Great – something else I need to learn to reach readers. Not interested.

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Podcasting has been around for nearly a decade now, and it’s going mainstream. It’s not just another way of reaching readers. It’s a way of communicating with readers that creates a deeper connection than we get using email, blog posts, guest posts, or even posting cute pictures of our cats on social media.

Imagine the experience a reader gets when reading your latest book, then compare that to what she feels when reading an email message from you. Your book engages readers in ways that are difficult to duplicate with email, even if you include a cat picture.

Why?

No matter how brilliantly you craft your email people don’t like reading long email messages.

But people will listen to a long podcast.

I’ve found podcasting to be a terrific way to educate myself, to make great friends, and to expand my reach. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’m starting a new, reader focused podcast next month.  Not coincidentally, that podcast is focused on the genre that I write.

Here are five more reasons why it’s time to start your podcast.

1. Podcasting allows you to reach readers when they want to hear from you.

We’re authors so of course we read, but do you also listen to audiobooks?

Why? For me, it’s because I can. I love ‘consuming’ books in all ways. Reading is great, and listening is great. I actually think of both as reading, and I love being able to read books in a way that fits my schedule.

For me, it’s because I can. I love ‘consuming’ books in all ways. Reading is great, and listening is great. I think of both as reading, and I love being able to read books in a way that fits my schedule.

running-573762_640Now think about your readers and fans. You connect with them through your website, social media, and if you’re really working it – through your ever-expanding email list. But, what about the readers who would love to hear from you while they’re walking, or at the gym, or running errands.

As authors, we want to be where our readers can find us, and many of those readers, probably more than you would guess enjoy listening to podcasts.

Social media feeds come and go quickly, but a podcast, especially one that a reader subscribes to, is ready whenever they are ready to listen.

2. The iPhone has Brought Podcasting into the Mainstream

When I started listening to podcasts a decade or so ago, I was an outlier.  And for good reason – listeners had to be both dedicated and more than a little geeky to figure out how to download and then listen to a podcast.

Fast forward to a recent lunch I had with a friend who pulled out his phone and asked for the name of my podcast. I told him, he punched it into the podcast player on page one of his iPhone menu and subscribed. In seconds, I heard my voice coming from his phone.

This particular friend didn’t know what a podcast was until the podcast app showed up on his iPhone.

Now multiply that by the millions of people who have the new iPhone and you get some idea why interest in podcasting is exploding.

3. It’s not just about iTunes – The next frontier for Podcasting is the car radio

A recent Forbes Magazine article on the rise of podcasting quoted a study that shows vastly more cars will have Internet connections in the next few years. To quote from the article, “When that happens, and there are podcasts in everybody’s car, it’s not podcasts anymore, it’s just the radio.”

Can you imagine being able to speak directly to your readers while they’re driving?

4. The power of subscriptions

earphone-316753_640There’s magic that happens when someone subscribes to your podcast and listens to a few episodes. You share your thoughts and plans with listeners directly. A connection forms. I don’t understand the why or the how of it, but I’ve experienced the connection for myself on both sides.

I’ve listened to Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn Podcast for years. I felt like we were friends long before we ever had the opportunity to have a two-way conversation. When Joanna publishes a new book I buy it, initially to support the work she did on the podcast, and now because I enjoy reading her books.

I launched the Author Biz, my second podcast in July of last year, and now I’m on the receiving end. Every week I hear from listeners that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, who think of me as a friend and I love it!

5. For once you’ll be ahead of the curve

Don’t you wish you would have adopted Twitter sooner? I do. Maybe you wish you’d started your email list as soon as you launched your website.

There’s clear evidence that podcasting is going mainstream, but how many authors do you know who host their own podcast?

There are two types of early adopters in author podcasting. The first are the bleeding edge early adopters, like Joanna Penn. The second are people like me, who jumped on a bandwagon that was just starting to pick up speed. The bleeding edge opportunity may have passed, but the bandwagon is still moving slowly enough that you can jump on and get a good seat ahead of nearly everyone else.

Should you think about starting a podcast?

Yes, if you didn’t scream and close your browser halfway through this post you should think about it. Take the idea of podcasting for a test ride. How does it feel?

If you shiver with delight at the opportunity, let me know. I’ve learned a great deal since I started podcasting nearly two years ago, and I might be able to help you.

If you shiver with fear at the thought of putting yourself out there like that, at least you’ve considered it. Podcasting isn’t for everyone, but if you think it might be for you, it can be a very powerful tool.

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