So far in this series we’ve been looking at how you may want to do the things you’ve always done – content, networking and speaking – in a way that’ll work given the current restrictions. Today I’d like to look at something you may not have done before but something many solicitors, accountants, patent and trade mark attorneys and barristers have been experimenting with more and more over the last couple of months – podcasting.
Podcasts offer professionals the perfect opportunity to discuss current/important/relevant topics in a fairly informal way.
Your audience likes them because they can listen to the answers and advice they need rather than having to wade through column inches of words on a screen. Better still, from a marketing perspective podcasts can also provide a short cut to a brand new audience. As your podcasts can be hosted (and tagged up) by a public podcast platform, you will find your content is found by people who have actively searched to listen to your point of view on the subjects that affect them.
Even though the vast majority of the lawyers and accountants we work with listen to podcasts, there is still a reticence to include their own in their personal business development plans. On one hand, that’s perfectly understandable. It’s all a bit new, a bit multimedia and maybe a step too far for the professions isn’t it? And if the speakers aren’t comfortable and don’t come across well, surely it could backfire?
The first objection is – in my opinion at least – moot. In 2020 40% of people between 35 and 54 regularly listened to podcasts. This is probably the age range that captures those most likely to be or become the clients of legal, IP and accountancy practices. If you are ignoring podcasts, you are arguably cutting off a potentially productive route to market.
The second objection however is fully justified. If you are going to venture into the world of podcasting, your hosts and panellists need to be totally comfortable talking to a microphone and discussing what could be fairly involved subjects in a relaxed but understandable way.
But this is no different to any other business development initiative. BD success is always dependent on finding the right jobs for the right people. However, just as your firm has found enthusiastic networkers, engaging speakers and talented writers, you will also find you have very capable podcasters amongst your ranks.
If you can see the benefit of podcasting put out a call to ask who among your fee earners would be willing to participate and once you have your first few volunteers, ask them what they’d like to talk about and who they’d like to talk about that to. Again the theory is simple; if your presenters can choose the topics they’re most comfortable with and the person or people they’re most comfortable talking to, they will be much more comfortable while they’re talking about them which will give you the best possible output.
In terms of structuring your podcast we’d suggest the following:
1. Have 2 or 3 presenters. A conversation is easier to listen to and easier for the participants to record.
2. Jot down a few questions before you record and give the participants some time to think about their answers.
3. Don’t have a script, it’ll come over as rigid and unnatural but use your questions as a basic structure everyone can follow.
4. Keep your episodes short and on topic.
5. Remember to tell people where they can subscribe and how to get in touch/follow you on social/keep up with your latest news. Like any marketing activity, you need to include a call-to-action.
The next step is to work out how to record the conversation. For our own podcast we always used to use the voice memo app on an iPhone but working remotely has put pay to that. Zoom has since become our first choice because their ‘record’ function is easy to use and automatically produces a high quality audio file.
Once you have your audio file you can give it a bit of a polish, balance levels and even add an intro and outro using something like Audacity which is free to download and – if you are patient enough – even gives you the power to edit bits in and out.
You now have your podcast so the next step is to promote it. Don’t just publish it on your website or you’ll limit your audience. Instead sign up for one of the major podcast platforms (Soundcloud, Podomatic etc.) and enjoy the additional reach they will afford your efforts.
And of course, push the links to your latest episode out via your social media channels, your website, your email signatures and all of your other marketing channels.
We have a number of other practical suggestions that will help you create, launch and promote a new podcast. If you’d like us to share those, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can find a time to talk.