Thump. Thump. Thump. Is the mic on? Are we recording yet?!
I was watching the movie, Sing, with my family recently and in addition to belting out the beautifully selected soundtrack, I found myself feeling the varied emotions all of the characters felt stepping on stage for the first time. Excitement. Fear. Worry. Exhilaration.
It reminded me of the first time I stepped on stage to share my message as an author. Even after being in countless theater productions and a 15+ year in PR (which has afforded me a multitude of media interviews), I was filled with the same emotions. My teeth chattered. My mind went blank (thank heavens for just a split second). And I had this weird mix of nausea and adrenaline pumping in my system. I knew how to work the stage, but sharing MY message versus that of the company I had previously represented was nerve-racking.
I knew the recipe to book marketing success. First, I had to write a meaningful book … one that gave immense value. And then I had to share that message. The stage called my name. Only, I didn’t realize that there could be multiple stages … and somewhere you don’t even have to look into the eyes of your audience.
From the Pages to the Stages
Many nonfiction authors that publish books know the value of bringing the message off of the page and onto the stage. In fact, it’s one of the first things most authorpreneurs add to their business toolkit. Speaking engagements extend your reach and that of your book’s as well. However, cultivating speaking engagements takes time. What could you be doing in the meantime to ensure that your message has impact?
Maybe the answer is as simple as changing the stage. What if the stage is one that doesn’t require a suit or fancy high heels (because, goodness knows, those heels terrify me anyway!). The stage, my author friend, may literally be in your home.
Yes, I said it. A podcast may very well be the stage that you and your book could utilize to reach people when and how they want to be reached. In fact, you may actually reach more of your target audience through this innovative strategy.
According to a Buzzsprout article, the podcast industry has a lot of “unexplored” space, too. Meaning, the podcast industry isn’t tapped out. It’s still new, budding, and has plenty of space for you. Per the article, “There are at least 600 million blogs, 23 million YouTube channels, but only 800,000 podcasts in Apple Podcasts. That means for every podcast, there are 750 blogs and 29 YouTube channels.” Let that sink in! Your reach has much potential.
Before you create a Buzzsprout account and begin recording a podcast, let’s walk through some of the benefits of leveraging a podcast as a strategy in your marketing plan.
Why Hosting a Podcast May Make Sense for You
If you are a podcast listener, it’s likely you understand immediately. Podcast listeners enjoy focused messaging on their time and on their terms. They can hear what they want anytime they want it. (For instance, I love listening to podcasts while I’m getting ready in the morning, in car rides, and when my internet decides to move slow!)
Being a guest on podcasts is a smart marketing strategy, but let’s talk about why it may be a sound strategy for you to host your own podcast, too. Here are a few of the major perks that having a podcast affords you:
- Podcast listeners don’t like to leave the podcast platform. So, if you are a frequent podcast guest on other podcasts, leveraging a lead magnet may not drive the interest you had hoped. Instead, listeners are likely to hop over to your podcast after hearing you on another one!
- Podcasts give you the ability to genuinely connect with your readers. It’s one thing to read your message. It’s another to hear you speak it. I remember the first time I heard one of my favorite authors speak (Jodi Picoult, I’m a forever fan). I was in awe and felt an even deeper loyalty after hearing her. Podcasting allows you to build superfans!
- Podcasts keep you top of mind. I get excited when my Apple Podcast app lets me know when a new episode releases for one of my favorite podcasts! I may have forgotten about the Murdaugh Murders (yes, I am a superfan of that podcast!), but when a new episode releases, I am pumped! And I feel that way about all of the podcasts I subscribe to. (And I know I’m not alone in that excitement!)
- Podcasts allow you to reach more people in less time. Now, don’t get me wrong … planning, producing, editing and promoting podcasts take time. But once you create it, it’s done! It’s out there. And each episode is working for you. If you aren’t a fan of continuously selling yourself, a podcast helps you not have to. In fact, it does it for you. One of my favorite things to do is to review my podcast analytics and smile knowing that that one episode reached more lives than conversations I individually had.
Things to Know Before Pressing Record
While hosting a podcast has tons of benefits for you, author friend, I will caution you against running out, buying the equipment and pressing record just yet. Let’s be methodical. Strategic. Purposeful. Like we say here at the emPower PR Group, we don’t believe in movement without strategy. To ensure that hosting a podcast is a sound marketing effort for you, consider your thoughts around these questions first.
- How does a podcast fit into your marketing plan? The podcasts that I see succeed are those that are tightly aligned with a marketing plan. They have purpose and make sense as a strategy within the marketing plan, not as a tactic. They move the needle to help the author reach those that could benefit most while allowing them to benefit as well. Consider what your marketing plan is and if a podcast makes sense as a strategy within it.
- How much time are you willing to invest? As a podcast host myself, I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t expect the time it takes to plan and record each episode. There are ways to do it efficiently (I’m a batch podcaster). But I’m still spending hours on each season. If it wasn’t aligned with my marketing plan, I may lose energy and momentum. And what good is hosting a podcast if it becomes a time-suck without a purpose? (Yeah, you know what I think about that.)
- What will the podcast be about? Seems like a simple question, but it’s not! Not at all. In fact, there is a reason that I didn’t launch my podcast until 2021. I knew that my podcast ideas weren’t sustainable and weren’t helping me any. I needed to understand how I could use a podcast to impact my business goals, and once I had crystal clarity, I went for it. But that meant I needed to understand if I was going to host a podcast with guests. I needed to know the flow of my podcasts. I needed to understand how I was going to connect the podcast to my offerings. And all of that required focused thought prior to diving in.
- Who would help me? One of the best pieces of advice I was given before I recorded my first episode was to not try to tackle it on my own. I am tech-savvy. Surely I could figure it out. And, I’m confident I could have, but at what cost. Time is limited, and if I wanted to give my podcast my all, I wanted help to make it happen. Betsy Wallace of Capsule Podcast helped me bring my podcast to life … and now, together, we help other authors do the same!
A Podcast about Podcasts for Authors
The first season of the emPowered Author Podcast is focused on all things, well, podcasts! I wanted to give nonfiction authors everything you all need to think through on how a podcast could make sense for your business goals. Check out the entire 6-episode season to learn marketing insights, and gain clarity on how a podcast might be a smart marketing strategy for you.
Before writing another blog post maybe you should consider turning in the keyboard for a microphone and find a stage to share your message on … and maybe that stage is a podcast!
If you are a nonfiction author who is interested in utilizing a capsule podcast as a tactic to support a meaningful marketing strategy for your book or your business, the emPower PR Group can help. Visit our podcast support page for more information on how we can help you, from strategy to concept to podcast. And, download our Author's Guide to Podcasting. Starting a podcast should be strategic, and we are prepped and ready to help you link it to your overarching strategies and ensure that the end result is something that will help differentiate you to your target audience!