You guys probably know today’s guest blogger, Melvin Varghese, as the founder and host of the Selling the Couch Podcast. Over the past year we’ve become friends and I can assure you he is just as kind, warm and genuine as you think. A few months ago, after playing with the idea of launching my own podcast, I turned to Melvin for a podcast consultation. I wanted to flesh out some ideas before taking the next step. Melvin blew my mind in that consultation. I knew he’d had huge success with Selling the Couch, but I didn’t realize that when he says he’s a nerd about this stuff, he means he’s a MIT-level brainiac in all things podcasting.
I recently got over some fears about podcasting and took the leap into his incredibly thorough e-course The Healthcasters, a step-by-step course that walks you through everything you’d ever need to know about podcasting (and dumbs down the tech stuff for folks like me). It also includes a great private Facebook group where people in the course can ask questions and support one another. They, and you, can hold me accountable for The Abundant Practice Podcast in the next few months thanks to Melvin’s tutelage. Eek!
I’m clearly a fan of Melvin’s and was so glad he agreed to write about podcasting for the blog. Check out what he has to say and see if podcasting might be a fit for you!
7 Compelling Reasons to Launch a Podcast
Before 2014, I had never heard the term “podcast.”
I listened to my first podcast after noticing a purple colored “Podcasts” app on my iPhone on my morning commute.
At the time, I was working in a group practice and had a 30 minute train ride to work.
The “knowledge nerd” in me (or just plain nerd =P) was instantly hooked.
Within this app, I could search for any topic I was interested in and instantly find conversations that had already been recorded.
Resilience. Oh, how interesting!
Perfectionism. The struggle is real, but I’m ready to learn more!
THE CRAZY IDEA
After you listen to podcasts for a while, a wild and crazy idea sometimes comes to your mind.
Mine came in the shower and was a simple statement: “Hey Melvin, you should launch your own podcast.”
This was quickly followed by voices of doubt.
“Who are you to launch a podcast?”
“Melvin, no one is going to listen.”
“You have such a soft voice. You’d have to yell into that mic for people to hear you!”
These voices delayed me 5 months from launching my podcast (and between you and me, I shed some tears and lost some sleep).
Without a doubt, launching a podcast has been one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.
As an INFJ, the thought of being so public was the last thing I ever imagined in my career.
But, looking back, launching my podcast has been one of the best career and personal decisions I’ve made.
It’s allowed me to serve others, build wonderful friendships, learn to be more courageous, and share my message on a global scale while growing a business that places my family, my faith, and loved ones at the center.
Launching and growing a podcast is not easy no matter what you find online.
It takes dedication, consistency, and showing up even though you’re scared and not 100% sure.
But the potential of this medium is MASSIVE.
To put this in perspective, the same number of Americans listen monthly to podcasts as those who actively use Twitter.
They’re still tabulating worldwide data, but I imagine we’re going to see similar trends.
Here are 7 more compelling reasons why it’s time to launch your podcast (I’ve included an infographic to download and share with colleagues who might benefit and have expanded on each point below the graphic).
It caters to our strengths as mental health providers.
Contrary to belief, the hardest part of launching a podcast is not the technology (I put together a free tutorial that explains everything in easy to understand language).
It’s learning how to conduct interviews and break down complex subjects into language that’s easy for listeners to understand.
Fortunately, the interpersonal communication skills that we’re taught and that come naturally to us as clinicians give us an advantage as podcast hosts.
Think of recording a podcast episode like conducting a therapy session.
You build rapport, ask open ended questions, navigate delicate topics, and dig deeper into issues.
Podcasting is a new medium that’s rapidly growing (and will continue to grow).
Podcasting has skyrocketed to popularity in the past decade.
A recent Edison Research study found that 57 million people in just the U.S. now listen to podcasts every month (compared to 29 million just 8 years ago).
This same study also found that podcast listenership has increased in every major age group from aged 12 to 55+ and tends to be fairly evenly split between men and women (56% to 44% respectively).
Because podcasts are being listened more and more on smartphones (about 71% in 2016), these numbers are only going to increase as more of the world gets access.
For example, here’s an article from TechCrunch that estimates 70% of the world or 6.1 BILLION people will have a smartphone by 2020.—from 2.6 billion today).
It helps you create a platform to share your message (and take your business global)
While paying to advertise your services or listing in a directory is a great option in the short term to get clients, creating your own platform to share products and services is more advantageous in the long run.
You can launch a podcast, build up followers, connect with colleagues and influencers, and reach 10’s of thousands, millions (and soon billions) worldwide.
As an example, the Selling The Couch podcast just surpassed 160,000 downloads and is now listened to in over 50 countries and in every continent except Antartica.
I would have never imagined this when I first started.
And because a podcast is your own platform, your voice will be heard under your full control.
Podcasting widens your professional and referral network
In some episodes, you can go solo and teach a concept that would be helpful to listeners. This helps build trust and authority and serve your listeners.
In other episodes, you can choose to interview guests from around the world.
These guests can be authority figures who are in the helping professions or in other related industries.
Podcast listeners tend to invest in products and services at higher rates.
One question I often get asked is how to use podcasting to get more clients in your practice.
Just to cite from research, a recent Edison Research found that 65% of podcast listeners are more willing to consider products and services after they learn about them on podcasts.
And Midroll’s brand recall study found an impressive 61% of listeners report purchasing a product or service that they heard on the podcast.
Podcast listeners are extremely loyal especially when you come from a place of wanting to serve them and share free helpful content on your podcast.
As a practitioner, start by creating some solo episodes where you share on a topic that you have expertise in.
For example, suppose you’re a parenting expert and offer online parenting workshops.
One idea is to create an episode called “5 Things Successful Parents Do Differently.”
At the end of this episode, have a single call to action meaning mention a specific part of your website where listeners can go if they want additional support.
The call to action might look something like this: “Hey! If you enjoyed this episode on parenting, I invite you to join me for an upcoming online parenting workshop where you’ll learn even more skills to become a better parent. You can sign up at INSERT YOUR WEBSITE HERE.”
Next, interview local colleagues and referral sources in order to share about the wonderful work they’re doing in the world.
This will help strengthen existing relationships and expand your local referral network.
Podcasts provide an avenue for multiple income streams.
We all get to a point in our careers where we stop trading “time to create income.”
Because your message is being held globally (and you’re now seen as an authority), your podcast is the perfect platform to expand into digital products.
These include things like writing a book, creating courses, setting up online consultation groups, selling an app, create software and a host of other different things that can create additional income streams.
Because your listeners already feel connected with you, it increases the likelihood of them investing in the products and services you provide.
It helps clients outside of the therapy room
Last but definitely not least, think of your podcast as an extension of your therapy room.
Due to time constraints, sometimes, we are unable to express everything during a therapy session.
With a podcast episode that they can reference later, our clients can be given the chance to crystallize those ideas just by hearing you talk.
Meanwhile, potential clients can also enjoy an avenue where they can get to know you and feel connected with you until they get convinced to become your client as well.
And as you keep podcasting, you will see improvements in the way you communicate with your podcast audience as well as in real-life sessions.
I hope that these 7 reasons has you even more excited to launch a podcast!
Now is definitely a good time because the platform is still new.
And at the end of the day, we all have a message to share and someone who needs to hear it.
Please reach out if you need additional support. We’re colleagues and on this journey together.
Wishing you nothing but the best on your podcasting journey! =)
Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.