Why Should I Podcast?

Published in Podcasting, Audio Agency, John Mellis

Not that long ago if you wanted to watch something on television, you had a choice between four channels.

Then with the advent of satellite and digital came the possibility of watching hundreds, some of which were great, others not so good, a few were downright awful - which just goes to prove increasing choice doesn’t guarantee increasing quality. Often it’s the reverse, but that’s an argument for another day.

More recently still, the ability to watch whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want, for as long as you want, on whatever device you want.

Read that sentence back and it’ll blow your mind.

Back when we had just three channels, the likes of Star Trek would purposely write into scripts devices which weren’t even given a second look on the show. They were deliberately treated as every day and taken for granted - all part of the mission to seek out new life and new civilisations.

Behind the scenes, this futuristic aspect was driven by what was known as a ‘Wishful Thinking’ Department staffed by scientists working at the cutting edge of tech at the time and able to predict how the future might look because it would be the fruits of their labour twenty to thirty years hence.

Some they got right, some they were woefully wide of the mark with. But in simple terms, when Spok was asked to look something up for the Captain, he’d take a coloured plastic disk, slip it into a slot, gaze at a screen for a moment and provide an answer.

Now consider real life in the early 80s at the height of the use of the floppy disk, when you took a piece of plastic, slipped it into a slot, and provided your boss with an answer to the query he or she had just posed!

Technology and our use of it is in a golden age, especially when it comes to helping us live our lives more conveniently. Think how often these days you ask a small plastic cone in the corner of the room to do something for you.

The only time I’ve seen or heard of that going wrong was when a friend bought a smart speaker for his Granny’s Christmas thinking it would make a lot of aspects of her life easier. When he called round to see her on Christmas Day she was frustrated beyond belief and her confidence dented. She was adamant she could follow simple instructions and set something up, but this machine must be faulty.

All day she’d been calling it Alexis.

But, I digress.

Going back to TV for a moment, with Netflix leading the way, and countless others now galloping along just behind, the way we watch shows or films has changed forever.

And audio is catching up.

That makes it sound like audio didn’t see this evolution coming, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Audio’s game-plan was future-proofed from the outset. At a moment where everyone worships at the altar of ‘NOW’, and all things must be delivered instantaneously or die, audio’s been doing that since its conception.

Radio is NOW.

So adapting wasn’t such a necessity for audio, but it was an opportunity. More and more big names are joining the audio world and creating podcasts. For comedy stars like Will Ferrell it’s a chance to write and record something funny without spending 12 hours in costume and make up beforehand. Chat show hosts like Conan O’Brien are now huge in the podcast arena too because they realise that separate long form interviews with guests they’ve already booked for their TV show can produce something far more intimate and interesting than would ever arise in their four minutes of allotted screen time where they have to mention said guest’s new film six times in order to fulfil contract requirements, before hitting the next commercial break.

And the world is suddenly sitting up and taking notice at what was previously looked at forlornly as a rare misstep by Steve Jobs.

Podcasting, or the ability to do it, has been around since the iPhone revolution began. Remember when Steve announced how you could have your entire music collection available to listen to in a device you could place in your pocket?

That single concept rocked an entire generation.

So much so, we missed the next sentence.

Not only could we listen to all our music, we could communicate with the world, by podcasting.

Screw it, we thought, we’re ripping all our vinyl onto iTunes.

And the visionary that he was let it pass, while we played like children and his sales soared.

Perhaps he was content enough at that.

Of course, some people tried podcasting. It became a niche thing.

Narrow-casting as opposed to broadcasting.

So if you were so desperately keen on fly-tying that you sought advice online, there was a podcast for you with an expert angler explaining the intricate details of how to achieve the perfect bait.

This type of thing produced very small but hugely loyal and devoted fans.

But it’s taken a few other elements to super-charge podcasting into the monster it is now, growing larger all the time. To revolutionise the audio arena and blossom into the beautiful creation Steve Jobs envisaged all those years ago. Potential finally realised. Where everybody has a voice, and a chance to make it heard on a platform designed to share it worldwide.

But then, why should you?

What’s the point in bothering?

Let’s forget the concept of being a star, because that happens to very few.

However, if you mention podcasting to digital experts these days, you’ll see them light up and exhibit that warm fuzzy feeling.

In a world where SEO exponents are waging a war against ever changing algorithms designed to make them falter in their quest to be top of page 1 on a Google search, finally the penny has dropped that podcasts are one of the biggest weapons in their arsenal.

And now, you have an audience conditioned to gorge itself binge-consuming what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, wherever it wants.

Podcasting has finally arrived.

Here’s the deal.

What do we use the internet for most?

Finding out stuff.

Whether it’s about the intricacies of fly-tying, searching for the nearest florist, or where to binge watch classic Star Trek, you tap in your request and no sooner than you could wish it, thousands if not millions of answers arrive on your screen.

Now, whatever your business, the holy grail for the SEO specialist is to make sure the questions your potential customers ask online, lead them to you at the top of page 1 in the results.

The entire life of the SEO expert is trying to figure out those questions and then generating content that will be found as the answer, whether that’s via a blog article, a video, or, you guessed it - a podcast.

Unlike a written article in a blog, a podcast makes the words jump off the page and take form - your form. YOU become the friendly helpful expert for your client. They get to know, like and trust you before they’ve even physically met you, and you’re one step closer to making that sale.

What’s more, you become the expert in that realm, so if, for instance, there’s something newsworthy happens in your sphere of influence guess who’s coming up first in the searches in newsrooms chasing expert opinion and advice on that story!

More publicity. More validation of you as the go-to-guru in your profession.

And unlike video, podcasts can be accessed anywhere whilst you’re doing something else completely. They don’t demand your eyes, only your ears.

So, think about the biggest most popular queries you’re asked about, and then make a podcast about it, pulling back the curtain of mystery and providing good, solid answers and advice.

Let me give you an example with something I’ve been working on.

Gerald Krasner is an interesting guy. For years he’s helped people rescue their business when they thought all was lost.

Famously, he’s saved football clubs from extinction, notably Leeds United and Bournemouth, plus others he’s consulted for but is contractually unable to reveal the identities of!

In a world peeking out from a pandemic, Gerald’s already seen what’s coming financially and knows his type of expertise will be in demand, so he decided to make a podcast series about the specific scenarios businesses might face and how to navigate your way through the stormy waters to the other side.

I was the host, and together we devised a programme called Business Rescue With Gerald Krasner.

Here’s an example of one such episode where we talked about the dangers football was facing in the UK because of Coronavirus.

If you’re interested, you can find the entire first season to listen to here, or watch it here.

And they say the proof is in the pudding. Since this podcast, Gerald has appeared regularly as an expert on LBC, and is currently in the midst of trying to save Wigan Athletic.

So, why aren’t you podcasting?