By Mark Mersman
Americans are listening to more business and finance podcasts, with downloads and streams up 78% week-over-week since the COVID-19 pandemic began, iHeartMedia reports.
In fact, as of April 2020, there are more than 30 million podcast episodes on the internet with numbers climbing daily. According to the Financial Times, podcasts have become one of the fastest-growing segments of the media market.
This surging level of interest and engagement in finance podcasts is a golden opportunity for financial advisors, especially those whose seminar and event marketing routines have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this transition into a new way of doing business, it is important for financial advisors to include creativity and innovation into their post-pandemic marketing and communication plans.
Creating a weekly or monthly podcast can help financial advisors establish a loyal audience, with 80% of listeners listening to all or most of each podcast episode. Additionally, research shows the majority of podcast listeners are affluent and educated, making them a prime target for most advisory practices.
While podcasting is a relatively new form of media for advisors - particularly those previously committed to traditional forms of marketing and client engagement - it is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways for them to promote thought leadership, visibility and recognition among their key audiences.
Demonstrating originality. Generally, there are three levels of competence when it comes to financial advisor content marketing: Advisors who don't share content, those who use canned content and those who create unique content that establishes them as thought leaders.
Clients are most likely to engage with content that is creative and unique - such as an original podcast episode featuring their financial advisor - because they gain insights and information not available elsewhere. Advisors who create original content show that they are unique and innovative, which sets them apart from their competition.
In order for a podcast to be effective, it must establish thought leadership, provide educational material and carve a niche. Podcasts should be engaging, too, such as including question-and-answer sessions to allow listeners to contribute to the show.
Curating loyalty. When listeners subscribe to a podcast, they are opting in to hear the information that is being shared. Releasing episodes on a consistent schedule will keep the podcast at the top of your audience’s mind.
By putting out consistent and valuable content, advisors gain a level of brand loyalty that will deepen over time. This loyalty goes beyond the podcast and often translates to other marketing channels. For example, podcast listeners are 20% more likely to engage with a brand on social media, leading to a great opportunity to grow a following.
Podcast listeners tend to follow and remain loyal to a few podcasts that cover very specific subjects. When the audience closely identifies with the content, it is likely they become a loyal follower. Therefore, an advisor podcast is most effective when it is targeted at a niche audience.
Establishing credibility. Broadcast radio has historically served as a trusted voice in communities during times of crisis and uncertainty. Podcasts are now playing that key role in providing useful and timely information to millions of Americans looking for answers to their questions.
Podcasts are also an effective way for financial advisors to gain industry recognition as a trusted advisor and professional. Promoting educational content that contains a soft sell of skills helps a financial advisor gain visibility while marketing specific services and competencies.
One of the best ways to gain credibility is by featuring a well-known expert. Interviewing industry experts is a great way to create high-quality content and attract new listeners. Inviting well-known guests onto a show can serve as a soft endorsement, too, which brings attention to how and advisor creates value for clients to a whole new audience. Having guests on your podcast comes with another built-in advantage: access to broader social media networks. When an advisor has a guest on their show, they create exposure throughout the guest’s social media networks.
COVID-19 has sparked increased engagement in finance podcasts, however, they are predicted to grow even as stay-at-home and social distancing orders are lifted. The podcast industry is predicted to create more than $1 billion in annual revenue by 2021, suggesting that the podcast boom will continue.
With the transition to online communication plans as a new way of doing business, podcasts are essential for financial advisors to promote both their skills and their business. This relatively new form of media is here to stay and will continue to promote thought leadership, visibility and recognition among key audiences.
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