The why and the how: On podcasting as a way for you to take ownership of your niche

By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur. 

I talked about podcasting in the latest episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur and how it could be a major opportunity for you and your company.

Recently, I’ve been working for a client in the telecommunications space and our public relations firm wants to help him get to the mainstream media. As I know that podcasts are a great way to share a message, I’ve also been doing some research into the top telecommunications podcasts around the world. 

In my podcast, I’ve given an idea of how many vacant spaces are available for any entrepreneur or business owner who has the muscle and the tenacity to get a podcast up and running (and even for those who’d like to work with a publishing or podcasting partner, of which there are many out there).

Reasons Why You Should Get Onto Podcasts

As part of our work in my PR agency, we want our clients to get onto podcasts for a couple of reasons.

One, podcasts are intimate. They have a long tail — they’re on people’s devices for a long period of time. They also create an opportunity for you to speak at length, without editing, and without any interruption or interference. 

Additionally, you can also take the content and repurpose it on your own website. This repurposed content is not only in the form of a podcast; you can also make that into an audiogram or snippets and have those uploaded on YouTube. Like how I repurpose mine into articles, you can also do the same and those can go into your LinkedIn, Medium, or to your company newsletter.

Speaking even just for 20 minutes on a podcast can already give you a thousand words, which is about one-and-a-half pages of text. It’s enough for an article. You can even make a great article out of it, both for your own content and also for the podcast host’s website, newsletter, or industry publication. 

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The Real Opportunity that Podcasting Gives

As I’ve gone past the 400 episode-mark, I can say that podcasting takes a little bit of getting used to. But keep in mind that it is possible, especially with the help of new technologies, such as the one I’m using, Descript.

If you can manage your time and aspirations well, podcasting will be no greater burden than any other kind of content creation. 

However, here is the real opportunity for you.

There are some 4 million podcasters and Buzzsprout alone has over 100,000 podcasters that it’s hosting. There are lots of people producing podcasts on their own when it comes to the consumer or personal interest space. But when I looked at podcasting, there are only a precious few producing for business-to-business (B2B) segments. So there’s a huge opportunity for you. If you’re a company or an agency that’s in a particular sector, this is something that you might want to think about. 

Radio vs TV vs Podcasting

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been doing some work for a telecommunications client and it’s around the Mobile World Congress which is happening in Barcelona, Spain in January. My client will be talking about 5G there. Apart from reaching out to traditional print media, I also wanted to reach out to podcasting. 

Radio is good, but when you go on air, you may only get two or three minutes. Still, it’s a great way for someone to have a voice, and I mean that in the best possible sense. You can hear the warmth and timbre of the speaker’s voice and it can help you build a personality. Television is also great. However, it’s difficult for most B2B clients to get into. 

Podcasts, on the other hand, could be very good. However, upon research, I’ve found that the universe for telco is small. I used a website called Listen Notes, which has a search directory and curation of all the podcasts around the world. When I put the keyword “telecom,” I got initially very excited because there are only 416 results. However, the excitement soon turned into disappointment because both the number of podcasts focusing on telecommunications, the frequency of podcast production, and the listener score of those podcasts are low. 

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The listener score is a metric that shows the estimated popularity of a podcast compared to other Really Simple Syndication (RSS)-based public podcasts in the world. On a scale of 0 to 100, the higher the number is, the more popular the show is. The UnNoticed Entrepreneur has a score of 32 and it’s currently ranked in the top 5% around the world. After a year of producing the show, I’m pretty happy that I’ve got that kind of listener ranking. I’m making the show from a garden shed that I’m calling a shed studio, in Somerset. 

Telco and Podcasting

In the telco industry, there are only 416 podcasts about it. Bear in mind that this is a multi-billion dollar industry and it affects all of us in one way or another. Whether we’re using a mobile device for work or for automation, telcos touch the world. But does the world listen to telco on podcasts?

The number one item on the results is “Sanctioned: The Arrest of a Telecom Giant” by CBC Radio, which is run by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It now has a listener score of 50 and it’s in the top 0.5%. Nonetheless, it has only issued 14 episodes as of writing and they’re not all about telco. 

Up next is “Telecom Reseller,” which has a listener score of 28 but it’s only in the top 10%. They’ve got some 413 episodes, which is great, and they’ve been doing it since May 2020. Next is the podcast “Andy & John Talk Telecom,” which has 29 episodes and a listener score of 32. They’re also in the top 5%. There’s also “CBRE Telecom Talk” (CBRE stands for CB Richard Ellis). They started in May 2016, they have 22 episodes but the last one was over a year ago. 

When I moved further down the list, I found “Leonardo Furtado,” which has 53 episodes. He posted his last episode a couple of days ago and it’s in Spanish. He’s also mainly talking about technology and not telecommunications. “SyrupCast” by MobileSyrup on the other hand, talks about Canadian telco news. “Telco in 20” by Texas’ Danielle Royston is in the top 10% with a listener score of 20. She has 30 episodes to date. 

“Heads in the Cloud,” which currently has 90 episodes, has been around since July 2017. They are in the top 10%. “JSA,” which is based out of the United States, is a PR firm in telco and they’ve got 230 episodes for their podcast. However, they don’t have a listener score and they’re not ranked at all. There’s also a podcast by Deloitte, which had 55 episodes in over four years. The last one was two months ago.

When we look at the “Telecoms.com” podcast, they have a listener score of 34 and they’re in the top 5%. However, they’re a publisher. And their description says: “Once a week we get together in a studio somewhere in London to take the piss out of telecoms and technology for an hour or so.” 
Even publishers like Turtle Telecom only have two episodes. And the list goes on. What I’ve learned is that even organisations like IEEE have stopped their podcasts over six months ago. This means that there’s a huge opportunity for you to get out there.

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Leveraging this Opportunity

Telecommunications is one of the world’s largest industries and yet, the number of people who issues podcasts with “telco” in the title or in the tag is quite sizable. But the number of people who are actually delivering content consistently over time is very, very small. 

In a vertical market like telco, there’s an opportunity for any company or any PR firm to step into and take some ownership. I talked about this in my podcast because telco isn’t the only vertical that has this kind of opportunity in podcasting. 

It’s a bit like what happened with contract publishing 20 to 30 years ago wherein people were able to produce a low-volume print. Before, they had to go to print presses and print 10,000 copies, but it all changed with digital printing. Today, there are lots of niche publishers using platforms like Issuu to basically create PDF in the cloud, but with the layout of a magazine.

Now, there are also many people who are extolling the benefits of podcasting. It’s a great way for a company to build content — and community. For instance, I invite guests onto my show and it has allowed me to facilitate conversations and be seen in an industry as the nexus of conversation. 

It can’t be that difficult to start creating a plan. And if it feels difficult, it’s possible to go to one of the many agencies out there. There are many independent podcasting professionals who can help you make it so that you’ll only be just in front of the mic. In my case, I’m producing the show on my own — I edit it and I air it myself. 

Most people have more important things to do with their time. Bur if you wanted to take ownership of a sector or a niche, you could create a podcast and work with a consultant. There are also professionals who can help you in the scheduling of guests, in the writing of show notes, in the post-production, in the airing, and in the promotion. They can do it all for you, except for your time on the mic.

There are people like Dr. Steve Day, who has a business systems and outsourcing podcast. And he was able to streamline the whole process of creating a podcast. Now, we’re currently working on a product or a service that will help people keep track of all the tasks when it comes to promoting their podcasts.

On Frequency and Length

There are more and more players and more and more tools available for podcasting. Currently, there are over 4 million people who have registered their podcasts. However, this is very different from the number of people who actually produce podcasts. And this is where the opportunity lies. 

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In reality, creating a podcast takes a little bit longer than writing an article, but it has all sorts of benefits — above and beyond simply producing an article. You can invite people to come and participate in your podcast. And it’s very hard to do if you’re simply writing an article.

You can also create a frequency of the show that’s manageable for you. In my case, I put two 20-minute episodes each week. Some people produce a podcast every day. The length of podcasts also varies. Some people create one-hour-and-a-half-long conversations. There’s no right or wrong about it. What matters most is to be both predictable and consistent. And this is why I was able to do over 400 episodes. My goal is to make sure that on a Tuesday and on a Thursday, my show goes out around the world and that people can rely on that.

The implication of this is that my team also knows what’s going to happen next. If I produce content on a Tuesday and a Thursday, my team in the Philippines can take that on a Wednesday and a Friday. They can promote it and repurpose it, ready for my PR agency’s newsletter the following day. 

Wrapping Up

In my podcast’s latest episode, I talked about telco because it’s a multi-billion dollar industry and I’ve been looking for ways to promote a rather large American telco client. 

Podcasting as a medium is growing and has become an open playing field. It offers an opportunity for a company, an agency, or even an individual to take ownership of some of these very small niches. Over the next three to five years, it will be an interesting space wherein we shall see who will take over. Now, Spotify is simply just buying content in the business-to-consumer space and serves as a regular publisher or broadcaster. But in B2B, this hasn’t happened yet. 

If you’ve got an industry that you can lead, you can check out Listen Notes, put in your keyword, and you can find out how many shows are there. Perhaps, there’s an opportunity for you to build an inbound marketing platform that is your podcast.

This article is based on a transcript from my podcast The UnNoticed Entrepreneur, you can listen here.


Cover image by CD-X on Unsplash