How to Become a Thought Leader by Podcasting

With rapidly growing listener figures, podcasting is now one of the most accessible ways to become a thought leader in your area of expertise.

Despite the long-standing myth, podcasting isn’t just for hobbyists and amateurs. It’s now one of the most accessible ways to become a thought leader in your field.

In the past, you had to get on TV or publish a book to be considered a true thought leader. So traditional media gatekeepers had all the power. They decided who was an expert and who wasn’t. But things have changed. The internet and new media shifted the balance of power.

DIY Thought Leadership

Although it can seem vague, the term “thought leader” can be understood in simple terms. Marketing expert and author Jay Baer summed it up like this:

A thought leader is someone with proven expertise and experience who isn’t afraid to share it with the world without direct compensation.

Today, most thought leaders are self-made. They don’t wait for others to give them a platform or a voice. They build a platform themselves and grow their own audience.

Genuine knowledge and expertise can’t be faked. If a podcast host really knows their stuff, it always shines through in the content they create. And their audience grows steadily as a result. 

Keep in mind that podcasting isn't a get rich quick scheme. To become a thought leader, you'll need patience and perseverance. 

Start Your Own Podcast & Become a Thought Leader

Launch your own podcast and become a thought leader with our fully managed personal branding service. You talk to guests, and we’ll handle everything else. If you've got expertise to share with the world, we’ll turn it into original, quality content for you to share on all platforms.

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The Podcast Boom

Of course, there’s still lots of value in traditional media. Appearing on TV as a commentator or publishing a book still serve as gold standards for having achieved expert status.

But they are no longer the only option. Podcasting has made it possible for anyone to share their expertise with the world and become a thought leader. And its reach is growing by the day.

As audience figures for both TV and radio continue to slowly decline, podcasting is very much on the come up. According to recent statistics:

  • Podcasting awareness has risen dramatically. In 2006, only 22% of consumers knew what a podcast was, but by 2019 over 64% of consumers were aware of podcasting.
  • By 2022 it’s estimated podcast listenership figures will grow to 132 million in the US alone.
Podcasting has gone mainstream

Aspiring thought leaders can’t afford to ignore this wide and rapidly growing pool of listeners. Whatever you niche, there’s an audience out there waiting.

You don’t need to please everyone to become a thought leader. Your target audience are the only people who matter. And with podcasting, you’ll be able to reach them, wherever they may be.

On-Demand Expertise

One of the main factors fuelling the podcasting boom is the portability of the medium itself. Thanks to smartphones, people can listen to podcasts anywhere and everywhere - during their commute, in the gym, while doing housework, or even in bed at night.

Podcasts are available when text and video aren't. Listeners can easily tune in while doing other things. By creating your own thought leadership podcast, you’ll make it much easier for your audience to fit you into their schedule. And chances are, they’ll be more receptive to your message.

Listening to a podcast is a very different experience than passively scrolling through a social feed. There’s a lot more depth to it. Few other mediums allow you to connect with your audience in such an uninterrupted, unfiltered way.

Inform AND Entertain

Podcasts can also help you get around another thought leadership problem - they can transform dry and heavy topics into captivating, meaningful discussion. Storytelling, anecdotes, and interesting speakers can help bring any subject to life. Just because a podcast is meant to inform, doesn’t mean it has to be dull.

Listeners want more than facts and stats

James Schramko, host of the Superfast Business podcast, offered some wise advice for others who want to use podcasting to become a thought leader:

Don’t bore people. Don’t worry too much about replicating someone else’s formula. Be original with your podcast.

When it comes to thought leadership, the successful podcasters are those that spend time before they launch figuring out why they are doing it. Always start by asking “What value am I going to bring to the world through podcasting?” 

Thought Leadership Podcast Examples

There's no shortage of individuals who have become a thought leader through podcasting. Peter Attia is a US physician who focuses on the science of longevity. In recent years, he’s become one of the most recognisable names in this space - all thanks to podcasting.

After first appearing as a guest on other podcasts, Peter launched his own show in 2018. The Peter Attia Drive podcast covers all things health, exercise, and nutrition and has now been downloaded millions of times.

The show is unapologetic in it’s style. It covers medical topics in a detailed and accurate way. By refusing to dumb things down, Peter has built a loyal fanbase within the medical community. Podcasting allows him to speak directly to his target audience, in their language.

Doctors aren’t the only ones getting involved with podcasting. Kings Chambers is a leading medical negligence law firm in the UK. Head barrister Nigel Poole, was tired of outdated traditional marketing methods in the legal industry. So he approached Podcast.co to help create Kings Chambers’ own podcast.

Kings Chambers Debrief podcast gives lawyers and non-lawyers alike an insight into what’s going on in the field. By showcasing his expertise in an accessible and engaging way, Nigel gained access to a whole new audience, further cementing Kings Chambers as a go-to authority on medical negligence.

Start by Being a Guest

Finding your feet in podcasting is easy. You don’t even need to be a host yourself. One of the best ways to get your name out there is to appear as a guest on other podcasts. If you’ve got proven knowledge and experience, you shouldn’t have a problem booking shows.

Most podcast hosts are actively searching for individuals with helpful knowledge to share. They rely on input from guests to keep their shows fresh and provide value to their audience. The key lies in identifying shows that are highly relevant to your area of expertise.

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google are your best starting points. Run a few keyword searches to find podcasts likely to be of interest to your target audience. Before making a note of them, browse through the episode lists to make sure they feature guests (some podcasts operate as a one man show and don’t do interviews).

Once you’ve got your list, it's time to reach out to the hosts. Let them know how you found their podcast, what you like about it, and why you think you’d be a good fit for their audience. If you have some specific topics you’d like to talk about, mention those as well. Always send the email yourself! You’ll be much less likely to get a response if you have someone else do it for you.

You can also use our MatchMaker service to get guest spots. All you need to do is create your profile telling us about your area of expertise. You’ll then be able to search our ever-growing database of podcasts, and apply to any shows that are a good fit for you. Saves all the back and forth hassle of direct outreach. 

It's like Tinder, but for podcasters!

Repurpose Your Interviews

If you’ve made the effort of appearing as a guest, you should make the most of your interviews afterwards. There are plenty of ways you can use and re-use this valuable content to help you become a thought leader.

You can embed audio clips on your website or blog, share extracted quotes on social media, or transcribe parts of your interview to create new articles and blog posts. When you start with long-form podcast content, it’s easy to create a whole range of other marketing assets.

Become a Thought Leader by Starting Your Own Podcast

Once you’ve been a guest a few times, the next logical step is to build your own thought leadership platform by starting your own podcast. In many ways, its similar to launching any other kind of marketing campaign.

Planning and Preparation

The first step is pinning down your target audience. Who are they? What are the biggest problems they face? And how can you expertise help solve them?

Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can begin identifying relevant angles within your area of expertise to outline your first episodes. Identify what you want your audience to learn from each episode, then start pulling together research, anecdotes, and guests that can help you achieve that goal.

Next, you’ll need to craft the episodes. Put together either a full script or a detailed list of talking points, supporting materials, and stories to be sure each episode is clear, persuasive, and easy for audiences to follow. We’ve created a handy podcast script template which is a great place to start.

Preparation is key

Finally, it's a good idea to spend some time rehearsing before you press record. The more prepared you are, the more professional the final product will sound.

Execution

Once you, your guests, and your script are ready to go, it’s time to make your podcast a reality. This includes recording, editing, and publishing, and there are a couple different routes you can go depending on your own technical expertise and the resources you have available to you.

If you feel confident navigating your way around microphones and audio editors, you can set up your own recording space, gather your equipment, and jump right in. Here’s a full guide to creating your first podcast.

However, if you’re feeling unsure about the whole process, you can always reach out for support. At Podcast.co, our start-to-finish podcast production services will help you sounds your best and wow listeners. Brief us on your vision and we’ll help you deliver polished and professional audio to your listeners, quickly.

Once you’ve got three or four episodes recorded and you’re ready to launch, it’s time to start publishing. Again, this is something we can handle for you - we’ll get you listen on all the top directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. But if you’d prefer to submit your podcast yourself, here’s what you need to know.

Attracting Listeners

Publishing your podcast is just the start. The real work lies in attracting listeners to your show. As with your guest appearances on other podcasts, the best way to do this is by repurposing your podcast content.

The goal is to reach potential listeners wherever they may be. Whether that’s searching on Google, scrolling on Instagram, or reading posts on LinkedIn. By creating unique assets for each online location, you’ll be able to funnel more listeners towards your podcast.

Reach listeners, wherever they are

Creating a multi-channel content ecosystem is no small task. And if you’re already managing lots of other important things, time is probably a luxury you don’t have. So having a podcast production partner makes all the difference. It allows you to stay focused on bigger picture tasks, while they manage and grow your podcast.

We’ve created a service specifically designed for thought leaders who’d like to grow their online presence through podcasts. The process is managed from start to finish, with your own executive producer to oversee the whole campaign.

All you need to do is sit down to record six episodes, which take less than an hour each. We’ll then take your conversations with guests and turn them in 48 pieces of original, quality content including: audio episodes, YouTube videos, animated audiograms, blog posts, and social media posts.

By the end, you’ll be equipped with an entire arsenal of content to share across all channels, without a single minute spent writing posts. If you’ve got expertise to share with the world, we’ll make sure your voice is heard.

Start Your Own Podcast & Become a Thought Leader

Launch your own podcast and become a thought leader with our fully managed personal branding service. You talk to guests, and we’ll handle everything else. If you've got expertise to share with the world, we’ll turn it into original, quality content for you to share on all platforms.

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