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A Basic Introduction to Podcasting

Many that share the marketing space will try and tell you that content generation is old-school, and they'll try and tell you all you need is Facebook. This is patently untrue. Podcasting has the potential to have a significant impact on your business success. This article introduces how and why this is the case.

What is a podcast? A podcast is simply an audio program that is made available on the Internet. The program might consist of a team within your business discussing a particular topic in a formal or casual manner - prepared or scripted, or made up of off-the-cuff conversions. It might include guests, a more formal Q and A session, and it can be designed to provide general commentary, education, or sales or product information - there's really no limit to the type of information that you might share. Segments of your existing audience, and many of those that will potentially migrate towards your business, listen to podcasts every day so it's only reasonable that you'll apply effort into the casual creation of material.

Note: It's easy to get lost in the art of Marketing and forget about its primary purpose: sales. And the most salable asset in any SME is you. More content, more channels, more partners, and more of anything, means more exposure... which in turn means you're putting yourself in front of more people. On the flip side, the assets are pure gold within your funnel, or to those where a digital handshake has taken place. While podcasting isn't essential by any means, it is another tool upon which to attract and convert new audiences.

The best thing about podcasting is that it really is easy. As with our discussion on video, all business owners have a trove of information bouncing around in their heads, and there's an audience that's craving to learn, and podcasts are an easy means of dumping your brain into the lives of those people that are interested in bathing in your expertise. In the time it takes you to read this article you could have pulled out your smartphone and recorded your first short snippet of audio content (podcasts don't have to be long).

Of all the brokers we have on our books, those smaller businesses that see the most significant growth have a broad media presence. We review Yabber Tag: yabber stats daily and we can say with absolute certainty that video, web content, and podcasting, are clear indicators of success. It doesn’t mean you’ll introduce them all at once, but it does mean that when the resources exist you should absolutely consider broadening your media presence to showcase your expertise and authoritativeness in your field.

In almost all cases where you're looking to create audio podcasts we also tend to encourage the inclusion of video. Extracting the audio from the video and editing and distributing that content in a manner consistent with the format will give you far more exposure than just a video.

Know, Like, Trust

The "know, like, and trust" model is one that repeats itself over and over; it’s a clear part of our Magic Lantern model which is underpinned by the principles of EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust). We advocate broad ranging and "immersive" discussions that expose your personality, brand, positioning, and company culture. We want you to create content that satisfies the two very obvious attributes of edutainment (education and entertainment) and metaphorically undress yourself to indirectly expose those reasons that'll organically draw people to you and your business. For many smaller brokerages, you are your business' greatest marketing asset, and podcasting 'reveals you' to your audience.

A video podcast will satisfy the requirements of 'Know, Like, and Trust' far quicker than any more formal means because the experience exposes our personality, authoritativeness, and expertise in a persuasive manner (you don't get this exposure with more formal video, necessarily, which is usually a little rehearsed and rigid or sterile in nature). Video podcasts are so effective that we’ll usually encourage the inclusion of at least one discussion-based video podcast in our early Sonata email sequence (usually the third email, or the first email after the "introduction"), and it should normally be geared towards the segregated subject matter (First Home Buyers, Investors, Refinancing, etc.). You can deliver far more persuasive information in a video than you ever could via a series of articles on your website, and introducing a video early in your sequence identifies tends to commit your audience to follow-up information.

Note that we wrote a “video podcast”. A video podcast is a podcast recorded on video but presented and recorded in a manner that makes it suitable for audio platforms. This makes the media far more robust and – should a potential client choose to watch the video rather than listen to the audio – it results in far more conversions (a video on YouTube, and then embedded on your website via an article, vastly increases your video's visibility).

Your First 5-Minute Podcast

While we always advocate a good microphone for more formal podcasts, you generally carry around a microphone with you everywhere you go by virtue of your smartphone (also a HD video camera, of course). You should utilise your phone whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself to accrue material that'll serve as a valuable digital marketing asset. The number of times we've met up with somebody to for a chat and pulled out our microphones is well and truly in triple digits (sadly, we carry microphones everywhere).

Again, it’s our brokers that indulge with video and podcasting in their everyday marketing that routinely see more growth than any others - yet very few participate. We make mention of video in email campaigns to small groups of brokers that took part in our more formal Growth program every single week... yet very few actually partake in the exercise. Yet, we can say without reservation that a digital attribute most common among growing broker businesses is podcasting (and video). It just works.

Task: If you've read this far it's likely you see the value in podcasting. So, pull out your smartphone, fire up the audio recorder, and talk on a subject such as LVR and LMI, or check through your email introducing a new product or product change and talk about it for just one minute. Introduce it in a basic format such as Introduction, Content, and Conclusion.
Note: Keep in mind that all marketing material is bound by the requirements of legislation that mandates the inclusion of pros and cons, and this is why we introduce a Sonata or FORDEC model to ensure its inclusion. Other legislation will have an impact on your discussion; for example, if you mention an interest rate you are compelled by law to introduce the comparison rate. Always note that a personal asseement of your circumstances apply and any information is presented for "general 'information purposes' only".

If you were to pull out your video camera right now and record yourself talking about a specific subject (as we encourage in an article on 'Your First Video') it's likely you'll struggle. However, if you introduce another personality into the mix, and instead have a conversion in a true casual and conversational format, it'll be much easier, and it's a far more appropriate format for an audio program of any kind.

Podcasting in Email Campaigns

We’ve said over and over that email campaigns need to be used to build a relationship between you and the recipient by way of demonstrating your Expertise and Authoritativeness in order to build Trust, yet so few actually use what’s necessary in their email campaigns in order to build that bridge. As mentioned earlier, podcasting and video will shorten the funnel journey and it will create more engagement, and it will result in more leads and business. We've got years worth of data proving conclusively that video is the most powerful element you can introduce to your funnel.

Refrain from hype, dangerous catch-all encouragement, silly challenge emails ("are you still interested in..." kind of thing), or any other hyped email format. Instead, include the material in your email programs that your audience is actually interesting in consuming, and that which will actually have them call you.

More generic email marketing follow-up emails are only used when no other source material exists. Podcasts work well because of the tendency for more and more people to play them while driving. The video fall-back (and preferred experience) is one that generally takes places everywhere else.

We’ve had aviation podcasts that were listened to over 7-million times, and we routinely seen clients enjoy 7-digit consumption stats. You can only imagine the exposure that this viewership attracts.

Podcast Hosting

Introduction

You want your audio podcast to be hosted with features beyond those that are made available via simple website delivery. While mp3 and other audio files can easily be hosted on your website via standard HTML5 tags or with the use of a simple audio player, basic usage doesn’t provide the enormous flexibility provided by an enterprise and community-based solution... so we tend to lean towards the latter.

Note: As introduced in an older article from 2018 we previously included podcasting hosting directly from within your own website. We've put that excellent plugin into hibernation but may re-release it with enhancements in the future. Our solution was very good (it was a self-hosted website plugin that delivered audio, recorded statistics, and generated a universal RSS feeds) but it wasn't as powerful as the enterprise solutions made available. We'll be reviewing this plugin after we have considered the option of building our own client podcast platform that'll rival that of other similar enterprise-level services.

We introduce in a scheduled article why we've decided to use OmnyStudio as Yabber's primary podcasting service (we've since built a full-featured Elementor Omny block to support basic Omny player shortcode).

Hosting Providers

It’s important to have your podcast hosted on services that give you exposure to the largest possible audience - although this is an exercise easier said than done. There are literally hundreds of podcast aggregators that will give your podcast the ubiquitous exposure it deserves. At the very least we recommend registering your podcast feed with Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podchaser, Castbox, Google Play Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, YouTube (even if just audio), and Pandora. The advantage of using Omny as mentioned above is that they'll disseminate your feed to popular syndication and aggregation services on your behalf.

YouTube and Google Podcasts are particularly important because of the effect it might have on positive SERP (or "rank"). Your podcast may be returned in a carousal-style panel in search results, your content will contribute towards the Magic Lantern principles of EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust), and of course your content may be more easily found. Google also includes its own source of viewing analytics and subscription data adding value to the service. Creating profiles and submitting feeds to the multiple primary audio websites may also contribute towards a positive SEO outcome... although having your podcast syndicated on many of the smaller and spammy aggregator-style sites may have the opposite effect.

Is taking the time to submit your podcast to each of the services worth the effort? Absolutely. The more exposure you have the larger your audience. Most of the services do a reasonably good job or serving or recommending material that is geographically relevant or consistent with listeners' defined or determined interests.

Yabber make the maintenance of your podcast resource a simple task.

Telephone On-Hold Podcasting

In an article on telephone on-hold podcasts we introduce various telecommunication options for your business (as supported by Belief's own telco service, Jabber). Instead of providing the typical elevator-style music, consider playing a podcast or a program designed specifically for on-hold clients. In fact, if there's any one podcast you should be recording it should be this one.

Since each inbound VOIP-based number inherits its own callflow, pathways, and options, you might have a custom podcast for specific inbound numbers, such as those associated with First Home Buyers, Refinancing, or Investors. In fact, you may create specific on-hold podcasts for any number associated with any type of marketing campaign. This is the real-world and offline equivalent of audience segregation and relevance.

Podcast Creation Software

While you can simply record an audio snippet to your smartphone and upload it directly to Omny, SoundCloud, or another service, it's likely you'll want to wrap a little creative flair around your product. A few minutes is all that's needed to add some music, a default disclaimer, and maybe correct some volume issues or edit out material that isn't entirely relevant.

The actual use of software is outside the scope of this one but we'll seek to introduce a few ideas in the future. In the meantime, download and install the free and open source Audacity that makes your podcast content creation a breeze. Audacity provides a library of resources and training materials , and the learning curve is shallow and short-lived. It really is easy to use. If you do require any assistance please give us a call and we'll talk you through any issues you might encounter.

Recording Support

First, you don't have to record podcasts in person. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other tools are all suitable for recording audio programs (we'd recommend Jabber's conference bridge which records a group telephone call but the quality of returned audio doesn't compare to direct connections). If using these tools there's usually a mechanism to record the output (Teams will sync your recording back to your OneDrive storage). You can record these conversations in the comfort of your own office making creation super-simple.

There are times where you might be a single broker without a team. In those cases - or even if you do have a team but you're looking at injecting a new voice into the mix - you might choose to involve the Belief team in some of your early discussions. In introducing Belief as part of your administration team you'll leapfrog the perceived technical barriers, and it may help with the reluctance you might experience by recording the program alone. We've all held or currently hold broker qualifications, and we've founded award-winning businesses. In addition, we all hold real-estate qualifications and have extensive industry experience gained from over 20 years working in the industry... so we have a little to offer.

We've recorded numerous podcasts with clients as a means of kick-starting their journey and it's always worked. We'll do whatever is necessary to help you start your journey.

Repurposed Content

We talk about re-purposing content all the time. A single video is also a podcast, an email inclusion, the basis for a website article, the content of an email, a potential telephone on-hold podcast, and more. Since we know that a webpage is 53-times more likely to see front page on Google as a result of video inclusion, doesn't it make sense to make sure every page on your website includes a video? This SEO-love outcome lends itself to audio content as well; since the SEO benefits are largely a user-engagement metric, audio will deliver similar SEO and organic success.

A video is not just a video, and a podcast is not just a podcast. Write down a few points on paper, get your team together, and record your team talking through some specific subject matter. Later, work through your podcast and write a quick article that supports your discussion (support the article with references, internal links, and appropriate images and media). The results will have you coming back for more.

Podcasting for Visually Impaired

There are a number of online services that transcribe webpage text into audio for those with an accessibility issue or visual impairment (such as ReadSpeaker ). Mortgages don't discriminate based on vision, and neither should you. These services do incur a subscription and can be a little messy to implement, but you have the capacity to record yourself reading each article in your own voice. You can apply your own inflections and manner to the output which adds real personality to the experience, and it's one that'll be appreciate by those that consume your content (they get sick of listening to a computer-generated voice).

Note: We have a few articles scheduled under the tag of accessibility Tag: accessibility which introduces measures you might take to improve your efforts in this area. Many visually impaired will use the JAWS software (and it's recommended by Vision Australia , and understanding how this software works, such as the braille notation and the manner in which it consumes your page, will often dictate the manner in which you create content (sometimes - and in extreme cases - it requires a standalone website without links, and one that includes detailed image descriptions). As a side-note, we're looking for ways to introduce better accessibility features to our complimentary client website.

In taking this approach (that is, recording every article) you can build up an entire podcasting channel very quickly based on those articles you've published. This really is a case as "do as we say and not as we do" since we're yet to introduce the same program to Belief (but we will... one day). The only real disadvantage with this program is that when you change website content you may have to also re-record your audio.

Vision Australia has introduced some of Belief's podcasts Podcast to those with a visual impairment in the past, most notably our aviation-themed programs. It's not unreasonable to assume your own services will be promoted by various organisations in the same way.

Conclusion

Podcasting creation is a quick and easy means of improving on your digital footprint, it exposes your operation to audiences in a more meaningful way, and it demonstrate the principles of EAT to your online audience and search engines.

If you allow it, podcasting improves your industry expertise and authoritativeness (in addition to satisfying the same attributes to your audience), it's a very genuine means of professional development, and it really is enjoyable.

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