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.