Interest in podcasts is on the rise in Canada, and for financial advisors who record and produce compelling audio content, the medium provides a direct way to increase their profiles by engaging and educating listeners.
According to The Canadian Podcast Listener 2019, a report produced by Audience Insights Inc. and Ulster Media, 36.8 per cent of 3,040 Canadian adults surveyed in May 2019 said they had listened to a podcast during the previous 12 months, up from 33.6 per cent in 2017. And 57 per cent of podcast listeners said they follow their favourite podcast host on social media.
That personal connection is one feature of podcasting that stands out for Benjamin Felix, portfolio manager with PWL Capital in Ottawa, after having produced more than 70 episodes of Rational Reminder, the weekly investing and personal finance-focused podcast he launched with colleague Cameron Passmore in 2018.
“For people who are not clients with us currently, when they get in touch with us after having listened to the podcast, it’s as if they already know us and we already have a relationship. They have actually said this to us,” he says.
Although they didn’t create their podcast as a prospecting tool, Mr. Felix says it has proven valuable in helping new clients find his team – particularly those who share their approach to portfolio management and financial planning.
“The philosophical alignment is important, but it might even be more important that they have a full understanding of the services we provide. There’s no education or selling process when somebody comes in after having listened to the podcast,” Mr. Felix says.
For Jason Pereira, partner and senior financial consultant at Woodgate Financial Inc., a financial planning firm under the IPC Securities Corp. umbrella in Toronto, launching the Fintech Impact podcast in early 2018 was a way to tap into his knowledge of technology and fintech and share it with fellow advisors. Yet, it has also helped him build credibility with existing and prospective clients in that industry.
“When I tell them about the podcast, it is immediate validation. They’ve met someone who not only is a financial planner with a tool set that they are looking for, but [are comforted to know that I] understand how [their] industry works,’” says Mr. Pereira, who’s launching another podcast – Financial Planning for Canadian Business Owners – this month.
Mark Shimkovitz, vice-president and advisor with The Shimkovitz Group at Raymond James Ltd. in Toronto, launched the Living Richer podcast in 2018 largely as a way to boost financial literacy for clients and Canadians, in general.
“If we’re talking about a certain concept, I will tend to say, ‘You know what, I have a podcast where we discuss all of that stuff, let me send you a link,’” he says.
Although podcast production may seem daunting at first, advisors say both the financial and technical barriers to entry are relatively low.
Mr. Shimkovitz, who records and edits his own podcast, took an online course to gain the necessary knowledge when he decided to launch Living Richer.
He records episodes using a microphone boom arm that he purchased online and connects to his computer via USB. The software he uses was free to download.
When interviewing remote guests, Mr. Felix and his co-host Mr. Passmore use Zoom web meeting software.
Mr. Felix and Mr. Pereira both outsource the editing for a low fee.
Starting a podcast may be straightforward for advisors from a technical perspective, but the challenges lie in other areas. Namely, putting out regular, quality content that remains compelling over time, promoting the show and building up a listener base is essential to gaining traction. But achieving these factors in unison is not easy – and the effort can be time-consuming while running a busy practice, these advisors say.
For advisors considering launching a podcast, standing out from the crowd begins with finding a unique perspective, says Mr. Pereira.
“If anyone’s looking to start up a podcast, [they need to] get specific. Do not go broad market. If you go broad market, you’re in competition with everyone,” he says. “If you get specific ... you can basically own that space.”
Once advisors have figured out what area they want to tackle, advisors will need to develop a content calendar, research topics and establish a routine that sets aside specific time for podcast production.
Ultimately, though, Mr. Felix says the extra work required to produce a successful podcast is a great experience for advisors.
“The time that we’re committing to preparing for the podcasts and to interview our guests, it’s time that we’re spending gaining knowledge ourselves and getting better at the type of work we do with clients,” he says. “It allows us to communicate these relatively advanced ideas to not only to our clients and to prospective clients but also to our team – so I think that’s a huge advantage.”