Should you start a podcast?

A few years ago, having a podcast was a unique and highly desirable element of a marketing strategy. However, as the popularity of video began to increase and the functionality of social media channels began to embrace and prioritise video, we saw the podcast trend slowly disappear in favour of vlogs. Podcasting is a labour of love, and for many, as downloads slowed, this activity started to weigh heavy due to the time and intensity of work spent producing and delivering each episode.

Fast forward to 2019, and there was a clear resurgence of this audio-based media. Like all good trends, podcasting was back in vogue! Downloads were on the up, and thanks to what I’ll describe as ‘the Gary V effect’, repurposing content meant that content creators were no longer seeing podcasts as a thankless task but simply another medium in which to distribute their message using something that had already been created.

Let’s also consider the technical side of things. The tech required to produce a podcast at home had sprinted ahead, and producing podcasts became much, much easier too, in that mics and recorders were suddenly compact and easily transportable, and options for high-quality remote recording became realities. Jump on Amazon and order a decent lapel (or lavalier) mic, download an app and you can pretty much create and launch your podcast via your iPhone!

Yep – come the end of 2019/early 2020, podcasting was on the up. It was easier to create; it was on-trend; people were listening on their commutes, listening for their self-development and for their entertainment. But then lockdown hit, and, as a large percentage of those commuters were forced to stay at home, we saw downloads slow a little. However, we also saw an increase in new podcasts being created and launched. We thought people weren’t listening – it wasn’t that they’d stopped; they were creating their own shows! The dip in downloads was relatively short-lived, and although they may not have fully returned to pre-COVID levels for everyone, the expectation is that numbers will continue to increase and exceed expectations.

So why am I telling you all this?

Marketing your business is about spreading your message, creating awareness and making it so that your brand is firmly positioned in the minds of your ideal client as the solution to a particular issue. We create strategies to achieve this, and the tactics required to implement those strategies mean we need to create assets that we can rely upon long-term to serve us. Podcasting really is the ultimate solution – a fantastic tool to include in your strategy that offers multiple tactical opportunities – and add to that how you can’t really have a podcast without creating some form of asset, as that’s exactly what each episode is!

There are very clear benefits to podcasting. If you’re reading this, you have a message to deliver – imagine being able to download that message directly into someone’s brain? You can literally get into someone’s head! I realise that might not be the best analogy but think about it – most people, when they listen to a podcast, are consciously choosing to block out the world around them by putting something in, or over their ears. They are choosing to have the voice of that podcast host in their heads. They’re choosing to listen. If it’s your podcast, they want to hear from you. I’m not sure there’s a better way to develop trust in you as a professional than being someone people choose to listen to on your chosen subject.

Self-development and self-education is something that many business owners and professionals engage in regularly. Listening to an audiobook is convenient but still takes hours to consume and is still (usually) interrupted. Listening to a podcast episode offers the opportunity to consume easy to digest chunks of information, making it more even more convenient and accessible. Your listeners get a clear idea of your message, and by listening to more episodes, they can learn more detail from you, the creator, without interruptions. Podcasting is about offering value through content – not overtly selling. Give solutions, share your expertise and practical experience so that it’s clear you are the person that can help should they experience the problem or challenge you’ve been discussing.

Podcasts are episodic by nature, and so a massive benefit is the creation of an audience who continue to tune in episode after episode. In your marketing efforts, you’ll look for ways to nurture and retain – a podcast gives you exactly that! For the listener, it’s often an intimate experience. Ok, maybe intimate isn’t quite the right word, but you produce content intended to be listened to by many that offers an experience of 121. It’s the ultimate touchpoint when it comes to nurturing and retaining your audience.

One of the biggest benefits of podcasting for business owners and entrepreneurs, however, is simply positioning! Your podcast is exactly that, yours. It can be whatever you want it to be. You can position yourself and your brand exactly how you want it to be perceived, and simply being able to say you have a podcast adds a level of gravitas that can open doors that were previously shut. It’s a fantastic business development tool, so if you’re looking to have guests on your podcast, interview the people you want to do business with. It’s rare that they’ll say no, and it’s a great way to build rapport as part of your sales process!

Realistically, if you asked me why you should start a podcast, I would probably give you a never-ending list, so these are my top three based on my own experience.

1. Personal Brand – Whether you actively engage in a personal brand strategy or not, you have one. You may not have put yourself out there previously using video or the written word, and if that’s the case, I suggest giving podcasting a go. It’s a more comfortable medium than video for many. There are fewer ‘rules’ than with written content – your podcast means it’s your rules!

2. Perception – I launched my podcast ‘Christina Talks’ at the end of August 2020; it is amazing how the way you are perceived by your peers changes almost overnight because you have a podcast. Using your voice to express who you are and what you stand for is a definite reason for having a podcast. People pay attention, and they know you have something to say, even if they don’t listen!

3. Access – I’ve mentioned it previously in this article but being a podcaster opens doors. It gets you past the gatekeepers you were once struggling with. It gives strength to your brand. Interview episodes where you speak to someone you’ve been trying to court as a prospect or someone who is seen as an influencer in their field that you could be rubbing shoulders with is priceless. That said, podcasting also gives people access to you. Solo episodes where you can speak on a subject on a deeper level are uncomfortable, but it’s that vulnerability that seems to get people reaching out to you.

Will podcasting make you money?

That’s on you. Podcasting is a commitment, but stick with it, create and maintain momentum, and you’ll find that there are several ways to monetise. You just have to pick the right one for you! It could be sponsorship, it could be adverts, it could be that you seed some sales messages into your conversations carefully. There really are a host of options, but initially, you need to decide to begin. Once your podcast is up and running, and you are actively promoting it, you may well find that you gain more referrals and that business opportunities, in general, seem easier to convert.

Where to start with podcasting

There are two initial questions before you get into the techy stuff. Firstly, who is the podcast for? Secondly, what’s the concept? By that, I mean what is the podcast supposed to be about? Your concept is your podcast’s elevator pitch. Once you know the answer to those questions, you can work on your podcast name.

From there, you can decide on the format (solo, interview, a mix, perhaps) and how often you want your episodes to be released. And then… you can get creating! If you get to this point and want to know what to do next, get in contact with me, and I’ll happily talk you through the next steps.

This article was very much intended as an overview to get you thinking about the value of podcast for your business. There is so much more I want to say, but I’ll save that for another day and leave you with this for now. When it comes to marketing, podcasts (like video) are very much here to stay! They’re something that requires time and effort that few people choose to commit to creating. Yet, for those who take the leap, it’s almost like you’ve been added to an elite guest list, making it possible for you to talk to and hang out with almost anyone you could possibly want to! Start podcasting, and I guarantee you won’t regret it!

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Christina Robinson

Christina works with business owners and marketing directors to educate them on how best to maximise their online marketing activities to enhance their business, increase brand awareness and ultimately increase sales. She provides social media and online marketing management services, so you can outsource your activities. Alternatively, if you have the resource in-house, Christina can offer online coaching, 121 or group coaching to help you as a business owner or B2B professional discover how to generate more business using our tried and tested strategies.