Podcasts are thriving so does it make sense for a Virtual Assistant to start one?
The decision has to be a combination of personal and professional factors.
Is it something that appeals to you? Do you have an idea for one? Can you set aside time to do a podcast? Is there a clear business purpose behind doing one? What do you want your podcast to achieve?
There is always the danger of ‘shiny new object syndrome’ – as the stampede to join the latest audio platform Clubhouse might illustrate.
But podcasts have been around for almost two decades. They’re not new. They’ve just become fashionable.
And it’s easy to see why.
10 Reasons to Start a Podcast
Podcasts are everywhere now.
It feels as if they have become the audio equivalent of the magazine. There is one for almost any subject under the sun.
My own podcast Virtually Amazing is for an audience of VAs, EAs and PAs. It covers training and tips in using Microsoft Office and 365, and guest expert advice for building a VA business.
During the global pandemic, many people have been looking for entertainment and distractions. Podcasts have proved a popular means of achieving that. There is a market out there for whatever you want to talk about.
2. Global Audience
Podcasts are available to people anywhere in the world where there’s an internet connection or space to download episodes.
Since launching Virtually Amazing in 2020, my co-presenter Jo Brianti and I have discovered our episodes are being watched or listened to in Europe, USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
It’s brought a whole new audience to what I do, training in Microsoft applications.
Podcasts are a way to reach way beyond your locality or home nation.
3. Easy Access 24-7
One of the reasons podcasts are so popular is how easy it is to access them.
People can subscribe free through their favourite platform or directory. The big players are Apple, Spotify and Google but other audio streaming spaces include Pandora, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, TuneIn and Deezer.
People can have podcasts delivered by email or add them to their RSS feed. They can also, as they do with Virtually Amazing, watch the video version on YouTube.
4. Simple Set Up
The choice of podcasting platforms for hosting (and publishing) is much wider now than it was five years’ ago.
This means you can find something that is more tailored to your needs and abilities. Whichever brand you go with, the setting up is getting easier and easier. You don’t have to be a techie to get started.
Some of the hosting platforms out there include Podbean, Buzzsprout, Transistor, Simplecast, Captivate and Castor.
5. New niches will emerge
Despite their popularity and range of subjects covered, podcasts still have a long way to go to ‘fill the bucket’ to full.
This means there is room for new casts in an existing audio space and new niches are likely to be created. Space to give your take on matters as an assistant. Space, perhaps, to be the first – or best – podcast in a niche if you’re in a specialist field.
6. Flexible formats
One of the great things about doing a podcast is you can run it so many ways.
You can go solo and present a monologue-style recording, setting yourself out as the expert. You can have a co-host (like I do with Jo Brianti on Virtually Amazing) or multiple hosts. It can add an extra dynamic, make room for discussions and swapping opinions, and give you support.
You can have an interview format, where you invite a guest along and ask them questions on a topic. This can be extended into the narrative format, which combines interview and monologue. A story is woven over a series of episodes.
You can go for a round table option. This is like having a panel show with questions and discussion by different guests on a set topic.
Another style, though perhaps less likely to be used by an assistant, is documentary format. This is a behind-the-scenes approach and may require more research and more time to produce.
But who’s to say you won’t be the trailblazer for creating a unique podcast in your field?
7. Search Trends Favour Podcasts
One trend out there is the growth of people using voice search. This is your Alexa and other devices in the home which allow you to literally say what you want. Plus, of course, Siri and Bixby on your smartphone or tablet.
Increasing numbers of searches are being done via voice and Google has already begun to include podcasts in its search results – without people having to type ‘podcast’.
This could make it much easier and faster for people to find you, if you’re podcasting about topics related to the work you do.
8. Linking with Live Streaming
Live videos have proved popular in recent years. It seems every other person is doing a Facebook Live these days.
Entrepreneur and marketing expert Neil Patel believes live streaming is going to be a USD $70.5 billion industry this year (that’s about £50 billion in UK money).
With the increase in interactive content and advances in technology, live podcasts will allow presenters and audiences connect in fresh ways – such as Q&A sessions, contests or phone-in debates.
9. Potential for Advertising and Sponsorship
Usually, people get a bit fed up with adverts interrupting their content. Just ask a Spotify user on a free subscription.
But studies of podcast listeners suggest they are more receptive to hearing ads on their favourite shows. It may be because there are typically fewer ads on a cast than on radio or television.
There could be the potential for you, as you grow your audience, to secure advertising or sponsorship. It’s one way to pay for podcasting costs and boost your income.
10. Market your New Skills
If you find setting up and running a podcast comes naturally to you, you might want to consider offering that as part of your suite of services to clients.
If your episodes get heard by the right people, you might even find they are seeking you out to help them with their casting aspirations and objectives.
Who knows, podcasting could be another string to your bow.
The Final Word
Podcasting is not my area of expertise, yet I’ve set one up that is working well for me as in IT trainer in Microsoft Office and 365. Plus, it’s great fun to do.
You may not have thought a podcast was something for you. Perhaps so but it could be worth exploring the possibilities. You never know where things might lead.