What is a Podcast? And should wellness practitioners care?

by | Jun 3, 2015 | Blog

Podcasts are one of those things that have kept me sane on the long, 1 to 1.5 hours, sitting in the stuffy car, stuck behind the bumpers of other commuters on the way to work. This is why podcasts are really near and dear to my heart. Even though I have yet to start my own… but it’s on the to do list!

When’s the last time you subscribed to a magazine? Do you have some for your clinic’s waiting room?

Podcasts work on the exact same principle.

A podcast is a type of informational content that is delivered in episodes to subscribers on a consistent basis, often through audio, and less commonly video.

What kind of informational content?

For starters, the most popular type of podcast show is the interview show. Just simply the sound recording of an interview between a host and a guest – or two guests.

This can be the easiest to produce since you don’t have to do all of the research as the host. You can simply network and get the guests, then do just enough research and planning to know what questions to ask and direction to take the conversation.

It also means you do not have to be the expert at your topic for the episode. You allow the guest to be the expert. However, you do end up acquiring some status as you go along, and not to mention the valuable knowledge from doing the interviews!

Another type of podcast is the solo show. These are more reminiscent of modern day blog posts. You find a specific topic, study it, plan out something to say that your audience will find valuable, and record it. The biggest benefit of these, for the host, is you have much less to do to coordinate with others. However, it can be very hard to maintain listener interest with one individual speaking into a microphone for half an hour. A variation on this would be having a co-host, which can definitely help the interest, and alleviate some of the stress of hosting.

The last one I’ll mention is the narrative journalistic show. It’s getting much more common do this style, but it takes a lot more resources, planning, and skill to pull it off. The narrative approach really means that you try to tell a story with your podcast and take your listeners through a succession of events and emotions of the story. These episodes are often highly edited and pull together lots of music, narrated clips to explain backstory, and live recordings with interviewees for example.

One of my favourite new narrative shows, not related to wellness, is Reply All by Gimlet Media. It’s fascinating stories about how the Internet changes and shapes people’s lives.

What kind of topics exist?

If you can think of it, it’s out there. The amazing thing about the Internet is if you have more than two people anywhere in the world who enjoy one small niche hobby, job, idea, topic, weird ice cream sandwich made with lettuce, they can connect.

Many podcasts talk about business, life, health, marketing, books, TV shows, news, music and on and on. By scrolling through the podcast section of iTunes and looking at the categories you can begin to see just how vast this marketplace really is.

If you’re thinking about a wellness podcast, take a look, there are lots. I encourage you to start listening to see how others are doing them, and you might learn something along the way. Oh, and just because there are many other health and wellness podcasts, does not mean it wouldn’t be beneficial for you to do one as well. The numbers when compared to blogs is a drop in the bucket.

How do you listen to podcasts?

While it’s possible to simply have an audio player on a website, the real value of a podcast is that you continue to put out new episodes on a regular basis, and that your audience can automatically receive it. This is the biggest distinction between just having audio tracks, and having a podcast. It becomes something your audience expects from you.

There are many podcast players, iTunes, Apple IOS Podcast App, Stitcher, BeyondPod (Android) to name a few, but they all do primarily the same thing. They allow you to browse a catalogue of podcasts, subscribe to ones you like, and download new or old episodes manually or automatically.

Why is audio so valuable, doesn’t everyone like to watch video?

Video is amazing, you can explain some things much easier with video than with audio. However audio has one distinctive factor that separates it from every other content medium.

You can consume it while doing something else.

Let that sink in.

Every other type of content requires you to pay attention with your eyes, generally meaning you can’t focus on other tasks. But with audio, you can listen to podcasts while you’re running, doing the dishes, driving, mowing the lawn, and working – they’re amazing!

This is the one reason so many people are finally getting into creating podcasts to help grow their businesses. And the other important factor, rarely in any other medium will you have someone paying attention to what you’re saying, and listening to you for upwards of 30 minutes! Every week if they’re a die hard fan.

What that translates to is trust and relationship building. It’s impossible to listen to someone speak that long and that often and not begin to understand them and feel a personal connection. This does wonders for building your audience, turning viewers into raving fans, and turning your marketing up to 11.

What’s the point if podcasts are free?

It’s true, it takes a lot of work to put together a good podcast and keep it going long enough to see success. And while some do it just for fun, like in some cases with podcasts about books and TV shows, most use it as a marketing tool to build an audience.

Some are in it to make money directly from podcasts, but you won’t be. If you decide podcasting is something you want to tackle for your business (I highly recommend it if you haven’t figured it out yet) you probably won’t be looking to get sponsors or advertising on your podcast. You’ll be using it as an engine for audience building, relationship building, and networking to help grow your other revenue streams.

You can use podcasts to both serve your current clients better, providing even more value for them and creating an experience they can talk about to their friends, and you can use it as an outreach to gather new potential clients.

What are the benefits of starting a podcast?

While podcasts can be the most beneficial for growing global audiences, they can still help your local practice if that’s your target area. (if selling online products is a part of your business, a podcast will be exponentially helpful for you).

By having a successful podcast with many listeners, it can improve the impression of you in the eyes of your local clients. They will see you as more than just a practitioner, they will see you as an influencer, and are then more likely to talk about your services.

You will also be able to easily connect with other local wellness professionals if you do an interview show. It is very unlikely that any self-confident doctor or professional will turn down a chance to be interviewed on a podcast. They will be so excited and share it to their clients, and you will benefit again. It’s an easy win win win all the way around.

It’s simply another form of content, and another way to stay top of mind for your current or previous clients. So when they or someone they know have a need, they know who to use.

But you can also benefit from just being interviewed

Maybe it’s a little daunting for you. It is for most. And, even though there are amazing courses and teachers out there like Cliff Ravenscraft or John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire, the microphone might not be for you.

However, trying to network with podcasters could be a great way to get exposure to new groups of people. If you feel you have expertise in an area that a particular podcaster could use, try to build a relationship and offer to be on their show. They benefit from your content, you benefit from their reach.

Start by just listening and exploring

The best way to dive into the podcast community is to start listening. If you have an iphone, open up your podcast app and just browse!

*Caution* You want to make sure you look at the settings for whichever player you use so that you are not downloading podcasts on your phone’s data network. This will use up your data, and likely push you over your limit. I know because I ran into a $200 cell phone bill one time because I thought I turned it to download on wifi only… but didn’t. I was so excited about podcasts I was listening to them every day, sometimes for half the entire day. Opening bills is bad enough on a regular day, but when it’s more than double what you expect it’s borderline depressing.

If you want to see what other wellness professionals are doing with podcasts aside from browsing the health category, some Google searches will come up with great lists like this one, The 19 Best Health and Fitness Podcasts Of All Time (So Far).

So should you start your own wellness podcast?

It depends on a few factors:

  • Do you want to provide greater value for your current clients?
  • Do you want to network and learn from other people?
  • How confident are you talking into a microphone? (don’t worry you can build this skill)
  • Do you feel you have something valuable to say?
  • Are you committed to doing it regularly?
  • Do you want to build authority in your niche?
  • Do you plan to build your business beyond your local service? (If yes, absolutely consider doing it, if no it can still be very useful locally)

Start with the basics. Try listening to some podcasts, then network your way into being interviewed. You might get a feel for it, and can then dive into creating your own. Seriously consider it! The payoffs are tremendous if you follow the tips and plans from the pros.

What are your favourite podcasts to listen to? Have you ever considered doing your own? Please leave a comment in the section below.

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