Podcasting for Experts

As a thought leader who has published a book to share your ideas with the world (or as someone who is considering doing so), you already recognize the enormous value that informing and engaging your audience can have in establishing, reinforcing, and expanding the public’s perception of your expertise. If you already have a book available in the marketplace, you are likely looking for ways to reach new audiences, and deepen your connection with the people who already know you.

If you’ve read this far, then it will come as no surprise that the surging popularity of podcasts represents a powerful opportunity for you to hit both of those birds with a single stone. This post aims to answer some common questions that Greenleaf authors have had about podcasts.

Q: What is a podcast and why is everyone talking about them?

A: Merriam-Webster defines a podcast as “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.” At Greenleaf, we think of a podcast as serialized audio content that delivers information or the host’s perspective on a specific topic or theme, that produces new episodes on a consistent, ongoing basis. Hosting a podcast is similar to hosting a radio show, where you get to include whatever you want.

Podcasts are a big deal right now—the latest figure identifies over half a million podcasts—and their number has grown along with the audience. In the U.S.,

44% of Americans have listened to a podcast, and 26% have listened to one in the past month. The average weekly podcast listener spent six and a half hours listening to podcasts, and averaged seven podcasts per week. That represents a huge opportunity to expose your message to a new audience through a new medium.

Q: Should I start my own podcast?

A: There are many factors to consider before you commit to starting a new podcast of your own. The volume of competitive content in the podcast landscape is daunting, and carving out a niche in the space requires a significant investment of time and energy. Beyond those challenges, it can take months or years to foster and grow an audience. If you are thinking of a podcast primarily as a promotional tool for your book, the short answer is that you probably should not start your own podcast.

Q: How can podcasts work for me if I don’t want to host my own?

A: Fear not—hosting your own podcast is not the only way to appeal to the millions of people who listen to podcasts every week. The upside of the proliferation of podcasts fighting for attention is that there are plenty of hosts looking for guests to help them create their content. Appearing as a guest on an existing podcast is a great way to introduce yourself and spread your ideas to new people. To give you an idea of what’s popular, Time Magazine compiled a list of the 50 best podcasts to listen to in 2018.

Q: Where should I start if I want to explore starting a podcast?

A: So you’ve decided that your overall goals would be well served by building an audience for a new podcast…THAT’S GREAT! Starting from scratch can seem overwhelming, but if you take the time up front to get educated on the technical aspects and organized in planning your episodes it can absolutely be done and can be a game-changer for your brand. (We should know—we started our own podcast, Published, in 2017.)

Here are several resources Greenleaf recommends to get up to speed on the basics of podcasting:

Q: What makes a good podcast?

A: Beyond the technical aspects and editing, building a new podcast is similar to writing a blog—it’s all about planning out your content and making sure that it serves your audience. You need to establish a schedule for distributing and creating the audio itself, and craft an episode structure that will allow you to deliver your message and help you accomplish your goals.

According to Libsyn, the majority of podcasts with 100k downloads are 55+ minutes long, but the most common length of podcasts is just 22 minutes.

If you are building your podcast around guest interviews, this formula is a good guideline to follow:

  1. Introduction (Welcome to XYZ, I’m your host…)
  2. Setup (On today’s episode…)
  3. Introduce Guest
  4. Key points (~5)
  5. Guest questions (~5)
  6. Closing (What did we learn today?)
  7. Promotion (yourself and your guest)
  8. Outro (Thanks for listening, plug next episode content)

Creating your own podcast is a major undertaking, but it can pay huge dividends for authors who are dedicated to building their audience and sharing their ideas with the world. Even if you don’t want to start your own, you can reap some of the rewards by appearing as a guest on relevant podcasts in your genre.

If you want to learn more about how a podcast could help you amplify your message and build your brand as an expert, Greenleaf offers services that can help you plan your own podcast or pitch yourself as a guest to existing programs.