Why Every Speaker Should Start a Podcast

One of the great things about the up-and-coming medium of podcasting is its versatility. I’ve referred to it as the next great plane of content, and this is the perfect time for creators of all kinds — especially “knowledge workers” like authors, course creators, and speakers — to get ahead of the curve and develop a podcast within their niche.

If you’re a public speaker, podcasts are a great tool to grow your business — after all, you’re already equipped to speak at length, saying interesting things into a microphone. Keep reading to learn how starting a podcast could take your speaking career to the next level:

  • Podcasting is the perfect medium for building trust, both with your audience and with the event organizers who will hire you for speaking gigs.
  • Recording regular podcast episodes gives you an opportunity to hone your craft by trying out new content, rehearsing your delivery, and soliciting feedback.
  • You’ll create a loyal fanbase, which makes you even more valuable to event organizers looking to fill conferences and auditoriums.

On top of all that, podcasting opens the door to new and varied revenue streams, including exclusive content offers or sales of books, courses, and other products.

As I describe on Episode 221 of How I Built It, here are some of the reasons I think podcasts are a great marketing tool for new, established, and aspiring professional speakers.

3 reasons podcasting is good for your speaking career

Publishing a podcast is one of the best ways to develop a speaking portfolio that showcases your skills, your style, and your material.

Even if you regularly appear at conferences and events, you might find that the audio or video recordings of your talks aren’t publicly available or easy to send to prospective clients. By contrast, emailing a link to a podcast or a curated selection of episodes couldn’t be easier. 

Sharing your catalog of content builds trust and credibility with the people who have the potential to hire you because they know what they’re getting when they ask you to speak at their event. 

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Podcasting also helps you build a dedicated base of fans who love your stories and understand that you know what you’re talking about. Podcasts are an intimate medium — your voice is right in your listeners’ ears, cars, and homes — which makes them uniquely positioned to deeply engage your audience in ways you can’t from the stage.

If you’re able to create a strong fanbase that’s willing to show up to your speaking gigs, event organizers will be more likely to hire you because your name on the program means more tickets sold.

You can also harness podcasting as a marketing channel to sell books, courses, consulting services, or other products. Listeners get to know your personality and subject matter expertise through each episode, and you build the trust and credibility required for them to feel comfortable investing time and money in what you’re selling.

Why wait to be invited on stage? Create a members-only feed through a platform like Patreon, Apple Podcast Subscriptions, or your own membership program to generate revenue while also repurposing or repackaging your existing content. 

Read on for more ideas about podcast episode topics.

How podcasting hones your craft

As a speaker, you’re constantly tweaking your talks, adding new stories, or streamlining what you want to share with an audience. 

A podcast can help you supercharge this process by acting as a free focus group for testing new material, practicing your delivery, and soliciting helpful feedback.

I recently did this with a talk I was preparing to give at the WordCamp conference for WordPress users. I released a 15-minute episode in which I shared the main ideas from my upcoming talk. The resulting feedback helped me consider new angles and fill in some gaps. My talk improved because I more clearly understood the problem and could predict audience questions I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Test new concepts or stories with your podcast audience to gauge how they’ll be received on stage. If something falls flat, you’ll save yourself the time and effort it would have taken to fully prepare material for a gig — and, ideally, you have time to replace it with something that’s a better fit for your listeners.

You can also rehearse your talks in podcast form — it might feel like an upgrade from speaking to an empty room! This is great material for a members-only feed or Patreon community.

6 things speakers can talk about on a podcast

Whether speaking is your full-time job or something you do to supplement or market your other work, chances are you’re used to giving the same few talks, tweaking and improving them along the way, but not coming up with brand-new content each time. 

If that’s the case, planning for fresh content every week (or however frequently you publish your podcast episodes) may feel overwhelming. Don’t panic! 

Here are some great podcast content ideas for speakers:

  • Talk about what you speak about. Establish yourself as a subject matter expert and build out your speaking portfolio by offering in-depth insights. If you’re a business coach, talk about obstacles you’ve coached clients through, or make your coaching calls into episodes (with client permission, of course). If you’re a web developer, talk about what you’re doing to make your site faster and more accessible. If you own a coffee shop, talk about blends, roasting techniques, and what all the industry terminology means.
  • Repurpose older talks into episodes or series. A one-hour talk can easily become a four-episode series where you: 1) set up the problem, 2) solve the problem, 3) offer actionable advice, and 4) answer listener questions.
  • Workshop new material. As I mentioned above, use your podcast to get real-time feedback on new ideas and stories as you’re working through them.
  • Offer a behind-the-scenes look. I think this has been the secret to the success of How I Built It — people love behind-the-scenes content. Talk about how you came up with your signature concept and what it took to put it all together. Talk about your favorite speaking engagements. Talk about a time when it all went wrong, and what you learned from it.
  • Establish yourself as an expert on speaking. Answer frequently asked questions about speaking: How do you get a paid speaking gig? How do you prepare? What do you do when a talk falls flat? Invite aspiring speakers to be your guests and offer advice or coaching that your listeners will benefit from, too.
  • Turn recorded talks into members-only content. Assuming your contracts allow it, you can repurpose your gig recordings into exclusive content so paid members can hear or see you speak without buying an event ticket.

It’s easier than ever to start a podcast, and more people than ever regularly tune in to their favorite audio shows. 

Podcasting is an excellent tool for speakers who are already adept at communicating through the spoken word, and it’s sure to open all kinds of new doors in terms of bookings, product sales, and audience engagement.

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