Do you have a favorite podcast? If you’re like the estimated 57 million Americans who regularly listened to podcasts in 2016 alone, you probably have a few. The medium has exploded in popularity in recent years—and is on track to continue to rise.
It’s not surprising that some savvy business owners are using podcasts to better establish their brand, market their services and even explore a new revenue stream. Most American podcast listeners earn an average of $10,000 more than the average person, so it’s a captive audience with deep pockets.
Is a podcast in your future? We’ll show you why you should consider starting one—and how to do it the right way.
5 Reasons to Should Start a Podcast
Most American podcast listeners earn an average of $10,000 more than the average person.
- Two words: New business. Like a blog, a podcast is a personal way to share your personality, values and expertise with an audience of interested potential customers. Think about it: They’re listening because they’re interested in you or your topic. You’ve already won half the battle before it even begins! Plus, audio creates an intimacy with your listeners in a way that the written word may not—particularly if you’re a more confident speaker than you are a writer.
- Shorten the sales cycle. An engaging podcast with helpful information and tips will help you build trust with your audience, reducing the time and effort required to win business. Even if a listener isn’t in the market for your services right away, you’ll be the first person they turn to when they’re ready because they’re familiar with you and your work.
- Reach new markets. Regular listeners can rate and recommend your podcast to others, which can snowball across the internet, opening up new opportunities you would never otherwise have.
- Improve your speaking skills. Nothing forces you to learn to speak clearly, thoughtfully and confidently more than the need to do it constantly. Work out your public speaking jitters by forgetting the audience and delivering your message directly into a microphone. In time, you’ll develop a more natural flow when speaking about your work. It’ll improve your networking and sales skills exponentially.
- Podcasts help you connect with your audience when they’re most receptive. People tend to listen to podcasts to help enrich the time they spend commuting, exercising, running errands or cooking, i.e. activities during which they can’t read text or watch video. Catch your listeners in these meditative moments and you’ll get more of their attention than most other times.
Caveat: Don’t Expect to Get Rich Podcasting
If you listen to popular podcasts you’re familiar with the ubiquitous MailChimp and Squarespace ads. These brands, among others, appear to have gone all in on sponsoring a wide variety of podcasts. Sponsorships have the potential to open up a new revenue stream for your business, but it’s definitely not a get rich quick opportunity.
Eventual Millionaire podcast host told Entrepreneur that it’s a long road before you can even consider generating any income from your podcast. “While many podcasters are doing well with sponsorships, like Entrepreneur on Fire and Startup, if the plan is to monetize the podcast, you’re going to need to invest significant time into building your audience. Typically, sponsors are looking for shows with more than 10,000 downloads per month.”
How To Start a Podcast Right
Before you even think about podcasting, it’s important to consider who your target audience is.
Just like learning any new skill, taking your time to prepare will mean you’ll produce a better-quality product. Remember, you want your podcast to represent your brand in the best way possible. Cutting corners isn’t an option.
Get the Right Equipment
While early podcasters spoke into any old microphone and recording device, the medium has become infinitely more sophisticated. You don’t necessarily need your own sound studio for a basic podcast, but you do need:
- A computer
- A great-quality microphone
- An audio snippet to introduce your podcast
- Audio software to record, e.g.:
For more information on the technical side of podcasting, visit:
- The Podcasters’ Studio
- WikiHow to Start Your Own Podcast
- The Best Podcast Equipment for Professional Podcast Studio Setup
Cover the Right Content
Hosting an unfocused, boring or—even worse—offensive podcast will do more harm than good. Before you even think about podcasting, it’s important to consider who your target audience is (hint: potential clients) and what kind of information or entertainment they want. Then you’ll consider how your value proposition can fulfill their desires. Be sure to revisit the intersection where your business and your ideal client’s needs meet as you brainstorm podcast topics.
Engage with Your Audience
Unless you are infinitely entertaining or endlessly informative, it’s not a great idea to pick a topic and speak about it for 30 minutes. Listeners need to feel like you’re actively working to engage them with every podcast. Try a few different formats and see which ones resonate best with your business and your audience. Consider covering:
- Industry/business news
- Seasonal information/tips
- Product reviews
- DIY tips and tricks
- Interviews with others in your (or a complementary) industry
- Interviews with satisfied customers (with an angle that’s more informative than boast-y)
- Invite and answer listener questions/feedback
Commit to Consistency
Nothing alienates a potentially loyal listener more than big gaps between podcasts. Podcasts gain the most traction with listeners when they are released regularly. To make sure you stay on track, create a content strategy and maintain a content calendar. You’ll be more focused, efficient and produce better-quality podcasts for your listeners.
Research Other Podcasts
Need inspiration? Check out these popular podcasts designed for entrepreneurs. Not only will you learn something about the art of podcasting, but you might pick up some great business tips in your research.
- StartUp by Gimlet Media
- Entrepreneur on Fire with host John Lee Dumas
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- The Smallbiz Brain with host David Wolf
- The 1 Simple Thing with Dave Kirby