Whether you're looking to appear on a podcast or start your own, the medium is a terrific opportunity for entrepreneurs. Just consider these statistics:

• Podcasts are exploding. According to a recent study by AdAge and Pew Research Center, podcast listening grew 23 percent in 2016.

• Podcasts are persuasive. According to the IAB and Edison Research 65 percent of listeners are more willing to consider purchasing something they learn about through a podcast.

• People are increasingly shopping from their phones. An eMarketer study projects that buying from mobile devices is set to grow to 65 percent of the American marketplace in 2017 -- up 58 percent from 2016.

So how do you determine whether podcasting is for you? Read on for some insights and inside stories.

Pick a platform that fits you

Not everyone has podcast potential. If you are verbally agile and outgoing, a podcast could fit you like a glove. Do you like to write? Maybe blogging would be a better medium for you. Comfortable on camera? Consider Facebook Live.

Find the void in the market

When John Lee Dumas launched Entrepreneur on Fire in 2008, podcasts were a relatively untapped content option. As Dumas puts it, "You need to find that void, that niche that's not currently being filled. When I had the idea that I wanted to listen to a daily podcast, I went and searched for it. I found that it didn't exist."

Tap into your passion

Filling a void is not enough: For your podcast to have longevity, you need a passion for your subject matter. Dumas believes you should be able to tell yourself, "This is something that I can really enjoy doing, not just today or tomorrow, but maybe even next year, three years from now."

Evaluate the value

It's nice to nerd out on your podcast's subject matter -- as long as you have enough fellow nerds to build an audience. "A lot of people have passion for a hobby, especially on new platforms," Dumas says, "but in order to turn it into a viable business you must ask yourself will this actually add value to the marketplace and to the end-consumer."

Strategize before you speak

According to Jennifer Abernathy, author of Social Media for Dummies and the CEO of Socially Delivered, too many people go live on Facebook without a strategy in mind. "The social media has to be connected with the sales goals and messages you want to resonate in a clear way." Abernathy advises. "You should be engaging and interesting enough for the audience to want to come back for more. That requires preparation."

Tailor the pitch to the person

If you are a podcaster, getting guests can be difficult at first. Dumas emphasizes the importance of strategizing your pitch:

Barbara Corcoran. Getting Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran to appear on his podcast was a major coup for Dumas. "I was watching an episode of Shark Tank," he recalls, "Barbara made the comment that she will do anything for our nation's veterans." An eight-year combat veteran, Dumas knew he had his in. True to her word, Corcoran said yes to a vet, and Dumas got to record her live on the Shark Tank set! That interview became a huge credibility boost for both Entrepreneur on Fire and Dumas himself.

Tony Robbins. In the early days of Entrepreneur on Fire, booking a guest like international self-help guru Tony Robbins would have been a real long shot. Instead, Dumas reached out to Robbins' son Jairek, who is following in his father's footsteps. During that interview, Dumas never mentioned Tony, focusing entirely on Jairek's career and achievements. A year after that interview, when Tony released his book, MONEY: Master the Game, it was Jairek who suggested his father add Entrepreneur on Fire to the book tour.

Gene Simmons. By the time the lead singer of the iconic rock group KISS appeared on Entrepreneur on Fire, the podcast had found its audience. A self-styled personal branding maven, Simmons wanted to appear on Entrepreneur on Fire to tout his new book, Me, Inc. Dumas agreed to host Simmons, but on his own terms. "If Gene's willing to answer a couple other questions, specifically his worst moment, things that he struggled over the years, because I want to talk about the good and the bad, then I'll be happy to have him on." Simmons agreed, and two days later, Dumas was on Skype, talking to the tongue.

Get guesting

Entrepreneurs and authors often go on the podcast circuit to promote a new product, idea or book. Pitching yourself as a podcast guest is a good promotional move, especially if the show's niche overlaps with your customer base. An appearance on a popular podcast helps position you as an expert and your company as a go-to resource.

Published on: May 3, 2017
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