Podcasting for Professionals

You might have heard about this little content tool called blogging. Everyone tells you that you should be blogging, that blogging is the answer to all of your content marketing prayers. But hang on, then they told you that you need to be doing videos, everyone only wants to watch videos. They even gave this a new name ‘vlogging’, video blogging. Catchy right? Now you need to be making videos as often as you can and putting them onto your website, your social media and sending them out to your email database. Phew, you’re finally on top of this 21st century marketing thing. 

Well, I am sorry to say that there is a new kid in town….podcasting is the new blogging. Now, stop, don’t tune out just yet. Podcasting isn’t quite as scary and overwhelming as it might seem at first. Yes there is a time commitment, and for most a cost component because they will need some assistance whether it is doing some post production editing, or creating a jingle or just simply setting it all up. I have to admit for me the set up was pretty technical and tedious at times. 

Is Podcasting just a phase?

You might be thinking this is just a phase and you will ride it out. But I can tell you that podcasting is growing in leaps and bounds in Australia. But the most exciting part is that even though they are growing it is no where near where the saturation point is, which means that there is so much more room yet for growth. Podcasts aren’t new – they have been around for 10+ years, but they are now seeing a huge increase in consumer awareness and use. So we aren’t exactly getting in on the ground floor of this but rather the first or second floor, but don’t worry it is a pretty big building so there is a lot of room to grow. In fact 2 years ago in Australia only about 50% of people knew what a podcast was, today it is 83% so a HUGE jump. But while they know what one is, only 30% have listened to one and only about 10% listen weekly to a podcast. But these numbers are rapidly increasing so there is still a lot of room for movement. But don’t take my word for it – here is an interesting talk about the next 10 years in podcasting.

What are the benefits of podcasting?

It might be a bit of extra work than doing the occasional blog but there are much greater rewards and that is something that needs to be considered. A podcast is the ultimate in content development. It allows you to really dive in deep and offer real value to your clients and prospective clients. What you can cover in a 500-1000 word blog or in a 1-2 minute video is nothing compared to what you can achieve in a 30 minute podcast. 

It raises your profile, if you are invested in a topic enough to go to the effort of producing a podcast about it then it automatically elevates your profile in the industry. You can promote the podcast (free information and help for people) and then the podcast indirectly promotes you. Suddenly you don’t even have to be promoting yourself, all you are doing is promoting this great service you are providing for free and then this will promote you. 

It opens up doors and opportunities. A few years ago I did 16 episodes of a podcast – Marketing News for Lawyers. I gained so many opportunities and made some great connections through doing the show. I interviewed people that I otherwise would have found it difficult to gain an introduction to and therefore expanded my network in the target area that I wanted to gain more clients in. I also gained work from people who listened to the podcast. Sometimes people need to hear and see you in a number of different platforms before they are confident to work with you. 

While your competitors aren’t doing it yet they will be. Many professional services are slow to get on board with the latest digital marketing techniques and tools, they will get on board eventually. So what does this mean for you? You want to be first, you can establish your audience and be in a space where there is little competition. 

Top Tips for Creating a Podcast

  1. Length

As the very experienced podcaster Tim Reid said to me ‘your podcast needs to be as long as it needs to be and not a minute more’. In other words if you have something valuable to say, then say it. But don’t waste time, so make sure that every minute that you use is a good use of your time and your listeners. The benefit of a podcast unlike traditional media is that you aren’t locked into a specific time. You do want to ensure that your listeners have a general expectation around length, but if one episode is 20mins, another 25mins and another 40mins that isn’t going to be a big issue the way that it would be for a radio show. 

  1. Format

You need to decide what sort of format your podcast is going to take. Remember that before anything a podcast is a ‘show’ it is entertainment in the same way that a television or radio program is. So you need to plan what the experience will be for your listener. Will you be doing a monologue on your own? Will it be you and a co-host discussing different topics? Maybe you want to interview people within your industry. 

3. Production and effects

After you have recorded your podcast you will need to edit it and add in a ‘jingle’ or opening sequence of some sort so that your audience knows it is the beginning of the show. Throughout the podcast add in different sound effects to highlight a change in pace or a change in segments within your show. These are often subtle, but really help the audience to understand when something has finished and when you are moving into something different or changing pace. This will help the audience stay engaged. 

You can also find people on places like freelancer.com who can create a jingle for you, or even do the editing and production for you each week if you don’t want to learn how to do it yourself. 

4. Equipment

You can run create a podcast at home with limited equipment or you can go to a studio and have it professionally produced. There is obviously a very large price difference in the two. So for this article I am going to focus on what you need for a home production. The first thing you will need is a professional microphone. These can connect via USB straight to your computer where you can record the audio to. Microphones vary in price, personally I have a Shure MV7 on a boom arm. Next you will need some software to record your podcast audio to and then edit it in. I use Apple computers which has Garage Band built into it and find this a great free software to use. But there are heaps of softwares out there that vary in capability and price. If you are going to do interviews you need to decide if these will be face to face or via phone. If they are via phone then you will need additional software to capture their audio. Personally I use riverside.fm.

5. Hosting

So after you have a podcast recorded and produced and ready to go you need to ‘put’ it somewhere so that people can access it. While listeners can access it from their favourite podcast application whether it is Spotify or iTunes etc it doesn’t actually live on these platforms you need to host it somewhere and then those applications are directed to where it is sitting. So you will need to find and pay for a hosting service and each time you record a new episode you will upload it to that hosting service. You normally pay your hosting on a monthly basis and this should be under $50 a month for a start up podcast. Some of the ones you could look at are BuzzSprout, PodBean, Simplecast, Libsyn, Soundcloud or Blubrry. I personally I have been happy in the past using Blubrry but they are all pretty similar, you need to find one that offers the services you need and is within your price range. 

6. Podcast apps

Once you have a podcast that is being hosted you need to go through and get accounts with all of the top podcasting apps and register your RSS feed from your podcast host so that people can find your podcast on their favourite podcast app. This can be time consuming, tedious and a bit confusing at times. It can also take a week or more for your podcast to ‘show up’ when you search for it on their site. 

7. Promoting your podcast

Getting a podcast off the ground can be hard. You will need some serious elbow grease to get listeners. You need to have a plan of attack for this. Consider carefully who your audience should be (ideally these are people that will have a commercial value for you such as your ideal client). Then you will need to promote it. Start with your email list of existing or past clients, promote it on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. You can also ask your referral partners that share your target market to share it with their followers. 

8. Monetising your podcast

There are a number of ways that people monetise a podcast. The first way that it can be monetised is that it drives business to you. This can be because it is another way for new clients to find you, but also it can raise your profile around a certain topic. If you have a podcast in your area of expertise then you must be the expert, right? It shows that you are committed and passionate about that area of your industry and this can be important for clients. 

Other ways that people monetise a podcast is through sponsorship. This is because having a captive audience that is the ideal client for another complimentary business can be appealing and you could look to add advertising or promotions into your podcast. You can do this through charging advertising or charging for example to be a guest on the podcast. However, you do need to have a large and consistent listener base before this is going to be appealing for the advertiser. 

9. Consistency is the key

About 50% of podcasts fail after the first 7 episodes and another 25% after 14 episodes. The main reason is that it is a lot of work and they haven’t seen enough of a return after that amount of time to keep the momentum up. Podcasting is a slow burn so make sure you only commit to a schedule that you can achieve. For instance (from experience) I wouldn’t recommend a weekly podcast as your first experience in podcasting. This is what I did the first time around and it became too much. Try for something that you know can be achieved such as fortnightly or monthly. The other option is to do what TV shows do and have a season. This is what I plan to do for my next podcast. I am currently in the process of mapping out 6-7 episodes. I will then record them all and then on launch release them weekly for the 6-7 weeks. I will then have a break for a few weeks while I prepare the next seasons. This is more achievable and for me more manageable to break it up into seasons. 

You should also be realistic about how quickly you will see a result from a commercial perspective. So keep going, keep improving it and keep promoting it!

Watch this space for my new podcast!!

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