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September 12, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Latest “Founders Meetup” includes tips on starting, running a podcast

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Podcasting is not a new technology. In fact, even though podcasts have been around for about two decades, the medium has literally exploded in the past five years.

As noted in this recent article from Insider Intelligence, “A proliferation of shows, involvement from celebrity talent, investment from large companies like Spotify, and the spread of technologies that boost awareness, like smart speakers, have all helped podcast growth.” The article further notes that “the number of monthly U.S. podcast listeners will increase by 10.1 percent year-over-year to 117.8 million” in 2021 as podcasting becomes a one billion dollar industry.

On Thursday, two Northeast Tennessee veterans of podcasting shared their insights on its use as a marketing tool during the latest “Founders Meetup” from the FoundersForge organization. One of the two – Ryan McKinney of the Johnson City Small Business Podcast – is a host while the other – Leighton Hart, Founder of Market Street Media – is more of the technical guru.

Screen Shot from Virtual Part

In the case of McKinney, a Team Leader at Keller Williams Realty Inc., his interviews are focused on Johnson City small business owners, professionals, executives, and other leaders. The most recent features Bob Cantler, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce. They are available on multiple podcasting platforms.

Hart, Co-Founder of Market Street Media, works with podcasters like McKinney, but also has his own podcast. During a Q & A moderated by Rodolphe Pierre-Louis of ActionVFX, the two shared their thoughts ranging from the value of podcasting to tips for those not yet doing it but interested.

“Producing a podcast does not cost a lot of money,” McKinney said, so the return on investment is usually fairly good. “From a target marketing perspective, it’s a good opportunity to build your audience.”

In response to Pierre-Louis’ question about when to launch, McKinney said, “The sooner, the better. You’re never going to have it all figured out.” He also added that a podcast series does not have to be about your own business, pointing to the one he hosts that is about topics of interest to those living in Johnson City, not simply real estate.

Hart advised those considering starting a podcast to focus on the customer at the outset. “Build an audience . . . build goodwill for the time when you make an ask.” He also suggested that those who want to take a bootstrapping approach consider using Anchor, explaining that it is as close to the popular WordPress application for webpages as podcasters can find.

Near the end, Hart also discussed having the podcast available on YouTube. “It is almost an essential part of your marketing strategy because of the built-in audience,” he said while, at the same time, acknowledging that producing for the platform is not as easy as others.

As a host, McKinney said “you must have energy. This is a fun task that we get to do.” Advanced preparation and research on the guest are important so the host can have a good conversation.

Both offered advice on  using social media to promote individual podcasts and build a following. “Don’t get cute with titles,” Hart advised, reminding attendees of the importance of SEO (search engine optimization). “Network with other podcasters and content makers. Learn what works and doesn’t work. Look at your analytics.”

As far as optimal length, it was suggested that the maximum would be 30 to 40 minutes.

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