Cesar Abeid does a lot of travelling for work. As project manager for Remontech, Remote Monitoring Technologies, he often ventures all over Canada for clients, who require expertise on cameras at construction sites.
"What I do when I travel, and when I drive, I try to listen to books on podcasts," he said.
"So, what I decided to do was to look for podcasts that would teach me how to promote a business online."
It was the podcast medium that ended up being the very source that Abeid would use to promote his business, albeit in a roundabout way.
And, it’s this forum he recommends to those in the construction industry looking to get noticed.
"As a small business in the construction industry we’re always trying to get more business," he said.
"You have to be able to market yourself."
While having a website is effective, Abeid said he was finding his business wasn’t coming up in searches because it was so specialized.
"People were not finding us. Our website was done well, it hit all the checkmarks," he explained, adding he then decided to try a blog to reach out to potential clients.
"The thing about blogging is you need to write. It takes work. There’s so much competition. Blogging and written content is very difficult — to produce something that is sticky and people will share," he said.
Thus, he decided to try his hand at podcasting and in 2011 launched the Construction Industry Podcast.
"People listen to podcasts when they are driving, working out or cutting the grass. They can’t click on anything. They are stuck with you for half-an-hour or an hour. You have their undivided attention. That’s an advantage of the audio podcast," he stated.
"Every business should consider having an audio podcast. I’m an engineer not a radio host. The last thing on my mind was to be the host of the show."
Abeid’s podcasts are episodic, released on a regular basis, and feature experts and guests that discuss a variety of topics that don’t necessarily apply to his business.
Podcasts are easily accessible, he said, and can be heard and subscribed to through any smartphone.
"I bring in an expert. I learn. He gets to promote his knowledge and his company and my audience learns as well and they keep coming back for more," he said.
"Over time they learn to associate what I do with something helpful, instead of just a pitch. I don’t sell at all on the podcast. You have to create content that people are interested in,’ he said.
"That’s why ads and trying to sell what you do is not effective. People can smell a marketer."
What’s more, Abeid also said there isn’t much competition from the industry for listeners.
"Think about podcasting as a smaller haystack. That’s why I got to call myself the Construction Industry Podcast. It was available. It’s becoming more mainstream, but still in our industry there’s nobody doing that," he explained.
"People buy from people they know, like and trust. They trust me because it’s week after week after week."
Abeid also has some suggestions for those wishing to create a podcast.
"You need to create content on a regular basis. Plan and map your content," he said, adding he prepared a map with 52 topics, a whole year’s worth of content, for once a week podcast.
"It’s a different type of medium," he said.
"I don’t think podcasting will replace the radio or satellite radio, but it’s becoming its own thing."
Recording the podcast doesn’t have to be expensive either.
"You can start with nothing if you have a smartphone," he said.
Both recording options, editing programs and suggestions on how to make the podcast accessible are also available online.
Abeid said using podcasts as a way to be heard has shown results in his business with more LinkedIn contacts and referrals.
"It helps you in different ways you may not expect. It brought us relevance in the construction industry," he said.
"If you innovate and you do something different, you stand out."