#97: What’s Working Now: Podcasts

Ever wonder what’s actually working inside a successful health coach’s business? In this episode, Michelle shares how her multiple podcasts have been generating the greatest return on investment in her practice, and some tips for finding what works in YOUR business.

Make sure to you have a solid foundation for a profitable business BEFORE launching a podcast. Find out how in this free training from Michelle –> HealthCoachPower.com/earn

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Well hello there, health coaches. How's everybody doing today? Thank you so much for joining me. You know what, recently I was talking to a health coach, one of the members of our power community and she asked me really good question. She was asking, you know, well for you Michelle, you've been doing this for a while, like what actually works and what is working the best in terms of expanding reach? Like is it the Facebook group? Is that the way they are reaching more and more people every day? Is it Instagram? Is it some secret Instagram strategy? And she, you know, she thought she had all these ideas of what my answer was going to be. I kind of surprised myself when I thought about it and I said, do you know what the thing that is really, really working the hardest for me right now in terms of the amount of effort that I put in and the amount of return that I'm seeing on it is really my podcasts.

So I have two of them and I'm referring to both of them. They've really been working the hardest for me. So I thought today we could talk a little bit more about this idea of podcasting, particularly because we've had some questions that relate to it inside our Facebook group. By the way, if you're here live and you're watching and you have any questions about podcasting or about anything, this is a live Q and a. So go ahead and hit me up in the comments. That is what I'm here for. Now I kind of realize that for some of you or for many of you, podcasting may fall into that category of yeah, right. Maybe someday. And that's definitely how I thought about it years ago too. But I want to share more about why it's working so that Hey, maybe you will get going on your own show and that would be kind of amazing or simply so that you can consider what's really working in your own business.

And how do think about that? Because we always want to try to, you know, swim with the tide, not against it. And I'm a big fan of noticing what's working and doubling down on that while letting go of the distractions that are not getting us anywhere. Okay? Now I do want to say that before you even think about starting a podcast, before that thought even crosses your mind, before you start ripping up the mic, you need to have a solid foundation and a plan for growing a profitable business. The tactic like a podcast would be a marketing tactic. The tactic cannot come first, okay? First, you need a strategy in place and that's what I offer inside my free training for health coaches. It's called how to turn health coaching into a full time salary. And this is your first step towards creating a profitable strategy and you can sign up for that at healthcoachpower.com/earn and please, please, please promise me that you will do that before you start recording any podcast episodes.

Okay? It is all about putting the horse before the cart. Just like to remind everybody about this. So again, you can get started at health coach, power.com/earn okay, so we have some questions that have come into the group lately. Like I said all about this idea of marketing ourselves and podcasting and how to expand our reach and communicate with our audience. And this one came from Chelsea. Chelsea said hello everyone. Would you be willing to share ways that you market yourself or creative ways to get new leads? Chelsea, I've got like a ton to say on this like podcast episode after podcast episode about this. But your question really reminded me of the conversation that I was having with the other health coach recently and I thought boom, podcasting has really been what's driving the most new leads to my business in the past year or so. I mean there's so many ways to get new leads.

If you're brand new, I always suggest that you start out by doing live in person workshops in your community and getting yourself out there face to face with people. And those are great, a great for so many reasons. But to be perfectly honest, when you're holding a workshop, I mean, how many people are you really going to be interacting with? 10 20 would be a very large workshop. I mean, occasionally you might have an opportunity to participate in an event with hundreds, but in general there's smaller events and you have to do a lot of them to grow your list. So they're great. And I again want to encourage you to start there, but like as my business has grown, that's not the playing field that I'm working in anymore. We're always thinking about how current reach hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of new people to sort of bring them into our world.

And podcasting has been so tremendous for this because iTunes is a search engine. So people literally, and maybe some of you found this show by doing exactly this, people will literally go onto iTunes and type in whatever they're interested in or whatever they need help with, right? So people will type in health coaching or health coaches or business for health coaches or whatever. I don’t know, whatever you guys are typing in and finding the show. And I get feedback like that almost every day found you through iTunes, found you through iTunes. It's amazing, right? Sometimes you type something into a search engine and it pulls up results, but then there's all other results at the, you know, if you go to iTunes you'll get like a whole slew of different possible podcasts for you to listen to that are related to your search term and it's just a wonderful way to be found and I think that's why it's working so well as opposed to let's see a Facebook group, which can also work very well, but when people type in what they're looking for, it's a little bit different.

You might have your group named something like an Apple a day keeps the doctor away and nobody's searching for that. There's not as many opportunities for keyword searches inside of Facebook because Facebook is not exactly the same kind of search engine that iTunes is. So anyway, this is just a long way of saying that I feel like podcasts have been bringing me the most new leads recently. People that I would not have reached otherwise and I'm thrilled by it because it's really fun and it's been a nice change of pace from blogging, which is what I had been doing for like the past 10 or so. No more than that. More than 10 years. I've been finding a lot of energy and just getting up in front of the mic and speaking what I know to be true on a topic, sharing opinions, et cetera.

Because it's like more, it feels like more organic and more me than the writing that I had been doing before. I think you really have to find a medium that works for you. But Chelsea, if you haven't thought about it, you might want to consider a podcast, but please get your business strategy in place first. Okay. Okay. So here's another question and this one comes from Alex and he says, what's your favorite way to communicate to your audience? Do you prefer Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, podcasting, books, blogging or something else? And he says as an information sponge and a health and wellness nerd, which I think a lot of us can relate to this. He says, I love listening to podcasts. I can easily fit in 40 to 60 shows a week. Oh my God, Alex, when I read that, I was like, Holy mackerel.

This guy listens to a lot of podcasts. He says between taking the bus to work, walking the dog, and the countless hours that I spend in the kitchen, I even listened to shows while I take a shower. You know what? I've totally done that too. I don't drive very much though, so I don't get a lot of podcasting time in the car. But the shower, yes, that is a place that I have found time to listen to podcasts. Anyway, Alex is very clear to me that this is your favorite medium. So when you're saying what's your favorite way to communicate to your audience? I mean, I'd probably be tapping into the medium that you enjoy the most. For example, if somebody tells you, any of you that you should do more video or you should start a YouTube channel, but you hate the idea of being on video, you cannot imagine doing it and makes you want to run screaming and you don't even watch YouTube.

Yeah, that's not going to be the right marketing tactic for you. On the other hand, if someone says you should start a blog and you love to write and you read a lot of blogs and you consume a lot of content that way, that could be perfect for you. So the answer seems pretty clear to me, Alex, that you would want to go the podcasting route. And I just want to highlight again what you said about listening to 40 60 shows a week because people are doing this, unlike reading a blog post where your eyes have to be on a screen, right? You can be listening to a podcast while you do other things. So you know, I have clients who maybe they travel for work and they're listening to shows while they're on the plane. People, again, like Alex who said while they're cooking or while they're doing other things, sometimes once my kids go to bed, I know I'll be like pack it up the old planet box lunch boxes and while I'm doing that listening to a podcast.

So there's a lot of opportunity here in a world where people are trying to multitask and they're not necessarily dedicating all their attention to looking at a screen to, you know, reading long paragraphs of copy. It's just something that seems to be fitting in well with people's lives at this point in history. And I'll expand just a little bit more on that because I've experimented, I've had actually four different podcasts through the years and we've experimented with length of the shows. You know like it's, some shows are very, very long, right? What does it like the Joe Rogan show that goes on for like three hours, right? I had shows that are up to an hour and I've had shows that are as short as like five or six minutes. And what I have noticed is that the shorter shows, the ones that are like half an hour and less seem to do better, at least with my audience, but that's something to just consider.

Again, when we're living in a world where people are just , utterly over, there's just information overload everywhere and if you want to put something out there, it doesn't have to be like this hour long diatribe digging deep into a topic. Sometimes less is more so just food for thought and it's so great to know people are out there listening to podcasts like that because I intend to continue producing them. Yeah.

Claudia has a question she just typed in. She says, how do you plan your content for the episodes? Is there some kind of underlying strategy?

Yes and no. I wish I could just say, Oh yes, absolutely. All the time. All of my podcast episodes are planned perfectly. That would be a total lie. One thing with podcasting is you are producing a lot of content, right? Typically shows are coming out once a week. That doesn't have to be the case.

You could have a podcast that comes out once a month, but that's sort of the typical rhythm. So you are constantly generating new content and when, for example, I have something that I am promoting inside my business, I definitely work that into the podcasting schedule. So if I'm going to be, let's say selling apples, I will probably have several shows about different Apple topics leading up to that promotion. It's kind of warm up my audience on this idea of apples and of course that is just a silly place holder. But there are certainly other times where I don't have my act together enough to do that or I don't know what I'm going to be promoting next. And then there are episodes that kind of just happen ad hoc with whatever is relevant for me at the time. In the case of this show, I use your questions to fuel the content of the show hoping well more than hoping knowing that it's going to be relevant to you because you were actually asking these questions.

But it is really nice and preferable if you can tie the content of your podcast or your blog or your YouTube video channel to what you are actually trying to sell so that you see a return on investment. So it's sort of like yes and no, and could I be doing it better? Probably right, but just keeping up with that weekly flow of content is rule number one and rule number two is tying it back to seeing a return as often as possible. Really good question. Thank you for asking that. In fact right now, Oh, let's see. My other show, which is called, she's got power. That's my health and wellness and a more aligned with my health coaching practice podcasts. We're going, we're just started season two of the, she's got power podcast and I have a spreadsheet of all the topics that I want to cover, the interviews that I've done and kind of planning it out to match up what else I'm doing with that side of my business.

And at the very least, making sure that I'm not like repeating a topic too quickly, that I'm getting enough variation in there in terms of different types of episodes. So there's also that kind of strategy to where you want to keep people listening. It would sometimes show can get kind of boring if like every week it's the exact same thing every week. It's a perfect polished episode interview with somebody famous. I mean that can be interesting. It works, but I have found that also listeners like to have a little bit of variation, so we try to mix it up in the, in the strategy of the podcast as well. Okay. Let's see here. Question from Val, and I apologize, my voice is a little bit froggy today.

Val says, Oh, and this is a similar question. She says, for those of you that have your own podcast, how long did it take you to plan and then launch it?

I'm currently in the planning stages of my podcast, so I'm just trying to figure out a good launch date for myself. Well, Val, you can play on your podcast for a years. I would say the best thing to do is to launch sooner than later because there is nothing like a deadline to get you moving and get you executing on a plan. You could have the most perfectly laid out plan, right? But if you're not executing against it, it just doesn't matter. So I would probably only plan enough that you know, you can launch with your first three or four episodes in the can. And what that means is when you first launched a podcast, it is common practice. It's not a must have, but it's a common practice to launch with three or four episodes already recorded. So, on your very first day out, if somebody is listening, people like to binge listen, right?

So like if you have only one episode, it can be a little bit of a letdown. So, the is typically to have a couple of episodes in there that folks can listen to so they can really get into your show. And then next week when the next podcast episode comes out, they're like primed and ready and waiting for it. So you would want to map out what your content is going to be. Go ahead and prerecord as much of it as possible. And that's what we do. And then, not with this show, but with the, she's got power show and then each week we're just mostly in production, just producing the show and getting it out there. But the actual content is almost always pre-recorded. And we certainly launched with three or four episodes on day number one. Anyway, Val, there's lots of ways to do it.

I'm always a fan of whatever's like the least path of resistance. This show is an excellent example of that because it started just as doing Facebook lives for my Facebook group and that's it. And I would show up and just answer questions. And I just kind of started doing it every week and then I was like, huh, there's no reason why we couldn't just take these recordings and turn them into podcast episodes and publish on iTunes and publish on Stitcher and publish on all over the place. And so that's, that's kind of what we started to do. And it was easy because I already have this, this flow, this content, this sort of Q and a style that I was doing. So I didn't have to plan it out that much. And you could think about that as well. Like what are you already doing that could be leveraged into a podcast or into your regular content on whatever medium you choose.

And then it's not another thing to do. You're just getting more bang for your buck. That is my advice on starting your podcast. Good luck. And we would of course love to hear about it once you get a show lodged. I should also mention that there are lots of different ways to start a podcast. There are, there's the option to sort of do it all yourself. We use very little editing and production on this particular show. This is like a very off the cuff type of show if you haven't noticed. Which is fun. My other show is a little more polished. We do a lot more production work on that, you know, music and editing and all the rest. And then there are shows that are live, you know, you can sign up with something like VoiceAmerica or I forget what the others are called where you get a time slot every week and you're basically like a live radio host, but then it's recorded and becomes a podcast.

So there's lots of different ways of doing it. And I wanted to let you know that a few episodes back, if you go in the archives, we did a whole episode with my podcast producer Caroline about how to start a podcast. And she really got into the nitty gritty about like the planning and all the pieces that you have to have in place and she's phenomenal. So if you're interested in getting started, I would recommend going back in the archive and looking for that episode. But by and large, podcasting has been doing the most for me with as little time as possible. Another question that I was asked about this was how much time do I spend on it and also how much money goes into it. So timewise, again, it's going to vary. This show I show up with some preparation, sometimes more than others and we have this sort of conversation right here on the fly where you're asking questions and I'm answering them is actually very little time each week.

And then I have my assistant do a little bit of editing and publish the show. So she spends about an hour or two doing the production side and I spent probably a total of an hour or so creating the content each week. So it's not that bad at all. And you know, depending on how much you're paying, somebody will determine of course, what the cost is for you every week. Could you do the production work yourself? Yes. If you know what you're doing, it will take you a couple of hours. If you don't know what you're doing, it could take you all darn week. And that's how I decided I just needed to hire out for it. Now on the other side of my business, we where we do a lot more production work on the, she's got power podcasts. We spend more money on it certainly and we spend more time and I prepare those shows a lot more in advance. So it all is about the style of show that you're going for, but I would recommend hiring help for the technical bits. Unless you know this stuff inside and out or else you will quickly burn herself out.

Well I have a little bit more time today, so if you have any other questions about what's going on in your business or anything else you'd like to know about podcasting, go ahead and throw them in the comments. Now I have one here from Sarah.

Sarah says, I feel I'm getting closer to nailing my target market. What do you think about this? I help stressed and worn out mothers get fit, achieve all day energy and feel fabulous without sacrificing a career or family time.

Oh, sounds like a dream. Sarah, sounds like the dream we're all going for, you know, I do think that there's a lot of messaging in this area, you know, helping the busy mom, helping the busy mom be healthy or helping the busy mom feel less stressed and it can kind of become cliché. So, what I would encourage you to do is think about stressed and worn out mothers, which are literally all mothers and get a little bit more specific.

So maybe you work primarily with the women who live in your town. Okay. That would be specific cause you'd be able to offer her resources and support that she couldn't get anywhere else because you know her town inside and out. And that would be one way to sort of specialize within the stressed and worn out mothers group. You know, another of doing it would be you know, stressed in worn out mothers who have a particular illness or stress in worn out mothers who have a particular issue with their children or stressed and worn out mothers who, do you see what I'm saying? Like you want to get a little bit more particular about who she is because right now you're talking to about a billion mothers around the world and your message is going to feel very watered down and not particularly resonate with any stress and burnout.

Mother, she's just going to overlook it because she is so overwhelmed with everything. Blah, blah blah. Another thing that I should be doing and she's going to walk right by. However, you know, if I saw something that was like, this is for the stressed and worn out mother, a podcaster, I might be like, Oh that's interesting. You know, how do other mom podcasters make this all work? I'm not saying that's the target market for you. I'm just saying that would be something that might catch my eye where I would overlook other messaging towards moms cause there's just too much of it. The other thing that you would want to think about is, and this will be helpful, be more helpful when you know exactly who you're speaking to is you want to think about one really big problem that she has. So, you have, here you have a couple U S about getting fit.

I'm wanting all day energy, wanting to feel fabulous and not wanting to sacrifice career, family time. But I would really tap into like what her one really, really big, most worrisome problem is. Like for example, again just off the cuff example, if you are targeting mom, mom podcasters, you know one problem she might be like really, really worried about is the success of her show or one problem she may be really, really worried about is feeling like she has something outside of her family. Like maybe that's why she podcasts in the first place and that's like an area of development for her. Something that she's worried about and that's why she's podcasting. And maybe that's the big problem that you help her with feeling like her own person again, so just some ideas but I would try for all of us to avoid the sort of vague blanket like I'm going to help you feel healthier and fabulous and more vital because when you say all those things, it's kind of like saying nothing.

It's just like more white noise and the health and wellness space. So you want to try to get really, really particular with who you serve and the very specific problem that you can help themselves. And if I have said that once, I have said it a thousand times, I know you guys have heard me say it before. All right, what else do we got here?

I have a question from Kristin. This is an interesting one. She says, for all of you experienced coaches, how did you make sure you were providing value to your clients when you first started? I'm trying to get in the flow and be less focused on perfection but always so nervous. I'm not doing something right. Any tips are so appreciated and thank you in advance. Thanks for asking that question, Kristen, because that is a really common issue that all coaches are up against.

I mean, heck, even experienced coaches. Am I providing enough value? Am I helping this person enough? What if they're not seeing the results that they came to me for? We can get really hard on ourselves. So I want to just offer to you that of course in the beginning I ran circles around my clients. I'm like, here, how about this handout and how about this book and here's 12 recipes and here's some other stuff and I sent you this thing and, and it's just too much. You know, it can be really overwhelming. And then if they don't get to it all, they can feel like they failed or just kind of worse about themselves because they want to be doing the work. But no, they couldn't get that book and read it between last session and this session with you. So, you want to be careful about not overwhelming your clients.

And honestly the most powerful thing that we can do for anybody is hold space for them without judgment and let them open up and share and do the work that needs to get done were they are leading instead of us feeding them and giving and sort of creating a codependent relationship. We don't want that. You don't want that at all. We're mostly here to hold space and say what I hear you saying is and sounds like you are interested in or what if you took that thought a step further and coached them along and that is really the beauty of health coaching and what makes it different from being, I want to say like a service provider, you know like a massage therapist who shows up and like has to give a good massage like it's on that person to do the work. With coaching it's like it's on your client as much as it's on you to do good work together.

So actually sometimes the less that you push, the better the work is in the end. And it's really, it's really quite miraculous what you can do to make sure that you're doing the right thing by your client. It's just upholding your end of the bargain, being there for your meetings on time, holding space reminding them of things that they've said before, reflecting back to them, just using all of your coaching skills and drawing boundaries for them. So if you have a client who's not showing up on time, constantly rescheduling and other ways of not respecting the relationship, calling them out on it, not in a mean way, but in like, Hey, here's what I'm noticing kind of way. Sometimes calling my clients out on their own BS is the most powerful conversations we ever have. So just breathe. It's not about the handouts, it's not about giving gifts to our clients or proving ourselves. We are really there in a supporting role to them.

All right, you guys, I will be back next week. So please, please, please keep asking great questions and I will keep answering them. Have a great week. everybody.