Sara asks a question about her podcast. She’s discouraged because she is not getting a huge following and wonders if it’s worth it.
Submit your questions at: https://www.massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk
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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to a Q&A episode of the Massage Business Blueprint podcast. I’m Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I’m Allissa Haines.
MR And we’re your hosts. Welcome. Welcome. Glad you joined us today for our question of the day. We have a great question —
AH It is a good question.
MR — from our friend, Sara, and she’s talking about podcasting, which warms my heart because I love talking about podcasting. So I’m really excited about that.
Are you excited?
AH I am very excited. I don’t know that I’m as excited as you are, but I really appreciate your energy.
MR [Laughing] At least someone does. All right. So let’s play our question, and we’ll go from there.
Listener question Hi, Allissa and Michael. It’s Sara from New Hampshire. My question for you is about podcasting. It seems like everybody nowadays has a podcast or is starting a podcast, and although a microbusiness such as an individual massage therapist is probably never going to have a huge following of 20- — 30,000 downloads — I mean, it could happen — but we still want to make it worth the time-intensive process that podcasting is. What are some of your tips to make a podcast stand out in the sea of other podcasts surrounding the topic that we’re talking about? Thanks.
MR All right. Great. Thanks, Sarah.
And by the way, we’re going to get some more context as well, but first let’s hit our sponsor today which is —
AH And that is Yomassage.
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MR All right. So Sara was kind enough to also give us some more context after the recording. She kind of followed up with a few comments so I’m going to frame it with some more context here.
So Sarah was really concerned about the download number. She was kind of sharing that, you know, she likes podcasting but is really discouraged that she only has, like, 50 to 100 downloads per episode and, you know, she said, no matter hard I try, I’m likely never going to be able to just record and play what’s there. She does a lot of editing, I think.
And so it’s kind of a — there’s some mental, you know, head trash, I think, around podcasting for Sara. And a lot of it is centered around how does she make it stand out? How does she kind of reconcile the idea of getting lots of listeners, like some of the bigger podcasts? And her listenership is lower, and just this whole idea of is it worth it, I think, is the question here. So I love the question. So here is my take on it.
Do you mind if I go first or do you want to go first, Allissa?
AH Go for it, man.
MR All right.
So Sara, I want you to stop thinking of your podcast as a marketing tool. I know that seems counterintuitive and weird because we keep talking about it’s a great way to market your business. And I think it truly is, but I think the issue here is that you’re thinking of it as a marketing tool, and it’s putting a lot of pressure on yourself to make it this big, grand, lead-generating popular thing. And I don’t want you to think of it this way because I don’t think it should be.
Now, if you’re comparing it against, you know, Serial or, you know, big-name podcasts out there — that’s not what we want to do here. A microbusiness — that is, you know, local small business — that’s not what we’re going after. I want you to start thinking of your podcast as a client education tool and as a networking opportunity-maker. I’m going to explain that.
So a client education tool. So if you stop thinking of your podcast as a marketing piece, you’re going to stop worrying about how many people are downloading it. You’re going to stop worrying about how do I get it out there in front of more people. You’re going to stop worrying about how do I differentiate it and make it stand out and make it this great podcast. If you shift your thinking and you think of it as a client education tool, you’re going to start thinking of it as, oh, wow, I have these awesome clients that have challenges and questions. How can I give them more information that helps their wellness journey?
And I know your niche, Sara, so in your specific niche, you know, you have an even greater opportunity to go really deep into that niche. You have a specific, you know, type of athlete that you work with, and I want you to start thinking of your podcast — don’t worry about — forget about the numbers. By the way, your numbers are pretty decent for a local business, so that said, don’t worry about the numbers.
I want you to start thinking of it as a client service or a client education piece. So when your clients come to you with challenges, questions, concerns, issues — whether it’s related to what you do in massage or not — maybe it’s even a product they buy related to the sport they’re in or something that is relevant to their community — whatever questions or challenges or conversation starters they have, I want you to think of your podcast as a way to discuss those things and to help them think through those things, and to help answer questions about those things. That is your mission with your podcast. It is not to market your business.
If you approach it that way, by default, you will market your business because for one thing, it’s retention. If you are getting in front of them and staying in front of current clients with educational topics that really help them and are relevant to them, they’re going to think of you more often, and they’re going to be more likely to book a massage and come back, as opposed to letting life get in the way and get too busy to think about booking their next appointment.
Also, they have something to — they have a conversation starter with their friends. Again, in your niche, you want more people that are like those people in their community, so obviously, they know a ton of people in their community.
I’m going to be specific. So Sara works with runners. So this running community is huge and really — a really vibrant community, and so if you have conversation starters in the form of podcast episodes that they can share with their running buddies and their friends, that gives them a really easy way to refer you.
A lot of people just don’t really know how to refer people. They don’t think about it. It doesn’t come up naturally. But if you’ve got a podcast episode that they really like, they might be likely to bring it up and talk about it. Oh, you know, this podcast I listened to was great. Let me send you a link to it. That is something that can really fuel those referrals.
So if you think more micro and think more really, like, very contained and very tight community, I think that is the key to getting energy around your podcast. It’s not worrying about anyone else. It’s serving your existing clients with much more value than you provide even just on the table.
Now, the other thing I mentioned, which was networking opportunity, is very — and by the way, I’m going to give you examples of both these things working. So networking opportunities are huge with podcasting. So whatever podcast style you decide to do — let’s say you’re doing a — I think you do interview styles a lot of times, Sara. So when you do interview-style podcasts, that’s a great way to build your name in the community because you reach out to people in your community, and you have an excuse to network with them.
Instead of just saying, hey, you want to have coffee — which is boring — you say, hey, do you want to get together and record a really cool podcast episode about this thing you can talk about. Wow. That’s exciting. That’s a lot more exciting than just having coffee and talking about nothing. Then, they get to know you. They get to know your business. You have a really deep connection with them because you’ve recorded this episode together, and if you find key people and key referral partners in your community that can be on your podcast, that is a really strong way to develop networking and referral connections.
So to me, your podcast is really designed to be an educational piece and a networking tool, and if you worry about just that and serve those 50 to 100 people that listen to the best of your ability and just give them incredible value, I believe it will unlock a lot of great things for you.
Now, I want to give you a couple examples of this working. So as many of you know, I have a different business in another life. I’m a financial adviser in a different life and it’s a — I wouldn’t say it’s a completely local business. I do a lot of national work as well, but I do have a lot of local clients as well. And I don’t think I have once found a new client that’s never heard of me, through my podcast. But I have literally gotten five new clients in the past 30 days from my podcast.
Now, how is that possible? It’s because I’m using it as a content informational tool to kind of set myself apart. So if someone is interested in working with me, they have heard about me through some other means, but, literally, when I am talking to new clients, I would say, like five or six of them — a good portion of them have said, yeah, I listened to your podcast on this and I really liked it, or hey, I heard your podcast; when you talked about it on the podcast, I heard that. I actually give links out to episodes when people have questions. So it is a way to bring people closer to what I’m doing. And so in the massage therapy context, that is a great way to bring people closer to getting to know you. It’s a very intimate way of helping them get to know you.
So use it as a way to kind of, I mean, I don’t want to say “seal the deal” because that sounds salesy, but kind of, you know, make you a little more approachable. Some people may not want to, you know, book a massage without getting to know you, but if you have a link to maybe some of your favorite podcast episodes about what you do, on your website, right there in the online booking section — you can even have a play button. You have a button that says, hey, before you book, if you want to know about this or that topic or what I do around this for runners, you know, listen to this podcast episode first and then book an appointment if you feel like we’d be a great fit to work together. Use it in your intake process.
So the other example is I have another business as well in which my partner in that business actually runs the podcast, and half of the clients we get from that business are from her reaching out and asking people to be on the podcast. And after the recording is done, they just chat for a few minutes and they say, oh, hey, tell me about your business. What do you do? And she tells them and it’s, like, oh, wow. Sign me up. And so it’s a great way just to get in front of people that you want to potentially connect with as clients.
So I’ve rambled a lot. Allissa’s probably dying to have input and I’m sorry, but I just get really excited about this because I think podcasting is a wonderful, wonderful tool for marketing, but not in the traditional marketing way you might think. So that’s kind of my take on it, and I’d love to hear what Allissa things.
AH Yeah, I kind of want to point out about perspective. And you pointed this out a little bit as well. We, as owners of massage practices, are not running, like, big online businesses with scalable sales. I’m not selling shoes. I don’t need 100,000 people to buy my shoes or my t-shirts or whatever — my download of a book. I’m not selling a particularly scalable product and scalable means, like, you can sell a ton and ton and ton of it with the same amount of work, like, that you would sell one of them. I’m selling massage hours, essentially.
So comparing our download stats to, you know, Nike or whatever or some big business is very different. Like, you can’t really compare them. So think about how many massages you can even give in a month. You can only handle a client load of, like, 80ish regular clients. Like, a mix of people who come in once a month, every two months, or twice a month, or three times a month. Really you can only see between 60 and 80 clients a month, tops, anyway.
And I say this knowing Sara’s business. You know, I know there are massage therapists who see like 30 clients a week, and there are some people who see 10 a week, but think about the max number of clients you can see in any given month. And for me, I hover that number around 40 to 50 because I have a handful of clients who come in a few times a month.
So if you think about that, getting 50 to 100 downloads on an episode is great Like, because a handful of those, like, probably half or more of those downloads are people who are already your clients. So this is, like Michael said, it’s a service and approach that that way. Your podcast is an act of service. It’s not an act of sales.
So if like half of those downloads are current clients anyway, and then the other half are people who are sort of interested and might learn more about running or be more likely to schedule you in the future if they decide to start some — whatever, race-training schedule. I’m sorry, I don’t know if we’ve mentioned, specifically, that Sara treats runners, very specifically.
MR Yeah, I think one time I mentioned that. Yeah.
AH I’m sorry. I spaced.
But that’s, like, really good. 100 downloads is more people than you can see in a month anyway, so it’s just not relative the way the way like big number downloads would be for big, fancy podcasts. So create your own metric.
I’d say maybe track over the course of a month or two how many clients mention your podcast to you or how many new clients mention they’ve heard of the podcast, and let that be more of a metric, or how many times — when a client has a question about something related to running, how many times have you said, oh, I’ve got a podcast episode about that. I’ll email you the link.
Let that be your metric. How useful is this tool for you? How often — just, like, if you have an actual, like, your trigger-point tools in your office that you sell, how often do clients say that that helped them? How often do you sell one to client because they need it for self-care? How often do you refer to it? So it’s a tool to help your current clients and potentially bring in more, but it’s an act of service more than it’s an act of sales.
So I know Michael said a lot of that, but I also just wanted to remind you that our businesses are different than big, giant businesses. We serve a very small, tight community, and it’s — you don’t need big numbers. You just need effective response.
MR Yeah, right on. I want to add also, one thing is consistency. I’m going to — we promised to be pretty personal on these Q&A episodes, so I’m going to pick on Sara a little more because I actually went to her website and looked at the schedule of your podcasts, Sara, and — I know it’s tough. I know it’s hard to do. I’m with you. Podcasting can be a challenge from a time standpoint. But I’m seeing in your schedule here, I’m seeing for 2019 — I see February 7th. I see an episode, then, on May 30th, then an episode on July 11th, then an episode on July 25th, and August 8th, and August 22nd was the last one.
So I’m seeing a lot of inconsistency, and one of the keys to podcasting success is consistency and patience. If you sporadically publish and you’re like, oh, I’m going to do an episode this month and maybe two next month. I’m going to take a break because I’m kind of, you know, bummed about it and then a couple months later I’ll start again and do another one, , that is — that is going to really hamstring your — no pun intended — hamstring your ability to get traction.
If you commit yourself to publishing an episode once every single week like clockwork, as much as you might not want to do it — I mean, there are times when Allissa and I just, like, don’t feel it. We’re just bummed, we’re tired, we’re whatever. We’re busy. But you know what? We have never missed a single episode of Massage Business Blueprint, and it’s hard. It’s hard to do it. [Laughing] It’s really hard, but if you just make the decision to commit to publishing once a week — even if some of them suck. Even publish an episode that sucks. If it sucks, publish it anyway.
Now, if it’s terrible or whatever — something went horribly wrong, you know, replace it with something. But if it’s not your best episode and it’s like, man — publish it anyway. Then get the next one out. Consistency will give you a lot of benefit. If you publish consistently for a year, I promise you, you will get more energy because you will learn from it faster, and you will get more energy from it because you will get more traction. So I want to state that as well.
AH Yes. And I am going to state that if that is not attainable for you, consider a structure of seasons where you, very strategically, plan out let’s say eight or twelve episodes and you know what they’re going to be and maybe they even follow a particular theme. So like maybe — and it’s too late for this idea, but maybe you could have done eight seasons in the fall about how — you know, you’re in New Hampshire, so how runners in New England handle the seasonal transitions. Like, one, the first part of fall is beautiful to run in. People love running in fall in New England. It’s great. It’s cool. It’s whatever. And then you could have done a handful of episodes in the second half of the season about preparing to deal with the winter. And alternative, running and training for winter and what athletes in the winter should be thinking about and, you know, we have a lot of runners in this area who run Boston every spring in April — Patriot’s Day. What do those runners need to be prepared for?
And then — so if you cannot commit to doing something weekly, be very strategic about a season of whatever — eight or twelve episodes. Plan it out. Do it in advance. Like, you could be working right now on eight winter episodes to cover January and February, and then you could take March to build, whatever, eight episodes that would run April and May. And then take June to plan eight episodes that would run July and August. You know what I’m saying?
MR Yeah, that’s a good idea.
AH Yeah. Because if — I couldn’t do a weekly podcast if I didn’t have Michael as a partner, like, handling half the work and also providing all the accountability because we’re very accountable to each other. But I could totally plan — I’m going to think smaller for me. I could plan a six- episode series on — maybe the first one would be self-care massage techniques and I’d have a couple of guests on that. And maybe the next one would be intro to meditation and have some guests on that. You know, like, I could totally plan some six-episode series to run as seasons, giving myself a month break in-between. And it’s not the same consistency, but it’s enough consistency, along with adjusted expectations when you start your first episode saying this is a 12-episode series.
Yeah. And, in fact, this Q&A series that Michael and I are doing is seasonal. We’re not going to do — we don’t — we haven’t talked yet. Michael’s going to try to convince me to do them every single week.
AH But right now, my compromise was let’s do a 12-episode series in the fall of this Q&A episodes, see how it goes, and then plan for the winter. And I’ve really —
MR Yeah. Expectations are key.
AH — enjoyed doing it. Yeah.
MR Yeah. Telling people what to expect. Yeah.
AH Because then they don’t think you’re a flake if you don’t publish, like, immediately —
AH — because they know you’re doing a 12 — and you can do that, you know, eight episodes every week, but having them done in advance so that when you — as much in advance as possible and then just launching the series and that part of it’s on autopilot so you can start working on the next one, takes a little pressure off you.
So that’s my idea. I’m done.
MR That’s a good idea. Yeah.
All right. Sara, I personally — I believe in you. I love your niche. I know that you provide a great value to your clients. Your niche of runners is awesome. What you have kind of set up for your business is awesome. So if you don’t want to do a podcast anymore, that’s okay. Like, don’t do it if you just don’t want to do it. But if you want to do it and you want to make it work, I really believe that you’ve got a great opportunity to make it work.
So keep us posted. Thanks for the question. Thanks for the — kind of being vulnerable and sharing the insights, and I really would love to hear how it works out for you. So keep us posted.
All right. Well, thanks, everyone, for joining us for this Q&A episode. If you would like to send us a question, just like Sara did, we would love to hear your question. You can do that at massagebusinessblueprint.com/talk. So again, that’s massagebusinessblueprint.com/T-A-L-K for talk. And if you go there on your computer or your phone, you can click a button and you can — you may have to allow microphone access. So just go ahead and allow access. That’s okay. And then you’ll speak your question and just verbalize it. Don’t worry about making it polished or super coherent. Just make it as clear as possible, but just speak naturally, just like you’re talking to a friend. Tell us what’s going on, and we will play your question on the air and discuss it just like we did today. So we’d love to hear from you.
Thanks, everyone, for joining us today. Have a great day. We’ll see you next time.