Why Speakers Should Start a Podcast

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Podcasting can be like your own personal stage. If you’re a speaker,  you have the opportunity to create your own portfolio of work, allowing potential event organizers and audience members to see what you know and you speak. This can lead to more paid speaking gigs and a following. But that’s not the only reason speakers should start a podcast.

Show Notes:


Joe Casabona: Hey, everybody. Real quick before we get started, I want to tell you about the Creator Crew. If you want ad free extended episodes of this podcast in the form of a podcast called Build Something More, as well as access to a community, live streams, bonus episodes, and deals, check out buildsomething.club and sign up for just $5 a month. You’ll get a bunch of great content and you get to support the show directly.

Today on build something more, it’s a solo episode. So I will be telling you all about how I put my own talks together because today we’re talking about why speakers should start a podcast. I’m also going to be telling you about the tools I use for speaking, and I’ll ponder a little bit about if speakers should always be paid. So again, that is buildsomething.club. You can sign up for $5 a month, or you can get two months for free at 50 bucks a year. And every member gets an exclusive member chip in the mail. Head over to buildsomething.club today.

All right. Hey, everybody, and welcome to Episode 221 of How I Built It. Today’s sponsors are TextExpander, Restrict Content Pro, and The Events Calendar. You’ll be hearing about them a little later on in the show. But today we’re going to be talking about why speakers should start a podcast. This is a continuation of a series that I’ve been doing that started with course creators and then authors. And so now if you are a speaker, or you want to be a speaker, or you want to be a paid speaker, well, this episode is for you. Because I think a podcast can really help you.

Now, of course, as usual, I’ll start off by saying that I covered the more general points of why anyone should start a podcast in Episode 154. You can go to Howibuilt.it/154 for that. Again, it’s up and coming medium. Lots and lots of people are discovering podcasting, both as audience and as creators. So it’s a great way for you to get ahead of the curve, and get out there and create your own podcast with your own niche.

It’s a great way to establish trust. And it’s quickly growing. The latest Edison Research has shown that over 50% of American adults listen to at least one podcast episode a week, or at least one podcast. So it’s a growing audience. It’s grown considerably, especially over the last couple of years. And with Spotify, and Apple, and Amazon all throwing their hats into the ring and putting a ton of money behind podcasting, it’s going to get even bigger. It’s the next great content plane, it’s a great way to grow your business. And it’s easier than ever.

But if you’re a speaker, why should you specifically start a podcast? Well, I think that there are a few reasons. And of course, we’ll break this down by why you should do it personally, and then how it can help you, all of the ways that you can help you.

So first of all, if you’re a speaker, everybody I’ve been speaking to you lately on these episodes, these targeted episodes need to establish trust of some kind. And yes, that’s true in general if you’re a business owner, but I think it’s even more important if you are a… we’ll say a knowledge worker, if you are selling knowledge or selling a process, if you’re teaching people how to do something, which is what course creators do, which is what authors do, which is what speakers do.

So I truly believe that a podcast is instrumental in helping you establish trust with people who will potentially be in your audience, but also with people who will potentially hire you for speaking gigs. And speaking of that, a podcast helps you create your own portfolio, one that you could send to potential events where you might want to be the keynote speaker or just a speaker. You can say, “Hey, don’t just take my word for it. I have a podcast where I talk into a microphone regularly. I’ve got the skills. Here’s my style. If you like it, hire me.”

Plus, this portfolio that gets created doesn’t rely on other events providing the video or audio for your talk. Because that’s another thing. Maybe you’re on the speaker circuit all the time but maybe the events don’t make the recordings publicly available. So, now you need to figure out another way to show people what you really know, what your process is, and if you’re actually a good public speaker.

You can establish trust by creating this portfolio of you talking about whatever it is you talk about. So if you’re a business coach, talk about things that you’ve coached people through. Heck, maybe even make some of your coaching calls public, with the permission of the person you’re coaching, of course. If you are a web developer, talk about the things that you’re doing at your job that you would repurpose into a talk or that you’ve talked about. What things are you doing to make your website faster or more accessible? What new CSS things are out now that you’re trying?

If you own a coffee shop and you are hitting the speaker circuit about what it’s like owning a coffee shop, get on the mic and talk about different blends, and the terminology, and what it all means, and how you choose your blends. What’s the best grind for an AeroPress? What’s the best grind for iced coffee? Seriously, what is the best grind for iced coffee? So talk about things like that.

And if you need content, you can also repurpose older talks into episodes or an episode series. If you give a talk for an hour, then you can break that down into three episodes. Part one, you set it up; part two, you solve the problem; part three, you give the actionable advice: go forth and do this. Maybe you can even have a Q&A where you invite your listeners to submit questions about your talk and then you answer them in the fourth episode of that series. Or you could just do the whole talk in one episode if you want to go for an hour. And then invite listeners to ask questions later or ask some questions you’ve gotten at that talk and answer them there.

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And now let’s get back to it.

Joe Casabona: You can also test concepts for new talks. What are some ideas you’ve got kicking around but you haven’t fully fleshed out? I did that just recently, as I record this, with a podcast episode for a talk that I’m going to give at a WordCamp later. Now, those ideas are out there. Now, I’m getting feedback. “Well, what about this? What about that? Maybe they should think about that, too. How do I do this?” Great.

That 15-minute episode now will let me not only take what I thought about and the questions that I think people will be asking, but now we’ll be able to get actual listener feedback and integrate that, include that in the talk. And it’ll make the talk better because now I’m inoculating the listeners, the audience against questions that they would have had that I wouldn’t have thought to ask. And now people feel even better coming away from my talk. I understand the problem better.

So you can test out new concepts, things you’re thinking about, see how they land, see how well they’re received. If they’re not that well received, great, don’t spend the hours that you would spend putting a talk together with the slide deck, with the rehearsing. Speaking of, you can rehearse new talks as well. Maybe hear you have a members-only feed or a Patreon feed, where you give the dress rehearsal version of your talk, for people to listen to. You can work on the delivery. You can read through it.

I’m a speaker myself. And let me tell you, the amount of times I’ve talked to my computer or my camera as if they were real people because I was rehearsing a talk. If my family didn’t know what I was doing, they’d think I was crazy. I was just talking to myself. So this gives you the opportunity to not… I’m not going to say waste, because rehearsing a talk is not a waste of time, it’s very, very important. This is why you should rehearse and you should have your sides done before you go up on stage.

I know a lot of people, at least in my field, in my circles, are working on their slides right before they go up on stage. I don’t do that. Maybe I’ll add a slide… This is a tangent, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll add a slide based on an earlier talk because then you get to do that pro move of like, “Blah, blah said in their talk earlier…” and then continue to make their point and your point. It’s a good move. But my talks are usually done and dusted before I go up on stage because I’ve made the slides, I’ve rehearsed, I’ve told the story that I want to tell without checking the notes. So you can rehearse your talks.

You can rehearse the stories too. Maybe you just have a few stories that you’re telling story episodes, see which ones land, see which ones do well, and then tell those during your talks. Or wait till after you give the talk and just tell the stories later if you want the stories to be a surprise.

Aside from your talks, though, where you can create your portfolio, repurpose older talks, test new concepts in your hearse, behind-the-scenes content kills. People love going behind the scenes to learn how things are built. That’s why this show does so well. And that’s why it did so well in the beginning. I feel like I discovered before a lot of people that behind-the-scenes stuff does really well. And I told those stories of behind-the-scenes stuff. So behind the scenes stuff kills.

Talk about how you came up with the concept and how you put it all together. Talk about your favorite speaking engagements. Talk about times when it went wrong. I should really save this for the members episode and just tease that. But gosh, when I was giving my master’s thesis, when I was defending my master’s thesis, I made a point incorrectly and my advisor corrected me tight then in there. He stopped me and he said, “That’s not really how it works.” I was very embarrassed. I had a lot of friends in the audience, too. And I saw their faces and they looked mortified. And I said, “Well, if anybody has any questions about anything I’ve talked about, besides the bounding box algorithm…” I said, “If anybody has any questions for me, let me know. I’m happy to answer them. Unless it’s about the bounding box and you can ask Dr. Bishop.” And I kind of recovered.

That’s happened to me a few times on stage before. If you speak a lot, it’s bound to happen. But people love hearing those stories because that relaxes them a little bit too. You know, I’ve had people correct me about… I told a story about the Empire State Building one time and this person was like, “Well, actually, the Empire State Building was done in this,” and I’m like, “That’s not really the point of my talk…” But, you know, you learn how to deal with that stuff. And people love hearing stories like that.

And then again, your favorite speaking engagements, right? Where did you absolutely kill it? What was a really good talk? Maybe what was a talk that you didn’t think would do well that went really well, and vice versa?

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And now let’s get back to it.

Joe Casabona: So we’ve got how you can integrate your talks into your podcast, how you can build up your portfolio, how you can use behind-the-scenes content to give people a peek behind the curtain of your talks. But you can also become a coach for other speakers. So you can invite aspiring speakers on maybe. I kind of said this from the beginning.

How do you get a paid speaking gig? Other common speaking questions. Again, ask listeners to submit questions for you around speaking, then you’re established not only as an expert in your field, but also as an expert speaker. That can open a whole bunch of other doors that we’re going to talk about in a minute.

A podcast also shows potential event planners that you’re consistent that you show up and that you know you’re talking about. I’ll tell you, one of my friends was planning a virtual event. And virtual events are hard. He did like a double blind selection of speakers. So he just looked at the ideas and he kind of picked what he thought would be good, and he looked at proposals. And he had one that didn’t work out at all the way he thought it would. And luckily this was an online event. So the talk came in before the actual event and he was able to provide feedback and coaching and things like that.

But that’s a risk that that event planners take. They don’t necessarily know how good their speakers are going to be. But if you have a podcast, you’re showing them, “Hey, you can believe in me, you can trust me and you can relax a little bit.”

Then finally, on this kind of grab bag of other benefits for starting a podcast for speakers, you can build an audience and eventually sell products or services based on your speaking gigs. A lot of times people who are speakers are already authors or teachers, or they have some product or new method. But those people are building the audience through the products, or they’re building the audience through the speaking gigs.

What if you had a built-in fandom for your speaking gigs? You can do that with a podcast. Now you have people who are going to come to the event just to see you speak. And you’ll be able to build those products and services based on your gigs. Plus, again, if event planners find out that people are going to attend their event just because you’re going to be there, it’ll be a lot easier for you to get gigs. And that is how the podcast can help you in more ways than one.

We talked about the benefit of your content and you getting your content out there. But a podcast also helps you engage with your audience more. It helps you engage with your audience when you’re not on stage or just offstage asking questions. It’ll give you more stories to tell. It’ll help you book more speaking gigs. Because again, if you already have a built-in audience and you know that you’ll get butts in seats at these events, event planners love that. That’s why they want the big names to be the keynotes because they know people will come.

That also means you’ll get more paid speaking gigs. Again, I’ll talk about paid speaking gigs in Build Something More. But you put a lot of work into these talks, you should get paid most of the time. And if you offer a lot of paid speaking gigs, you can provide a membership for your podcast for our listeners to gain access to those pay talks without attending the events. Because I mean, I’ve ever signed a contract saying that my talk is exclusive to the event. Just make sure you don’t do that, I guess.

But yeah, if I’m giving a talk, a paid gig, I’m going to put it on the Build Something More feed too for my members as a benefit. And if you have a lot of fans, a lot of people who love your talks, who can’t go to every events because they’re not going to follow you around the country, it’ll be great for you to get those talks up there for them to consume.

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And now let’s get back to it.

Joe Casabona: So there you have it. There we have it. lots of reasons for a speaker to start a podcast. That potentially gives you a clear path to other ways to make money. Not only is podcasting the next great content plane, not only is it easier than ever to start a podcast, and not only are you as a speaker already equipped to talk into a microphone for some amount of time, but it’s going to open more doors for you because people are going to see the work that you do. They’re going to see that you know what you’re talking about, they’re going to see that you’re consistent and that you show up and that you’re good at what you do.

And you’re going to create your own audience and build fans. And you can tell them how you put those talks together, give them behind the scenes access. Maybe they’re willing to pay you a membership to get access to more of your content and access to you. And it can lead to more speaking gigs.

So, if you are a speaker and you need a little bit more convincing, feel free to reach out. I’m at @Jcasabona, you can email me Joe@casabona.org. But I think podcasting is the perfect medium for a speaker. And you know why else I think that? Because especially in the pandemic, we’ve seen lots of stand-up comedians turn to podcasting. Even before that. Dax Shepherd with Armchair Experts, Conan O’Brien, Bill Burr. Lots of… I just named like three white guys.

But stand-up comedy is a good content for the podcast medium because it gives… for the all the same reasons I talked about with speaking, right? It gives people the ability to workshop some stuff, flesh out some jokes, talk about things they might not talk about on stage. All reasons that you should start a podcast as a speaker.

All right, that’s it for this episode. If you want to find the show notes for this episode, you can head over to howibuilt.it/221. If you want to get the bonus extended episode that is ad-free, you can become a member at buildsomething.club. But I do want to thank TextExpander, Restrict Content Pro, and The Events Calendar, three plugins that will help you manage a membership or your speaking events, for supporting this show. This podcast would not help happen without them.

If you liked this episode, share it with a friend. You’ll find all the calls to action over and howibuilt.it/221, the ability to share it, the ability to support the sponsor, sign up for the membership. Just head over to howibuilt.it/221. Thanks so much for listening. I really appreciate it. And until next time, get out there and build something.

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