Exactly one year ago, I was getting ready to launch this podcast, the Campfire Circle. 28 episodes later, I’ve discovered a few benefits about podcasting that anyone wanting to get more visible as a go-to guide may want to know about.
Yes, of course, there’re obvious benefits like brand awareness and credibility but today I want to tell you about the pleasant surprises I’ve discovered. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, if you’re newer to podcasting, or even if you’ve been podcasting for years, this episode is for you.
Let’s rewind it back one revolution around the sun, as I was getting ready to birth the Campfire Circle into the world.
What I really wanted to do with the podcast was to have vulnerable and helpful conversations about marketing, and growing a consultancy or small business through the practice of thought leadership. I wanted to talk about navigating systematically limited beliefs around showing up as a go-to voice or practiced guide, and by doing so, shine a light on our collective experiences of imposter thoughts and perfectionism, so folks could 1) begin to see and recognize the systems that make us feel this way – and 2) understand that we’re not alone, that you’re not alone in this experience.
Those conversations were obviously going to be intimate, and deep, and kinda long so a podcast felt like the best way to do that. And my hope was that it would ripple out beyond these conversations, and build enough resonance for others to have similar conversations in their own communities – even if I wasn’t necessarily part of those conversations.
So with that intention in mind, 28 episodes later, we’re here. And I’ve been reflecting on these five surprising benefits of launching and hosting a podcast.
The five benefits of podcasting for thought leadership are:
1. Practicing emergent conversations that sharpen your listening skills
2. Practice publishing your perspective to nurture your own voice
3. Building community with epic people
4. Building a growing library of resources to educate, inform, and inspire
5. Repurposing content to sustainably show up
Highlights from the podcast episode:
Practicing emergent conversations that sharpen your listening skills.
When I listen to my earliest episodes, I can’t help but remember how in control of the conversation I wanted to be. I had my questions all ready, and a preconceived notion of where I wanted the episode to go – which is all fine because some level of preparation is important, but I think there’s an art and beauty to finding the spirit of what needs to be shared, and letting the conversation go where it’s meant to.
One of my key influences is https://adriennemareebrown.net, and I’ve shared a couple times that I think her book Emergent Strategy is required reading for anyone involved in change-work – which, since you’re interested in the practice of thought leadership and visibility, you are by definition.
And by the way, I define thought leadership as a practice of using our passion, experience, and credibility as fuel to spark trust and community as we imagine and shape the future together, for the better.) Essentially – using the innate gifts we already have to foster just change.
One of the principles of emergent strategy is, “Less prep, more presence.” Another one is: “There is a conversation in the room that only these people at this moment can have. Find it.”
The only way to get there in a live, podcast conversation is to let go so we can ramble, together. That may mean – we won’t get to a certain question I really wanted to ask but we WILL get to some other delightful destination I had no idea was even available to us.
As an example, in episode 12, I interviewed Lola Bakare, a friend and inclusive marketing strategist and advisor for household name global brands. I asked her about the story of what she’s grown through to become the guide she is today – like I do in every episode – and something caught me about what she said.
Yes, I could have barreled ahead to my next, pre-prepared question in service of checking off the list and finishing in time, but I had to go back in and put an exclamation point on what she shared about always having been an advisor, even as a young child. It made me remember about how I tried to brand my family when I was a kid – calling an important family meeting to get on the same page about our family color, animal, and other key points. Which was PINK, and dinosaur, obviously. I would have been more strategic about branding my family now, but the point still stands – we usually have an innate calling for something, and there’s generally some remnant of that skillset in what we do today. So, let’s reflect on those experiences and talk about it as we build our brand. That’s such an imposter thought dismantler, by the way – the realization that we’ve been doing this stuff our damn whole lives. So how could we be an imposter? That moment in the conversation sparked ongoing conversation, between Lola and me, and with others as we reflected back to our earliest days and realized we’re meeting a moment that’s been waiting for us since childhood.
But going back to emergent conversations vs. prescribed, controlled conversations. I think there’s a couple reasons we try to control or stick to script. There’s a natural time limit to my episodes. I keep interviews to 40 minutes and solo pods to 20. Also, I want the conversation to make sense, and I don’t necessarily want to go to a place where I then feel lost or out of my element or don’t know what to say or start rambling. I want to honor the person who’s given you and me this time out of their calendar and squeeze the most juice out of it. But even now as I say that, I realize how extractive that is.
What I do know is that practice in entering the wilderness of a real conversation can knock us out of our careful prep and into presence – which is honestly a skill that is KEY for a coach, consultant, service provider, or any humans who work with and hold space with other humans.
Practicing publishing my perspective to nurture my own voice.
When I started the podcast, I figured all the episodes would be interviews with people who I respected, learned from, and honestly, who had audiences I wanted to get in front of. I didn’t know if anybody would listen to my solo episodes, or if new friends would even be able to find them. Well, it turns out that wasn’t the case! My solo episodes generally have about as much listenership as the interviews, maybe partly because they’re shorter, I don’t know.
There’s two reasons I think this is a huge benefit. First of all, it can be really hard to create enough white space in our brain and calendar to even have an original thought that feels worthy of sharing, especially on a place like LinkedIn. But getting these inner thoughts, feelings, and nudges out into the world is how we disseminate our wisdom and put it into a form that’s usable and helpful for other people. So that’s a benefit for others.
But secondly, it’s a benefit for us because it gives us the chance to nurture our own voice. So often, we’ve been conditioned into being seen and not heard or peppering our language with hedging words, with gremlin words like little, just, or just generally being apologetic for taking up space. But podcasting allows us to create a space that is fully ours. And fortunately or unfortunately, how we do one thing is how we do everything. So having this space to practice creating long-form content, that’s really just our opinion or stories or thoughts helps us show up more fully in all the spaces we’re in.
Nurturing relationships with EPIC people. [Who I otherwise probably wouldn’t have a reason to spend almost an hour engaged in thoughtful dialogue with.]
So, time machining back a year, as I dreamed up what this podcast would become, I knew I wanted to treat this almost as part of my offer suite. I wanted each episode to be valuable enough that I could put it out into the world as something I’d feel good about charging for, or that people would feel good about paying for. It’s free, it’s a podcast, but I wanted it to contain that much value for the people listening.
I figured one way to do that was to invite the people I had personally learned so much from, or who worked directly on problems I faced myself while growing my visibility, personal brand, and social impact business. It gave me the chance to learn even more from them and ask the questions I wanted to know in our two-way conversations, but to also keep you in mind, as the third person there who’s also there, as a listener. That’s you! Like, what is it that you would most want to get out of this conversation and can we get there, together?
Looking back, as I scan down the list of people who have sat beside me at the campfire circle as a guest, I am still in a state of “Wow” that they said yes.
People like Denise Brosseau in episode 5. Her book ‘Ready To Be a Thought Leader?’ was a ripple starter for me while I served as a nonprofit executive director. So it was such a full circle moment to have a conversation about thought leadership with someone I regard as the Queen of this work. Or like Ruchika Tulshyan in episode 17. She co-authored the impactful viral article “Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome” for Harvard Business Review with Jodi-Ann Burey. Being able to talk about the practice of inclusion with her, who literally wrote and published the book on this, was a big fangirl moment. Or starting off the podcast in episode 1 with Quinn Conyers who blew everyone’s mind with the concept of luxury language and removing the word ‘help’ from your value statement. By the way, if you want to know how to use brand messaging to go from Steve Urkel to Stefan Urquelle, go back and listen to the first episode.
Obviously, I could do a shoutout for every single guest I’ve had, but like I said, I’m trying to keep these to 20 minutes so let’s keep it pushing.
Educate, inform, inspire, or overcome objections on a larger scale.
For example, last September as I launched the Kindling Collective program to support social impact leaders in driving change and raising revenue through LinkedIn, over 100 people submitted an application form, and they shared what was specifically stopping them from showing up and building their personal brand. I noticed four major trends that pretty much every single person’s answers could be bucketed into, which are:
1. I don’t have anything to say.
2. I feel invisible when I try LinkedIn-ing.
3. I’m not sure my opinions are even worth sharing.
4. LinkedIn feels activating because of the pale, male, and stale vibes and conception I have of the platform.
So, I recorded an entire solo podcast episode talking about the Four Barriers to Visibility on LinkedIn (and How to Overcome them) – sharing inspo and tips both from a strategic perspective and a systematically limited belief perspective.
So you can see how this podcast creates a container to share my responses, thoughts and support, and hopefully nudge even just one person closer towards their visibility goals. Also, I’ll often get questions in the LinkedIn DM’s, Slack channels, or other community spaces and I can easily answer it by referencing a past episode.
Like, if a client is considering doing her first brand photoshoot, I’d recommend they listen to episode 9 with Raj Bandyopadhyay, brand photographer extraordinaire, or if someone is like hey I know you do these one-day intensives and I’m thinking about doing them too, ummm please advise, I’d just send them episode 10 with Jordan Gill, the Queen of VIP Days. Or if they asked about podcasting, I’d send them this episode. It’s an easy way for me to give them a comprehensive answer that takes up almost none of my time. So I have more time to nap and chill.
That does bring up a question around like: okay, how do I decide what’s free and on the podcast vs. what’s part of the Kindling Collective group program. On the podcast, my goal is to inspire, to inform, to whet people’s appetites, to make them think differently, and so on. So I could talk about the benefit of connecting with epic people for the podcast.
But in a client setting, or I guess in my curriculum, it’s less about inspiring people to do something – or the why – and more about the tactical steps of here’s HOW you do something, including templates, scripts, examples, coaching, etc to more quickly get them to where they’re going. So, I’d talk about how to actually connect with and nurture relationships with epic people and then provide a template to make a thoughtful ask. You see?
Creating a repurposable stream of sustainable content. You might be saying, DUH. Is that really surprising? Honestly, yes, it kind of is because I’m just now starting to take full advantage of this.
I started off ghostwriting LinkedIn content for social impact entrepreneurs and executives. And although I’ve moved more into a strategy and consulting role, sometimes the last thing I want to do is create my own personal content after being so deeply involved and entrenched inside other people’s thought leadership work.
But, I can take each episode of this podcast, transcribe it, turn it into a 2,000-3,000 word blog, repurpose it into future LinkedIn content, email it to my list, stick it on YouTube, throw up an Instagram story maybe.
My podcast becomes the place where my content planning starts. And everything else, including my LinkedIn content, can flow from there. And that helps me be Lazy on LinkedIn, because I really only have to come up with one solo rambling per month and then I interview someone brilliant … and that can be the well from which everything else is drawn from.
Advice for starting a podcast
On that point, to close us out, a few words of advice I have if you’re thinking of starting or restarting your podcast … or for that matter, a LinkedIn live series, email newsletter or any other kind of consistent visibility practice … is to pick a cadence that works for you. If you’ve been tuning in for a while you know how I feel about consistency. You don’t have to release an episode every week if that feels overwhelming. Just do something that feels easeful to stick with.
Also, if you’re feeling any of the four barriers I mentioned earlier like, What would I even talk about? Are my opinions worth sharing? What if nobody listens and I feel invisible? Go listen to that other podcast episode, which I’m linking in the show notes. And know that you’re in great company. And that every podcast host that you love listening to, that you follow and listen to their episodes the day they come out – they probably felt that way too once.
And finally, unless you are literally a podcast management business owner or have a friend, family member, or VA who loves to edit podcasts that you can outsource this to … hire someone to do the tech pieces! You are a guide in the specific thing that you do, and want to become known for, and that probably isn’t editing podcasts. So spend your time in your zone of genius please. That would make me happy. And I am so grateful to my podcast editor, Rosa Sarmento and her team at Idea Blossoms. This podcast would not happen without them!
Thanks Rosa, and thank YOU for listening.
Connect with me:
LinkedIn: Tania Bhattacharyya