by Victoria Fenner
When I worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, our on-air hosts often received Christmas cards, personal letters and sometimes even birthday cakes from listeners. All from total strangers and all addressed as if sent to a long lost friend.
Such is the power of the human voice. One of the first lessons we learn in radio school is that nothing beats talking directly to your audience to establish an emotional connection.
Some coaches are already doing podcasts. If you’re not, you might want to think about it. After all, your business is based on talking to people. There are a lot of things podcasting can do to strengthen your connection with your clients through your voice.
What is podcasting?
There are a few different definitions of podcasts floating around in cyber culture. Podcasting in the strictest sense means an audio or video program that is like a magazine. People subscribe to podcasts through iTunes or similar “podcast aggregators,” after which each new episode is auto-magically downloaded onto your computer to load onto your iPod.
Often, though, when clients ask me to help them produce a podcast, they actually mean “help me make an audio or video feature for my website,” and that is the kind of podcasting I will address in this article.
What we know from radio research is that people establish strong emotional connections with their favourite radio stars. Radio is the most intimate of media, especially when listeners use headphones. The same is true for podcasts, which after all are just radio shows on the Internet.
Here are just a few ways to get into the ears of your coaching clients:
- Your greatest hits – You likely have topics that you address with all your clients. So why not record a collection of these short topics? You can use these as jumping-off points for more detailed conversations when you talk to your client individually.
- Coach in your pocket – Your clients can carry your words with them on their iPod and listen to you whenever they need to hear your reassuring voice. This helps keep their spirits up and maintains their focus in between sessions. And they can listen to you anywhere – on a plane, on a treadmill or while they’re weeding the garden.
- The buck starts here – Along with valuable coaching content, your podcast can include an introduction to other products and services you offer, such as books you’ve written, CDs you’ve recorded or upcoming workshops.
Free versus fee
You might want to have two kinds of podcasts. To attract new clients, have a podcast that is available to everyone, and distribute it as widely as possible. The more people who know about you, the more clients you will attract.
Then, have a separate podcast that is password-protected and only accessible to your clients. That way, the people who pay you will feel like they’re getting something special that isn’t available to everybody.
It's easier than you think
Podcasting is worth considering. It will bring out a whole new dimension of your personality and your coaching business. And it’s surprisingly easy and inexpensive to get started.
High quality recording gear which used to cost more than a thousand dollars is available for as little as $200. You can do your own editing on your own computer with free editing programs such as Audacity. If you'd like to move up to the next level, I recommend Amadeus (for Mac) at $40 USD, or Goldwave at $49 USD or Sound Forge Audio Studio at $55 USD, both for PC.
With a little bit of technical and performance training, your own glorious voice can go everywhere the Internet goes. And you may even start receiving those personal notes, cards and birthday cakes.
Victoria Fenner is a radio/podcast producer. Her company, Sound Out Media, produces audio and video podcasts. She also provides training and workshops in person, by phone and online to people wanting to learn how to produce their own programs and distribute them through iTunes, YouTube and other social media.