Mar 18, 2010
Some people wonder, “Should I start a podcast?” and they wonder if they have the material. I am always amazed at the number of people who give away a free newsletter, but don’t turn that exact same material, record it as audio, and turn it into a podcast?
As most of you know I recently got married and have three wonderful step-children. As I have never had children before I decided to read up on the subject and was advised to read “The Successful Stepfamily” by Ron Deal. So far I am very impressed with the book, and may actually lead a study of the subject at my church next year.
I went to his website at successfulstepfamily.com and was surprised that while Ron had books, he was a speaker at conferences, he offered personal coaching, he did not have a podcast. Was it that he didn’t need the publicity? I typed “Stepfamily resources” into Google and did not find him on the first, second, or third page (so I stopped looking). While podcasting will not boost your Google rankings, it will boost your exposure to people who may link to your website which may boost your Google ranking.
I contacted his company, and after some thought they decided not to go in that direction. What a shame they have great content.
If you have a newsletter, and you have content that is worth people reading, that should be a podast. All you do is read the newsletter into a microphone (be sure to add some inflection so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading), write a quick blog post, upload and attach the audio to the post. Yes, it’s that easy.
How much does it cost to start a Podcast? Most of my recommendations at www.schoolofpodcasting.com/equipment but if it’s just you recording its going to cost around $250. If you’re on a tight budget, about $125 to start, and an ongoing fee of $5-12 a month. Meanwhile a membership at aweber.com (a popular email client) is about $200 a year.
The nice thing about email is you can get your reader one click away from buying your product (if your email promotes a product). The bad news about email is people get so much email. I can’t remember the last time I purchased something from an email. Don’t get me wrong, email is still the top way to communicate for a business. I just know more and more I’m going to my inbox, highlighting a number of emails, and pressing delete (before I even read them). But that’s just me. In terms of getting your potential customer 1 click away, email does that splendidly.
Movies are delivered on the big screen, then movies on TV, then VHS, DVD, now blue-ray and movies available for download. Why? Because good content is good content, but some people want to see it on a big screen, some people want to watch it at home; some people want to watch it on the go, etc. So instead of forcing your potential customers into a channel they don’t want, why not give the content in a format they will enjoy.
The first podcast I created was and is for Musicians. Before it was a podcast it was a newsletter delivered via email. At one point that newsletter had about 1200 subscribers. I turned it into a podcast and it has around 800 downloads per episode (some higher some lower). However, as a newsletter only I think I sold about 2 copies of my book in a year. As a podcast I sell about 1 a month. Why? Because it has a tone of voice, and has made me more human. The podcast has enabled me to build a relationship with my listeners. If I travel I know of different cities where I have open invitations to stay at people’s houses, get tours of cities, etc as these listeners are more friends than potential customers.
Am I going to retire on my 1 sale a month? Absolutely not, but I don’t do the podcast to sell books, I do it because I love the subject (and make more money via sponsorship of the podcast). However, don’t over look the fact that marketing via podcasting is more effective (from my chair).
The good news is you can do both. You can use free services such as feedburner, and have people that sign up for your email list be notifed when you do a new post (with or without a podcast). Now you have your product one click away, and they have the ability to listen (or watch) you talk about the topic.
Podcasting allows you to reach a global audience that wants to listen/watch (not read) content. If you have content already (articles, newsletters, etc) that you give away for free you can distribute that for next to nothing and build a relationship with your readers. If I was Ron Deal I would promote my email list in your podcast (along with your speaking engagements, and how the new book was coming), and in the email newsletter I would promote the podcast. You can always offer exclusive content that is only available in that format to get them to sign up for both.
Thanks for Chris from www.fillupuripod.com for taking the voice over I sent him and turning it into a “spoof” testimonial. Hillarious.