#059 Cliff Ravenscraft on How Podcasting Can Help You Land Great Clients and Make You the Obvious Choice in Your Field

Think podcasting is for celebrities, authors and speakers?

Think again!

Podcasting is rapidly becoming one of the most effective and popular mediums for self-employed pros to attract high-quality leads, build trust and create rock-solid client loyalty.

I know that sounds like hype. I didn’t believe it myself — until about 18 months ago, when I reluctantly started my own show and saw the immediate impact it had in my own business.

In this interview, you’ll hear from my friend and colleague Cliff Ravenscraft, the “Podcast Answerman.”

Cliff eats, breathes and lives podcasting. He’s probably helped more people start and grow a podcast than anyone else. And he explains why every service professional—including freelancers in all disciplines—should start their own show.

If you’re very selective about the shows you upload to your phone or mobile device, I can assure you that this one is a MUST-LISTEN!

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

 

Tell us about yourself

In December 2005, Cliff Ravenscraft started podcasting about the TV show Lost as a hobby. Within a few episodes had 17,000 subscribers.

The TV show dealt with different aspects of life and faith, which led him to create other podcasts devoted to these topics. Eventually, he was spending 40 hours a week on podcasts. In time, he left his job as an insurance agent to podcast full time.

Cliff also had a lifelong dream of pursuing a ministry. He’s now doing that in a way he never anticipated—through his podcasts.

Why are you such an advocate of podcasting? How does it compare to blogging or video content?

There’s never been a better time to start podcasting. Thanks to smartphones, 3G access and podcast apps, podcasting is experiencing explosive growth.

clicktotweetToday, over one billion people have smartphones and can listen to your podcast.

Cliff recommends the Apple official podcast app. For Android, he recommends Stitcher Radio. Blackberry has a built-in podcast app.

There are over 450 million active English language blogs. Over 100 million hours of new video content is uploaded to YouTube every month. In contrast, only 225,000 audio podcasts regularly generate new content. And nine out of ten audio podcasts suck!

In particular niches, such as copywriting, you’ll find only about five or 10 podcasts. Of those, only three or four are any good! It’s not hard to be the top two or three podcast in the world on a niche topic.

Why is the optimum length for videos 12 minutes max, while podcasts are often 45 minutes or more?

People will spend only three to five minutes reading your blog post and 10-12 minutes watching your video.

clicktotweetWant to build trust with prospects? People who listen to podcasts will consistently give you 30-60 minutes of their time.

Why? When you watch a video or read a blog, you’re in front of a screen and easily distracted by email or social media. When you listen to podcasts, you’re doing other things, such as driving, walking the dog or doing dishes.

Do B2B businesspeople listen to podcasts?

Yes. Business people, all sorts of people, listen to podcasts. VPs, CEOs, etc. got into those positions by continually learning and improving themselves. They consume podcasts to keep on top of news and trends.

If they’re looking to hire a copywriter or designer, they’ll listen to your podcast to get to know you. When they contact you, you won’t have to spend hours selling them your services—you’ve already done it through your podcasts.

When people read your blog, they don’t see you as a human being. They see words on a screen. What you’ve written will be interpreted by their emotional state when they read it.

clicktotweetWith a podcast, people get a more complete picture of you. They feel like they know you.

If I already have a blog or a newsletter—or both—does it make sense for me to add podcasting to the mix?

All of these are great investments. But there’s nothing you can say in a blog or newsletter that carries the weight of your voice.

You can supplement with video. But because of the screen time required, people aren’t going to give you an hour every week.

What are the steps for launching a podcast?

Get a microphone and record your voice in audio form.
Convert the audio file into a MP3 audio file.
Upload the file to a media hosting company. For a low monthly fee, these companies can deliver big media files to large audiences.
Set up an RSS feed. This allows people to subscribe to your podcast.
Submit your podcast to podcast directories, such as Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry and Stitcher Radio.

How frequently should we publish episodes? And how important is consistency?

The more consistent you are, the more influence you have. People expect you to publish according to your established schedule.

If your goal is simply high rankings, then publish daily. But if your goal is to impact people’s lives and develop a loyal audience, then you don’t want to overfeed your listeners. Give them one episode per week and leave them wanting more.

Any parting thoughts?

Don’t make your show all about business. Don’t underestimate the positive impact you can have on others. Be transparent and authentic. Be a real human being. You don’t have to be an expert on everything.

Where can listeners learn more about you?

Cliff’s website: http://podcastanswerman.com

Cliff’s story: http://podcastanswerman.com/about/

Cliff’s free podcasting tutorial: http://podcastanswerman.com/learn-how-to-podcast/

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Enrollment is by application only. And you can get all the details here, including some of the program’s success stories.

This brings us to the end of this episode. I am your host, Ed Gandia. Thanks for listening, and I hope you have an awesome day!

 

  • Sandra

    Hmmm…..this is the third time in one year I’m told, by a seasoned marketer, that podcasting is the way to go. And that the time to embark is now. But I still think it would be challenging for a services company to offer content in this format that’s different enough from written content (blog, articles, eBooks, etc.) AND that prospects will appreciate and respond to. I like the idea and can see the benefits…but I struggle with coming up with an umbrella idea if I were to take this on. Great food for thought, as always. Thanks for posting this.

    • edgandia

      Sandra — It’s certainly NOT for everyone. It’s a commitment of time and resources, because unlike blogging (which you can do on and off), podcasting requires more consistency.

      However, I don’t think your content would need to be different from blog posts and articles. Your episodes can basically be blog posts you talk through in a very conversational way. Most of the monologue episodes I’ve done could have just easily become blog posts instead of podcasts.

      Also, I don’t think they have to be as “revolutionary” and mind-bending as many people think. If the idea is good enough for a blog post or article, it’s probably good enough for a podcast episode.

      Again, I’m not saying “do it anyway.” The decision to start a podcast needs to be made in the context of everything else you’re doing AND based on your overall business goals. But if it makes sense to start one, I wouldn’t let the issues you mentioned slow you down.

  • Hi Ed, thank you for the “introduction” to Cliff. I’ve heard of him (through my online blogging colleague, Ilene Smith) and subsequently visited his site a few times to read through some of the articles. In fact, just last week, I kept a tab open on my browser with his “learn to podcast” video series waiting for me to view the videos, but life got in the way …

    @Cliff – Your comments about the effect of ones voice are so on target! I’ve not heard any of the podcast teachers talk about this but I know firsthand how powerful it is to listen to a voice you trust.

    The recommendation to read existing blog posts sounds like a good way to dive into podcasting and get your sealegs.

    • edgandia

      Thanks for checking out the episode, Vernessa! Glad to hear Cliff’s ideas resonated with you.