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We love podcasts. They’re one of the more powerful tools in your marketing toolkit.

But you shouldn’t care much about how many people are listening. "Growing the podcast" shouldn't be one of your marketing goals.

Sounds paradoxical. But here’s why:

Why You Shouldn’t Care About Podcast Growth

Podcasts are uniquely difficult to get distribution for. They don't tend to show up in Google results. The platforms aren't great for discovery. Growing one is REALLY hard - and that’s when the content is relevant to a large general audience.

Your podcast won’t be targeting a large general audience. If you’re doing it right you’ll be targeting your ideal client.

Long story short - if you launch a podcast, it’s incredibly unlikely you’re going to get tremendous reach.

So why do it anyway? Two reasons:

Podcasts as Keystone Content

First, podcasts can be the source material for the rest of your Authority Marketing efforts. It is the "keystone" content that enables everything else you create.

It works because it allows you to be more stream of consciousness.

For many folks, staring at a blank page is hard. But with a podcast, you can jot down some bullet points, hit record, and riff. You still want your topics to map to your larger content strategy and the meta narrative of your client. But this eliminates a ton of friction.

All your awkward pauses, all your mistakes - they can be edited out. You can find podcast editors to do this for you inexpensively, or you can learn to use a tool like Descript which is magical.

The workflow looks something like this:

  • Record, edit, publish the podcast.
  • Upload the video of the podcast to Youtube - both the full episode and clips. Incidentally this is the primary way people DO grow their podcasts, along with being a guest on other people's podcasts.
  • Make shorts of the most interesting segments, and publish on your organic social channels.
  • Turn the transcript into an article, optimize for organic search, and publish it on your site.
  • Potentially send as an email newsletter.

Congrats - you now have a whole marketing apparatus that's been unlocked from one key piece of content.

Podcasts are Great for Building Trust

The second reason - podcasts are fantastic for the middle of your funnel, as tools for business development or sales enablement.

As we’ve discussed elsewhere, people buy from people they trust. And trust is built over time. Podcasts are magical for trust building.

Podcasts are intimate. You're piping someone else's voice into your brain. You don't have 30 other browser tabs open. If you're multi-tasking, it's doing something with very low cognitive load, like walking, or driving, or folding laundry.

It's the highest signal, lowest noise medium available to you as a firm.

And repetition breeds familiarity, which breeds trust. There's an idea in psychology called the "mere exposure effect." The more someone hangs out with you, the more they like you.

Podcasts are the closest you can get to "hanging out with prospective clients" other than hanging out with prospective clients.

Your Podcast Action Plan

So how should you approach doing your podcast? Some recommendations.

Think about format.

You can do podcasts in a bunch of ways. The most common is the interview podcast, which can be great because you get to “draft” off of the insights of your smart friends. But the logistics are more complicated - you have to find guests, schedule with them, potentially send them the draft prior to publishing, get their help promoting, etc.

You don’t have to do it this way. You can think outside the box. You can do it yourself. You don’t have to have it be an hour long. We’re actually big fans of the 10 minute episode - easy to create, easy to listen to.

You can also experiment with a “season” or even a one-time series. Naval Ravikant has a great example of that here.

Record video versions.

If you’re doing audio only you’re missing out on most of the benefits in terms of repackaging for other channels. So record a video version.

You might want to invest in upgrading you Zoom setup so you look your best - if nothing else, at least invest in a good microphone.

If you’re recording interviews with others, use a tool like Riverside, which lets you record HD quality video from both sides (and has a cloud backup just in case there are issues.) Zoom recordings are grainy - this makes the quality of your videos much higher.

Minimum Viable Editing

You can get elaborate with editing, with intro and outro music, transitions, etc. But you really don’t need to.

Tools like Descript make it super easy to remove pauses and filler words automatically. You can make more substantial edits to the video by editing the transcript directly. You can edit a 10 minute recording in probably 10 minutes.

You can also use Descript to create the smaller clips - highlighting passages that are interesting and making them into “scenes” that you can export. You can even add those fancy captions you see on short form video with ease.

Finally, the transcript itself can be exported and turned into a longer form article for your website.

Getting it Published

We’re fans of Spotify for Podcasters as a hosting platform. It makes it easy to syndicate to other platforms like Apple Podcasts and is super user friendly.

Do the Podcast. Don’t Worry About Reach.

The benefits of doing a podcast are huge. They just don’t involve having millions of listeners.

Imagine if the 100 accounts you were targeting were listening to your ideas each week. What percentage of them would become clients when the need arose? The best time to get on your prospective client’s radar is well before they need you. Start today.