An Alternative Way To Learn?

Podcast studio

I started podcasting earlier this year as a way to grow my audience. Or is that true? Looking back, there may have been a different motivation, one that I was unaware of at the time. My own learning. I’ve made mistakes while I learned how to do it, I’ve changed my style ever so slightly, I’ve bought better equipment and now I’m in the swing of things.

I have chatted to some amazing and remarkable guests from all parts of the globe on a variety of topics. The one thing they all have in common is the willingness to share a great story, usually about themselves.

Here’s what I’ve learned from taking that first leap and putting my voice out there.

It’s not always about the audience

I thought I knew why I was going to do it – to grow my audience. And yes I have done that, but in the early days there are very few people listening and many podcasters get despondent and give up before they reach 10 episodes. But forget who or who isn’t listening yet. I encourage you to keep going because of the personal learning power you’ll get from it. Now read the somewhat contradictory paragraph below.

Use it to learn

Don’t waste your guest’s time while you pick their brains for your own gain; instead open up conversation that you and your audience would like to hear. It’s not all about you, it’s about sharing something, whatever your topic and method, with others. Knowledge is a wonderful thing and learning can be found in many forms. Yes you’ll learn and those that are listening will learn too.

Have a reason and a theme

There is a huge amount of interview-style business podcasts and I’m guessing many business ‘A-Listers’ get pitched as guests continually. So how can you operate differently to the conventional business interview? How can you entice the big names to be on your show? What angle will you concentrate on? My podcast ‘Tell Us A Story’ is a show about them, the guests’ backstories as well as what they are currently working on. Yes it’s an interview-style set-up but it’s relaxed and we have a giggle. And there’s no focus on ‘A-Listers’, just those with an interesting story to tell. What will your angle be?

Another tool

In addition to being another form of communication, the podcast is also another tool for me to offer my clients because I know what to do and how to do it. And how simple it can be to set up. While video is getting the attention of marketers, many people feel uncomfortable in front of a camera, so audio is an alternative that still gets the message across, and often in a more relaxed and palatable way.

I have a client who hates writing, so he records short 10-minute recordings to share with his community of professionals. It works nicely for him. The recordings can then be transcribed for his blog. Great SEO.

It allows multitasking

Time is an asset to us all. Webinar and video trainings and presentations are too restrictive for me. Yes I can listen to a webinar on my phone but the live ones can’t be paused for obvious reasons, and the phone screen saver cuts them off continually. I can listen to a podcast while I’m doing something else such as driving, cooking dinner, relaxing in the sun, or out for a run. While I’m not plugged in at every moment listening to work stuff, I listen to a huge amount of my hobby topics because they are interesting. I also like to see what other podcast styles are out there, to see what works and what doesn’t.

Develop your skills

Being prepared with a few ‘guide questions’ that both you and your guest know are coming keeps things on the move and the conversation flowing, and nobody gets any surprises. Use them as just that, a guide. They are useful if you get a very short answer that doesn’t give you much to work with. Replying to each answer with ‘cool’ or something equally bland doesn’t do much for the conversation and that’s the thing you want to keep rolling. Interviewing skills will come with time, and as you listen back on your recordings and see what you could have done or said differently.

Go deeper

Tim Ferriss is like a dog with a bone when he’s looking for the deeper answer on his podcast. I’ve just finished listening to the episode where he talks candidly to a sex worker. He tells his audience right at the beginning that it’s not suitable for work content, and that he will be going into precise detail. He wasn’t kidding! But it gave me a new appreciation for digging that bit deeper.

Record your book

Remember the rise of S-Town? It ran for around 8 episodes, around 10 hours in total, and captivated many with the story. Was it even true? Who knows, but it was a great way to listen to something quite moving with life lessons along the way. I loved it and plan to record my first thriller in a similar way. Being a shorter book, the format will work well. The audio recording then becomes a pure marketing tool for that book and the ones that follow.

 If you listen to podcasts, you’ll know what you like and dislike about each one, what makes you turn one off and what attracts you to listen to a new one. Use that information to your advantage when you start out.

(If you'd like to be considered as a guest in 2018, drop me line.

Posted: Monday 15 January 2018