What is the first question that comes to mind when you saw the title, “Now is the Time for Every Author to have a Podcast”? I’m going to posture. Why should I have a podcast?
Let’s address the question with some statistics regarding growth and then I'll share with you the ‘why’.
According to Edison Research Infinite Dial approximately 80 million Americans – 28% of the U.S. 12+ population – are now weekly podcast listeners, a 17% increase over 2020. The overall monthly podcast listening audience is now more diverse than ever: 57% of monthly podcast listeners are white, 16% Latino, 13% African American, 4% Asian, and 10% of some other background. Sixty-two percent of the U.S. 12+ population, around 176 million people, are now weekly online audio listeners, an all-time high for this category.
I might add that Morning Brew has about 3 million newsletter subscribers, 2 podcasts and they are building more of them. Spotify bought Anchor. iHeart bought Triton Digital. Sirius XM acquired Stitcher. The audio industry is growing and putting their money into the idea of audio marketing.
It’s also striking that audio Apps have emerged in full force. Twitter Spaces, Spotify GreenRoom, Fireside, Facebook, Clubhouse are just a few that have expanded into this or complemented their existing platform with this feature.
Digital Real Estate
Now that we understand how popular the medium is, let’s look at your marketing game. As an author, you need to understand the best way to sell more books, create experiences, tour virtually and Live. Bottom line, you need to create brand strength, build a fanbase and share your voice.
There are 3 types of Digital Real Estate:
What does NOT constitute Digital Real Estate?
- Facebook (Meta)
- Any APP!
I call it Digital Real Estate because you own it. A podcast is an RSS feed (Real Simple Syndication). This is the form your recorded interview takes so that it can be distributed to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Audible, etc.
Your Newsletter is sent directly to your email list, no middle person. You build this organically from those that reach out from your book, book clubs and anyone who opts-in from the website.
Your Website is direct access for your community to learn from you, buy from you, take your course or order your book!
Why Do You Need a Podcast?
So now your question might be, I have a newsletter and a website, why do I need a podcast? This is the best part, let me distill down a few important things. I probably can’t cover them all, but here goes!
You wrote a book and you are either self-published or were picked up by a publisher. However, the marketing is up to you. It’s a lot of work posting on social media. At the end of the day, your social content is subject to algorithms, unfollows and even power outages. You dance, you sing, you get serious, all while you learn to make fancy Reels or TikToks. You’re exhausted, right? Guess what, you are giving over your best content to social Apps!
What if you had a platform that allowed you to take deep dives into your book. Lessons learned, the creative process, dissecting each chapter, the story behind some of the juicy parts. Podcasting let’s your readers be a part of the book in another way. They are invited into your thought process and become part of your loyal listeners too. You can communicate with book clubs, give them fun projects to do with friends and to leave comments and pictures. It creates a platform to communicate with your readers and to take them along your journey.
The buzz word now is ‘authentic’, it’s the Personal Branding mantra of the year! Wielding your microphone allows you to speak naturally. The power of voice has nuance and layers. Your community, fans, followers, etc. will listen to your unique style. They’ll take you on their walk and listen over lunch. They will feel a part of your world. Your authenticity will shine through in a more natural manner.
As an author, your creative process is interesting to your community. People like to look under the hood to see how things are constructed and the process used. It makes it feel tangible because your process might resemble theirs. Especially if you can apply your process to the projects your fans have. Maybe they are building a small business, exploring an artistic endeavor, thinking about writing that memoir…you are there sharing the successes and failures with and for them.
You will also be seen as a Thought Leader by speaking up and sharing your stories, this leads to you getting other speaking engagements and bringing your book along to the attendees. Wink, wink, see how I slipped that juicy bit in there?
A Podcast Opens Doors
Or, rather, kicks them open. Other podcasters, leaders of book clubs, organizations with large newsletters, other authors, etc. will willingly come on your show and cross-pollinate their audience/communities. This is how you sell your book to new audiences.
This brings me to the power of creating lead generation to your website. You can have the podcast on your website! This brings more organic listeners and people to your website to buy your book and any merchandise you sell related to it. I.e., a course or a t-shirt. Podcasting is a lead magnet. You can advertise your merchandise, announce book signings and other Live or Virtual events and have a hot link in the Show Notes. It’s your podcast, you can do whatever you like.
Most importantly the podcast is yours. iTunes, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Pandora, Google Play…they all publish your podcast. You are not subject to suppression from algorithms. Let me be more specific.
Podcasts Are Global and Evergreen
Your voice, ideas and work now have a global footprint. Your podcast will be heard around the world. It breaks you out of the echo-chamber that is often created in our social media apps. Eventually some social media followers could lose interest. They unfollow. Your content in a podcast becomes ‘evergreen’ it means it is available in perpetuity. Someone could find your show and listen to episode 6 a year after it’s been released. However, that little dance you did on Tiktok is gone unless someone scours your profile.
Podcasts Create Reusable Content
Looking for a speaking engagement? Share that RSS feed in the application. Want to get on someone else's podcast? Share that RSS feed and invite them on yours.
I would be remiss if I did not add that you still need to use social media. Podcasting helps you simplify that process. It’s hard to ‘make up’ content each day for different Apps. They each have constraints. One prefers long form content, hello Facebook (Meta). One prefers 140 characters, hello Twitter.
Each podcast can be shared as audio as a traditional podcast. You can also record the video and extend your reach on Youtube, Pinterest or create micro-videos for use on Instagram, Linkedin or Tiktok. But now the podcast gives you added fire power. The best part is that instead of working to create relevant content on several platforms, you simply repurpose the podcast!
Podcast Transcripts Are SEO Gold
Drum roll please… The transcript from your podcast will provide you with blog material that you simply need to copy and paste, so you don’t have to write at all or as much.
You can cut and paste portions to repurpose where the constraints for posting are restricted to length. You can make micro-clips of video for your posts from the interviews.
Here’s the kicker, the transcript is long form content. Do you know who loves that? Google. It’s SEO gold (Search Engine Optimization).
You put the transcript in your Blog on your website and it's an easy lead magnet.
Now Is Your Time to Have a Podcast
I conclude by saying that I personally believe everyone should own their own microphone. Podcasts are a democratized platform allowing ALL voices and ideas to be shared. Based on the climate for audio, this is a good time for Authors to shine and be heard through the power of podcasting.
Holly Shannon is a Swiss Army Knife in business and marketing. With a background in 5-star hospitality and leading teams in the event space, she has pivoted into podcasting with Culture Factor. She is the Producer and Host of this Top 2% globally ranked podcast out of over 2.7 Million podcasts. It is heard in over 88 countries. Holly is also the Author of Zero To Podcast, an easy to follow roadmap for starting a podcast.
Holly is a Speaker and Consultant for businesses and individuals that want to grow a global footprint. She believes everyone should own their own microphone and encourages women to use their voice in this medium. She is published in Thrive Global, Hubspot Marketing, CEO Medium and was featured in Podcast Magazine. She is also a repeat Speaker with Podfest, We are Podfest and recently at Penn State University. Connect with Holly online at HollyShannon.com.