This guest post comes to us via Jennifer Snyder. She’s a writer, editor and podcast host interested in the stories found tucked away in life’s adventures. Her podcast, Creating Your Own Path, is a weekly interview series featuring inspiring individuals from various creative industries. When she’s not working, she enjoys traveling and exploring her own city.
We’ve all heard that if you’re going to launch or grow a venture, you need to have some sort of content marketing strategy, right? Well, it’s true. You’ll want to think about how you can include blog content into your plan. You should consider which social media accounts fit best with your goals and how you can grow your newsletter list.
However, when I get that limiting question from new business owners—the question that goes a little something like, “What is the one thing that has transformed your business over the years?”, I usually respond with an unexpected answer: my podcast.
While everything I mentioned above is incredibly important (like the newsletter—please start a newsletter), the one thing that has exponentially grown the community of people who connect with my work is my show, Creating Your Own Path.
Now, my intention in starting the show was really just about three things: sharing stories, connecting with those whose work I’ve admired for years and creating the opportunity to get out of my own head about my career.
My show wasn’t fancy in the beginning (in fact, it still isn’t very fancy) and I didn’t start out by doing all of the “top 10 things to launch a successful podcast.” However, since February 2014, I have seen my tribe show up in greater numbers every single week.
Why should I start a podcast?
Storytelling through audio is an intimate experience.
No, not that kind of intimacy—remove head from gutter, please. What I mean by intimacy is that people can sense your emotion through audio. They can hear your cadence rise when you get excited about a topic. If you’re interviewing someone else, listeners feel as though they’re privy to an unfiltered behind-the-scenes look at a story.
Once your listeners are fans of the show, they will start to care about you—yes, you—as much as they care about the content you’re providing. For example, I recently surveyed my listeners and many of them used the term “friend” when describing how they felt about me. As in, “I feel like you’re my friend—I take you everywhere!” That designation made me so happy to hear and it got me thinking about my next point:
Listeners can take your show (and, by extension, you) just about anywhere.
Still in the intimacy theme, let’s think about something for a moment: the audio content you create, once distributed through the proper channels, can be consumed anywhere. Since I know how and when I generally consume audio content, I asked my listeners about their habits over on Instagram and zero percent answered with, “I stop everything I’m doing, put in my ear buds and stare at my phone/computer.”
We’re all busy and what loyal podcast listeners love about the medium is that they can tune into their favorite showswhile they’re doing something else. I’ve had listeners tell me they binge listened to episodes while they were packaging up holiday orders last year. Others listen on road trips or during their commute. Some tune in while they’re doing chores they hate like laundry, vacuuming or the dishes. I even get to tag along while people go to the gym! (Now, if only that meant I was burning calories each time my show was downloaded.)
Your show can bring joy, make people think and add depth to your offerings.
Did you notice a theme in that last section when I listed off all of the things people were doing while listening to podcasts? Most of the tasks were things they had to do (or at least should do) versus things they wanted to be doing. Podcasts of all kinds—serialized storytelling, traditional radio journalism, interviews, business insights, etc.—have something meaningful to offer the listener.
Business owners who are thinking of using podcasting as a way to engage with their clients or customers in a meaningful way simply need to decide if it’s the right road to take, which brings me to the question:
Who should start a podcast?
People who are comfortable planning and creating content.
If you think about it, podcasting is simply a different delivery system for content than the channels many of us have been using for years such as blogging, social media channels, and video. If you’re comfortable creating an editorial calendar, coming up with ideas for content and executing the actual creation of the content, you’re on the right path.
People who are willing to do the work.
It takes a lot of work to create audio content. Editing audio can take hours (especially for beginners) and managing the logistics of setting up interviews, recording quality audio and promoting the episodes is something to consider before jumping into podcasting. If you have the time to do it right or can outsource various parts of the process, it is much easier to commit to a consistent schedule.
People who have something to say.
It doesn’t matter what you do for work—whether you are a consultant, a coach, create products, run a non-profit, teach, or freelance for a living—you need to truly have something to say if you want to start your own show. Launching a podcast simply because the medium is hot at the moment, is not a good enough reason. You’ve got to have a point of view. If you have a topic in mind and can come at it from a compelling angle (and you can tick the boxes in the sections above), podcasting might just be the right medium for you to explore.
How do I get started with podcasting?
There are many, many resources available online for aspiring podcasters. A lot of folks recommend checking out Pat Flynn’s podcasting tutorial and I agree—the guy knows his stuff. Ray Ortega from The Podcaster’s Studio is another very knowledgeable resource. I also host podcast office hours for those who simply want to brainstorm and build out their show idea.
While resources are wonderful and I’m a huge proponent of research and refinement, the best way to start podcasting is to, well, get started. Planning is a beautiful thing, but sometimes you simply have to take the leap.
Now I want to hear from you! Do you guys have podcasts? If you do, how has it affected your business and community? If you listen to podcasts – which ones are your favorites?