Podcasts. Thinking about starting? Considering using them to market your business? Host of the award-winning ‘Tough Girl Podcast’ and global adventurer, Sarah Williams, gave insight into the world of podcasting at today’s Club-Wide Online Meetup. Including how…

– The Tough Girl Podcast reached 1m downloads last year

– To repurpose podcasts into blog or video content

– Create high quality podcasts on a shoestring budget

– There’s no such thing as a ‘boring’ subjects

– To apporach podcast hosts to offer your expertise

All that sandwiched between Network My Club members and guests from across the South East and London networking with one another. 

Sarah Williams Q&A

Give us a quick snapshot of your career from working in Banking, going travelling, to now…

I worked in Banking for 8 years, got to 32 and wasn’t enjoying it. I was in a fortunate position. I had savings to left to go travelling to South America. It gave me time to think about my life and focus on my passions: travel, adventure and motivating and inspiring women and girls.

When I got back, I started a company called Tough Girl Challenges. Initially it was going to be a blog. It failed.

But I was giving motivational talks in girls schools. Someone then asked why I didn’t start a podcast. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what they were or how they worked but I started listening and understood the power of them. I realised it was incredible format to interview other women and help them share their voices.

On 4th August 2015 I started producing one episode per week. It took me 5 days to reach 100 downloads, 6 months to reach 25,000 and a year to 100,000. I reached 1m downloads in September last year.

What are the benefits of podcasting?

I started from nothing. Didn’t have a social media following or network to use. But through the podcast I’ve had incredible conversations with inspirational women around the world in the adventure field. It’s not only built up my network but opened opportunities for me.

It’s an incredibly powerful platform. You’ve got three platforms you can use: blog, video or podcasting. I believe that podcasting can lead into both other formats by repurposing the content. People may not know how to listen to a podcast, but definitely will know how to work YouTube!

Many businesses may have considered starting a podcast. Where would be a good place to start?

It does seem overwhelming, but the technology has advanced to make it much easier. Use an app called Anchor which you can use on laptop or mobile. You can use Audacity to edit it. The main costs are around the media hosting. It’s a huge benefit to businesses to create extra content to share.

The hardest thing is growing an audience. You won’t grow one overnight. If you are ➕consistent and patient the payoff will be a huge though.

Podcasts haven’t had the mainstream surge yet. Five years ago I was attending networking events and having to explain what a podcast was! Now most people have heard of it and understand it more. With the development of Google Home and Alexa, voice is going to become even more powerful.

If you’ve got the time, you can either do it on a shoestring budget and create good quality content. If you’re a large business can outsource it and just do the fun things yourself!

It’s an incredible way to grow your business.

What would you say to people that think podcasts aren’t relevant to their business but are thinking about starting one?

Start by doing your research. There will probably be a podcast out there on your niche. If there isn’t, start one.

When you’re being a guest on somebody else’s podcast and sharing your story, you’re not only going to improve your public speaking, but have somebody else promoting you as a leading expert in your industry. It’s also more brilliant content for your website.

The biggest thing podcasts do is when people hear voices in their head it builds a high level of trust. Podcast listeners are more likely to listen the whole thing, whereas people watching videos normally switch off after a couple of minutes. There are a lot of benefits from collaboration and being a guest in your area.

If you are going to start your own podcast and there’s someone senior that you haven’t been able to get a meeting with, say to them you’d love to hear about their story and to share their tips and tricks. You’re going to build rapport with that person in the 20-minute podcast.

How would you approach a podcast host to offer yourself as a guest?

Create a pitch document. What’s your background and story. What topics can you talk about with authority. Listen to the podcast first. Follow them all on social media and engage with their content so they know who you are. Therefore it’s not just a cold introduction! 

Are there any major no no’s when starting a podcast?

No. And don’t think what you can talk about is ‘boring. ‘Boring’ subjects will fascinate some people. It can be 3 hours or 10 minutes long, but if you are passionate about your subject, there will be other people in the world that feel the same. There’s no such thing as a boring subject!

What’s next for the ‘Tough Girl Podcast’?

I normally go out doing big adventures – last year I did 3 months cycling from Vancouver to Mexico – but that’s now off the cards. I’m doubling up my production. New episodes come out every Tuesday. I’m trying to help and motivate and inspire others.

I’m trying to promote female role models. The numbers are great, but the best thing for me is when I get messages about how I’ve changed the lives of my listeners.

What’s your standout show from the Tough Girl Podcast?

There’s an amazing podcast with Rosie Swale Pope. She’s 73 years young. She lost her partner and decided to go for a run around the world pulling a cart behind her!

Last year she ran from Brighton to Kathmandu in Nepal. She has the most amazing stories and attitude. Even if though I did the interview, I re-listened to it as I was so engrossed that I missed my train stop!

You can find something from every episode that you can apply to your life.