Find your audience and your unique voice for better podcasting
A beautiful painting, enticing ad or gorgeous sunset are seen by many as visually stimulating. A podcast or webinar rarely garners such a description.
How could it when much of the method in which we interpret information is missing? Herein lies part of the problem with both delivery mechanisms for information. In a very crowded market, and the moment-by-moment onslaught of content, the podcast and webinar market is filled with quick fixes, on occasion great content, and skilled marketers all vying for our attention. Being average will not net a positive result for your efforts. Being virtually stimulating will certainly get you closer, but how do you do that?
Your unique message
Before you create your soundproof studio, buy a quality microphone, or subscribe to WordPress, on which your podcasts or webinars could be stored for broadcast, do your topic research. There are more than 550,000 active podcasts on iTunes and too many webinars in existence to get an accurate count. Suffice it to say, there are a few already in production and nearly every imaginable topic is covered.
How is yours different? What makes your information special? How do you compete with the latest episode of “Mom” or tear a mom away from her current book on Audible she’s listening to in the one hour she has to herself? How do you get your learners to devote their lunch hour to your content? A unique message, or way of delivering it (or both) is the most important phase of podcast or webinar development. You may have the goal in mind for you or your practice, but how you are going to reach people in a way that catches their attention? Unless you like talking to only yourself, this is the next and most important first step. The goal is to stimulate listeners enough to want to find you, download you, plug in their earbuds and listen to you for the duration of your broadcast. That means your message, to quote marketing firm owner Dick Bruso, must be “heard above the noise.”
Determine your listener
Once you determine how your message is different, it is critical to determine exactly who your listener is — and no, it is not everyone.
If you want to provide webinars on proper posture, who struggles with that? What part of that group is your ideal target market for new patients? Overlap those two circles and find the overlapping audience of listeners. You will be far more virtually stimulating if you are talking with people to whom your message is clearly relevant or needed, desired or convenient.
Talk with everyone on the list you purchased of speeding ticket recipients about the dangers of auto accidents from speeding and they’ll tune you out, as they don’t realize they have a problem. Talk with those who have received speeding tickets within a five-mile radius of your practice about how their next ticket could make their hands numb from whiplash, and you might be on to something — and some new patients with other struggles who think you completely get them.
Have a conversation
With a unique message designed for a clear listening audience, now it’s time to start talking. Where most who deliver a podcast or webinar go fatally wrong (fatal for their results or business metrics) is to talk to the microphone or at their audience.
These are listeners who have made choices about how to spend their time. They chose you, so make it worth their while by giving them the courtesy and respect of talking with them, even if you’re making a recording. Include rhetorical questions (with a pause if you’re not live) and open-ended questions if you have an audience. Mention names of participants if you have sign-ups listed on a webinar. Talk with your audience and use examples relevant to them to explain your message. The more they are a part of the program, the more likely they are to return for the next pleasant and engaging experience.
Conform with a difference
Think about that for a moment. In the world of podcasts and webinars, there are best practices to follow. These change with regularity, and there are areas in which you can be different.
In the early days of our podcast I chose not to do interviews because everyone was doing interviews. I chose a length shorter than many podcasts. I zigged when they zagged, and am now considering making them longer because 30-minute podcasts are now popular.
However, in all cases, I conformed with the best practices of having a music intro and outro edited into the verbal audio, and also set up a sound booth to avoid ambient background noise and distractions. In our catalog of more than 50 leadership webinars, we conform by using PowerPoint and delivering through WebEx, though because we use highly visually-stimulating graphics and themes, no one dies of boredom from that experience. To differentiate, I use my voice intonation, pitch, cadence and volume to capture attention.
Participants tell us these are some of the best webinars they’ve been to and no one sleeps or checks emails in any of them. We also differentiate in one key area — our webinars are all live with no exception, and are not recorded because information retention goes down by 60 percent when you’re not speaking to a live audience. On your topic and with your audience, how do you differentiate your topic, your message and your delivery, while being wildly and abundantly relevant to your very specific targeted audience?
Get your mix right
A plethora of resources exist online for the nuts and bolts of podcast and webinar hosting, logistics and management, but as in many areas of business, just because you build it, make it or record it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. Determine your goal for sharing your wisdom with us. Clarify the unique message you wish to share and why your unique audience needs it. Then elevate the logistics with best practices and a few marketable differences mixed in and then — only then — tell everyone you know you have a podcast and that you offer webinars.
Marketing can make it go viral, but the points we’ve just outlined will make your work worth the marketing effort. Become virtually stimulating, and happy broadcasting.
MONICA WOFFORD, CSP, is a leadership consultant and coach and the author of Make Difficult People Disappear. As CEO of Contagious Companies Inc., a leadership training and consulting firm, she works with all levels of leaders to develop their leadership skills. For more information go to ContagiousCompanies.com or call 866-382-0121.