Podcasting: What Is Your "Why"?
I know, I know. It's a much (over) used phrase but as we set out on three months worth of podcast guidance, it's an important question for me to ask.
WHAT is your podcasting WHY?
Let's start at the basic level. Why do you want to make a podcast (tick all that apply)?
- You want to stroke your ego a bit? (I'm not judging and as I was a radio presenter a number of years ago, I can't deny that there haven't been moments where that's been my "why")
- You've been told it's a good marketing tool (which it is) so you need to make one
- You want to make lots of money from advertisers and get free stuff in the mail
- You want to offer valuable content to your listeners
Let's go through those options in detail.
That's great - just as long as you have a patient ego. The truth is that it's unlikely your podcast will be an overnight "success" in number of listeners. And that's fine. In the words of the much-missed Prince, "sometimes it takes years for someone to be an overnight success".
Here's the good news, though. If just ten people come to your podcast, they are coming to you because they actively want to know more about your subject. They haven't got there by pure accident, in the same way you might hear a song on the radio that you hadn't heard before. If you're in business, what would you give to have just ten 'hot leads' standing in front of you?
Potential listeners will find your podcast, either as a result of a (computer or human based) recommendation - or because they actively searched for keywords that led them to your production.
Your job is to engage them from the start, present yourself as a credible source of content and keep them coming back for more. Easier said than done, huh?
As of March 2019, the UK Media Nations report revealed that 7.1 million UK residents listen to podcasts each week. Not only was that a 24% increase year on year, but double that of five years before that. And that's not taking into account the changing listening patterns that have come about from the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 and the continued rise of smart speakers.
There are lots of podcast listeners out there - and the numbers continue to grow. But then, so do the number of podcasts out there! So you need to not only stand out but deliver a quality product - in terms of quality of production but in terms of "killer content" too.
If that isn't enough of a gauntlet to lay down, how about this.... podcasting isn't a great marketing tool on its own. In the same way that you wouldn't just advertise on the radio or hand out leaflets in the high street, you wouldn't solely do a podcast and hope people came to you. You need to market that podcast - it needs to be communicated regularly to your email list, on your social media, when you speak to potential clients.
And your digital promotion needs to include pictures on your Facebook and Linked-In, written blogs, YouTube videos and more. Sounds exhausting eh?
Honestly, there won't be vast amounts of advertising money coming your way in the beginning days of your podcast. We've seen far too many "get rich quick with podcasting" adverts on Facebook. The reality is that it's often a long, long road to making money directly out of the podcast itself.
Yes, you could source yourself a sponsor for the show or get involved in affiliate revenue but the best money to be made is often the money that you can't see!
By building a committed and engaged listener-base, they're likely to buy from you when the time is right. I'll get on to 'valuable content' in a moment but if the listener sees you as a credible, entertaining source, they'll keep coming back - and a number of them will spend money with you in time.
Equally, you'll be building your list of prospects. Not everyone who found your podcast online was initially aware of you or your services. They're now more likely to seek out what you do and pay for whatever it is that you offer. Make sure what you do is talked about in your podcast - it doesn't have to be 'salesy', just an extension of how you can help your listeners.
And consider inviting guests on - and appearing as a guest on other podcasts. Not only will you be building relationships that could turn into opportunities in the future, you're building your list of leads exponentially.
Remember that you're asking people to use up their most precious commodity - time - to discover, listen and keep coming back to your podcast. They've already searched you out because they have a particular need or interest, and with a free podcast, you are serving them. You have the opportunity to move them from knowing of you, to liking you, to trusting you. Know. Like. Trust.
Offer up valuable content (don't give everything away for free - but don't be stingy either!) and you'll be helping make a difference in the world using your unique knowledge and skill.
And The Winner Is...
All of them. Honestly, they're all important - and all come with their own pitfalls and challenges. Which is where Verbu can help.
But if I were to pick one of the four approaches that I think best serves podcasting for business... it's valuable content. Every time. Build it (and tell them you've built it) and they will come.