I launched the #FlipMyFunnel podcast at the beginning of this year because I was looking for a fresh way to connect with my audience and spur better engagement for my business all-around. I had no idea that when we fast-forward to the present day, I’d have capped off 100 podcast episodes since January and have incredible results to show for it (like the podcast being among the top 50 on iTunes, for example). But as exciting as metrics can be – and as a marketer, trust me, they get my engine whirring – I’ve been most excited about all the lessons I’ve learned through this process.
Whether you’re interested in podcasting, or simply hungry to find new ways to build relationships with your target audience, I want to share some of my takeaways from this experience in the hopes that they help you achieve your goals, too.
1. It’s not about me.
I think every marketer and entrepreneur knows in their head that all of their content and marketing materials need to be customer-focused, rather than company-focused. But sometimes we get caught up in pride over our brand or enthusiasm about our accomplishments and start gradually shifting the conversations away from the customers and back to us. This will never serve your business in the long run (or even in the short-term), and I became keenly aware of this more than ever through my podcast.
With every tactic you take, think about why you’re doing it. Is it to gain market share? Be a resource to the industry? Educate a future customer? Remind yourself of this often, and stay aligned with it. I started my podcast to offer actionable help to my audience, and the more I stayed true to this vision (rather than promoting my company or myself), the more I saw engagement skyrocket. Beyond knowing I had credibility to talk about the things I talk about, all my listeners care about is what I’m going to say that will help them with their current problems and questions.
2. Podcasting is about conversations not conversions.
Jumping off from the point that it’s not about me, is that I quickly learned my podcast was about my listeners, yes, but also about the person whom I was interviewing at any given point. The people who were lending their time and insights to appear on an episode deserved my preparation and research into their backgrounds and accomplishments. Once I began doing my due diligence and shining the spotlight on my guests, I noticed the episodes got even better and the engagement increased.
Along these same lines, it became clear the episodes had to be conversational. It was okay to have a general idea of how each show would go, along with some questions I intended to ask, but the most successful episodes were those that followed their own path. The same is often true with other marketing channels. Don’t force your next blog post or make it too formal; write like you’re speaking to another human because, you are! Don’t make your next email extremely promotional; write it like you’re talking to a friend. That’s what you ultimately want your customers to be, after all, and most people would rather interact with a brand that speaks to them like they’re a human being.
3. Think of a podcast as a flywheel, not a channel.
Initially, I made the podcast all about the podcast, which might sound obvious and bordering on silly. But I envisioned the podcast as an entity unto itself, and what I’ve learned is that it’s morphed into something even bigger and more important. The podcast has been fun, and it’s garnered a lot of attention, listeners and engagement. But I realize now that I’d be absolutely okay with it if no one downloaded our episodes.
What matters most to me is all of the conversations and deeper relationships it has spawned. I now think of the podcast as a flywheel for creating other types of content, as I’ve been able to use the same topics from the podcast and repurpose them to be published on LinkedIn or as a launching point for a blog post. It’s also been the catalyst behind sparking interest in the topics we discuss and forging connections that are priceless.
So, I suggest trying not to consider any single content mechanism or marketing approach as a be-all, end-all in and of itself. Each effort you put your energy and insights into should be a bridge to better conversations and better relationships. If it is, it’s been a wild success.
What I know for sure is that podcasts (and pretty much any other type of ongoing content series) take a lot of energy and commitment and bring with them a learning curve. But if you approach them with the customer front and center in your mind and are open to all the lessons you’ll learn along the way, you’ll always win.