Start a Podcast to Grow Your Network: Easy Steps for Entrepreneurs
If you’re an entrepreneur considering starting a podcast, you might have mixed feelings. You know that it could be a great asset to your business and brand, but you may also feel intimidated by the process. What will I talk about? How will I figure out the technology? What message do I have to share with an audience? If you’re still considering the pros and cons, marketing professional Nina Radetitch has the perspective you need.
As the owner of Radetich Marketing & Media, Nina hosted a podcast called Small Biz Power. While the podcast had a good following and provided quality information, Nina’s primary goal wasn’t growing a following — it was connecting with podcast guests. She encourages entrepreneurs to think about podcasts in a new way: forget about audience and download numbers and focus on building quality relationships instead.
Podcasting as Prospecting Tool
Many entrepreneurs are intimidated by the prospect of starting a podcast because they’re thinking about it as a piece of content. They’re worried about whether it will get downloads and followers — in other words, whether it will “succeed” in traditional terms. What many entrepreneurs may not consider is the power of podcasting as a prospecting tool.
Instead of focusing on creating a following for her podcast, Nina focused on inviting high-quality guests and having meaningful discussions with them. By flipping her focus from building a brand to building relationships, Nina created genuine connections with dream prospects — and created quality content along the way. Here’s a breakdown of her approach:
- Identify your “dream prospects. Many entrepreneurs can name the types of clients they would love to work for, whether they’re individuals or organizations. Nina encourages you to write those names down and consider what topics you might be able to discuss with them on a podcast. If you can build a podcast premise around interviewing experts in your target audience, you have an easy opening to contact those dream prospects without giving a hard sell.
- Think of a podcast invitation as the easiest conversation opener. Straight sales calls are often awkward and forced for everyone involved. Instead of opening with a pitch, open with an invitation to be interviewed. Your prospects will enjoy being considered experts in their field, and they likely have valuable wisdom to share. Starting a relationship off by inviting someone to share their expertise builds trust, connection, and a good foundation for a long-term future.
- In addition to prospects, consider featuring strategic partners. Sometimes, you may not be able to get a prospect on your podcast. However, another sector of podcast guests can be equally valuable: strategic partners. These individuals are not direct competitors; instead, they often work in your field in a tangential but related area (e.g., a book editor interviewing a graphic designer who works on books). Because you have similar niches, you’ll expose your business to a new audience that’s likely interested in your work. And, you build a great connection along the way!
- Focus on creating genuine connections. Above all, Nina stressed creating quality relationships with the guests you have on the podcast. When you take the pressure off of building a following, you can focus on connecting with the person right in front of you. This not only makes for lasting long-term network relationships but often genuine and quality content that your audience will connect with.
Podcasts with No Interviews: Still a Great Way to Build Thought Leadership
While Nina’s approach focuses on a Q&A format, she did mention the value in podcasts that promote thought leadership. If you aren’t ready to plan interviews yet, and would rather keep your podcast format informal and internal, short conversations with a co-worker can be effective in their own way. By sharing your personality and deeper self via a podcast, you’re more likely to make a genuine impact on listeners, who will then be more likely to remember you and your brand in the future.
The 3 Most Common Roadblocks to Starting a Podcast
Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to start a podcast for three reasons:
- They are intimidated by the technology involved.
- They aren’t sure what content they’re going to share.
- They haven’t clearly connected the podcast premise to business strategies.
While these are common fears, Nina believes they shouldn’t be roadblocks for entrepreneurs interested in growing their business and connecting with prospects through a podcast. She shared her “Starting a Podcast Essentials” toolkit for success.
Nina’s Start-a-Podcast Toolkit
To get started, she believes you’ll need:
- A quality microphone - which can often be purchased online, and doesn’t have to cost more than $50!
- A basic familiarity with online recording software - from general software like Zoom to more audio-focused programs, like Audacity, the bare bones is all you need to get started.
- An editor - Unless you have prior experience with audio editing, Nina recommends outsourcing audio editing to a professional. It saves entrepreneurs tons of time and brain energy, allowing them to focus on creating quality connections.
- A platform - This can be as simplistic as having a few social media accounts or as complex as a 10-step marketing plan. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, as long as you have some way to disseminate information about your podcast and share it with an audience, you’re on the right track.
- A connection to business strategy - While Nina stresses that this can be retooled and honed in over time, the longest-lasting podcasts have a clear incentive for entrepreneurs. They create business, connections, and are worth the time investment. Make sure that you’re clear on your business objectives and how the podcast fits into them before you get started.
Above all, don’t let fear keep you from trying out a podcast! When you jump in and let go of perfection, you’ll be amazed at the business results and prospect relationships a podcast can create.
Interested in learning more? Listen to the full podcast. Need support as you launch your podcast? We can help! Interested in learning the best path forward to scale your agency? Join us on Thursday, September 16th at 11 am Eastern for our free webinar, 3 Critical Actions to Scale Your Marketing Agency. Register today!