Of all the different marketing tactics at your disposal, this is by far the trickiest one to deploy.
What do I mean by that?
If you don’t take the time to fully understand the mindset and motivation of who you want to listen, you’ve already lost.
Just because your morning commute is filled with a ton of great podcasts doesn’t mean it’s a great marketing idea for your agency.
I’ve been podcasting since 2006 in some form or fashion and love getting behind a microphone, but there are a few subtle, yet dramatically important factors to determine what a podcast will do for your agency.
Insurance Is Terrible for Podcasts
I would be willing to place a, I have a gambling problem, size bet that all the podcasts you listen to fit into one of two categories.
You’re looking to learn when you’re in the car, at the gym or mowing the grass. That’s great. But think about the topics that you’re learning about. They too have something very important in common.
That is, they are probably all topics that you continuously need to stay educated on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis.
The easiest and most common example would be your business.
This is pretty obvious, but you’ve probably found podcasts that entertain you in a much more specific way than your traditional morning talk show can.
Stuff like in-depth sports podcasts or even something as awesome as murder mystery.
These are great, but up the ante.
Let me explain.
If you were to start a podcast for your agency, it would fall into one of these two categories.
The first, education, is the most obvious.
Talk about insurance and how it protects people.
Alright, fine I didn’t do the English language any favors and pitched a podcast that makes you want to physically harm your ears.
But, be honest, that’s the first idea you had.
However, let me help you out and be the first to tell you that it’s terrible.
No one wants or needs to be constantly educated about their insurance.
Hold on, we need to backup a little bit.
The Power of the Subscription
The true power of a podcast lies in your ability to have a direct line to someone’s ear on a regular basis.
This is 99 percent of the time accomplished by someone subscribing to your show in their favorite podcast app like iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play (my favorite).
This allows you to build an intimate relationship (quote Ryan Hanley) over a ridiculous amount of time.
Over that time your listeners will know and remember things about you that you barely do yourself.
Sounds like a pretty cool experience, right?
Yeah, 100 percent right.
But that’s really hard to do with insurance.
Let’s jump back up where we left off.
Insurance Is Terrible for Podcasts (Continued)
Expecting someone to want to take that journey about their homeowners medical payments coverage is offensive on several levels.
People don’t need to stay constantly informed (see educated) about their insurance in a way a podcast would demand.
It’s too big of an ask for someone that is not all that interested in the first place.
The only mild exceptions to this is in the finance and the stock market world. Investing and money is something that changes by the minute and is something everyone is interested in.
However, when you cross that line you’re competing with entire TV channels created for such discussion. Which, is actually a good sign, but also helps set the expectation.
What About an Entertaining Podcast?
Remember when I said these up the ante?
Here’s the most dangerous part when you start to take a step or two away from insurance.
You’ve got to take just as many steps back.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you want to start a podcast focused on your community. Maybe that means creating a show for business owners to discuss their advantages/disadvantages unique to your area and how everyone can help make it better.
Or you want to cover the ongoings of the town in a way the local media can’t.
The success of this will also depend on the size of your town and the potential number of listeners you have.
If you successfully build an audience around one of those ideas, that will be the first thing they associate you with.
You’re building authority in business and/or community development. Yeah, if you already have a strong brand in town, they might say, “oh yeah, you also own Intego Insurance.”
With this approach you dramatically increase the risk of creating something that doesn’t create business.
If you know the steps you have to take to get someone back to insurance, the better you’ll be. Just don’t expect them to know the way by themselves.
So You’re Saying My Agency Shouldn’t Start a Podcast?
Well… Kinda, maybe, I’m not really sure.
Let me put it to you this way, I’ve never started a podcast for my insurance agency. Actually, I lied.
I tried to do a mashup of insurance and related topics. It was called The Health. Care. Insurance. Hangout.
It was a weekly live Google Hangout show that was re-purposed as a podcast. I did it for a year and it failed, hard.
Neither the live show nor the podcast caught on.
Did it need more time? I doubt it, but maybe.
Should I have made some adjustments and kept going?
But the real lesson I learned from that was people want to set and forget their insurance, to quote the great Ron Popeil.
They want you to educate them enough so they don’t have to worry about it.
In my experience, a podcast isn’t the most effective way to make that happen.
The Bottom Line
What I’m really saying is that you have to know the risks and rewards of any medium you decide to create content in and if the results are justified.
If you’re willing to take those risks then there’s possibly an even bigger upside.
If not, then you are just going to end up spinning your wheels and wasting a lot of great marketing energy on something that was never going to work from the beginning.