If you’ve been thinking about starting a podcast to build your business but don’t know where to start, online audio enthusiast Monica Neubauer has a simple piece of advice: Just dive in—but make sure you know why you’re doing it and what you hope to accomplish. Are you looking to attract more listings? Do you want to build your reputation as an expert in a certain aspect of real estate? Are you interested in entering a different sector of the market? Once you’ve established your motivation, it’s fairly easy to move forward.
All you need to begin producing a podcast is an idea, a sense of the audience you want to reach, and some simple equipment, said Neubauer, an agent with Benchmark Realty in Franklin, Tenn., and host of a podcast produced by NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development. Once you get rolling and begin solidifying your podcast’s brand, you can refine your approach.
“Do it, and then do it better,” Neubauer said during a Friday session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago. “You can be learning about it while you’re making some episodes to get started.”
One of the keys to ensuring that your podcast is successful is to develop a profile of the “ideal listener,” or the type of person you’re hoping to reach. Then set specific goals to help you determine if the time, money, and energy you invest in recording programs, interviewing people, and promoting your podcasts is worth it.
But it can be challenging to measure success from a time management and financial perspective, Neubauer said. Although you can track the number of times people download your programs, you can gain deeper knowledge by asking listeners how your work is influencing them, she said.
Once you begin attracting a core group of listeners you can look for sponsors to help you cover your costs, which will include a subscription to a hosting service for your podcasts and an editor to turn your raw audio into a finished product—unless you are inclined to do the production work yourself.
You also need to put careful thought into the topics you address in your podcasts, Neubauer said. Knowing this will help you come up with a title, description, and graphic for your podcast, Neubauer said. “You have to think about whether you’re branding yourself, your brokerage firm, or a team.”
Like radio programs, podcasts can take different forms. For example, you can produce a monologue—where you do all the talking—or work with a partner on a dialogue. A good way to make your programs informative is to interview people, but doing so is not necessary.
One of the most straightforward easiest aspects of podcasting is obtaining and learning to use audio equipment, Neubauer said. At a basic level, you just need a decent microphone, headphones, and an audio recorder, as well as a quiet spot to use as a studio. You can also consider buying a portable sound booth to isolate your voice and block out extraneous noise.
Something else to consider is that you can use audio programming in conjunction with other tools already in your marketing arsenal. For example, you can embed your podcasts into blog posts, use social media to attract listeners, and host your podcast on your website, in addition to posting it to sites like iTunes and Google Play.
As you develop a concept for your podcast and come up with ideas for individual shows, remember that while you may have a target audience in mind, not everyone who happens to listen to it is likely to fit that profile. Therefore, try not to get too in the weeds on a particular topic and cause listeners you were not targeting to tune out. “Just like everything you post [online], anybody could hear it at any time,” Neubauer said. And an unexpected listener might just turn into a client.