“Are podcasts worth doing?”
That was the question posed to me yesterday by my client Bruce.
My response? “It depends.” (Yes, as a matter of fact, I am a consultant.)
The reason it depends, is that the answer is not simply a question of whether or not a podcast is a useful marketing tactic for a professional service provider (Hint: it is).
You also have to consider what else you are already doing to grow your business and whether adding a podcast on top of that – given the time and effort involved – provides enough incremental value.
Think of it like exercise…
Few adult humans would argue with the fact that walking is good for you.
And yet the value of adding 20 minutes of walking into your daily routine isn’t the same for the marathoner as it is for the (no offense) couch potato.
In the case of the former, it’s immaterial. In the case of the latter, it’s potentially life changing.
For Bruce, since he is already publishing a monthly newsletter – a tactic that demonstrates his point of view, showcases his personality, and keeps him in front of potential clients and referral sources month after month – adding a podcast isn’t going to move the needle very much.
Because while there are certainly differences around the edges between the value these two tactics provide, there is too much overlap to justify the time and effort of doing both.
(The same goes for a podcast producer who is thinking about publishing a newsletter.)
Easy And/Or Incrementally Valuable
So what might Bruce do instead? I thought you would never ask.
#1. Find things that are easy.
Often, this means using tactics that take advantage of what you are already doing.
If you’re already writing a newsletter (the writing being the hardest part), recording it and making the audio available to readers from within the newsletter and on your web site is easy.
That’s what I do – a tactic that, from start to finish, adds just 30 minutes to the entire process, and that is valuable to those people who prefer listening over reading.
Is it the same as a real podcast? Yes and no. (I told you I was a consultant.)
Yes, in that it’s useful information delivered in an audio format in ongoing segments.
No, because I don’t interview people, as most podcasts do.
But that’s why it’s so easy: I don’t need to find and schedule guests, research their backgrounds, develop interview questions, spend time on the call, edit the final product, or send a thank you note.
The added value above and beyond my newsletter may be relatively small, but unlike a standard podcast, the added effort is even smaller.
#2. Find things that have little “value overlap” with what you are already doing.
Newsletters and podcasts are great, for all the reasons mentioned earlier.
But they are mass-produced (sorry, did you think I was sending this only to you?), largely one-way conversations.
So instead of doubling up on a second tactic that mimics the benefits of the first, add one that does what neither of these can do: build and maintain real relationships, one at a time.
Maybe that means scheduling a couple of Zoom calls each week with a colleague.
Or sending one custom email each day to your list of contacts.
Or, as my friend and extraordinarily successful consultant Nick Miller does, leaving “happy birthday” song messages on the voicemail of colleagues (only on their birthdays, as far as I know).
Does all this take some time and effort? Absolutely.
But since the benefits of these things don’t have a lot of overlap with those of a newsletter or podcast, it’s worth it.
Here’s the bottom line.
Here in the twenty-first century, one reason professionals often struggle with marketing is that there are too many options. Nobody can do all of them; you need to be selective.
When choosing tactics, try and ignore what’s trendy and instead focus on the effort involved and the incremental benefit realized.
Which tactics are the best? Like I said, it depends.
- Have you ever left a “Happy Birthday” message on someone’s voicemail?
- Where are you on the continuum between marathoner and couch potato?
- What’s your favorite marketing tactic for your business?
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