Running your own business can be the most fulfilling and most frustrating thing someone can ever embark on. It's both draining and empowering at the same time; quite simply, it's the most toxic relationship you will ever be in, but you'll always be going back for more no matter how crazy people say you are.
There are many reasons why building something all your own can be such a rewarding experience, despite all the fear, anxiety, and stress that come with it. Whether you're a side-preneur building something during long nights and weekends while you hold down your steady 9-5 or someone who's giving it 110% every day, 20 hours a day, you're always looking for a new way to help grow your business. Over the last few years, a decade-old medium has been making a new case for business owners to listen to what it's saying: podcasting.
Here's just a few reasons to contemplate taking the leap into this not-so-new new medium:
1. No Longer a Niche You Can Ignore
While not new, podcasts were long dismissed as something only nerds did in their mother's basements, talking about comics and Star Wars. Yet, the number of adults listening to podcasts has been on a steady rise in the last seven years:
Along with a recent survey done by Edison Research in fall 2014, you see some surprising numbers:
Some of the most telling numbers are that podcasting leads with a whopping 30%, with the closest runner-up at 23% being owned music (AM/FM 21%, Streaming Audio 12%, TV Music Channels 9%, SiriusXM 5%), which makes sense. Upon first coming across this in my research, I was surprised Spotify and Pandora didn't have a higher share with as much global success that they've been having the last few years.
The big thing to note is that people are definitely noticing, which is why you'll see the New and Noteworthy section on iTunes suddenly having a tons of highly polished podcasts from popular TV Shows, along with celebrities starting their own shows about whatever they find interesting. While it's going to keep going in this direction with bigger players coming into the fold with more production value and bigger budgets, it will also introduce a bigger audience to podcasts as a whole. As they say, a rising tide raises all boats; so, it's not necessarily a bad thing for everyday common podcasters.
2. All About Your Customers: Intent
Any business is driven by customers; if you don't think so, just imagine how long any business could operate without customers. So, it's natural that businesses cater to them in providing real value to prospective customers so they'll spend their hard-earned money on their products or services.
The best way to do this is to provide free informative content for them to share with others. This is no secret; many online businesses will do so in the form of a free e-book that gives them a taste of what they'll get if they buy their packages. However, give them something truly entertaining that educates them on the services they need; they'll gladly share it with everyone they know, spreading your industry awareness to build a household name. With social media nowadays, things like Periscope and Snapchat are great tools, but the very idea that they're fleeting doesn't help your audience in the long run, whereas podcasts on major platforms like iTunes and Stitcher are continually accessible, unlike radio or TV, so your message and content will there for as long as you'll let it, enabling more downloads, refreshers for your customers when they want, etc.
By doing this, you're showing your potential customers that you care; you care about helping educate them on not only your services, but about your industry as a whole, whether they choose your company in the end or not. Yet, chances are if you show them you have the best intentions in mind, they will naturally think of you first when they decide to make their buying decision. Intent alone does a lot more for your image than any countless sponsored Facebook/Twitter/Instagram posts or even TV ads could do.
3. Rich Media Is King
Remember the days when you would name your company "AAA Automotive Garage" to get you to the front of the Yellow Pages? Well, nowadays, the Yellow Pages equivalent is Google, where everyone tries to make their company's site(s) come up on the first page for whatever they're searching for.
While there're tons of people who say they can help you get there by putting in the right SEO-friendly keywords on your site's backend, which is important of course, there's something that will help even more: having rich media on your site. What's rich media? That's easy: photos, video, and of course, audio. Now, if you have these on your site, albeit not the spammy kind, your site will play nicer with Google, raising your ranking within their search algorithms.
So, why not help get your site get noticed quicker and easier with implementing some rich media?. Think about also how most people find your site online: blog posts and articles just like these. Now, if we didn't include images and video in our storytelling, these would read like doctoral theses on relative theory in relation to quantum mechanics; you don't want that.
4. Putting a Voice to Your Business
Your company having a voice in the marketplace is very important, whether you're starting out, wanting to give everyone who supports you a look into your business, enabling them to come along for the ride of your daily hustle for success, or you're in a more established position of killing it like Gary Vaynerchuk and Andy Frisella and want to help reach the broader audience with your message of how you got where you did. Either way, it's a great way to put a voice to the face of your business, helping your audience get to know another side of you: your thoughts, your demeanor, your personality, and more that just doesn't come across on a site, small bio, or an about image.
What's another even more interesting aspect of it all is the access you open yourself up to. If you choose to include an interview-style format, you can have guests come on to ask them whatever you choose. You can ask the tough questions, or stuff they haven't gotten into very deeply in previous interviews, or anything else to help shed light on successful tactics as well as pitfalls to avoid within your industry. With interview-style formats, you'd be surprised what kind of access you can get; when we launched The Angry Millennial at the PhotoPlus Expo last year, we ended up getting access to people like Jeremy Cowart and Renee Robyn and commitments from others like Chase Jarvis and Peter Hurley, all who came on the show in the coming months. Fast-forward a few months and we've had on other creatives, like Cinemax's The Knick Actor Chris Sullivan, Comedian Mickey Cucchiella, and Allison Behringer of Betaworks' new breakout hit, The Intern. But more importantly, we've received press credentials for the upcoming expo circuit this year and are working on bigger speaking engagements on this very topic. That's the thing that should jump out to a lot of business owners, because suddenly, the same shows you've gone to in the past for years, where you're lucky to breathe the same air as some of the keynote speakers and heavy hitters in your industry, now have a much different possible outcome. Now, what if you could approach them about sitting for a chat to ask them everything you've wondered about all the years you've watched them crush it from afar as merely a consumer? The difference is now, you can help facilitate that same conversation, bringing light to any topics of your choice in a new, formatted professional approach. And who doesn't love free press for their business? Suddenly, you're no longer just a consumer, but now a content creator eager to help spread your guest's message out to the masses; that's powerful.
The biggest thing for every business is to stand out amongst the rest of the crowd. What better way than to rub elbows with some of the smartest people in your field? Like they say: "You want to make millions? Hang around millionaires." While that sounds like a #HUSTLE social media account posting nothing but shots of Rolex and G5 jets, it does get the point across that you'll learn a lot by hanging out with people smarter than yourself.
5. Help Educate Your Potential Clients and Build Rapport
Let's chat about this in terms of having a photography company, though any field will do. With that in mind, we all can agree that the biggest task any photography company has is educating their client. For lots of us, that entails phone calls, emails, and even in-person meetings, all of which come before even securing them as a client.
Imagine having something informative and entertaining that you could point people to that has episodes going over all the things you'd talk to them about, such as why you should prioritize photography in your wedding budget, top five things to ask your wedding photographer, why you should invest in a quality headshot in the social media age, don't make the mistake of using stock images for your site, etc. This will not only help pare down your usual customer meetings to the bare essentials, but it will start to build rapport and trust with clients before they even meet you in person or take the first Skype/phone call with you.
In the end, if you take the time out to put together thoughtful, informative content to put out to the masses, they will come. They'll come educated with more trust and knowledge about you, your services, and your stances on many of the subjects they care about in hiring a photographer.
Gone are the days of needing a team of union guys, a large studio, and corporate backing to put a show together. For the last ten years, we've have been thrust into an age where anyone with a solid idea, some equipment off Amazon, and a little hustle can suddenly have a strong presence in the radio-broadcasting world. There're even a lot of radio personalities who will tell you they envy podcasters because of the freedom they have from the politics that are entrenched in the traditional radio world. With that in mind, we can take complete ownership of whatever we put out there, branding it in line with our companies, and make it all our own.
See you out there friends, and if you do choose to go with an interview format, I'd love to be one of your first guests. We can chat about the vision you have for the future of the show and hopefully about this very article and what swayed you to start your very own podcast.
Wow Pete, you're pretty much a podcasting OG! To say you've been around since their inception qualifies you as an early-adopter to say the least. Agreed, they've been great in the car where previously I would just listen to the same playlists on my phone over and over again.
And yes, Apple does have a way of doing away with great things, and taking the longest to implement common sense ones. My biggest gripe: the ability to scheduling SMS texts out to people - it's been around in jailbroken phones for 5-6 years yet has yet to make it to iOS. It's great for night owls like myself, who always remember to ask someone something late at night, but can't set a message to go out at 9AM that morning. Instead I merely forget the next day :/
I couldn't agree more. We recently launched the B&H Photography Podcast and while we're still in the "baby-steps" phase it has been a wonderful way to foster conversations with our customers. It also allows us to stretch the boundary of our normal content and bring in well-known and interesting guests from all areas of photography. While I agree with all 5 of your basis points, this quote stood out as the best motivation for starting this venture-- "you're showing your potential customers that you care; you care about helping educate them on not only your services, but about your industry as a whole, whether they choose your company in the end or not." So far its been a great opportunity to bring in people we love to talk to and as producer, I look forward every week to the conversations we have. https://soundcloud.com/bh-photography-podcast
John - loved checking out the B&H show thus far! You guys have been doing a great job for just starting out but definitely was proud to see it in motion! Like you mentioned, the ability to foster the conversation with your customers makes it a no-brainer. Glad you picked out the quote you did as that's the main macro vision for a lot of what I've been doing as of late with writing for Fstoppers, the podcast and my photo work.
I'd greatly appreciate if you guys wanted to share the article to your following as to help get the message out there. Also, if you'd want to do an episode on the B&H podcast about efforts outside of gear that can really help your photography business, I'd love to help you in producing it!
Jose....thanks for the reply and for taking a listen. I'll reach out to you separately and let's stay in touch regarding your suggestion.
No problem, look forward to chatting!
The bad part of doing a podcast, and many photographers lack.. is an extrovert personality (or act like you got one in some cases). I personally have issues pronouncing words very clearly without mumbling too. I plan to work on more podcast or just helpful videos but seeing constant down votes on the videos isn't appealing to continue doing it more and more, but I do get a decent amount of hits on photography related videos.
Chris I feel your pain man! I have been known for a lisp and mumbling growing up, but I must say doing the podcast made me learn to enunciate better and speak slower. There's some things that are clearly part of our personality, but every part we know is a weakness could be strengthened.
yea... but wonder how many videos do I need to do before I get better and seeing results on the videos? I could do 100-200 videos a only get a little more improved on my mumbling, and still get more thumbs down on the video than thumbs up.... very frustrating. Especially when I go into the editing the video, I sometimes feel I have to add sub-titles lol on some words... sometimes I do catch myself and repeat it and just do a cut. I still have people complaining of me mumbling after I clean up the video of what I thought was inaudible... I know, before releasing a video simply have a proof viewer more like a proof reader, but in the past (until now lol) I had .5mbps upload speeds lol, so showing it to anyone (unless I downgrade the video heavily) was too difficult. But nowwww... I got 5mbps UP! ;-) Sooooo hope for some changes and hope my friends dont hate me for begging them to watch and judge me (in private).
I hear you man, I do. Just look at people like Gary Vaynerchuk, if you don't know the name you should. When he started Wine Library, he made video for 18 months before ANYONE was checking them out. Just like a lot of writing, you have to have an archive to look back on, to keep honing your craft, making it better and better.
Because eventually, people are going to come across your videos and really appreciate having literally a library of content to go through. Keep pushing, brother and send me some links to check them out!
Thanks for the encouragement, do you have have a youtube yet?
Yes, but nothing on it yet. Maybe you can help me out with uploading a still image then audio to lay over it. Looking to do for that now, so if we ever add video down the line we'll have the channel already in place.
I totally, totally agree! But I know this is just a lame excuse but I generally can only put 100% of my energy into one "big thing", not a great multi. tasker without splitting my focus and do 10 things decent than doing 1 thing great. I believe I do photography very, very well when compared to others in the region I'm in (in my state) but thats only because I focused on the craft, nothing else. My business did not flourish because of that reason, but this year I will pull back my focus on my craft and put my business focus ahead in order to grow my craft much further later on. Part of that business focus of course is doing more videos, as that is part of my "build a following" which is part of marketing.
I don't have much of a desire to start a podcast at this point but I do like your Angry Millennial podcast. The fact that it is real grass-roots sort of lets you go places in interviews that a lot of people won't go. I thought the interviews of semi-local folks such as the Aumen Bros and Jenna Adams gave a cool local perspective for those of us living in or around Philly.
Keep it up.
Thanks, Jason! And glad you think so, all the original people were good friends of mine who were extremely talented. And as a huge advocate for Philadelphia, I liked that they all were from the area. I miss it there terribly, but have fun being back for recordings and seeing friends.
love you post and I have learn a lot from reading it thru out the years :) love from denmark
Im a danish photographer http://www.kimprasana.dk, is where you and other can se my work.
Thanks, Kim! You've got some awesome BW fashion work and beautiful, clean beauty work on your site as well!
I've been toying with the idea of doing a podcast. I used to work in TV and Radio, every blue moon I get the itch to do things like this!
Matthew just do it man! I was the same way and sat on the idea for over a year before just sitting down and decided to do it and figure it out. If you ever need any help let me know - info[at]theangrymillennialshow.com
I'm a real-estate/architectural photographer, and I can't imagine any of my clients would have the time or interest to listen to a podcast. They're far too busy seeking/serving their own clients. Plus, the linear nature of podcasts make them an inefficient way to communicate to busy people. Text is still the best way to communicate to busy folks, especially if the writing is concise.
Respectfully, I disagree. There's TONS of real estate podcasts out there already! --> https://placester.com/real-estate-marketing-academy/20-best-real-estate-...
Busy people are running around too much to read more than they have to, while conversely, anyone can listen to a podcast while they workout, run errands, or drive around to different listings; too dangerous to do that while you're driving or walking around the city.