December 15, 2023 (Updated: January 24, 2024)
Written by: Karl Hughes, CEO of The Podcast Consultant
Karl is a former CTO turned digital service business owner. He currently owns and runs The Podcast Consultant, where he helps hundreds of subject matter experts share their expertise through high-quality audio and video podcasts.
Every small business owner would like to be a thought leader, but very few have the time to capture their knowledge and create all the content they’d like to. Marketing departments are well aware of this problem too. The fact is, 66% of them consider thought leadership a “top priority,” but only 26% consider themselves “very successful” in the practice.
I’ve never met a Chief Marketing Officer who didn’t want their C-suite to create more content, make more public appearances, or share more of their knowledge — but it’s nearly impossible to force them to devote the time to it.
As the owner of two digital content marketing agencies, I think about this challenge a lot. On one hand, C-level leaders need to do the highest-leverage tasks for their businesses, but on the other hand, they have the most credibility and unique experiences of anyone in their organizations. If only it weren’t trapped in their brains.
This is where podcasting comes in.
Subject-matter experts (SMEs) at all levels can leverage podcasts as a way to build their brand, share their knowledge, improve their network, and create cross-channel content. In this post, I’ll share more about how some of the brands we’ve worked with have leveraged their own podcast, as well as share a few tips for getting your authority-building podcast off on the right foot.
We’ve worked with hundreds of podcasts at The Podcast Consultant and have seen a good number succeed (and plenty of them fail). It’s not right for everyone, but there are plenty of good reasons to consider starting a podcast as a marketing channel.
Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that podcasting can help subject-matter experts in business:
There’s something special about being directly inside someone’s ears that naturally builds trust. In fact, 81% of podcast listeners say they trust host recommendations (Sounds Profitable) and over 50% of podcast listeners trust podcasters more than any other media personalities (ACast).
As you can imagine, one common way to build said trust is to share your subject matter knowledge via a podcast. While you can do this as a guest on other shows or by advertising on podcasts, the most direct way to build trust over a long period of time is by having your own show. As a marketing channel, podcasting is especially appealing to B2B businesses that have long sales cycles and highly trust-dependent buyers.
Examples abound, but one show we’ve worked with for years is The Meb Faber Show.
Meb’s show is one of the top investment podcasts out there, so in addition to having fantastic guests on the show, listeners learn a lot through Meb’s experience too. In return, he can expose these thousands of listeners to his firm and paid materials like books and courses.
Like writing, podcasting is a great way to share your expertise with a wider audience. Whether you use podcasting as a way to share timely information (like news about your industry) or evergreen content, having it captured in audio form allows listeners to consume the information while they do something else. There aren’t many focused marketing channels that work while your audience is commuting or walking the dog, but that’s the power of podcasting.
A lot of our clients also use specific podcast episodes as sales collateral or a way to support customers. For example, if you’re a financial adviser, sharing retirement tips is a great way to provide more value to existing customers without the need for individual calls with them.
Additionally, a podcast that shares unique insight or expertise can be monetized directly. Several of our clients offer paid, premium versions of their podcasts with extra content that’s exclusive to subscribers. Others package up their podcasts with additional content into paid courses or even turn them into books.
Subject matter experts are often connected to many of the other SMEs in their field, but maintaining a network is a lot of effort. Fortunately, podcasting is a great excuse to converse regularly with other experts in your field by having them as guests on your show. In addition to mutually sharing your expertise, having well-known guests on your show can also increase your listenership as you can piggyback off their network.
Other podcasts use their guest rosters as a direct source of leads.
For example, if you run a digital marketing agency that serves dentists, you could start a show about the challenges of running a dental practice and host clients and prospects as guests each week. This can give you some 50 conversations with potential clients every year while generating interesting, relevant content for your listeners.
Podcasts are also an effective approach to developing source material for newsletters, social media, and blogs.
If you record a video podcast, you can slice episodes into several short clips for TikTok or Instagram. If you have an audio-only show, you can create audiograms that work on most any social platform. Alternatively, you could use pithy quotes from the show as Tweets or LinkedIn posts or write blog posts based on each episode.
Many of our clients can generate a whole month’s worth of social media content from a single podcast episode, so even if you don’t attract a ton of listeners, you can still drive business value from having a show.
If all this sounds great, you’re probably wondering how you can get started with a podcast. Before you jump in though, let me warn you: podcasting is tough.
It takes a lot of time and energy to start a new show, and they almost never grow quickly. Most shows never get past episode 12 and even fewer attract more than a few hundred listens per month. With the barrier to entry falling lower every year, it’s only getting more competitive and difficult to stand out.
But if you’re willing to commit to at least a year to your new podcast and you have the resources available to do it right, it’s not that hard to launch a new show. We help dozens of new clients launch shows every year, and the following is a brief summary of what we cover with each of them:
While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’ll get you on the right track for starting a podcast. I’d also recommend recording a few episodes before you go live to make sure it’s something you can stick with and enjoy doing. You’ll learn a lot as you go, but ultimately, make sure you’re offering listeners something valuable that they can’t get anywhere else.
If you’re a subject matter expert with a podcast or you’ve been considering starting your own, I’d love to hear your questions. Find me on X or email me at email@example.com.
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