How to become a successful podcaster

By Jim Kendall

 This column originally appeared in the September 15, 2014 Daily Herald


So you’re thinking about becoming a podcaster. Good idea. Here, from those already there, are some tips:

* You need content other people want to hear, which definitely is not a sales pitch. Content, says Paul Heinze, the veteran podcast source here, “is really, really important.”

* Your podcasts must be easily available – on your website; at the iTunes Store; maybe on Stitcher, Podbean or similar sites. Your every email should include a link.

That’s basic marketing. If you want people to listen, you must tell them you have podcasts to hear.

* You’ll need to learn how to record your podcast, probably do some editing and send the podcast off to wherever it will live – but that’s something small business tech advisor Jason Burton says “85 to 90 percent” of us can do ourselves.

Burton is head of Chicago Technology Consulting, downtown.

If you’re one of Burton’s 85 to 90 percent, look at the podcast studio at (the about tab), but don’t be intimidated; podcaster Pat Helmers spent just $200 on the equipment.

* Like virtually all the others, your podcast should be free, which pretty much guarantees you won’t make money off your efforts – although Heinze and Helmers each expect to monetize their podcasts because their individual podcasts are part of well-crafted business development plans.

In that sense, podcasts can make a bottom-line contribution.

For Plano-based Helmers, whose podcasts are intended to help entrepreneurs learn to sell their products and services, podcasts serve as “an excuse to meet people. ‘Would you have a moment to share your ideas with my listeners?’” Helmers asks at networking events.

That’s a difficult invitation to turn down.

LinkedIn is another source of podcast guests. “I see what people are posting,” Helmers says. “I’ll reach out with a phone call or email” and, likely, wind up with a guest for a SalesBabble podcast.

The podcasts are only the beginning in Helmers’ business plan, however. With email addresses from listeners who respond to his contests and giveaways, Helmers hopes to build an audience for a Mastermind webinar series. From there, the goal is to convert webinar registrants to online courses and, then, to coaching clients.

In what still are early days for SalesBabble, Helmers’ podcasts are the foundation for an entire business structure. Podcasts are important not just because they are the base of Helmers’ business but because “the podcast creates authority,” Helmers says. “It gives me gravitas.”

The concept already works well for Heinze, a buy-sell-grow-your-business advisor at Paul M. Heinze Co., Barrington Hills.

“Six or more years ago,” Heinze says, his Heinze Sight! podcasts evolved from an earlier hard-copy company newsletter. At various times he has added video clips and voice over power slide presentations, and created webinars – all progressions from the original newsletter.

Still, podcasts are “only a slice” of a marketing approach that includes networking, speaking and teaching, Heinze says.


© 2014 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Listen to Jim’s Business Owners’ Pod Talk at