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How to Make Some Noise with Podcasting

Coaches make a unique connection with those they work with, and podcasting is a powerful way to engage with new or existing clients.

By sharing your expertise, in your own voice, you start developing empathy and trust with listeners in a way that no other medium can. The sound of someone’s voice, talking only to you, feels special.

Imagine if you could get 10, 50, 100, or 1000 people in a room every week, listening to you intently. Podcasting can do that for you, without the need to get people to a seminar!

Podcast listening is growing fast. Recent data from Edison Research shows that 57% of US adults listened to podcasts in 2021, with the 2022 figure projected to reach 62%—or 177 million people. 

The growth is reflected in other studies, too, with an Acast/Nielsen study showing that 45% of the podcast listeners they surveyed in the UK and Ireland had only started listening in the last year.

Health, well-being, and personal development podcasts are among the most popular categories in several studies—people are actively seeking the kind of insights that YOU have to share.

How to Get Started

As with any great product or service you might launch, there are several steps to maximize your chance of podcasting success.

The biggest mistake you could make today is to start recording straight away. Few people can make this work, and even if you produce a great episode, you are setting yourself up for trouble later on.

Planning is key. 

This includes researching the podcasts that are already on the market by searching for the kind of topics you would cover in the most popular podcast apps, namely Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Don’t be put off if there are lots of others already doing those topics. You could seek to find a niche within a niche, deliver the content in a different way, or just do it better!

But also remember that you are unique. Even if another podcast was almost the same as yours, your perspective, style, and experience make your podcast different. 

Know Your Audience, Know Your Goal

There are two questions that I always stress for those in the planning stage: 

  1. What’s in it for your audience?
  2. What’s in it for you?

Too many people create podcasts—and other content—that either ignore both of these essential questions, or only focus on one of them (frequently the second!)

Asking what your audience needs from you and how they will benefit is the key to effective podcasting. Address their pain points or provide them with the motivators they need, and you are giving them something of value.

Map out some key topics based on those that recur frequently when working with clients. You could also ask your existing client base what they would like extra help with.

Create an editorial plan for at least 10 episodes, making each one a single topic. Keep this topped up as you release episodes, so that you are not left scrambling for topics at the last minute.

The second question (What’s in it for you?) is about setting goals. You’ll be used to asking clients to do this, but now it’s your turn. 

Being clear in your own mind about why you are podcasting will help you measure its success. Maybe you want new clients, or you want to deepen engagement with existing ones by giving them something between coaching sessions?

You can even use a podcast to drive people to your email list, the holy grail of marketing! 

There are many ways to do this: 

  • Giving listeners to your podcast exclusive access to something such as an ebook, discount code, online event, etc. 
  • Running a contest with the answer included in one or more podcast episodes of your podcast.
  • VIP access to additional content (longer episodes, etc.) when joining the mailing list.

How to Structure Your Podcast

When you have your outline ready, the other important part of planning is to decide on a format.

For coaches, popular formats might be a monologue or a guest interview. You could also think about doing a ‘virtual coaching session’ where you imagine that you are coaching a client one-to-one on a specific topic.

For a monologue, it can help to think of each episode as the audio equivalent of a blog post, especially if you are already blogging.

As with a blog post, a typical podcast episode would start by giving the listener an idea of what the episode is about, sharing two or three key takeaways, and ending with a clear call to action.

Notice I said ‘listener’ not ‘listeners.’ That’s because you should think of a podcast as a one-to-one communication. 

Your episodes don’t have to be long, especially if you opt for a monologue format. Even 5-10 minutes can be incredibly valuable for your audience if you keep it focused and give them plenty of action points. 

With a guest or virtual coaching session format, you would probably be aiming for somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes. 

Before we move on from planning, you will need a name for your podcast (again, research to avoid clashes) and a hi-res square image to use as your podcast cover. (Editor’s Note: Canva makes it easy to create this graphic, even for those of us who don’t have an eye for design!)

Microphones and Soft Furnishings

The question I get asked more than any other is ‘What equipment do I need to podcast?’

The good news is that you can do this with a smartphone, USB mic, or headset, and some simple recording apps or free software that are widely available. 

Remember that the better the mic, the better the sound, but again this can be achieved at a relatively low cost.

Another key consideration is the recording location. Find somewhere quiet, carpeted, and with plenty of soft furnishings (a bedroom is ideal). Echo is your enemy, so avoid acoustically challenging locations such as kitchens, bathrooms, or a typical office environment with lots of hard surfaces. 

It’s always best to plan to record at times of the day when you will not be disturbed, and to turn off all phones, email notifications, etc.

Treat the recording of your podcast as you would a client coaching session or phone call. Give it your all—it’s what your audience deserves. Plus, it will show listeners what it’s like to work with you, leading to recruiting new clients for your coaching practice.

For more tips, check out the link below to my free e-book.

Steve Randall

Steve Randall is a podcaster and audio producer with more than 30 years’ experience. He offers one-to-one and group coaching on podcasting and is the founder of Communication Generation, a podcast production company.

Get Steve’s free ebook

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