Why I’m investing in podcasting & videos

I built a shed the other week. It’s a 3 x 3 potting shed, and I built it in the corner of a meeting room at my office. I’m aware that sheds usually go outside, but never one for convention, this one lives inside and it serves a very useful purpose.

After building the shed – which was surprisingly straightforward even for someone with the DIY abilities of a typical cowboy builder – I set to work on soundproofing it and then sound treating the interior. The shed is now a small audio booth, perfect for recording our weekly podcast episodes. It’s also a place for carrying out podcast interviews, over Skype I hasten to add, as the shed is cosy with just me standing in it; it would be far too intimate to invite guests to join me in the shed to chat.

I’m investing in podcasting because it has such massive potential. Back in September 2005 when I launched the first podcast from a UK financial adviser, it was too early. The world wasn’t quite ready for podcasting back then. Neither was I, truth be told. Having to manually write the RSS code for each episode to get it listed on iTunes was a bit too geeky, even for this self-confessed geek.

But today is a different story. Podcasting has arrived on the mainstream with the recent success of Serial Podcast testament to its popularity. If you’re not familiar with Serial, it was a 12 part documentary style podcast from the producers of This American Life, another popular podcast in the US. The series followed a real-life murder case, featuring interviews with the convicted killer and witnesses, casting doubt on his guilt. The podcast was averaging 1.5 million downloads an episode, quickly being dubbed “the world’s most popular podcast”.

The most relevant statistics I can find about podcast consumption suggests it is growing by 25% year on year. Around one in ten people have listened to a podcast in the past month. Podcast listeners average six different podcasts a week.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as podcasts are much easier to consume when we are driving, for example, than videos or blogs. Traffic police take a pretty dim view of drivers watching YouTube whilst traversing the M25, so I’m told.

When you listen to a podcast, you are fully engaged with what is being said. That differs so much from television where my attention is usually divided between the screen, Twitter and just about everything else which catches my attention. This makes podcasting the perfect medium to get into the head of your prospective client.

Podcasting also fits well with our changing attitude towards consuming media, where we time-shift content to suit our schedule, not the schedules decided by radio or television broadcasters. I can’t remember the last time I watched a live television broadcast; it’s all Netflix, iPlayer or iTunes now.

So I’ve started spending several hours a week recording, editing and producing a 30 minute podcast episode. In my shed.

To date I’ve published 15 episodes which have been downloaded over 1,000 times and reviewed (favourably) nine times on iTunes. I’ve got a long way to go before I catch-up with Pete Matthew and his 101 episodes of the Meaningful Money Podcast, with its over 250,000 downloads, but here’s the really exciting thing; there’s essentially no competition in the UK market for this type of podcast. Other than Pete and his Meaningful Money Podcast, there are no other Financial Planners that I’m aware of producing a regular audio podcast.

As well as investing in podcasting, I’m putting more time into video content.

Over the weekend I placed an order for a teleprompter kit, which turns an iPad into a fully functioning autocue device. This combined with a DSLR camera, lav mic and some softbox lights, and it should be easy to start producing regular video content in the form of three minute videos answering topical personal finance questions. Keep in mind that, after Google, YouTube is the most searched website in the world. Video offers the opportunity to create a real connection with people watching the content, getting to know and trust you.

This stuff might require a bit of learning and some basic kit to get started. It certainly requires an investment in time to create, edit and publish content.

But once you have cracked that and developed a simple workflow, podcasting and video content offers Financial Planners a great opportunity to reach the right prospective clients and strengthen relationships with existing clients. And it’s a lot of fun.

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13 thoughts on “Why I’m investing in podcasting & videos

  • I struggle with the subject of podcasts not because I don’t like them, just because I always find the stats (very successful) non intuitive. In my head podcasts are great in theory but impractical as they don’t stream in the car etc as you have to download to a device, remember to bring the device, have a car compatible with the device and plug the device in before playing. Always seems more effort than I can be bothered with and therefore I assume others will feel the same. I’ve surveyed lots of advisers who verify this. Is the rest of the public different? Is this just me? Is it that sufficient numbers from a global market will download even it’s a minority? Please help as I would love to do them, but need a bit more convincing from you, Chris Daems, Roger Edwards and, of course, Pete Matthew.

    Reply
    • I agree that podcasts remain slightly impractical to consume, although it is getting easier. Personally, I mostly listen to podcasts via my iPod Shuffle. This means that, once or twice a week, I need to plug it into my MacBook and transfer the podcast episodes I want to hear for the next few days.

      In the car, I plug my iPod into the MP3 port in the centre console and listen through the car stereo speakers. I drive a six year old BMW, and this iPod compatibility is (I believe) now standard in new cars. In fact, many new cars now have Internet radio functionality built in, so podcast consumption whilst driving is set to skyrocket.

      I also listen to podcasts at home via my Apple TV or iPad, and occasionally at my desk through iTunes and a set of headphones, or speakers if the office is quiet.

      I accept that I’m probably an outlier when it comes to podcast consumption, but it’s definitely growing in popularity. Events like Serial Podcast are helping and mainstream broadcasters are getting on board as well – there was a long advert for a new BBC podcast series on Radio 4 Today this morning.

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  • Damn. Wish I’d written this article…

    Responding primarily to Phil’s comment here, rather than commenting on the article per se.

    Let’s talk about stats first. The stats currently available from podcast hosts are very high-level. Number of downloads, geographical region downloaded, what technology was used to download the file, that’s about it. So I know how many downloads I get each week (5,500 currently), but I don’t know how many subscribers I have, and I don’t know whether everyone who downloads the show listens to it.

    One proxy for number of subscribers is the number of times a new show is downloaded in its first week (currently 1,200-1,300 for me).

    So I don’t think the stats are a massively compelling reason to get into podcasting. You can’t act on them like you could, say, from Facebook Insights.

    As far as the technology goes, almost all of us have a smartphone these days, and most podcasts are downloaded using these. Many of us have Bluetooth enabled cars which can receive streamed audio from the phones, so no plugging in required. I exclusively listen to podcasts and audiobooks in my non-bluetooth audio equipped car, so I do plug in two leads, which takes 3 seconds! But I agree, for many people that’s a faff they won’t put up with.

    But, internet connected cars are with us already and will become increasingly the norm in the coming years. Podcasts will stream the latest episodes direct to our cars each day.

    Martin is right to highlight the fact that we now consume media on our own terms, in our own time, and podcasts are the perfect medium for this. I get to listen to what I want, when I want, and nothing I don’t want to – bliss.

    Finally I’ll cover off the subjective benefits:

    – Lack of competition. Martin alluded to this, but it is true. Most of the personal finance podcasts are US-based and dreadful.

    – Trust. There is something powerful about speaking directly into someone’s ears. It’s a privileged place to be and the fact that thousands of people each week let me into their lives for half an hour is incredible to me.

    – Passive consumption. People listen to podcasts while doing something else, which they can’t do while reading or watching video. This enables them to fill their down time with personal education or entertainment (or ideally both in one show!)

    – Consumption is primarily by people with disposable incomes. Anecdotal one this, but my experience form those who have got in touch is that I am reaching exactly the right sort of people; those who have the means and will to take action.

    Last year, MeaningfulMoney was the biggest source of new client enquiries by number and the second largest by value, though only just. I’d do it anyway, even if nothing came from it, but this stream of leads is a lovely side-benefit which is not to be sniffed at.

    To end, I’ll add in a recent review left for me on iTunes, which shows the feedback I get. I am changing people’s lives. Personally, I believe that if I continue to give in this way, then God/Karma/The Universe will look after me in return. It’s just the way it seems to work.

    Happy to chat to anyone interested in finding out more on this fascinating medium…

    “Hi Pete, I’ve listened to around 30 of your podcasts now and am hooked. I’ve always been interested in getting a good deal and personal finances but never looked past paying the bills, enjoying my earnings and putting a bit in savings. Your podcasts have changed this. It really was like someone flicked a switch when I listened to my first episode – MMP093. Your episodes are structured just the right way (know then do) and the content is always clear. You’ve opened my eyes to planning my financial future. Monthly budget planning is now in place and our starter emergency fund is 50% complete. Cheers Pete, please keep the information coming! ”

    – Review by thegreenpint, iTunes UK, Feb 11 2015

    Reply
    • Well said, Pete! You’re the master when it comes to this stuff and my inspiration for taking the plunge.

      On the subject of listener engagement and trust, when Justin King and I screened my documentary in Christchurch, Dorset in November, we were blown away that someone turned up to watch it after a 5 hour plus drive from up North, all because he was a regular Meaningful Money podcast listener and had heard you interview us on your show. Incredible.

      Reply
  • Not sure what I would do on dog walks without Friday Night Comedy, Desert Island Discs or Lamacq’s Round Table to keep me company.
    I’m a complete numpty with IT, but my iphone seems to download them all without me doing anything at all.
    Ask a teenage kid, if you are struggling (though you’ll have to put up with them rolling their eyes and grabbing your phone off you)!

    Reply
    • Friday Night Comedy is on my subscription list, as well as From Our Own Correspondent. BBC Radio 4 have some excellent podcast output.

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  • I’ve got to admit that compared to Martin and Pete I’ve only been a bit part player in the podcasting game so far.

    We released 18 podcasts on Common Sense Money and had some great feedback and won a handful of clients but other more pressing commitments got in the way of this particular project.

    However I’ve now worked out a way I can do it whilst reducing the time commitment through collaboration and will be back releasing regular podcasts soon!

    However the reason after not doing for a while I’m now getting back into it are as follows…

    * One of the major benefits of doing a podcast is the chance it gives me to listen to the ideas via interviewing them on the podcast. Whilst it’s also beneficial for the audience….I’ve found that I also learn loads!

    * It’s fun! The process of recording is great fun….although I’ve found that doing the bit’s where I’m speaking alone less so – much better if you can interview people and the flow (for me anyway) is much better (and receives better feedback)

    * It generates clients – whilst the handful of clients my podcast has generated isn’t as much as other sources (for example my written content) it’s still worked for us

    * It’s reusable and reshare- able content – whilst I reckon that consistently new content is the key to making podcasting successful we’ve found success in resharing our content as our online audience grows quite useful

    Hopefully that helps!

    Reply
    • Looking forward to hearing your new collaboration, Chris! You’re absolutely right about the benefit of conducting interviews. I discovered this when filming the documentary last year; the interviews gave me loads more to say to my own clients! It’s the same with podcasting and I’m working hard at the moment to schedule some interviews with interesting guests. Interviewing also takes care of a lot of the content creation, so it’s a sensible approach when producing a podcast.

      Reply
  • I LOVE listening to podcasts. I’ve been listening to them (mainly American – they are way ahead of the Brits on this) for years. I now listen to them via Stitcher on my smartphone which you can link to your car’s audio via bluetooth (no need to mess around with downlaoding to here there and everywhere). I’m a bit of an online marketing junkie!

    This is definitely a huge opportunity in the UK marketplace. Ridiculously, I have had my own studio setup for quite a few months now but I have to keep pushing podcasting down my ‘to do’ list. I need to fix that and help fill that space. It also hugely appeals as I was a teenage broadcaster many years ago …. but after much soul-searching I chose a different career path. Now maybe they can meet!

    Does anyone have a decent document that details (step by step) how to do all the necessary uploading etc? I have watched youtube videos on this from the likes of Pat Flynn and Podcastanswerman but I just want a sheet of paper that details it! Anyone got one I could have?

    On that note, anyone going to New Media Europe this September?

    Reply
    • Hi Catriona, I don’t have a one-page guide to hand, but I would be happy to talk you through the process of recording, editing and uploading. And if you’re looking for a podcast guest to talk about an adviser exam journey, I would be very happy to be considered!

      Reply
  • I witnessed first hand the power of Pete’s podcasting and video work last year.

    I was walking down the street with Pete in Birmingham City centre when a chap crossed the road and said “Hello Pete” It surprised me, as Pete was more than a stones throw from Cornwall.

    After the chap walked on, Pete explained that he’d became a client after getting to know Pete via his online marketing.

    It can and does work.

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  • I think that you need to be into Podcasting for the long game. Most podcasts don’t last past episode 7. I’ve just recorded Episode 40 and have published 37 and am overjoyed by the number of downloads so far.

    Like Catriona I’ve been listening to Podcasts for about 6 years – mainly American marketing ones such as The Sales Lion with Marcus Sheridan, Social Media Marketing with Mike Stelzner, and Six Pixels of Separation with Mitch Joel. The Americans are years ahead of us in podcasting and some businesses over there receive the majority of their leads from their podcasts.

    When I left Royal London – by profile nose dived a lot as I wasn’t appearing in the media much. The MPAF Podcast has helped restore my profile and also is now starting to generate business.

    I love doing the podcasts because I love talking to lots of different people. But do you know what is the best thing?

    I learn something new from every interview and I absolutely revel in that.

    Reply
  • The iPad teleprompter kit sounds interesting – video is something we’ve wanted to get into producing for our sites but haven’t really sat and thought about it in any length. Do you mind letting me know what the kit is that you purchased for this?

    Good luck with the podcasting – definitely a very good medium, and one which I spend hours every week learning new things and gaining insight from.

    Reply

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