Earlier this week my friend Dani Fava, the Director Of Innovation for TD Ameritrade, joined the Advisor Growth Community for a discussion about the future of FinTech and wealth management. Her presentation was phenomenal—we learned a lot about artificial intelligence: how it's currently being used, how we'll be using in the future in our practices, and how to call B.S. on technology companies claiming to use A.I.
Despite all of the exciting information about A.I., it was Dani's comment about podcasts that stood out to me. It's her opinion that every financial advisor should have a podcast; you could also lump in a Flash Briefing as well.
By having a podcast, or other voice platform like Flash Briefings, it gives advisors the opportunity to communicate with their clients on a regular basis, and unlike written communication, audible communication is received as a more personal approach. With a podcast advisors can be proactive with their communication—anticipating questions that clients may have and answer them, while educating, before their clients actually call. Advisors can also continue to educate their clients between meeting by interviewing guests that speak to their clients' needs. And this all can be done with great scale because one recording can reach hundreds (or more).
I agree with Dani that podcasts are a great way to communicate with clients, along with attract future clients—the latter being why most advisors launch podcasts. I agree with her so much that I already have one podcast, All About Your Benjamins, and will be launching a new podcast in 2020. I also have a Flash Briefing for Amazon devices.
Sidenote: I mention Flash Briefings because a lot of what will be discussed for podcasts will apply to these as well--I'll do another post in the future on Flash Briefings, but we'll start with podcasts since the audience for podcasts is larger than Flash Briefings.
While Dani likes podcasts as a way to communicate with clients, I personally use the Flash Briefing for communicating with RLS Wealth Management clients; I hope they listen to All About Your Benjamins as well, but given the short nature of Flash Briefings, I feel they are better for frequent client communication.
Starting a podcast can be a daunting task, but I assure you it's not as hard as it might seem. And, I'm going to hopefully make it a little easier for you by sharing some of the equipment, software, and resources to help you get started ASAP—because like Dani, I agree that every advisor should have some form of voice in their client communication strategy.
Microphone: Quality audio is very important—obviously, this is a podcast after all. If your audio quality is subpar, chances are listeners will bail early. Luckily, you don't have to break the bank to get a good microphone.
I did a lot of research before purchasing my first microphone and I kept coming up with the ATR-2100. I now have three of these microphones—two in my office, in case I'm recording in person, and one at home so I am able to record there as well—usually Flash Briefings and/or intros for podcast episodes. The ATR-2100 is a solid choice because it's not expensive, it is USB compatible, and it sounds great. You don't need any other fancy hardware...your computer, the USB cord, and the mic. You're all set.
I'll also throw out that the first time I was a guest on a podcast I used Apple Earbuds (not Airpods—you need the ones withe cord and mic) and did not sound bad. I've also had multiple guests use their Apple Earbuds and the sound quality was good. So if you're not sure you'll stick with your podcast and want to limit your investment, you could just get started with these. In my opinion, the Apple Earbuds are acceptable for a guest, but if you're going to take your podcast seriously, I think you should have better audio quality for yourself than your guests, which is just a polite way of saying I think you should invest a little money and buy the ATR-2100.
I have recently graduated to the ATR-2020 in my office; it wasn't necessary—I still use the 2100 for some recordings, but for webinars and podcasts, I wanted to increase the audio and production just a little more. There is a noticeable difference with the new mic, but I don't think I'll get any more listeners because of it.
Digital Recorder: Depending on whether or not you are going to be recording in person or not, you might need to purchase a digital recorder. My go-to is the Zoom H5 (there are newer models); I love my Zoom because it's easy to take with me on the road, I have an adapter that will allow me to have up to four mics plugged in, and I can use it reporter-style without one of my ATR-2100s, which I have done multiple times at conferences. The Zoom H5 is very easy to use, doesn't require any additional hardware beyond your mics, some batteries, and a SD card. This one is going to require a slightly larger investment than your microphone, but if your'e recording in person it's a must. Hang tight if your recordings are going to be remote and over the computer...that'll be in the software section.
Headphones: While not fully necessary, I do think headphones are good to have so you can block out distractions and focus on your conversation. You don't need to spend much here...you can use the Apple Earbuds again while using your ATR-2100 and be in good shape. I personally use my Beats headphones, but I did not buy them for my podcast—I already had them. If you have any headphones already, I'd probably roll with those and apply that investment elsewhere in your podcast.
That's it for the hardware NEEDS. There are a lot of extras you could look into like microphone booms, more expensive microphones, microphone covers, and more...but those are luxuries.
Lets move on to the software...
Web-based Recording: There are a lot of options when it comes to the recording software. I can't speak to all of them, but I can narrow your focus down to a couple. I've know people to use Skype to record, along with Google Hangouts and even Zoom. I've been using Zencastr for all of my recordings to date, but beginning with the next episode I record, I will be switching to SquadCast.
Before I get into each of the softwares, let me explain why you need one of these. If you are recording remotely, meaning you are in one location and your guest is in another, you will need to use a web based software to record your audio.
I originally used Zencastr because that was the most common platform I found in my research; I also was a guest on the XY Planning Network Podcast and that is what we used to record and it was very easy to use. With Zencastr you will create a recording, which will generate a link you can send to your guest. Once you're both in you record and then download each person's track independently, which is ideal for editing. I've heard some nightmare stories of Zencastr dropping mid interview or the track not fully downloading, but luckily I never experienced anything like that. The main issue, which is why I am going to be giving SquadCast a run, is Zencastr tends to have a lot of drift...I mean A LOT.
If you don't know what drift is, you soon will once you start recording. You experience drift when you line your individual tracks up in your editing software and due to a lag in recording the tracks become out of sync...one will drift a little faster, which causes your track to talk over your guest (or vice versa). Drift is easily fixed in editing, but it just adds to the amount of time to produce your episode. With drift you have to cut and move the tracks around to make the conversation flow properly—again, this probably makes no sense right now, but after your first recording it'll all click.
SquadCast is supposed to be better with drift and it also includes the ability to turn your camera on to see you guest...huge bonus. I was having my guests log into Zoom so we could see each other but keep the mics turned off and recording the audio through Zencastr. Having it all in one software will be nice—the only downside is currently you can't record the video on SquadCast, which means you can't turn your podcast into a video like I was doing with the Zoom video. I haven't decided what to do about this yet.
Zencastr and SquadCast are far from the only softwares out there, but I think going with either one...I give SquadCast the edge, even though I haven't used it yet, due to high praise from other podcast hosts.
Subscriptions to either software are not expensive.
GarageBand: If you are going to edit your podcasts, you're going to need editing software. I lucked out and since I'm a Mac user, my computers come with GarageBand already installed, which means I don't have to purchase additional software.
In addition to editing your podcast, you can also use GarageBand to record audio. I typically record my introductions in GarageBand and all of my Flash Briefings are recorded by in GarargeBand.
Everything you'll need to do with your editing can be done in GarageBand, which makes me confident you don't need too spend a lot of money here either.
Yes, I know not everyone is an Apple fanboy/girl. For the PC users out there, I'd recommend looking into Audacity, I cannot speak from personal experience, but I know plenty of podcasters using Audacity. Just like GarageBand, it can handle your podcast's needs
Libsyn: You're going to need somewhere to host your podcast—this is where you'll upload your episodes to push them to iTunes, Spotify, and the other podcast players. I've used Libsyn for every podcast I've had. There's really not a lot to share with this.
PowerPress: If you are using WordPress for your blog and plan to share your podcast on your blog, then you might want to look into the PowerPress plugin. This is not a requirement, but it helps with pushing your podcast.
You will be able to push your podcast out from Libsyn, but PowerPress has more features and reduces the amount of time it takes to publish each episode because it takes care of a lot of the data entry for each episode.
We are starting to get into the weeds now, but it will make sense once you start down the path of launching your podcast—it'll also make more sense once you watch the video series below.
iTunes Podcast Connect: The final software is the iTunes Connect for podcasts—this is where you will submit your podcast to Apple for approval. Best practice is to have a few episodes before submitting, but I've been successful with this part of the process with a podcast having one episode.
Pat Flynn YouTube Series: When I set up All About Your Benjamins I spent an afternoon stopping and starting this series of videos; these videos will cover all of the logistics to set up, edit, publish, share, etc. your podcast. It's insane these videos are FREE!!!
You can also hire someone to handle all of what Pat will teach you, but again, I think it's worth knowing how to do—just in case.
Professional Editing: I just started outsourcing my podcast editing—only because Taylor Schulte said I had to if we were going to launch the Advisor Growth Community™. Truth be told, I actually enjoy editing my podcasts and didn't find it to be a hard task—it just takes some time. In the past, I would edit my podcast when other people are watching their favorite show. I could edit an hour podcast in about an hour, usually a little less, and I feel that my podcasts sound pretty good. However, I know can use that hour to write blog posts like this to help more advisors find their voice and expand their reach, so I'm outsourcing—I'm sending all of my episodes to Mathew Passy who is editing many of the heavy hitters in the finance podcast space...just check the projects section of his website.
I will say I think it is valuable to know how to edit your podcasts—just in case you have an episode that you just have to get out ASAP and don't want to wait for the turnaround. So maybe play around with editing your first couple and then free up your time and have someone else do it for you.
There are plenty of other great options for everything mentioned above, but if you want to get started—hitting record and publishing is most important—then I'm confident you can get a great start saving your time and going with what I've highlighted above. I'll be sure to update you on anything new I come across—and I'm always happy to chat podcast and strategy for your podcast.
Since we're talking podcasts, I will be launching a new podcast, The Advisor Of Tomorrow Podcast, in 2020. On this podcast I'll be talking with other financial advisors, FinTech experts, and other experts that will help financial advisors become better advisors for the future.
I'm really excited to launch this podcast!
So, there you have it. All of the "stuff" you need to start a podcast--the excuse of not knowing what to use or how to get started is gone. There's nothing left to do but find your first guest, or just sit down by yourself with your ATR-2100, and hit record.
My final piece of advice for this post: Have fun with your podcast, bring on guests because you and your audience will learn from them (BE GENUINE), don't stress over little imperfections, stick with it, and don't let the number of downloads impact your confidence--whether it's 10, 100, or 1,000 downloads, the fact that you have a dedicate audience is what matters. The rest will take care of itself.