Have people been telling you that you need to start your own podcast?
Or that having a podcast is essential for growing your business?
While it’s true that podcasting is increasing in popularity—and that many businesses have seen growth they can attribute to their podcasts—that doesn’t mean you have to start your own podcast.
Obviously, plenty of businesses are doing great without them.
But if you’re curious about whether podcasting makes sense for you and your business, this article will lay out the strengths and weaknesses of this medium to help you decide.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the costs vs. benefits of podcasting, as well as common myths about starting a show and the three primary factors that determine how likely a podcast is to succeed.
From there, you’ll have a clearer picture of whether podcasting is right for you and your business.
Note: This article specifically addresses podcasting for businesses and brands, not hobby or entertainment podcasts. While shows of all types can be successful, the information in this article is geared toward those who are considering the potential of using a podcast to help grow their businesses.
Costs of Podcasting
If you are seriously considering starting a podcast of your own, there are some costs you need to consider:
It goes without saying that podcasting takes time.
But how much time it will take depends on how much of the technical stuff you decide to do yourself.
Throughout the years I’ve spent helping entrepreneurs and industry advocates create and launch their own podcasts, I’ve seen that successfully maintaining a podcast takes a minimum of two hours per week.
That includes planning out your episodes and recording them.
Expect that total to increase if you’re doing your own audio editing, show notes, etc.
If you’d prefer to focus only on creating content, there are plenty of services you can look into for handling the parts you don’t want to take on yourself, which will keep you closer to that two-hour mark each week.
For a breakdown of what I consider the best options out there, check out A Simple Guide To The Best Podcast Launch & Production Services.
That should help give you a clearer picture of what is realistic for you to expect when it comes to how much time you’ll likely end up dedicating to your show.
Another unsurprising cost of podcasting is the literal cost—a.k.a. the financial aspect.
And while it is totally possible to DIY every part of podcasting to save money, even doing it all yourself will require some upfront investment.
Namely, your recording equipment.
The fancier you go, the costlier you’ll find the mics get, but there are great, high-quality options for reasonable prices.
For a complete look at the tools I recommend, check out The Perfect Podcast Equipment For Any Situation.
Obviously, the more aspects of your show’s creation you take care of yourself, the lower the cost, and vice versa.
So figure out what you’d be willing to take on and what you’d rather outsource (again, A Simple Guide To The Best Podcast Launch & Production Services can help give you a picture of your outsourcing options), and you’ll be able to get a rough idea of the monetary cost of starting an maintaining your own podcast.
3. Mental Space
While this is a less tangible cost, it’s worth noting that podcasting will take up mental space.
As with anything that needs attention on an ongoing basis, you’ll have to be willing to keep your show in the back of your mind and create a routine for planning and consistently recording content.
That means adding it into your current workflow.
So if you’re super busy or feel you have very little mental space left to give, that can be a challenge you need to consider before committing to a podcast of your own.
Benefits of Podcasting
Now that you’ve taken some time to consider the costs of podcasting, let’s look at the benefits that come along with those costs:
1. Amplified Authority
Podcasting is a powerful way to position yourself as an industry authority.
Like writing a book, speaking at conferences, or publishing articles for news outlets, hosting a podcast is a credibility indicator that instantly establishes you as an expert/leader in your field.
In short, it makes people think you know what you’re talking about.
(For a deeper look at how podcasting increases your authority, check out How to Use Your Podcast to Amplify Your Authority Marketing.)
You become the go-to expert on your subject, and as a result, people’s initial view of you improves, which makes it easier to form new connections, develop partnerships, or build out your network.
2. High-Level Networking
Speaking of building out your network, hosting a podcast gives you a great way to reach out to people in your industry with a value-first way of connecting.
By leading with an invitation to come on your show and speak to your audience, you open the door for people in your field to have a conversation with the listener base you’ve built—and potentially turn them into fans, as well.
This lets potential guests know upfront what’s in it for them, as opposed to feeling like you are trying to sell to them or get something for yourself out of the deal.
Roger Dooley of the Brainfluence podcast has made great connections for speaking and consulting work through his show, and he’s just one example.
I’ve seen time and time again that the instant credibility you gain by reaching out as a podcast host vs. just reaching out as an individual creates an entirely different—and much more effective—way of connecting.
3. Audience Engagement
The strategy I use most often for clients—and the one that tends to be the most successful—is creating a podcast that aims to provide value for your audience.
In a nutshell, this approach means your goal is to share valuable content that will help your listeners solve a specific problem that they, in particular, struggle with.
By offering key insights and solutions tailored to your listeners, you nurture your audience, create a community, and build trust.
Katrina Ubell of Weight Loss for Busy Physicians is a perfect example of this approach done right.
As you can probably guess based on the name of the podcast, Katrina helps women physicians (her who) to lose weight and stay healthy long term (the problem) through relearning how to engage with their emotions in a healthier way (her solution).
And she freely offers teaching through her podcast to provide value for her audience, even if they have not gotten to the place of working with her just yet.
This is a huge part of the reason her podcast is so successful, and why she has done such an amazing job building up a community in her industry.
4. Increased Revenue
Podcasting, when done right, can be a great thing for increasing revenue in your business.
And as I mentioned in the above point, the best way to do this is to use podcasting as a lead nurturing tool to build up your trust and connection with your leads until they are ready to buy from you.
Because 85% of new leads—even interested leads that are a perfect fit for a product or service—aren’t ready to buy until anywhere from 90 days and 18 months out. (Those figures are from direct response marketing legend Dean Jackson, who shares a study by an organization that handles surveys for large companies.)
Now, a podcast can work as a lead gen tool and as a selling tool, but it should not be the main way you aim to generate leads or grow your audience.
(For a more thorough look at why I don’t recommend that approach, check out How a Podcast Should (And Shouldn’t) Fit Into Your Growth Strategy.)
To make podcasting a major part of your growth strategy, you want to use it to connect with and build relationships with people.
That is what will lead to business growth in the long run.
5. Industry Impact
If you’re approaching podcasting with the mindset of serving your industry, then you’re working to create a valuable asset to provide value for your audience and your field.
And, in my opinion, that’s one of the most important benefits of podcasting, as it goes beyond those you see only on your side.
Take Michael Kitces of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, for example.
He has made it his mission to share his knowledge with his industry and help other advisors build successful practices.
In doing so, he has created an evergreen resource that can serve his audience and leave a positive impact on his industry for years to come.
So when you’re thinking about the potential benefits of starting your own podcast, don’t forget how much it can impact your industry along the way.
Want to know if podcasting is a good fit for you and your business? Click here to take The Podcast Test and find out in just 60 seconds!
Common Myths About Podcasting
There are a lot of incorrect ideas floating around out there about what will and will not make a show successful.
So if you’re still on the fence about whether podcasting makes sense for you, I want to make sure you’re not falling victim to the following misconceptions:
1. “If I build it, they will come.”
I have seen a number of people try just putting their podcasts out there and hoping for the best.
I’m talking no audience, no promotion, no communities with people who might be interested in their shows—nothing.
This approach does NOT work to make your podcast successful.
It takes more than just creating something and crossing your fingers.
You’ve got to put some actual thought into things and plan before you sit down behind the mic.
2. “I need a massive audience for the podcast to be successful.”
One major mistake I see podcasters make is trying to appeal to too many people because they think they need to have the biggest audience possible.
But the truth is that you actually don’t need a massive audience to increase your business’s revenue.
In fact, the narrower your niche, the better.
The shows that truly connect with listeners are hosted by people who know exactly who their target audience is, what that audience—in particular—struggles with, and how the podcast can help.
The more you can tailor your podcast to your specific audience’s needs, the more deeply your show will resonate and connect with people.
And that’s what leads to them becoming clients when the time is right.
3. “I’ll just get podcast sponsors to make money.”
This is another common pitfall I see.
As I mentioned above, the long-term ROI of podcasting comes from knowing your niche and focusing on their specific needs.
That means you are likely not going to be talking to hundreds of thousands of people, so a standard sponsorship setup is probably not going to be a huge income earner for you.
(For a deeper dive into this topic, check out How to Get Top-Paying Podcast Sponsorships.)
Again, this is not something to worry about.
Sponsorships have their place, but not in the proven strategy that I’ve seen work for business podcasts.
Instead, I encourage you to focus on the consistent, long-term ROI that comes from really connecting with your audience.
4. “It’s too late—there are already other podcasts on my topic.”
Contrary to this common misconception, seeing that other podcasts on your topic exist is actually a good sign.
It means that there are people out there who are not only interested in that subject, but also actively listen to podcasts.
That just confirms that there is an opportunity for podcasts in this area to be successful!
After all, podcasting is not a zero-sum game.
People who are truly interested in a topic will listen to multiple shows that cover it, so there is always room for more.
Why not add yours to the mix?
5. “I need to have a ‘radio personality’ or ‘radio voice’ to succeed in podcasting.”
Over the years, I have seen a lot of would-be podcast hosts feel discouraged because they don’t think they have that “radio voice” or “radio personality” they are convinced they need.
But podcasting isn’t about sounding like Casey Kasem.
It’s about wanting to be a leader and advocate for your audience, and having your listeners’ best interests at heart.
If you go in with the intent of creating a valuable resource for people, that’s what matters.
And your communication style will naturally resonate with some, while it won’t resonate with others.
Your aim is to create an audience of people who do resonate with your style and what you’re putting out there.
How To Know If Podcasting Will Work For Your Business
Okay, time to cut to the chase: How do you know if you’re in a position where podcasting is a huge potential win for you—or whether it will likely be a lot of work for little gain?
While there are no guarantees, there are three key factors that I’ve seen make all the difference in whether or not a potential podcaster will be successful:
Factor 1: Your Mindset
One of the most important things a podcast host can have is the right mindset.
This means you want to serve your industry, and you’re in it for the long haul.
Factor 2: Your Industry
You also need to have a definable niche with a problem you can help them solve.
Your area of expertise should lend itself to continued learning, growth, and development among your listeners.
Factor 3: Your Customers
A great podcast host knows exactly who they are speaking to.
You need to know your audience, and really take some time to consider whether podcasting is a good tool for connecting with them to build trust, educate, and create community.
Still not sure if podcasting is right for you? Take the quick, one-minute test here and find out!
My aim is to help industry advocates get their messages out to the world via podcasting—but only if podcasting will be effective, enjoyable, and valuable for the host and the audience.
I don’t ever want to see people wasting their time, energy, and money if podcasting isn’t right for them.
That’s why I’ve created a quick, one-minute test that will help you get a sense of the real potential of podcasting when it comes to you, your brand, and your business.
Effective podcasting takes clarity, strategic planning, and consistency.
Start by getting clarity about your situation—take the test now!
Ben Krueger is the founder of Cashflow Podcasting and he specializes in helping thought leaders and entrepreneurs amplify their impact through podcasting. He’s a world traveller, outdoor sports junkie and future enthusiast!