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Why podcasting is so powerful

How long does it take to read a tweet? Five seconds, maybe ten at most.

How about a blog post of say 300-500 words, like this one? Five minutes? Ten minutes?

My experience with analysing my YouTube statistics tells me that people watch a video for no more than four minutes, five if you’re very lucky.

Consider then how powerful it is to command someone’s undivided attention for half an hour, or even for an hour. Now imagine that repeated to 1,000 different people. That’s like giving an hour-long keynote speech at the PFS conference. Every week. Better still, the people listening have willingly given over their valuable time to listen to you. There’s no coercion or sense of resigned submission – they want to be there, hanging on your every word, learning from you and getting to know you.

My podcast is currently being downloaded over 1,000 times every week. I release a new episode every Wednesday and on launch day I get between 250 and 350 downloads. On the other days I get between 85 and 200 downloads. These are unique listeners, not repeats.

I get frequent emails and iTunes reviews from listeners telling me how much they value the show, and how it has helped them or challenged them to get their finances in order. And in the last six weeks I have had four excellent quality enquiries from people wanting to work with me on their financial planning.

I know, I know. This is sounding like a bragging session, but this success has led me to ask why podcasting is so powerful.

I think that part of its rise is the lack of resistance in having new content available. For the listener, once they have subscribed to your show using a ‘podcatcher’ app of some kind, that’s all they have to do. New content is downloaded as it becomes available, and all they have to do is press play.

Secondly, the fact that we all now have incredibly powerful smartphones with us everywhere we go is a huge factor. Wireless broadband means that we don’t have to be at home on our WiFi networks to download the new content, it is available everywhere.

And finally, a podcast is the only content medium that fills our dead time. Blogs and videos are attention-intensive – you have to watch them or read them. Podcasts, by contrast, can be consumed passively, allowing you to do other things at the same time, like running, driving or sitting on the Tube.

There is one other benefit. There seems to me to be something very powerful about talking to someone directly into their head via their headphones or car speakers. It is like a one-to-one conversation, and as advisers we know how powerful that can be.

As far as I know there is only one other UK adviser targeting the general public with a podcast, so there is plenty of scope for other advisers to bring their unique personalities to the ears of potential clients. Yes, it takes work. Yes, it requires some technical knowledge, but nothing which can’t be learned for free by watching videos like these.

Have I convinced you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, positive or otherwise. Do you think you might consider starting a podcast yourself?

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