She’s burped on air. One time, the word accessible awkwardly came out as sex.
Yet in the world of podcasting, Kristen LaFrance sees these stumbles as a strength. It’s part of what she’s learned as head of Resilient Retail, a Shopify podcast aimed at sharing retail business tips and how to’s with small businesses.
LaFrance says, “If we’re going to be marketing towards brick and mortar small business owners in local communities, the last thing they need in 2020 is some absolute version of perfection that makes them feel less than, that makes them feel like they’re not as much of an expert as me and my guest.
“I think we can all just have a little more fun on the mic.”
“They can be so dry”
Podcasting is having a moment. For a small investment in a microphone, any business can create a podcast to try to reach customers and tell the story of their brand. But LaFrance cautions there’s more to it than simply hitting record and uploading the audio. “I think one of the biggest things with business podcasts is they can be so dry, they can be so focused on whatever those business goals are at the end.”
Her key advice is to focus on the listener, which will in turn help your business.
“This isn't just something to put out for the sake of putting out content so people can see your brand. It's actually putting out something that will help somebody solve a real problem in their life as a human being. So then later down the line, if someone is listening to my podcast and then they're like, wait, Shopify has a point of sale system as well. Actually, I should go look at them. Not because I told them to, but because I've given them so much value that why would they look anywhere else?
“We need to see a lot more humanity and authenticity”
“The other thing I think a lot of business podcasts are missing is a genuine human being as a host who has been given the freedom to speak their mind, to say what they're hearing in interviews.
“What we've done on Resilient Retail is we've kind of blown up the idea of having a perfect interview. And instead, the team at Shopify has trusted me with the platform to say, Kristen, if you hear something that the guest says that you disagree with or something that you think that the audience needs to really, really hear and take to heart ...I've been given the runway to do that.
“We need to see a lot more humanity and authenticity in real conversations ...rather than just servicing the business itself.”
“The power and the secret sauce of podcasting”
After investing time and money into a podcast, LaFrance believes businesses can realize even more value by upcycling content on the platforms where their target audience is already engaged.
“The best way to promote a podcast is to get it on as many channels as you can, make sure the content works for each channel and is native for each channel. But that’s the power and the secret sauce of podcasting...one piece of content is not just one piece of content anymore.”
Here’s what LaFrance suggests you can do with one podcast recording:
- Videotape the interview and post it on YouTube
- Cut a thirty second clip for Instagram
- Create a blog post based on one piece advice from the guest
- Write an article and share the link on Twitter
- Send links to the material in a weekly newsletter
LaFrance warns businesses who jump into podcasting need to realize it’s a long play. “One episode is not going to lead necessarily to sign ups for whatever you're selling. At the end of the day, it's about creating an ecosystem around your brand of content, of narrative, of stories, of information that then allows your brand to become an authority on those topics and allows the people at your company to become thought leaders on those topics.”
“I've become much better at conversations over dinner”
There’s another benefit to podcasting that LaFrance has experienced first hand. “I was known in high school and college as a socially awkward person who would have a hard time holding a conversation with strangers.” Through time she’s become more relaxed and willing to go off script. “I've become much better at conversations over dinner.”