What if your firm started a podcast?

Have you heard? Podcasts are popular right now, and listenership is growing. According to the 2021 Infinite Dial survey, 162 million Americans have listened to a podcast and 116 million listen at least monthly. Podcasts are especially popular with GenX and millennials—age groups that will increasingly be looking for financial advice.

Podcasting may not be for everyone. It takes a lot of time and dedication to get started and build a listenership. But you don't have to have a loud voice or a big personality to be the star of your very own podcast. In fact, the intimacy of audio means that anyone who is authentic and insightful can be successful.

Two people recording a podcast

Why create a podcast?

There are a lot of good reasons to start a podcast as part of your overall marketing strategy. Here are just a few of the benefits.

  • You're mass communicating. A podcast is an intimate, one-on-one form of communication. But it scales. A single episode can reach hundreds (or even thousands) of people. That's a powerful opportunity. Of course, it's going to take a lot of marketing to grow your audience, but the potential is there if you have a compelling concept and are committed to growing.
  • You become part of their routine. Podcast fans often listen at particular times. Maybe it's while walking the dog or washing dishes or driving to work. Listeners look forward to their podcast routine and if your podcast is engaging, they'll look forward to hearing from you on a regular basis.
  • Podcasts can accelerate referrals. People often trade podcast recommendations. If your current clients like your podcast, there's a good chance they'll share it with friends.
  • You have a venue to share your unique perspective. Tweets and blog posts are great, but you can't go very deep in those formats. What's different about podcasts is that a typical show is long—20 minutes is about average, an hour is pretty common. Your listeners will give you the time you need to explain concepts in detail or follow different ideas if the information is useful or the perspective is compelling.
  • You can double up in other spaces. If you're already producing videos, or are considering creating video content, your podcast can serve as both audio and video content. Many successful podcasts also post a video version on YouTube or livestream their podcast on other platforms. It takes a little bit of extra tech to set up video, but if your marketing strategy includes YouTube, Facebook, or other social media channels, a dual video-audio podcast can help you take that content further.
  • It's not hard to get started. All you really need is a computer or a phone to start a podcast. (Although, we'll talk about what else can help you produce a professional podcast below.)
Three people listening to podcasts on headphones

When is a podcast not a good idea?

Podcasts are fun and have a lot of potential, but not every firm needs to produce one. Here are a few reasons to rethink starting that podcast.

  • You don't have time. Like anything, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. A good podcast takes planning and promotion in addition to the time spent recording and editing the show.
  • You can't keep up a cadence. Part of the magic of a podcast is that it appears regularly in a listener's feed. They can expect it every week or two and even look for it. If you don't meet those expectations, listeners will find new favorite shows and move on.
  • You don't have much to say. There's nothing wrong with predictable when it comes to investment advice, but unless your podcast offers something that listeners don't already know, there are better ways to spend your time than on a podcast.

How to get started

As mentioned above, it does take time and planning to produce a podcast, but also, anyone can do it. You don't need to be a tech whiz to get started.

  • Develop a concept. Your podcast needs to be instantly recognizable. That means you need a memorable name, a catchy description, and a logo. What these three things need to reflect is your concept. Is your podcast an "ask me anything" Q&A? Do you host intimate conversations with clients about money? Or is the personality of your firm centered on two brothers who have their own unique banter? A good concept brings together format (how the show is structured), content (what you want to talk about), and brand (what makes your firm unique).
  • Build a calendar. To keep your podcast on schedule, you'll need to do some planning. Spreadsheets are often useful for managing a project calendar. Start with the publication date and work backwards. Will you need to set up an interview? When are good recording times? How much editing time do you need? Every step of the process needs to be planned for and you'll need to build in buffers to account for delays and other challenges.
  • Get a good mic. Smartphone microphones are pretty good, but a real mic is better. A good mic will likely cost $50 or more, but the improved sound quality will be worth it. Here's an article that goes over what features you might want in your mic.
  • Find a quiet place. Even more important than the quality of your mic is the quality of the sound around you. Background noise, echoes, even the hum of a refrigerator can be distracting and sound unprofessional. Small rooms away from people, windows, and exterior walls often work great. That's why so many radio hosts worked out of their closets during the COVID-19 shutdown.
  • Edit your podcast. Ums, likes, and other verbal tics can get pretty annoying in an audio-only format. With a simple audio or video editing tool, you can cut out extra words, remove sections that aren't interesting, or even reorder sections so that the arc of the episode works better. Hubspot put together this brief overview of a few popular editing programs. Check them out here.
  • Host your podcast. A hosting service will ensure that your podcast shows up in iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify. Here's an article on some of the services out there, including a few that are free.
  • Market your podcast. Like any new product, you have to tell people that your podcast is out there. Social media, email, newsletters, events—however you regularly communicate with clients and prospects, find a way to include mentions of your podcast.
Man recording podcast with checklist in background

Podcasting is serious fun

If you think you're up for a podcast, don't forget to have fun with it. Yes, it takes time and a lot of work. Yes, it needs to be valuable to listeners who have questions about money and planning. It's also a great opportunity for your firm to be seen in a new way and for you to do something different. Not every firm needs to start a podcast, but if you do start one, make sure it reflects who you are and what your firm is about.

What you can do next

  • Dig deeper into your referral strategy. Maribeth Kuzmeski offers four ways advisors can capitalize on their unique value and win more referrals.
  • Consider a custodian that invests in your success. If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a Schwab custodial relationship.