Any business with an eye on growth and sustainability knows two things: You can’t grow if you don’t offer a reliable product, and you can’t offer a reliable product if you grow too quickly. The secret sauce of scaling successfully is the delicate balance of ambition and capability; too unbalanced and you either leave money on the table or over-commit yourself to the point of failure. Balance is key.
You might wonder why I’m starting the answer to a question about the necessity of podcasting with such a seemingly unrelated fact of business — well, stick with me, we’ll get there.
The Yang to Marketing’s Yin: Competency
We’re pretty good at presenting ourselves in the best light possible when we need to, right? Slick video content, snazzy graphics, the smoothest words, the best social media campaigns — we are all masters of selling the things we’re most competent at. Stands to reason, right? After all, when you feel confident and proud, and when you like what you do, you feel like a million bucks, like you can take on any challenge, and if you always have that aforementioned balance in mind, you really can. But there’s a problem with your competency, wonderful as it is. Strangers don’t know you have it.
The old expression “A lie can make it half way around the world before the truth has a chance to get out of bed and put on its pants” is as true today as it ever was but people are much more keen on not being duped — and so suspicion abounds and the days of snake oil salesmen and charlatans selling empty promises of competency are all but numbered. In today’s world you must prove your competency, as well as your integrity and trustworthiness, before anyone will believe you’re selling what you say you’re selling.
Your online portfolio could be fake, your reference letters could be fake, you could be fake, and the whole internet already assumes you are, so it’s up to you to prove them wrong.
Enter the podcast.
Podcasting isn’t a Commercial, it’s an Interview
Imagine you’re thinking about hiring the plumber down the street because you’re not particularly handy and you’ve got a kitchen sink that needs replacing — let’s call the plumber Matt. Matt has had a sign hung outside his office for as long as you’ve known about him but you don’t know anyone who has used him and you’re not entirely sure he’s any good. His office is in an industrial part of town and it’s not the prettiest area, so maybe you’ve got some presuppositions about Matt or about plumbers in general.
Just as you’re considering all this you remember that Matt’s sign mentions his plumbing podcast. You pull out your phone, find the podcast online, subscribe, and would you look at that, a couple of months ago Matt published an episode about how to replace a kitchen sink. You hit play.
Matt provides a lot of good advice, competent advice. He’s charming, seems really knowledgeable, and at the end of the episode he mentions that there’s a tutorial video on his YouTube channel which provides a walk-through for a kitchen sink replacement and, helpful as he is, Matt has included a link in the podcast episode description. You click the link and begin watching the video tutorial.
“I can probably do this,” you think, “I’ll just purchase the tools he mentions in the video and save a bit of money doing this on my own.”
You do exactly that. It takes a whole day because you’re not really good at this sort of thing but, in the end, you have a new kitchen sink and you saved a bit of money, all thanks to Matt.
A month later the pipes in your shower burst. Who do you think you’re going to call when you realize it’s out of your ability to DIY? And why do you think you’re going to call him? Not because he taught you how to replace a kitchen sink, that’s the wrong answer. You’re going to call Matt because by teaching you how to replace your kitchen sink he has proven to you that he is competent and capable, and you trust him. Matt’s the real deal. Matt is what he says he is.
Podcasting is Part of the Bigger Picture
Take a moment to consider Matt’s well put together effort in the previous example. It wasn’t just, “do a podcast, get customers.” Look at all the different elements of this humble plumber’s marketing strategy.
- He invested in a store front
- He invested in memorable signage
- He created free DIY content for the YouTube community
- He created free DIY content as a podcast
- He probably promoted all these things on social and print media
None of these things, in this fictitious example, would have converted you on their own. If the sign wasn’t there, and if it didn’t mention the podcast, you wouldn’t have found out about the YouTube channel. If the YouTube channel wasn’t there you wouldn’t have gotten the same value out of the advice and maybe your end result wouldn’t have been as good and maybe you’d forever associate Matt as “that plumber that gave me bad advice and ruined my kitchen sink”.
Matt the Plumber’s marketing strategy is a carefully constructed concert of effort, and just like the building, the sign, and the YouTube channel, the podcast played a critical part in converting you from lead to customer.
This is what a podcast is: a single strategy within a larger stratagem and carefully interconnected with other equally important strategies. Podcasting is part of a complete system, and as a business owner in the 21st century, tasked both with proving your competency to the public and growing said business, you need to be doing it.
Now, go start a podcast. If you need help, call us, advice is free.