Successful independent financial advisors are always looking for new ways to grow their businesses. Some advisors are looking beyond traditional marketing vehicles like print and broadcast media to new marketing channels, including podcasting.
When done well, podcasts can be an effective marketing tool. They enable you to share your expertise with many different clients and prospects, which can increase your name recognition and exposure while helping build your reputation in the financial services marketplace.
What exactly is podcasting?
You’ve probably heard the term “podcasting” but maybe you’re not sure exactly what it means. A podcast is simply an audio file you create and then make available to listeners on your website or a podcasting channel, app or directory. Think of a podcast as an “audio blog.”
In many ways, podcasting is tailor-made for independent financial advisors. With the markets breaking through to all-time highs on a regular basis, many people are hungry for unbiased investment information. With a podcast, you can share your investment knowledge with thousands of people you might otherwise never come in contact with.
Podcasting can be an extremely efficient way to reach a wide and diverse audience. For example, it’s not practical for you to have a one-hour meeting or phone call with a thousand different clients and prospects. But it is possible for you to reach a thousand or more prospects with a 15 or 30 minute podcast.
Low barriers to entry
Advances in technology have lowered the barriers to entry for podcasting significantly. It’s no longer necessary to spend thousands of dollars on high-tech equipment to produce an effective podcast.
At a minimum, you can create a podcast simply by using a smart phone. Recording software is inexpensive or free, like Audacity or Adobe Audition, which is part of the Adobe Creative Suite. It would be advisable to invest in a quality microphone to enhance the audio quality of your podcasts.
Distributing your podcasts is easy, too. You can start by uploading your podcasts to your website. Beyond this, you can also submit your podcasts to popular directories and apps like iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music. Check out PodcastPlaces.com for more tips on finding the best submission apps and directories for your podcast.
Benefits to creating your own podcasts include:
• Increased name recognition as a subject matter expert. One of the keys to building a successful financial advisory firm is being recognized as a financial and investing expert. Creating and distributing a regular podcast is a great way to position yourself as just such an expert in the minds of your clients and prospects. It also can signal to reporters and other media representatives that you are available and adept at speaking to important financial topics of the day.
• Cost-effective exposure to new prospects. Many advisors spend large amounts to get in front of qualified prospects — whether it’s hosting educational seminars via private dinner invitations, giving away restaurant gift cards in exchange for one-on-one prospect meetings or utilizing traditional print and broadcast media. With podcasting, you can potentially gain exposure to hundreds or even thousands of prospects at a fraction of the cost of these other marketing strategies.
• Stronger relationships with current clients. Many of your existing clients will appreciate the value-added insights and information you share with them via your podcasts. They appreciate the knowledge that you are always staying on top of important financial issues, and by association, staying on top of their accounts. This can help solidify client relationships, potentially reduce client call volume during market volatility, and help improve client retention.
Structuring your show
When developing your podcast, it’s important to decide how to structure your show and make a plan for what topics to discuss.
First, decide on a frequency. Many financial advisors broadcast on a monthly or quarterly schedule — either of these will generally work, depending on how much time you can devote to podcasting. Podcasting any more frequently than monthly probably isn’t realistic for most advisors. And if you podcast less frequently than quarterly, it could be difficult to build an audience.
Next, decide how long each show will be. Most podcasts range from around 15 minutes to about 30 minutes max. This is generally enough time to cover most topics adequately and keep your listeners’ attention. You can experiment and come up with a broadcast length that works best for you and your listeners.
On the air
Once on the air, you can podcast as a solo or bring on guests to interview. Many popular radio hosts do both, mixing in interviews with their own thoughts and commentary. This strategy can relieve you of some of the pressure of having to fill all the airtime yourself and also introduce your listeners to fresh new perspectives about financial planning and investing.
Always check with your compliance first on your podcasting plans and content before posting. They may be able to provide you with specific guidelines to follow. Your compliance may request you to provide a script or an outline for the records, as well as a link to the final product.
Meanwhile, there’s an almost limitless number of topics you can discuss on your podcast. For example, you can offer a commentary on the markets or general advice about investing and financial planning. Some advisors worry about “giving away” too much information on a podcast for free, but this really shouldn’t be a concern.
Prospects need to know that you’re knowledgeable and trustworthy before they hire you — and the best way to accomplish this is to share some of what you know with them. You can offer more detailed and personalized advice when you sit down one-on-one with qualified prospects who contact you after hearing your podcast.
Prepare to launch!
Don’t let fear or uncertainty keep you from taking advantage of this effective new marketing tool. Like any new skill, the more podcasting you do, the better you’ll become at it.