a good Podcast software. Another is “Seriously Simple” software.

Weigh in on the DESCEND Act Now

If you deep water bottom fish like I often do, it’s painful to see a fish you’re releasing become a “floater.” That’s a fish you’ve brought up but may be too small to legally keep so you release it for another day. But it can’t swim back down due to an internal buildup of pressure from being rapidly brought up to the surface.

This often results in death for the released fish, which is not only bad for conservation but also limits future fishing opportunities. Kay and I use a venting tool which gives the fish a chance to go back down and survive. But I know that many others, including commercial boats, do nothing.

Therefore, a new bill, called the DESCEND Act of 2019, (Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through Novel Devices Act of 2019) will improve survival rates for released reef fish such as prized snapper and grouper. The DESCEND Act would require commercial and recreational fishermen to have a descending device rigged and ready for use or a venting tool at hand when fishing for reef fish in Gulf of Mexico federal waters.

Yes, similar regulations exist in other parts of the country, but a bureaucratic roadblock related to oil spill recovery funding has prevented regulation from occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, hence the need for federal legislation.

Simply put, this new bill will help released fish survive! Whether or not you fish or have customers who ply the Gulf waters, help those of us who do. Take action today and tell your Members of Congress that you support the DESCEND Act. It will take just a couple of minutes.


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