Why the Best Financial Services Podcasts Are Cashing In on New Kinds of Media
By Kyle Harper on April 15, 2019
Ask the average American who their financial advisor is, and chances are you'll get more confused reactions than helpful recommendations.
That's because today's personal finance approach looks dramatically different than that of decades before. Americans are tackling rising rents and stagnating incomes, they're surviving with little to no savings in the bank, and many don't believe their current state of wealth warrants professional financial advice. All of the best financial services podcasts, helpful articles, instructional videos, and money management books today are all centered around this reality: The economy has shifted, and people are looking to learn as much as they can to stay afloat.
For financial services brands, this presents an enormous opportunity to build audiences through education. Podcasting offers a great outlet to do so and is a medium with little branded competition at the moment.
Podcasters as the New Advisors
In the past, if you wanted financial advising, you had to drive to your local bank or accounting office and ask about advising services. The next conversation you had typically involved cost structure, management fees, and assurances that your wealth would be in good hands.
Image attribution: Sabri Tuzcu
Today, the barrier to entry for personal finance management has been lowered a great deal by web-enabled financial services. From simpler and faster banking, to investing apps that simplify buying and selling, to budgeting apps that keep you on track—it's never been easier for families to take control of their financial future. And right alongside these tools, we're seeing an explosion of personal finance podcasters who want to show you how to use these tools to their greatest effect.
However, most of these podcasters are private personalities.I n the financial services brand space, we actually haven't seen this avenue of content catch on in a big way...yet. This isn't too surprising, though—brands don't always have a clear vision for their podcasting strategy, and the upkeep necessary to maintain a podcast can require some heavy lifting. But between the popularity of private podcasters and the interest in podcasting shown by brands like Fidelity Investments and trading app Robinhood, this appears to be an area of open opportunity rather than risk.
So what exactly makes for a strong personal finance podcast?
Experience Over Expertise
If you take no other podcast marketing tips away from this article, make sure you remember this one: Listeners today equate experienced insight with expert insight.
What does this mean in practice? Your podcasting host doesn't need to have an alphabet soup of accounting credentials after their name to hold an audience. Rather, listeners are looking for insights that come from someone who can provide a solid life example of what that advice looks like in practice.
This idea is central to one of the longest running and most successful personal finance personalities today, Dave Ramsey. Sporting a massive network of books, blogs, podcasts, radio shows, and live events, Ramsey has been able to push his unique financial plan that emphasizes debt reduction above all else, simply by making families the focus of his content. And when it comes to Ramsey's podcasts, his shows consist of two parts: callers who have a pressing financial issue that he can speak to as an example, or families who come on the show to explain how they got out of debt themselves. There are numerous parts of Ramsey's approach that don't match up to conventional financial teaching, but listeners aren't convinced by the theory—they're convinced by listeners like them who can provide concrete examples and experiences.
Another great example of this dynamic comes from Gaby Dunn's show, Bad with Money. Part personal financial insights, part journalistic endeavor about the economic environment today, Dunn's show focuses on topics specifically about what personal finance looks like for families today, particularly for communities that are often missed in popular financial conversations. Here again, listeners aren't convinced by the host's depth of financial credentialing, but rather by the proximity and reality these stories have to her own listeners' lives.
The lesson for financial brands is clear—the best financial services podcasts need to focus on stories, concepts, and experiences that directly relate to their listeners. Theory is nothing without practice.
Needs and Ambitions
A single dollar might not mean much on its own, but when collected together, a pile of dollars can take on whole new meaning for families. It can be a way out of a stressful financial hole, or it can be the starting seed of a future venture. Whatever your listener's personal interests are in collected wealth, it typically comes down to one of two things: immediate need or future ambition.
This split tends to also define podcasts in the personal finance space. Immediate need podcasts tend to look at pressing financial matters or try to simplify financial current events in an entertaining way like NPR's wildly popular show, Planet Money. The formula here is to understand what is most important to your audience, determine whether it's a common struggle like debt management or popular current event news, and present it in an approachable and actionable way.
Image attribution: Aleks Dorhovich
On the other side of the spectrum, there are a wide array of podcasts that look at future ambitions and help listeners define a path to their goals. A great example of this comes from the FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early), which is made up of people who want to live ultra-frugally today so that they can retire decades in advance of their peers. The Mad Fientist is one of the longest running and most popular shows in this space, and centers around interviews with regular people who have been able to FIRE at some point in their life. The strategies presented are relevant today, but speak to a bigger picture or lifestyle that the listeners aim to commit to.
Other examples of shows like this could be entrepreneurial, like the Smart Passive Income podcast, which focuses on interviews and strategies around how regular families can build passive businesses and investments from home.
For a financial services brand, this split can give you an easy starting point for your podcasting endeavors. Start with the matters that are most important to your particular audience, and begin making content toward their needs or ambitions. Over time, as you perfect your workflow, you can expand your content coverage to new areas within the industry.
Be Personal, Be Real
Ultimately, the best podcast marketing tips for any financial services brand comes down to finding personal and relatable ways to make your financial knowledge accessible to your listeners. Might your audiences still come to you to hire a formal advisor? Absolutely. Will they still require your apps, services, and financial products? Certainly. The knowledge you impart serves to build trust in an otherwise sterile space, and also gives your listeners confidence to become active investors, buyers, and savers who interact with your brand.
Focus on real experiences, tie knowledge to current day needs and future dreams, and you'll quickly find the rest of your podcasting details will quickly fall into place.