You may be reading this and thinking, how can anyone think about starting a podcast in these difficult times. But if you're waiting for shelter-in-place orders to be lifted to get your business back to speed or to launch your next venture, you could be missing a valuable opportunity right now.
With just a little bit of time and creativity, you could be using these precious moments at home to start creating new content to help your business bounce back more robustly when the recovery begins. Yes, overall podcast consumption is down during the Coronavirus outbreak. Still, you don't have to gain a million followers and leverage that audience to sell ads for Casper Mattress or Blue Apron to consider this a success. You can just think about current and potential customers/clients that want to support small businesses from coast-to-coast. Get on their radar now. And this content isn't fleeting like a tweet or a social ad. It lives forever. It can be valuable and thoughtful messaging when new customers come to visit you as things return to normal.
A podcast is a great way to share your story, build authority, keep your clients in the loop, or build leads when we're all feeling more financially secure and ready to spend. These are just a few ways you could leverage a podcast to help you rebound.
And you can do so with a relatively small investment. If late-night talk show hosts, local news networks, and even primetime shows can broadcast content with the majority of their teams working from home, your shoestring budget podcast won't hurt its efficacy.
Here are the ways to leverage a podcast right now and why they work.
1. Tell Your Story. People want to support each other. They want to help. They want to know how you are adapting and surviving during these trying times. Now might be a great time to explain how this has impacted your business. Or maybe you've pivoted a little bit and are using what would otherwise be dormant resources to support first responders and other essential workers. But in the age of social distancing, it's getting harder and harder for people to know about your efforts. You can use a podcast as a personal diary to share what's going on day-by-day or week-by-week.
2. Showcase your Team. People like to do business with other people. Maybe now is a time to showcase the incredible folks that make up your team. What is their role during normal times? How are they coping with the pandemic? What have been their best life hacks to adjust to working from home or trying to balance work while the kids are also home? These profiles can give heart and soul to your company when someone comes to visit your site for the first time, even after things return to normal.
3. Communicate with Current Clients. There are a lot of unknowns and a lot of fear out there right now. But there are folks who have invested in you or remain invested in you. This podcast can be an audio version of what would typically be an email newsletter. But using your voice or many voices allows the audience to not only hear the words but feel the emotion in your voice. You can use a softer tone to assure them their investment with you is safe. You can give them confidence in your ability to rebound with a steadfast delivery. Or you can display appropriate vulnerability and let them know you're just as concerned. Either way, your voice provides a robust layer of emotion to words that may come across as cold in just text form.
4. Start to Network with New Clients. Now may be the time to start building potential leads for when the economy truly starts to recover. Cold outreach campaigns are probably falling on deaf ears or worse; they are coming across as rude and annoying. Even before a pandemic, it was hard to convince a total stranger to talk to you for 30 minutes. But, more people would see an invitation to be a guest on your podcast as an opportunity to market themselves while they are looking for ways to keep the momentum going for their business. Plus, while it is called social distancing, we could all use a bit more socializing. A good chat with a stranger might be the pick-me-up someone needs, especially since most have not had contact with the outside world in months. And once you've made that connection, it will be a lot easier to approach them about other ways to collaborate in the future.
5. Build Your Authority. One thing brilliant people are doing with their free time is learning. They are taking classes, watching seminars, and seeking out information wherever they can. If you can be the source of reliable information in your field, that will build your authority. It also builds name recognition. So if someone just finished learning from you how to do their job better, when it comes time to hire someone for related tasks, who are they going to think of first? It's the person who is both generous with value and a perceived expert.
Most of these are true of podcasters even before a global pandemic. But if you have any extra time and a yearning to come out of this in better shape personally or professionally, start building content that will live online for years after the shelter-in-place orders have lifted. You don't need 1,000,000 new listeners for your podcast to be considered a success. You just need the right ones who will potentially become new clients or partners.
And just innovating and creating alone shows your steadiness and endurance in the face of chaos.
Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
Mathew Passy is The Podcast Consultant, a 15-year veteran in the media industry with a majority of that time spent producing podcasts. The Podcast Consultant helps clients launch, edit, produce, promote, and benefit from their podcast. You can learn more and listen to some of his clients' shows at ThePodcastConsultant.com.