5 Ways Starting a Podcast Can Help You Reach Your Career Goals

For many people the enjoyment of creating a podcast is reason enough. Hobbies are valid and powerful and we all should invest time in things just for the fun of them if possible. But I started a podcast as a career growth tool. And it’s been fruitful in ways that I had intended and some ways that caught me by surprise. The fact that the process has been fun, and fulfilling is a bonus.

It’s an exciting time to be in podcasting. Year-over-year listenership growth is staggering. According to the most recent research, an estimated 51 percent of American teens and adults have listened to at least one podcast. That’s about 165 million people. This number has steadily risen every year since podcast data began being tracked in 2006.

And many of those who have listened to podcasts are committed fans. More than one in five Americans are weekly podcast listeners. And of those who listen to podcasts on a weekly basis, the average listener takes in seven different episodes.

Podcasting is hot and it’s likely to continue to grow in popularity. But there are so many reasons to start a podcast beyond riding the wave and looking for compensation from advertisers. Podcasting can present you with surprising new opportunities. Perhaps for you, like me, launching a podcast is the best next step in your career journey. Here are five ways that launching a podcast was a game-changer for my career and could move the needle in yours too.

  1. Podcasting gives you the opportunity to network with people who you wouldn’t otherwise know. Because I have an interview-style podcast, I get to spend 30 minutes picking the brains of people I have admired from a distance for years. Without a podcast I would not meet many of these people, much less engage them in meaningful, long conversations. Not only do I benefit from their insights, it also creates a natural way to build relationships with influential people. Because of the podcast I get to pepper them with questions, give them a press opportunity, and create a shared memory.
  2. Podcasting can help you find new clients and opportunities. As a part-time freelancer (I also have a part-time W-2 gig), I’m always on the lookout for exciting freelance opportunities. And I’ve gotten several because of my podcast. One was a referral from a podcast guest to another entrepreneur in her space. Another was someone who I built trust and rapport with because he got to know me through my podcast. Having my own podcast gives me a platform to demonstrate my expertise. Opportunities like these have more than made up for the expense of producing the show.
  3. Podcasting helps grow your platform and widen your audience. If you have career goals that are directly connected to getting a message out to the world, a podcast is a great avenue to reach and expand your target audience. Research tells us that podcast listeners are smart, active on social media, and loyal to their favorite podcasts. They are great brand advocates. Adding podcasting to the mix of the platforms you use to publish content will help you build deeper connections with the fans you already have and reach new folks.
  4. Podcasting gives you an opportunity to establish thought leadership and expertise. No matter the format of your show, you can use your podcast to elevate your personal brand and educate your audience on your area of expertise. You can do this through talking about your own work, sharing your best advice, or even mentoring a guest on an episode. You can also communicate your credibility by asking thoughtful questions of your guests, demonstrating your own industry knowledge. Having your own podcast will also make you a desirable guest for other podcasts. I make time to guest on other podcasts once a month, but if I wanted to do it every week, that would be an easy goal to reach.
  5. Podcasting will likely surprise you with transferable skills. This was certainly the most unexpected benefit of podcasting for me. Hosting a podcast has made me a better public speaker. I initially noticed it when I gave a presentation at a conference for the first time in over a year. I used fewer filler words than I had the last time I spoke. I was more confident. I was more relaxed. My message was clear. This is because I have practice speaking in front of an audience on a weekly basis on my podcast. The more you speak in front of an audience, whether in person or through earbuds, the stronger your public speaking skills will develop.

And here is a bonus: if you are self-employed and your podcast has anything remotely to do with your career, financial investment in your show is a tax-deductible expense.

Producing a podcast can be challenging. It takes strategic planning. You need either time or money to get it produced. You need to have a vision and commitment. So, if your goal for launching a podcast is to get paid advertisers, I don’t recommend it. But if you use your podcast as a strategic tool, it can help grow your audience, help you cultivate skills that could serve you in other aspects of your career, and even lead to unexpected opportunities. Podcasting just might be the best next step in building your personal brand and reaching your career goals.

Hilary Sutton is a writer, consultant, and speaker, passionate about helping people spend their days in work that is wildly fulfilling. She is the host of the podcast, “Hustle and Grace with Hilary Sutton.”  HilarySutton.com

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