Bewildered by the lack of Financial Planner podcasts

I’ve written about podcasting here before, but felt it was a good time for an update.

This Friday is International Podcast Day. It’s a day devoted to promoting podcasting worldwide through education and public engagement.

Since podcasting went mainstream in October 2014 with the release of Serial, its potential for Financial Planners has been growing.

I first produced a podcast back in 2005; the first podcast from a UK-based Financial Planner and, at the time, the only one available.

It was the wrong time for podcasting back then; iPhones didn’t exist yet, so choices for listening to episodes were pretty restricted. The technology supporting podcasting back in 2005 was primitive by the standards of today, with much nerd-work needed to manually code feeds after publishing each episode.

The world is very different now. Any fool with a microphone can reach a global audience of millions, with the potential to build a loyal band of listeners.

Podcast hosting software such as Libsyn takes the technical aspects of podcasting away, making it a simple process to record, edit and publish, with distribution to the various podcasting directories happening automatically behind the scenes.

Six weeks after season one of Serial was launched in October 2014, I decided it was the right time to get back on the podcasting horse. Pete Matthew was already going great guns with his Meaningful Money podcast, after making the transition from video to audio. And that was about it for the UK personal finance podcasting space.

It remains today a wide open market with relatively few players. Chris Budd from Ovation Finance recently launched The Financial Wellbeing Podcast, but other Financial Planners have failed to rise to the challenge.

We are now publishing two episodes of our podcast, Informed Choice Radio, each week. Last week we published episode 116.

On a Wednesday morning, we publish an interview with a personal finance or investment expert. Carrying out these interviews, usually over Skype, has been a wonderful opportunity to broaden my horizons and learn from a variety of thought leaders.

On Friday mornings, we publish a weekly episode which includes a roundup of the latest personal finance news, a discussion of one or two topical issues, and an after show segment to update listeners on what we’ve been doing that week.

The download figures are growing steadily each month, due soon to overtake the number of people who read the blogs we publish on our website.

More importantly, we get several emails each week from different listeners who have questions or offer feedback. A handful of listeners we have subsequently engaged as clients, as having their undivided attention for an hour or so each week is a fast way to build trust and demonstrate expertise.

I find it bewildering that so few Financial Planners have embraced podcasting by launching their own shows. Instead of competing in crowded marketing areas like PR, winning awards or writing blogs, podcasting offers fertile ground for IFAs to grow their businesses and educate the masses.

So here’s a challenge; listen to a few podcast episodes by browsing the iTunes charts, identify your favourite format and then record your own first podcast episode. If you need any help with kit, editing or publishing episodes, drop me a line to martin@icfp.co.uk and I’ll be delighted to help.

We might not ever see a podcasting Behomoth like Serial emerge from the UK financial services sector, but with a few more Financial Planners releasing their own podcast episodes, we might just start to raise the profile of what we do and rebuild some trust in this profession.