If you're working with online content marketing to grow your business and you haven't got a podcast yet, get one! Especially if you're a consultant or solo entrepreneur.
Seriously, I can't think of a better way to really connect with customers and prospects and show your skills as a thought-leader, coach, or service provider than with a podcast.
One year down the line after starting my own podcast it's become the biggest source of lead generation for my business.
Sure, all the other “traditional” online strategies work: I run a business blog, I'm active on Twitter, post videos from time to time and try and keep up with Google+ and Facebook. It's the podcast, though, that people seem to connect with as they tell me it helps them really get to know me.
I realized the potential of audio after posting a short tryout podcast on my site over a year ago. Although the sound quality wasn't great, and I wouldn't listen to it now (!), within 24 hours I'd secured two major speaking gigs on the back of it.
I ask every customer how they found me and both clients explained that they'd been convinced about my suitability for the job by my podcast.
As a former university lecturer I was used to getting asked to speak at conferences and business events, but no one had ever contacted me about this through my site even though I regularly made it clear on the site I was available for speaking. So this was a first and a great example of that old adage: show, don't tell!
After doing some research about what I really needed to produce a quality podcast, I launched a show which is currently up to episode 32.
Very quickly it enabled me to quadruple my speaking and coaching rates, get invited to speak speak abroad, and more importantly it's helped build new relationships that are continuing to grow my business.
So Can Anyone Do This?
Sure. The entry level to podcasting isn't huge. Essentially all you need is a computer, free editing software and a USB mic. My own approach is slightly more advanced (mixer, digital recorder, dynamic mic and Adobe Audition) but that's purely because I'm an audio snob. My wife says I'm trying to be the BBC !
Editing audio takes a bit of know-how, but it's nothing you can't learn to do if you apply yourself. There are stacks of resources out there, particularly on YouTube, and if you're really struggling or in a rush you can always hire a consultant.
My Top 7 Tips to Podcasting Success
Whilst there are never any guarantees, and many podcasters never get past episode seven, here's what I think you could do to open up another successful source of lead generation for your business:
Tip #1: Define the niche for your show with your title
- The Improve Your Golf Swing Podcast
- French in 5 Minutes a Day
- Beat the Tax Man Podcast
These in turn could generate leads for a golf coach, language teacher or accountant selling a range of products and services such as: consulting, coaching, and digital training products, etc
Tip #2: Keep your show under 20 minutes
People don't have much of an attention span. Short and snappy advice works best. According to the boffins, the average commute to work is 18 minutes in the US. Ideal time for listening to a podcast!
Tip #3: Write good show notes
Scripting your show word for word makes you sound unnatural. But too many umms and arhs can drive a listener crazy.
If you have clear show notes, say, in the form of bulleted points to cover you'll stay on topic, won't struggle for something to say, and won't scare away your listener.
Tip #4: Record your show at -12 to – 6 DB, then raise it to -1 DB in your software prior to release
Trust me. This is what you need to do to stop your sound from spiking and distorting.
Tip #5: Interview experts in your field
Talking to others is easier than talking by yourself. And interviews are a great way of bringing news, information and a new perspective to your audience. It will also help more people find you as interviewees will spread the word about your show.
Tip #6: Invest in great art work
Your goal is to get people to subscribe to your podcast, primarily from iTunes. That way they keep up to date with every new show you release. Great art work gets you seen in iTunes. No doubt about it. And remember: it should be 600 x 600 pixels to look great on every device.
Tip #7: Promote your podcast as part of your integrated marketing strategy
I talk about my podcast on Twitter, make it visible on my blog, occasionally export a show to YouTube, and post links on Facebook. By hook or by crook people find out about the show and with that the audience grows and in turn my business grows.
So although the audience for podcasts might be smaller than the number of Twitter followers you have or visitors to your blog, a podcast can generate more qualified leads because regular listeners come to see you as the go-to expert in your field, which is never a bad thing.
So take my advice: go start a podcast or two!