Audiences are moving from eyeballs to eardrums, said Addison Price, and entrepreneurs need to evolve their messaging to compete in a new arena of online engagement.
“What’s going to happen when Instagram just isn’t Instagram anymore? What’s going to happen when your Facebook audience just migrates someplace else? Because it will happen,” said Price, podcast and marketing executive at Mahalo Media. “That’s what brands and companies need to be [anticipating].”
Podcasts represent only a fraction of the overall marketing channels now deployed by startups, he said, but the trend will continue to grow exponentially as the medium matures.
“I’m hedging my bet that podcasts are going to explode even more. It’s the next move,” Price said. “I think it’s going to happen more radically and drastically [than people think].”
After being diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, audio learning became hugely impactful to Price’s education and upbringing, he said, noting other consumers might have a variety of attachments to the medium that also are unique to their own personal backgrounds.
“I realized that Instagram was not going to do their story justice. People would just scroll by and not read it. And even if they did read it, you can’t hear their story and the courage and bravery in their voice to really connect with them on a more emotional level. That’s why we went to the podcasting realm, and I definitely think it’s an emerging trend and we’ll see a lot more of it moving forward.”
Click here to read more about “Open Belly.”
“It just kind of compounds because it’s so intimate,” said Price. “The beauty of the podcast is that it’s so flexible and different and unique for every brand or story.”
As more entrepreneurs use podcasts to jumpstart their personal brands and establish founders as experts in their industry, they must remember the best podcasts have a balance of educational and entertaining content, he said.
“I think it’s a great play,” said Price. “[Entrepreneurs are] like, ‘Hey, I’m kind of a thought leader here. I’d like to share my opinions or processes on what we failed on doing or successful,’ which is great in an audio format. Then audiences are like, ‘I know this host really well and I’m going to follow them.’”
Becoming a “knowledgeable advisor” is the most direct route to inserting entrepreneurism into the world of podcasts, agreed Byron Ginsburg, a marketing and business consultant who doubles as a podcast reviewer, as well as programs director on the KC Freelance Exchange board.
“It definitely raises awareness of the host,” said Ginsburg. “Then people think of that person when they have a need.”
Avoiding the ‘gabfest’
Poorly done podcasts can be detrimental to the host’s image as well, Ginsburg said, noting that although a pair of entrepreneur hosts might be wealths of information, a third-party speaker can reduce the level of jargon.
“There’s a big difference between the podcasts that are done really purposefully and ones that are really just kind of a gabfest,” he said, laughing. “Just two people going in too many directions … ”
While establishing a podcast can increase the profile of an entrepreneur, most content-consumers can sense a host with the wrong intentions, said Josh Levin, host of the podcast “Empowered People” and founder of KC-based electricity provider Empowered Electric.
“I’ve seen people ruin their company by focusing on their personal brand too much,” Levin said. “I think consumers are now seeing through that self-centeredness.
“I’ve always said I would never treat Empowered People like a stepping stone just to advance myself, but I do view it as a stage in which I can proclaim my message louder and clearer to a bigger audience,” he added.
Alongside a mission of elevating others, Levin’s podcast operates more like an exercise in personal development, he said.
Click here to learn more about the Empowered People podcast and listen to its episodes.
Creating the “Startup Hustle” podcast with co-host and business partner Matt Watson began like an act of therapy and an escape from the grind of entrepreneurship, said Matt DeCoursey, co-founder of software development firm Full Scale.
“Matt and I both said Startup Hustle was born out of a need to complain about being entrepreneurs,” said DeCoursey. “It was therapeutic to talk about things — and I’m sure you’re always building your personal brand when you do stuff like that, but at the same time, that wasn’t necessarily the main reason we started it.”
Offering value to listeners is crucial, he said, noting consistent frequency and quality also are key. Startup Hustle has an international audience and more than 80 episodes — featuring a wide array of Kansas City startup founders — under its belt.
“You need to help the audience make money or keep money, entertain them, challenge them or help them grow,” said DeCoursey. “You really have to make it about the people listening, rather than yourself.”
Click here to learn more about the Startup Hustle podcast and listen to its episodes.
Click here to RSVP for a live recording of the Startup Hustle podcast April 18 at the 10 Spot, presented by Startland News and Full Scale.
Though producing a podcast can be done on a tight budget, achieving high-growth and gaining revenue through advertisements can be difficult and take a significant amount of time, he added.
“I see a lot of people launch podcasts but I don’t see many that keep them moving,” DeCoursey said. “It’s work and you have to be consistent. You can make a podcast essentially for free, but if you want to do it professionally, there’s some investment involved.”
Podcasts’ next episode
“I give it the analogy of going to the gym,” said Price, laughing. “You’ve got to consistently push yourself to go, but that’s why you have the trainer right?”
“It’s easy to assume that everybody is listening to podcasts and everybody is making podcasts, but that’s not true. It’s actually a very small percentage of the population that has a regular habit of listening. So, the room to grow is significant.
Click here to read more about the “Professional AF” podcast.
Though the medium is trending upward, so too are the number of podcasts that begin but later sputter out, he said.
A valuable piece of the puzzle is determining what format and style work best for a particular startup or organization, Price said, giving the example of an executive using the medium as a means to record and share talking points and tactics with sales employees while they are on the road.
“I think we’ll see an explosion out of universities too,” he added, noting podcasts could be more widely used by educators, alongside a standard textbook or online resource, to better appeal to auditory learners like himself.
“The more that Gen Z comes into play with adopting the medium, I think education will become a larger piece,” Price said.