Why we started a podcast amidst COVID-19 to grow our businesses

Over the last few years (pre-COVID-19) my podcast co-host and friend David Bobis floated around the idea of doing a web series about business, marketing, startups, and things that we learned over the last decade and a bit.

A lot of these conversations happened over quite a few drinks and while it was something we thought about a lot, nothing ever materialised out of those conversations.

Cut to 2020, again over a few drinks, COVID-19 decides to ruin the year for most of us, and David is back in Singapore. He is based in Australia, while I am based in Singapore.

We are out having drinks, and –lo-and-behold– there are talks about the lockdown and everyone is worried. Going out and hanging around in crowds is discouraged and we look for alternative ways to catch up as friends.

“Why don’t we start a podcast?”

One of us said that, though for the life of me, I cannot remember whom. It made sense, we did not have the proper video recording equipment, nor the technical skill to effectively edit video.

We mulled over this point for a while, as we looked for reasons not to, and in the end, decided to give it a try.

This was the genesis of our podcast Business Over Drinks where we talk about everything business-related.  It is a business podcast modelled after the countless business conversations that happen over a few drinks.

This is a casual conversation between business leaders, mavericks, and industry mavens and the two hosts who came up with this idea over a couple of drinks.

It took us a couple of days to set up and by June 16 we have already published six podcasts and conducted interviews with some of the most interesting people we could find. It has opened new doors for both of us in terms of networking, lead generation, and honestly, it is one of the most therapeutic ways to handle the lockdown.

The most important thing is that we do not take ourselves too seriously, because it has helped us keep it going for this long, on top of full-time jobs.

However, we started this as friends and turned it into a business podcast that works for us. For brands, it might be different, though the benefits and value of the podcast are definitely worth exploring.

Here’s why a podcast would make sense for your business.

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It is a growing format in Southeast Asia

This is like the early days of music or video streaming, everyone’s doing it, but why not you. Podcasts are enjoying that same groundswell and developing a community of dedicated early adopters.

Though still in its infancy in the region, it is growing in popularity and gaining a following. This provides you with the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and be the pioneers for podcasts in the region.

Using data from the US, the number one market in terms of podcast consumption, we can see strong to exponential growth in the number of podcasts and listeners. The question isn’t if it will happen in Asia, but when it will.

We literally started a podcast called Business Over Drinks, where we drink alcohol and have a fun conversation with people about business, marketing and everything related. There is no reason that you cannot find a niche or even general topics that fit you and your brand.

Podcasts create communities

One of the hardest things for brands to do is to create a community. From our experience, it helps you connect better to your audience, while at the same time gives you an avenue to really let your personality or values shine through.

Corporate or brand blogs are awesome, and I cannot stress their value enough. As a PR and content marketer, I understand that value. However, what we have come to understand is that through podcasts, the rate of engagement is a lot higher than written content.

We develop a closer relationship with our listeners through the fact that they feel we are engaging them directly through our podcasts because they can hear our voices and the conversational tone of our content.

There is a similar trend to how social commerce is becoming a growth industry in the region as consumers want to create a connection with brands and sellers.

Selling yourself and your brand is easier

Some call it shameless self-promotion, but the platform lends itself to being open to your listeners and selling your brand as part of the content. We do not produce 25-minute advertisements but are not averse to promoting our brands or products.

For example, my co-host David just released a book with an NSFW title and we mention it all the time. I definitely talk about my experiences with my company SYNC and what we do but within the context of the conversation.

It is a ton of fun

This might not be the most professional or essential reason to start a podcast but is a really good one. If you have a passion for your industry or even just your brand, then you need to be shouting it from the metaphorical rooftops and letting people know what you got going on.

So if you’re still not convinced, listen to a few podcasts that suit your interests to see how you feel. It might help you better understand the medium and it benefits it can have on your business.

You can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, as well as most other major podcast platforms.

This article was first published on e27, under the title Why we started a podcast amidst COVID-19 to grow our businesses.

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