Will Starting a Podcast Build Your Brand?
Thinking about starting a podcast for your business? Then this is an episode you’ll definitely want to tune into.
This latest episode on Start Yours is inspired by a listener who had questions about podcasting, its benefits, and the tools needed to launch.
To really dive into it, we were joined by Rachel Corbett, the founder of PodSchool, a comprehensive course about starting a podcast. Rachel was also the Head of Podcasts for Mamamia, the largest women’s podcast network in the world.
Today, she has accumulated nearly two decades worth of podcasting experience.
Together, we dig into the pros and cons of podcasting, the behind-the-scenes work that people don’t realize, the equipment needed, how to outsource it, and more.
If you’ve ever toyed around with the idea of doing podcasting for your business, listen on (or read on).
As always, if you enjoy the podcast, we hope you’ll consider subscribing.
Short on time? Here’s a seven-point TL;DR version.
- What you need to think about if you’re thinking about getting into podcasting is, “What would your ideal listener want?”
- Podcasting allows you to express your brand personality, establish trust and connection with potential customers, and maintain the relationship with existing ones.
- Your ideal listener should be someone who’s hopefully going to purchase your product.
- Sponsoring can be a good way to experiment with advertising in podcasts without having to create your own.
- Your podcast content doesn’t need to be specific to your product. As long as it’s in the same vague area of where you want to make your money, you’re good.
- While editing can be outsourced, learning its basics can help to cut costs.
- When pitching to be a guest speaker, show how well you understand their content, their audience, and how you can provide value.
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Pros and Cons of Starting a Podcast
David: So to start out, I wanted to ask, for Start Yours listeners, since they’d be people who have started a business or people who might be thinking about launching their own business, should they consider launching their own podcast.
What are some of the pros and cons of that, and some of the headline top-level things that they should keep in mind as they think about starting a podcast?
Rachel: I think a lot of people are very obsessed with podcasts, and there’s this feeling of FOMO where they feel like they have to get involved in podcasting otherwise they’re not truly embracing this online content vibe.
But honestly, not every brand needs a podcast. And in fact, quite often your business won’t necessarily be suited to having a podcast.
What you need to really think about if you’ve got a business and you’re thinking about getting into podcasting is, “What would your ideal listener want?”
So you think about that a lot when you’re developing your website and thinking about your copy and thinking about who you’re talking to. The same process goes for a podcast.
You really need to be making a show that people wanna listen to, rather than trying to get your brand message into people’s ears, because people don’t actually wanna listen to that stuff.
It’s almost like you have to think, “What kind of show would I put ads on for my brand?” So, “What kind of podcast would I look out for that I know there would be an audience for that I could put ads on?”
And if you can think of something that relates to your brand, you should make that show. But not every brand is going to have the kind of products and services that naturally translate into having a podcast.
So I think you’ve just always gotta be a listener first with anything that you do. And the reason for that is, I think people have a misconception about podcast statistics and how many people listen to podcasts.
If you have 125 downloads, over 125 downloads, you’re in the top 50 percent. If you’ve got 1000, you’re in the top 20 percent. If you’ve got over 32,000, you’re in the top one percent.
We’re not talking about millions and millions of leads. And quite often, your website’s going to get more traffic potentially than your podcast will.
But some of the pros about having a podcast, if you can find the right idea for an audience, is it is a fantastic way to get your personality, like your individual personality, but also the personality of your brand across, in a way that is much easier to express than in copy. We’re all trying to shove our personality into copy but you can really do it when you’re using your voice.
You can establish trust and connection with potential customers that might be wondering about whether they should spend money with you. And then they listen to you and they like your vibe and they think, “Oh, I really like what this person’s about and they sound really authentic.” And that can actually be the difference between them reaching into their wallet or not.
And you can also keep that relationship going with people who have purchased something from you, and so that you’re not just taking their credit card details and then running for the hills. So there are a lot of pros. But there are a lot of cons.
It’s a heck of a lot of work. I don’t think people anticipate how much work it is.
And that’s why, of the over a million podcasts there are out there, most of them have faded into oblivion. It takes a lot. I think a lot of people sit down and go, “Of course, I just sit in front of a microphone for 30 minutes and that’s it.” But if you’re gonna do this, you’d be surprised at how much work it is.
So is the podcast the right way? Some brands, it’ll be the perfect sweet-spot for. Others, it might be better to put ads on other podcasts, guests on other podcasts. Find another way to utilize other people’s podcasts.
Things to Consider When Starting a Podcast
David: You mentioned the idea of finding listeners and if a podcast is the right way to reach your target group. And I think that that’s such a key consideration because you can produce a lot of cool stuff and spend a lot of time and energy and money making a shiny podcast.
But if you don’t have the listeners, a defined set of listeners, then it really might just be throwing noise into the air without any return.
So what should people think about when they try to determine if they can get a viable target audience, and how they might be attracting not just listeners, but listeners who would have, in the end, some sort of business relationship with the brand?
Rachel: I guess you should sit down really and think about, “Who are your best customers? Who are people that spend money on your products? Who do you think might spend money on your products?” And then use that person or that idea, those people as a base for you sitting down and designing your ideal listener.
And then I’d flesh that out a little bit so that you can think about, “Okay, who am I speaking to? If I was going to do a podcast, who would I be speaking to?” And then you wanna think about whether you can come up with the content that that group would be searching for anyway even if your brand wasn’t associated with it.
So with my business, it’s an online podcasting course. People wanna know a lot about podcasts and how to start. And it is a natural thing for me to do a podcast where I’m doing little tips each week that are podcast related to helping you improve your podcast that you can get for free.
And as a natural, then funneling into my paid course because people get comfortable with me as a person. They understand that I know what I’m talking about. They either like or they don’t like my vibe, which is part of things as well. They get a sense of whether they trust me or not, and then some of those people might step in and do my online course. So it might be as simple if you’ve got a brand that it seems like you could give tips or something, that you could share your expertise.
It might be something like that. You could also have a business where maybe there is content associated with what you do, that is something you could wrap your brand around.
So for example, I used to host a podcast for the network that I used to run. I was the head of podcast for a network in Australia for Mamamia. We had a podcast with Lady Startup. That was basically me sitting down with female entrepreneurs who had women like Melanie Perkins, who built Canva, people who had built really successful businesses that people who were hoping to build their own business would look to and aspire to, and they wanted to hear those stories.
And then there was a course associated with that podcast that we would put ads in every now and then when the course would open. Now, that wasn’t us giving business tips on that podcast. It was us giving that, sort of, these are the stories of where you could get to the content that people interested in business would be searching for anyway.
And then it just so happens that there were ads for this course, that of course, those people who are interested in that might be interested in purchasing to start their own business anyway. But there’s a whole audience out there that is just interested in hearing the stories of the businesses they know really well and how they were built.
So I think you just always have to think about, your ideal listener is always going to be hopefully somebody who’s going to purchase something that you are selling.
So think about that at the center. But then think about what content that you have that people would genuinely find useful, entertaining, engaging, and really try and separate that from what you’re trying to sell them. Because people don’t wanna be sold to. They wanna be entertained and engaged, and by having your brand associated with content that they wanna consume, you will reap the benefits of that. People will buy your products. But they’re not gonna listen to your show if it just sounds like a darn act.
David: Yeah. Are there any not obvious business/podcast combinations that you’ve seen where there’s a company selling whatever and they were able to do a podcast that’s adjacent to their niche, but not necessarily one that would be totally obvious where there’s been a fit that maybe wasn’t so obvious on the surface level?
Rachel: I think the one that always gets cited is GE’s podcast that came out years ago called “The Message”, which was… It came out at a time when fiction podcasts weren’t a huge thing. And it was a fiction podcast that stepped into that sci-fi space. It was… It didn’t really even have any branding around it. So it ended up getting a lot of free publicity and free press because it did not sound like a branded podcast.
And I think that’s something that as a brand and as a business… I’ve made a lot of branded podcasts. And one of the most difficult and frustrating and lengthy conversations that you end up having to have with brands is wrestling them to this idea of how saying their brand name a million times might feel great for them, but it’s not great for an audience.
So that was a good example of a business that ended up doing spectacularly well out of a podcast that really didn’t even have their brand associated with it. But because it was such good content that people really engaged with, they got a huge amount of listeners. They got a whole bunch of free press and everybody was giving high fives to GE.
So I think that’s a good lesson for brands. You don’t have to go that far and not put your brand in there at all or do something that is adjacent to what you do, you can be close or associated with your business.
But you just, you will always reap more benefits if it sounds like you are doing something for an audience rather than yourself.
Branded Podcasts vs Sponsored Shows
David: There are a lot of branded podcasts that you just mentioned that are produced by a company. Our show is one of them. We make this on behalf of Oberlo, of course.
And then there’s also the branch of the podcast world where it’s sponsored shows that have paid ads that pop up during the show or after the show, before, or whenever. That’s how they pay the bills. That’s why they do it, is to get the ears, and then use that as leverage to sell ads.
What can you tell us about the difference between these two options? So the branded stuff on the one side and then the other ones that are more, I don’t know if you’d call them purely entertainment or engagement, where there might not be a product or anything directly to buy on the other side of it, but that they’re nonetheless generating revenue via ads?
Rachel: Yes. So the branded podcasts when you’re, really the difference there is that your brand is heavily involved in the content. So when you’re working with brands to make a branded podcast, there is a lot of approval.
If you are a content creator who’s creating content for a brand, it’s your job to really make sure that you can be the champion for the content winning at the end of the day, and try to get that good balance between the brand feeling comfortable with what you’re doing and feeling like they’re getting enough out of it financially for the investment, as well as you also creating a show that people are gonna wanna listen to.
So there’s a much deeper integration in terms of the approval process and what’s actually involved. And honestly, for brands to do that with a creative agency or a company or something, it’s expensive. It’s expensive because there’s a lot involved in that process.
When you are sponsoring a show, essentially you are going to where an audience already exists, and you’re going to a show that already has an existing bunch of listeners and they’ve got content that people really enjoy, and you’re placing your ads around that.
So you have zero input on the content. You’re essentially only in charge of the content that is your 30 second or 15 second or whatever it is ad. That’s the only content that you have any input on. And you are basically just, I guess, putting your brand around content that you already know that people really enjoy.
So this can be a much better way to do things if you want to experiment with advertising in podcasts but you don’t necessarily wanna leap right into creating a podcast of your own, which doesn’t guarantee success and is also a heck of a lot of work.
If there are podcasts already that exist in your niche that you think, “You know what my ideal customer is definitely gonna be listening to this podcast because this is exactly the kind of stuff that they would be interested in,” it can be a really good idea to maybe reach out to those podcasts and see if you can put an ad on their shows, rather than starting a show of your own from scratch.
The Relevance of Your Podcast Content to Your Business
David: If somebody does wanna start a show of their own. I’m curious about how far they could stray from the bulls-eye of what their business is. You just mentioned niches, and if this is a podcast in your niche. And so I’m wondering what sort of liberties somebody could take?
So for example, if you have an online store that sells wooden kids toys, for example, could you launch a podcast about childhood education? Or if you have a store that’s selling outdoor gear, could you launch a podcast about camping?
So how tightly do you think the podcast content needs to be linked to the things that might get sold? Is it more important to create the awesome content and the engagement which might liberate you to do more topics? Or are you gonna end up wasting your time if you go too far afield and you’re doing something that doesn’t really have a direct line back to the purchase button?
Rachel: It doesn’t have to be direct in that you’re like, “I sell wooden toys. I can only talk about wooden toys.” In fact, if you’re selling wooden kids’ toys, you can absolutely do a show about childhood education, because you’re assuming that the people who listen to that show either have kids or maybe are teachers.
So it would be around kids, so they would probably need to buy the kind of toys, providing you’re appealing to people in the same age range that have got kids in the same age range as the toys that you’re selling. Then yes, you’re giving content that is to an audience that is probably gonna be looking for that product.
If you have an outdoor gear shop, then those are the type of people who love to go camping. So if you do a show about camping, then they’re naturally gonna be somebody that is gonna be looking for camping and outdoor gear as well.
So I think you can go as far as you can creatively think, as long as you don’t go so far that the people you’re appealing to are no longer your ideal customers.
So I really think the sky’s the limit in terms of how creative you can be, and that’s one of the magic things about podcasting. There are no rules. You can have a show as short or as long as you want, as long as that suits your content and your audience. You don’t wanna talk for three hours just ’cause you think it’s gonna be fun. You wanna talk for three hours ’cause the people listening want you to talk for three hours.
So there’s really so much scope for what you could do, as long as you don’t step far enough away that people are listening to a show about camping and your business sells wooden children’s toys.
I feel like it’s gotta be in the same kind of vague area of where you’re trying to make your money. But that doesn’t mean that you have to just be very specific and… No the better word for that is you don’t have to be literal. You don’t have to be literal about what you’re doing, you can take the essence of what you do and create a show out of that, but you still wanna be appealing to your customers.
The Hidden Legwork of Podcast Production
David: Yeah, that’s a great way to put it. Now you’ve mentioned a couple of times the work involved in making a podcast, and this is a topic that I wanted to circle around to. And I think there might be a perception in some circles at least, that creating a podcast is not that much work.
A 25-minute podcast episode is basically just 25 minutes of work and then you hit upload, and then you’re ready to roll. You’re just talking, right? So it’s just shooting the breeze and then publishing it.
But I’ve done this enough to know that it’s not simple, there are a lot of moving parts, a lot of things you need to do, a lot of growing pains as well.
So I’m curious if you could talk a little bit about the hidden challenges or the work and the headaches that people are going to unearth as they get into podcasts, things that people might not expect if they’ve never done it before.
Rachel: I think what you’re trying to say is that it can be a punish. That’s a… It can be a real punish. This is my absolute wheelhouse, this is what I do, it’s what I love. And there are some weeks where I’m like, “I cannot be stuffed.” It is a lot of work.
And so if you do not go in there with a genuine passion for the content that you’re doing, and that you’re thinking, “You know what? I would make this even if I didn’t want it to go anywhere or whatever. I just think this is a really killer idea. I love, I wanna really get this out into people’s ears. I think it’ll really entertain people, engage people. I love turning up.”
You need that at the bottom of all of this, because there are gonna be some weeks where you are pulling your hair out, going, “Oh my gosh, this is taking so much more time than I actually have.” And if you don’t have that real passion for it, at the bottom of it, it’s gonna… You’re gonna be one of those podcasts that fade out really quickly.
So I think some of the things that people don’t understand is editing. That’s an essential part of every single show.
I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years. I would never ship a single thing out without editing it. It’s not like you get to the point where eventually you get so good that you can just lay things down in one crack and you don’t have to touch it. Doesn’t happen.
If you want to create a show that’s genuinely listener-first and you are shipping out your best possible content, you’re always gonna edit. That takes a long time. And the longer your show is, the longer it’s gonna take you to edit it. ‘Cause if you’ve got a one hour show, just to listen to it takes an hour.
So the process of going through that and chopping it, chopping it, chopping it, that’s like sometimes it can take five hours to edit a one hour show, easy. So you really need to think about editing, because that’s really important.
Then there’s all the stuff around the podcast that people don’t think about, like creating show notes for every episode, creating audio snippets if you wanna promote your show with audio, sharing your show on social media.
The other thing a lot of people tend to do is just share it the day that it’s released, and then never share it again. But if you want people to constantly be finding your show, you need to be scheduling that stuff for far into the future.
The other thing that takes a long time, coming up with content. Holy heck, you really wanna be trying to plan as far ahead as you can, because that takes a lot of time. So all of that stuff, it’s not just, “I sit down and I chat into a microphone.”
In fact, if you want that bit to sound really good, the prep and the planning beforehand has to be pretty in-depth, to make sure that when you’re in the moment, when you’re presenting, you’re like, “Hey, I’m here I’m having… I know what I’m doing. I know where we’re going and I’m really enjoying this.” But there’s a lot around the show that takes a lot of time.
Equipment You Need to Get Set up With Podcasting
David: Yeah, for sure. And I think it’s interesting you mentioned that you need to have a real passion for it if you’re gonna mess with it because there are going to be weeks or months where it’s just a pain in the ass.
And that’s the same attitude that we talk about when it comes to launching a dropshipping store. When you choose the products you’re selling, or when you choose your niche, you’re gonna have to be… You’re gonna need to be into it because it’s not always gonna be smooth. You’re gonna have face plants and duds and ads that you just burn money on.
And so I think that principle that you’re talking about, of being committed from the get-go, that rings true, it rings familiar. And so I think that’s a great way to think about it.
If somebody is committed to doing a podcast, if they have a type of product or a business that they think, “I can make more noise about my business via podcasts, I’m sick of Facebook ads. Let’s get creative and do this.” Okay, they’re there. That’s great.
What are the things that they’re gonna need to do in terms of the nitty-gritty, like equipment? What do they need to buy or to download? Or what’s the hardware that’s gonna be required to create the listener-friendly podcast that you’re talking about?
Rachel: So it really depends on how they’re going to do it. And I’ve actually got a little guide that goes through some of the things that you need. So if anybody listening wants to download that rather than sit here furiously and take notes, you can just head to podcastguide.com.au and download that. But essentially, it depends.
So if you are going to do your show just you, by yourself, then you can probably get away with a microphone, which you will need to purchase, headphones that you have at home, so you could get away with that for free. And audio editing software, so you wanna plug a microphone straight into your computer. And that you can purchase or you can get that for free. Audacity is a free program you can use.
So if you just wanted to get started, just you and a microphone, then just buying a USB mic is all you’d need to do to get started with that.
If you wanna take your show out on the road, you can take your laptop computer and use that. But I usually advise against that ’cause it’s… I’ve had some times when I’ve recorded podcast episodes on the laptop, and 45 minutes into it, the laptop’s crashed and then you end up with no audio. So which is always a punish.
So I have a portable recorder, a Zoom. And that’s what I use basically for all of my recordings because that lets me take my kit out and I can plug as many microphones as I need because you need a microphone for every single person.
You don’t want to have a microphone in your hand and to be moving it around, ’cause you’ll hear the noise of your hand on it, you’ll inevitably try and shove the microphone in your guest’s face and you won’t catch them. So then you’ll get a bit of audio as they’re moving away from the microphone and it’ll sound like this.
So you wanna make sure you’ve got a mic stand and a microphone for any person that’s gonna be talking on your show, ’cause you want the microphones out of people’s hands as well. So if you’re on the road, a portable recorder can be really good. And then I also use that portable recorder. You can plug that straight into your computer to use as a USB microphone as well.
So that, and then you just need editing software which is the same as the recording software. So again, you could just use Audacity, which you can do for free.
So you can really kick off with not much gear at all.
And with a microphone, there’s a mic out that a lot of podcasters use, it’s the Audio-Technica. They used to have a 2100. I think they discontinued it, now it’s 2100X. Really simple USB microphone that works really well.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a microphone. In fact, some of those really high-end expensive microphones are often designed to be used in a soundproof studio and are actually the worst thing you can use if you are recording at home in your bedroom because they’ll pick up a whole bunch of room noise that you don’t want it to pick up.
And what you’re gonna have to think a lot about is where you record. So you know you don’t wanna record in your kitchen. You don’t wanna record in the toilet, nowhere with tiles and reflective surfaces and stuff like that.
The “where” of where you record is really gonna have a huge impact on the quality of what you’re recording.
But apart from that, you can really start super simply. You don’t have to have a gigantic setup or a full home studio or masses of equipment. Just a microphone, headphones, and your editing equipment, if you’re just going solo, and you’d be ready to roll.
Outsourcing Parts of Your Podcast Production
David: In last week’s episode of Start Yours, we talked a lot about outsourcing and the various things that if you’re running a business, if you’re marketing a business, things that you can pawn off and other people. There’s a lot of talent out there, and there are a lot of ways to leverage it. So that’s something that Oberlo users have taken a lot of advantage of.
When it comes to podcasts, is there also an industry out there? Or is there… Are there freelancers all over the place that would be willing to do some of the nitty-gritty editing or production work that you just mentioned were particularly time-consuming?
Rachel: There are. There definitely are. There are some great ones, there are some dud ones. There are some expensive ones, there are some cheap ones. It’s really a mixed bag. And it can be a long time before you find your person.
I think as with anything in business, in anything, you wanna work with those people that you trust, that understand what you’re trying to create.
And with audio, if you have the budget for it and you don’t have the time to edit, absolutely, you can get your show edited. It might take a little time to find your person. I would encourage you to obviously listen to the work that they have out there.
I would get them to send you the contacts of some people that they’ve worked with before. If they are great at their job, they’re not gonna mind that at all, so that you can get in touch with those people and see if they’re good to work with.
I would also give them a small editing task. So that’s not three hours of audio and then saying, “Can you put together a show?”, ’cause they’ll be like, “Are you just trying to use me for free to edit your podcast?” Just a small portion of your audio.
You would wanna get something that needs a bit of cleaning up, and just see what they send back, just to get a sense of whether they can actually edit your audio properly. ‘Cause there are a lot of people out there who are saying they can edit audio, and who aren’t very good at editing podcast audio. So you just wanna make sure that you’re choosing the right person to go with.
Learning to Do a Little Editing Can Go a Long Way
I find if you have time and you don’t have a huge amount of budget, it is worth learning how to do it. It is scary to begin with, but actually it’s just about practice. Once you practice and get better and better at editing the stuff, you can do it yourself. And I just find, personally, I’m smiling because I’m a control freak.
But you don’t wanna go back and forth with somebody a million times saying, “Oh, could you cut that bit out and then cut this bit out, and then this bit, and then this bit.” Because every time you go back and forth with someone it costs you a bit extra money.
So even if you were able to do a basic rough cut of an edit so that you didn’t have to have somebody go through your audio and cut the bits out of it, and then you gave it to them and said, “Okay, now could you put an intro and outro on it, and then send it back to me?”
Even if you could help that process along, it’d be worth learning a bit about how to edit to cut down some of the costs there.
But if you’ve got the budget and you wanna get somebody else to do it, you can absolutely find someone. I would just make sure that you know exactly what they’re capable of, and that you check with other clients that they’ve had, to see that they’re good.
Pitching to Be a Guest Speaker
David: Yeah. This idea of giving them a muddy audio file is great. I’ve done that in the past too, given them something that has a hiss in the background, or something where the other side sounds like they’re in a swimming pool, and just say… And that doesn’t need to be long either. That can just be, “Here’s 17 seconds of crappy audio. Make it pretty, just… Or make it as pretty as you can.” And then you can go from there.
Now, there are other ways that a business could make some noise with a podcast besides having their own. And so one of those would be being a guest on somebody else’s podcast.
And I think that this would be especially viable for somebody who isn’t particularly experienced in all the mechanics that are involved with creating a podcast, but somebody who nonetheless is a real expert on what they do, and they’re expert on the niche that they are in.
So if you don’t wanna start your own, what are some of the ways that a business owner or a brand could go about trying to take advantage of podcasts in this other way where you leverage somebody else’s?
Rachel: This can be a great idea because of what I mentioned earlier about how finding content for your show can be a real pain in the butt and how you can be planning and thinking, “God, I don’t know what to do for that episode.”
And if you’ve got somebody who pops into your inbox who seems to have an intimate understanding of your show and your audience, and offers you the kind of content that your audience would love because they’ve pitched you perfectly, then that can be an absolute no-brainer to say, “Yes, please come on my podcast and come and talk about those things.”
So if you pitch yourself right, and you are actually coming at it from a place of, “I like this show. I think my ideal customer will be listening to it. I think I’ve got the expertise that their audience is really going to find useful.” I’m going to pitch that specifically, so not just say, “I could come on and talk about whatever you wanted.”
Actually pitch that person specifically the information that you could provide them.
And that can be a really easy sell if the person on the receiving end is clear that you’ve listened to their show, that you understand their audience, and that you’re making a pitch for content that naturally fits with them.
I’ve had plenty of people pitch me over the years in the jobs that I’ve done, where I wanted to write back, “You have never listened to a single show on this network.”
It blows my mind what some people will pitch. And the fact that you think, “Hang on a second.” Immediately, if I think that you’ve pitched me and you don’t even know what the rest of the network is or you don’t even realize that you’ve pitched me something for a show where we would never put that content on that show, ever, you think, “Why does that make me feel like you’re going to be a safe pair of hands if I get you on to the show to do that?”
So I would just always make sure that you are really clearly showing that you understand what their content is, who their audience is, and you show how you can provide value. And if you do that well and succinctly, don’t send nine pages of an explanation, get that across quickly, you’ll be surprised how quickly people will take you up on the offer because it fills an episode.
Going the Extra Mile as a Podcast Guest Speaker
David: Yeah, perfect. Is there anything… I think that there’s a lot of stuff, if you were gonna be a guest on a podcast, even if you weren’t a podcast guest savant, there are a lot of things that you would just intuitively know you need to do. You need to be knowledgeable, you need to have good energy and all that stuff.
Is there anything less obvious that would make a guest appearance that much more impactful? Things that somebody who’s trying to get on somebody else’s show, things that they should keep in mind if they do land that spot?
Rachel: I think it’s a good idea to have a decent microphone, if you can, if that’s possible. You don’t, again, you don’t have to buy an expensive one, but you could get a microphone for 100, 150 bucks.
If you think this is something that you wanna do consistently, it makes a huge amount of difference for a podcaster because audio quality is a very important thing.
If you want to have a successful podcast, you need to think about how your show sounds. If I take my show seriously, and I’ve got somebody on the other end and we’re gonna be talking for 20 minutes, an hour, whatever, and they’re on Apple earbuds, forget about it. Not gonna happen.
David: That happened to us once at Start Yours.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s… And look, sometimes you’re gonna get Oprah, and you’re like, “Look, Oprah, if you’re gonna get your Apple earbuds, I’ll let it… I’ll let it go through ’cause we know how good your content is.” So sometimes you’ll let it go through. But more often than not, if you are the one pitching yourself hoping to get on other people’s shows, you wanna be as appealing as possible. So that’s a big part of it.
I would also just be the guest that preps and that says to that person, don’t ask for the questions because not everybody wants to send through their questions, but say, “If you would like to send me the questions, I’d be more than happy to make sure that I’m researched on everything. Please let me know if there’s anything specific you would like me to prepare.”
Afterward, after you’ve gone on the show, if they don’t send it, they’ll probably send you a link of things that you can actually share out on your social media. If you create your own social tiles, and you share back to their podcast episode, and you spoke it on your social channels, that’s gonna be a really great thing as well because really, that’s getting their show in front of a new audience as well. So those kinds of things can make you a really appealing guest to people.
Impact of COVID-19 on Podcast Consumption
David: Alright, Rachel. One more question for you, then I will let you get out of here. And I wanted to ask about how Coronavirus and COVID-19 and this weird situation that we’re in right now, how this is affecting podcast consumption.
‘Cause I think that there’s been… Yeah, I’ve seen some headlines, I know I follow this stuff more closely than a lot of people, but I’ve seen some headlines about how there are not as many people listening to podcasts, or about how podcasts are really hurting, ’cause nobody’s commuting or because people aren’t at the gym as much, etcetera.
As somebody who lives and breathes this stuff, what are you seeing and what are you hearing inside the industry when it comes to how the pandemic has affected podcast consumption?
Rachel: I have actually seen it turn around a fair bit. So I think originally when everything started shifting and people’s commute was no longer in the usual hours of, sort of, 6:00 to 8:00, and 4:00 and 5:00 to 7:00 or whatever, there was a real change for a lot of podcast producers that I know of, and they did see a real drop off in their numbers.
But then I’ve actually seen things turn around recently, where numbers are really better than ever for a lot of podcasters that I know.
And I think it’s because people are slowly adjusting. I feel like people get into a routine and a rhythm, and as a podcaster, you start to get a sense of, “Oh, this is when people download my show. And yep, I can see I can get this many people each episode.” And you start to get comfortable with a certain rhythm.
But I think what this has shown is that when people’s behaviors go out of whack, some of those things can really change. And if you have good solid content, people will always come back to that.
Once life gets less crazy and they start to realize, “Okay, I’m just gonna get into a new rhythm and a new routine,” then it recalibrates and people will always come back to good content.
So I think if you have just got a great show that really appeals to an audience, that’s good quality, even if something unpredictable like COVID happens and you see a dip in your numbers, that’s not forever. Things do come back on track.
And particularly now I think when a lot of people have sort of gotten a bit used to this time by themselves, slowing down a little bit, I’ve really seen with a lot of producers that people are listening more and more.
So I don’t think this should make anybody shy away. In fact, it can often give a little bit more time, ’cause you can’t go out to a restaurant very often anymore, so why not spend that time that you used to be sipping margaritas out at a table, put that time into developing a podcast. It could be a real opportunity, I think, to get something up and going at this time.
David: Perfect. Alright, Rachel, we can leave it there. Thanks so much for joining us once again, Rachel Corbett. You can find more awesome stuff over at PodSchool. Lots of great information and courses about how to launch your own podcast. And yeah, thanks for the time.
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