“Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I love your podcast.”
“I just signed up for your class – I found you through your podcast!”
“Where have you been, I haven't seen a new podcast for a couple of weeks?!”
These are all real comments that I've really gotten – and really get, over and over.
I'll be honest, the positive response to my podcast has really floored me!
I started my podcast because I personally enjoyed listening to podcasts, and I knew there were not a lot of them in my niche. As I've shared before, the Google Penguin/Panda update of 2013 really hurt my niche website (and for the record, I still think it was unfair). I needed to do something to connect to my audience that didn't rely on Google.
Podcasting seemed to be a good fit. I am forever grateful that I took that plunge! Podcasting has been a lot of fun for me. Plus, it's easy to do, and I have seen a return on investment that I never expected.
Here are the benefits I found with podcasting, and why you should consider doing one too:
Podcasting Reaches Your Audience (even when you normally can't)
In case you're not familiar with a podcast, it's essentially an audio show. You can also do a video podcast very successfully, but mine is audio only. Different podcasts have very different “feels” to them, but they are almost all set up to be a serialized show around a particular theme. Listeners generally listen to their shows regularly.
How frequently you podcast is really up to you – I started with every two weeks, and now I publish a show every week. Those are both pretty typical schedules. There are also daily shows, shows that publish every weekday, three times a week, once a month, etc. As with most content online, consistency is a good thing.
Back to reaching your audience…
Your listeners generally download the podcast onto their device – often a phone, or perhaps an MP3 player, their computer, or even their stereo system. Podcast apps automatically download episodes you're subscribed to – essentially meaning your listener gets you delivered straight to them every week.
Because phones and mp3 players are portable, they can take your podcast with them to listen to on their commute, while the exercise, while they cook dinner, and more.
People are getting to know you and consuming your content even while they can't use their computer or phone to be online – that's pretty powerful all by itself.(NOTE: Want to put together a content marketing plan fast? Use this blueprint to plan and execute a content marketing plan that works - even for the solo entrepreneur and small teams. Get yours here.)
Podcasts Create a Unique Bond
Like I said, there are different podcasting “styles” – some are much like a morning radio show, with a host or a couple of hosts joking around. Some are more interview-style, where the host is talking to a different guest on each episode. Others are more of a monologue where you just listen to the podcast host talk.
My own podcast is a mix of the last two – most episodes are just me talking about a particular topic (at this point, usually topics listeners have requested). I also do a fair number of guest episodes – as my podcast has grown I have gotten a lot more requests to have guests join me on the show. I like these episodes though they take a little more planning, and I think my listeners like them to. I will probably continue the mix in the future.
Guest episodes are also powerful because they create credibility for you (your guest's credibility rubs off on you) and prominent guests often share your podcast with their audience, creating momentum for your show.
Even if you have guests or co-hosts on your show, you are one of the stars, and speaking to someone every week helps build a bond between the two of you. Listeners feel like they know you on a more intimate level than if they're just reading a few words in a blog post. They hear your voice, the tone and emphasis. It's very personal.
This is one of the ways that a starting entrepreneur can gain a lot of traction – you are often the face of your brand early in the game – and you can use something like a podcast to connect to your audience on a very, very personal level. That's powerful, and it's something that big brands don't do as well.
If you look at podcast directories, they are often dominated by solopreneuers or small teams working together. A podcast just has a little more of a home-grown feel, and that gives you a nice way to build a bond 🙂
Podcasts Build Loyalty
Because podcasts help you develop a bond between yourself and your listener, they're also a prime medium for creating loyalty. The serial, or subscription-based nature of podcasting also helps. Your listener can download just one of your shows, but as I said above, they often “subscribe” to your show. There are multiple directories that help listeners discover and subscriber to podcasts:
- Google Play Music
Many apps also have built-in discovery and subscription management features, too. Podcast listeners like being connected with their shows – and they look forward to hearing from you every day/week/month (however often you're podcasting!). This loyalty keeps listeners tuned in to you as an expert source, so you can share recommendations, upcoming products and classes, etc. with your listeners.
Building Your Brand
Podcasting is Pretty Easy!
One of the biggest benefits of podcasting is just how easy it is. You just turn on the microphone and start recording! Of course if you're bringing guests in, it gets a little more complicated – but not much. Even now, I still have my guests call into my teleconference line. You can put together complicated podcasting setups, but you don't have to.
Having said that, I do think audio quality is important (and if I were recording guests every day or every week, I would look into how to get the best possible quality when bringing in a guest). Fortunately, quality is pretty easy – you can get a great microphone for around $50 USD! You can use sound boards and fancy software, but it doesn't take a lot. When I first started I used Audacity, which is open-source, and it worked well.
I eventually decided to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Suite for Photoshop and since that came with Adobe Audition, I use that. I do admit that it makes processing a podcast episode faster for me (it takes about 5 minutes!) – but Audacity worked well for its' purposes (as an aside, I used The GIMP for graphics at that point, but with freemium web apps like Canva [opens in a new tab] you can make amazing images for your site very easily today!).
Anyways – it is very, very easy to get a good setup for podcasting. I have never used a sound board, though I know some podcasters do. I paid a voice-over artist to do my “intro” and “outtro” and I think that was a good one-time investment. Otherwise, my microphone was the big investment – once I had that, I was ready to go on air!
I generally do a (brief) outline of my show, then I sit down and hit record. I talk for about 40 minutes on average. Then I'm done! It has taken practice – your first episode is not going to sound as good as your 100th. But you get better quickly, and you gain confidence, too. If you mess up, just stop, take a breath, and start again. You can go back and edit the mistake out. I do occasionally edit something out, but at this point I don't need to edit most episodes. I've lost an episode due to computer error before and that's painful – but I generally feel that the “second take” is better than the first 😉
I could never write a blog post at the same level of quality my podcasts are at in such a short time, so podcasts are an incredible way for me to publish content fairly easily.
I do publish “show notes” with my podcast, where I write out bullet points highlighting major points in the episode (this is a great way to get practice writing bullet point copy – you are “selling” the episode!). I also list and link to things mentioned on the show – both products and resources. I often reference other shows, articles, etc. And link to those. If I had a guest on, I always link to him or her.
The show notes take a little time, but I have a template for them that helps speed things up. I also try to keep a note open on my computer while I record so I can quickly type/jot down if I mention something I hadn't already planned on. This makes pulling together show notes faster. You could have a pen and paper nearby for the same reason.
Podcasting feels intimidating at first, but as soon as you establish a workflow it comes together very quickly. You could outsource post-production (many do) but I never have. I don't bother with audio effects outside of the intro and outtro. I would say that unless you feel it's really important to your audience, don't put those things in there! Interesting effects and “professional” sounding cuts can wait until you've gotten the hang of the podcast and know you're getting a solid ROI.
Podcasting Can Create Multiple Revenue Streams
Aside from all of the above benefits, podcasting can be a source of multiple streams of revenue.
One thing I'm still working on is making sure I have a call to action in every podcast. I try to remember, at the very least, to ask my listeners to subscribe to my daily emails and to rate the podcast in their podcasting directory. Many podcasters do a great job of directly promoting a product on each episode, or a webinar, or another upcoming promotion.
I am continually surprised by the number of students I get as a direct result of the podcast. Many, many of the women who sign up for my niche classes tell me that they found me via the podcast. It makes sense to me, since I teach via audio on the podcast, and my classes tend to be mostly audio (some video here and there). Podcasting is a powerful way to reach an audience that may have never found your blog, your guest posts, or even your Youtube channel – and if they connect with you, they may become customers!
You can also directly monetize your podcasting with sponsorships. These are essentially “commercials” you do on your podcast. I haven't begun doing sponsorships yet, but I would like to soon. Sponsors become interested as your podcast grows in popularity, so a podcast with many downloads is a good starting point (we'll discuss how to boost podcast listeners in a future post).
In his sponsorship guide, podcasting maven John Lee Dumas gives these numbers:
A 15-second Pre-Roll commands $18 per 1000 CPMs (listens).
A 60-second Mid-Roll commands $25 per 1000 CPMs (listens).
For ease of math purposes, let