The percentage of Americans that have listened to a podcast in the past 30 days nearly doubled between 2008 and 2015—from 9% to 17%, according to the Pew Research Center. The same report found that nearly half of Americans over 12 years of age are familiar with the term “podcast” and a third have listened to at least one podcast during their lifetime.

It seems that podcasting has moved from an obscure niche market to mainstream mobile entertainment.

Financial advisors can leverage this growing medium to increase their brand awareness and earn new business, especially as a younger, more tech-savvy generation of investors enters the realm. Read on for tips on how to branch into podcasting. (For related reading, see: Best 5 Ways to Make Money with a Podcast.)

Getting Started

Podcasting is accessible to anyone with a microphone and an internet connection. But a modest technology investment can set you apart from the crowd in terms of quality.

A popular podcasting microphone is the Audio-Technica ATR2100 USB microphone, which is available for around $60 to $80 through various retailers. It offers a significant quality advantage over built-in microphones and cheaper headsets; its dual output (XLR and USB) offers a lot of flexibility. You can start off plugging the microphone into a laptop to record audio through USB and then upgrade to a mixer or digital recorder in the future via XLR.

You’ll also need an audio editing program in order to cut out mistakes and add in introductory soundtracks and other material. One of the best software options on the market is Adobe’s Audition, which costs $19.99 per month through Creative Cloud. Some start-ups are making the process easier by handling the editing and production of podcasts entirely in the cloud. Cast and Hipcast are two examples of these kinds of solutions. (For related reading, see: Why Advisors Need to go 'All In' on Technology.)

Developing an Effective Podcast

The next step is planning a program that will keep listeners engaged and coming back each week or month to listen to new episodes.

The easiest way to build early interest in a podcast is by interviewing experts. For example, financial advisors may feature CPAs to discuss ways to save money during tax season. This helps create high-quality content for the listener that keeps them coming back. At the same time, the expert you interview might promote the podcast or his or her own network, which means free marketing to help expand reach.

Financial advisors may also want to consider featuring a question-and-answer session on their podcast to address listener questions. Since podcasts aren’t live in most cases, the best way to collect questions is to have a voicemail number where listeners can leave questions when they want. These questions can be addressed one-by-one during a podcast to help build up listenership and create an easy source of discussions during a program. (For related reading, see: Top Ways for Advisors to Avoid Tech Glitches.)

Marketing Your Podcast (and Services)

The final step in developing a podcast is building up an audience and converting that audience into leads for a financial advisory practice.

The best way to market a podcast is through syndication and reviews. Syndication means posting the podcast on a wide array of different platforms including a standalone website—preferably with a transcription of each podcast for SEO benefit—and on popular platforms like Apple's iTunes. After posting the episodes to these platforms, advisors should encourage listeners to leave reviews in order to help the program rise in the ranks.

Marketing financial advisory services within a podcast is relatively straightforward. Financial advisors can mention their practice in the beginning and at the end of a podcast with contact info so folks can reach advisors online or by phone. Alternatively, an advisor may simply say that the podcast is sponsored by their firm during a commercial segment. The best way to track these leads is to ask listeners to mention the podcast when they reach out.

The Bottom Line

Financial advisors can leverage the growing medium of podcasting to increase their brand awareness and earn new business. Starting requires little more than a microphone and a laptop; marketing financial advisory services with a podcast is pretty straightforward, also. It's yet another way of reaching the tech-savvy investor generation coming up. (For related reading, see: Advisors: How to Make Social Media Work for You.)

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