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Why a Podcast is the Smartest Thing Your Business Can Do, Right Now

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by Startacus Admin

Business Podcast

Colin Gray is a podcaster, a writer and a PhD in digital education. His business, The Podcast Host, helps anyone to start their own show. Colin also hosts The Numbers Game which tells the story behind growing a content business and nurturing a fanatical audience. Here Colin will highlight why he thinks a podcast is the smartest thing your business can do, right now. Over to Colin to explain all...

What’s the biggest struggle you have, right now, in your business? 

For some, it’s the complete pain-in-the-rear that is accounting. Who enjoys keeping the books, right? To others, it’s the team. That pesky John’s always winding up Jeremy, causing all sorts of friction. But, to most, whether you know it or not, it’s trust.
Do you have a good idea, right now, how many people trust your business? Is it something you ask about? If not, you should, because trust is built, and that building is multi-storied.

starting a business podcast

On the ground level, trust is a factor in whether someone takes that first step through the door...

It influences how many passers-by will click on your brand name when they see an ad or a listing in the search results. Next, trust is a factor in whether they'll come back to visit in future, when they're still searching for a solution to their problem. Lastly, trust is the ultimate factor in whether they hand you some cold hard cash for whatever solution you’re offering. Price, yes, does have a place, but I wont give you even 50p if I don’t trust you. 
So, how do you build that trust? Easy. Deliver someone a brilliant service or a great product at a good price for 5 entire years. Ok, so the '5 years' is entirely pulled out of my hat, but you get the point. It takes a long time.

business trust
And here we see the problem. Did someone say chickens? Eggs? How on earth do we get them to pay for that service or product in the first place, so the we start to build the trust?

Well, there’s one great answer that I know of: personality.

The Small Business Advantage 

There’s one quality we have, as small businesses, that big corporations spend billions of pounds trying to manufacture. It’s humanity.
Think about it. How many of the biggest businesses in your industry have a real person at the head that the customers know and love? Hardly any. They’re run by boards, not people. 
There are exceptions, of course, but I think they prove the rule. Take the big companies that do have a real human figurehead: Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Bill Gates. Those businesses have succeeded, in large part, because the figureheads stamped their personality all over that company. And as a result, those companies became more human. What’s the consequence of being more human? Trust!

How Can we Be More Human? 

This is where we come to the solution. How can we humanise our company? How can be put personality behind a brand? Here's how: put ourselves out there!
And it’s never been easier. Let’s step into the world of audio and video. 

Getting Into Media

Media in any form is capable of showcasing a company or a leader's personality. For example, Blogging is a common first step. You can show the world a little bit of who are creating a business podcastthrough the written word. A good writer can be open, honest, transparent, and can really move the reader. But, writing is hard. It’s not easy to translate your voice, your personality, into the written word. It feels unnatural for a great many of us. 
Video is a easier. Video lets us communicate in our most natural way: speech. We can be ourselves, we can talk, we can shout, we can cry. We can invite people to get to know us. But, video has it’s troubles too. 
Attention is one of them. Dozens of stats are bandied around on viewing times, but nearly everyone agrees that we're lucky to get more than 5 minutes of watch-time on YouTube. And it’s often far less. Amy Schmittauer tells us that we have 8 seconds to grab our viewer’s attention, otherwise they’re gone! 
Video can also be quite intimidating. You have to get used to speaking to the camera and managing your body language. You have to think about clothes, lighting, backgrounds, props, not to mention the camera itself, from lenses to mounts. Oh, plus the audio. Every tried to figure out how to record good audio from a camera that's 3 metres away from your face?
Which takes us to the 3rd option. This is, for me, the most powerful. Audio. 

business podcast

The Power of Audio in Nurturing Trust & Loyal Customers

Audio has such power for a few reasons. First, it’s easy. LIke I said, video includes all of the worries you'll have about audio, PLUS all the visual elements. At least with audio, you just need a microphone and a recorder. Funnily enough, you already have both in your pocket. A smartphone will do the job brilliantly in your early days. 
Next, audio is where attention skyrockets. No more 2 or 3 minute watch times. Think about it, most podcast listening happens when people are also doing something else: the power of audiodriving the car, mowing the lawn, running the treadmill, walking the dog. So, they need to be entertained for 20, 30, 40 minutes, or much, much longer. Some of the biggest podcasts on the web have millions of fans listening for up to 3 hours at a time, EVERY WEEK! That much attention is priceless. 
Finally, audio has a power of it’s own to create intimate, personal connections. Listeners tell me that it’s something quite unique, the fact that you’re being projected directly into their heads through their earbuds. You’re speaking openly and honestly because a mic is so much more natural than a full video setup. That informality, multiplied by headphone intimacy, multiplied by hours and hours of attention… well, that’s a formula for epic trust building at a ridiculously fast rate.
Looking for evidence? Right now Podcast adverts are fetching rates often hundreds of times higher than standard digital banners. Why? Because they produce massive action. The medium is developing such a trusting connection between host and listener that the conversion rates are through the roof. When a host recommends something on a podcast, then a significant percentage of listeners will literally do something about it. 
How Can You Get Involved?

Podcasting is easy to try out. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Decide on a Topic
This should be related to your product, your service, in some way, but not necessarily directly. It needs to be teaching, offering value, and not selling. Don’t worry, you’ll sell creating a podcastanyway, as a natural consequence of teaching your topic.
For example, a travel company uncovers the best travel destinations in the world, every week, or a plumber teaches his listeners about DIY and home improvements.
Teach what you know, give it all away, and you’ll build so much trust that people will pay you to help them with it anyway!
2. Get your Basic Kit
The easiest podcasting kit on the market is nothing more than your very own smartphone and a little add-on microphone called a Rode Smartlav+. It’s perfect for starting out with some solo episodes. You can expand it out with an adapater to run 2 person interviews in future, or you can even interview people online with it using an app like Ringr.
If you don’t fancy using your phone, then just get a good USB mic, like the Shure MV5, and plug it into your computer.
3. Lightweight Editing
If you need to edit (and I’d argue that you don’t in the early days) then keep it simple. Take this minimal editing approach, for example. Use a free app called Audacity for this, and you can use it for recording too if you’re going with the USB mic option. 
4. Where to Upload Your Show
You can publish your show with no website required using a simple hosting provider like SpreakerFireside or Libsyn. They take care of everything. If you need to tie it into an existing website, then it’s a few extra steps, but it's not complicated. You can find a good guide to it here.
5. Promote Your Podcast
Finally, promotion! A podcast is the type of marketing that you need to market. A big part of that is putting it into the standard directories. Whatever hosting provider you use, they’ll give you a special web address (called an RSS feed) which you submit to the most popular listings, like iTunes and Stitcher. Here’s a good list and some intructions on how to go about it.

What Next? 
I know, you probably have a bunch of other questions. How long should it be? How often should I do it? What’s the best format? What do I talk about, every week? Well, we’ve got a bunch of answers to them on our website, or I’m happy to answer them on twitter. Just drop me a line. 
But, whatever you do, don’t let the questions become a barrier. There’s no right answer, no best approach. This is you building your own unique audience around your own Colin Grayunique personality. It’s all about testing with real people, asking what they want more of, and iterating based on that. 
Give it a go. It works.

If you don't trust me on that, then guess what, have a listen to my show. You'll see :) 

Colin Gray is a podcaster, a writer and a PhD in digital education. His business, The Podcast Host, helps anyone to start their own show. Try his free course, for example, to launch your 1st episode. Colin also hosts The Numbers Game which tells the story behind growing a content business and nurturing a fanatical audience. 

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Published on: 22nd April 2017

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