Podcasting for Financial Advisors: Start Your Own Show

12 min read
May 13, 2015

Thinking about how you can continue to expand your web presence, build authority, and market yourself and your firm to new clients? Getting on social media and writing a blog both provide good starting points -- but they're not your only options.

Podcasting for financial advisors offers another avenue to utilize new media and reach bigger audiences.

Podcasts are audio files that you can download or stream, and the appeal lies in people's ability to choose. Much like YouTube offers visitors the ability to choose their own video content rather than be stuck with what's scheduled to broadcast on TV, podcasts allow people to tune in and listen to what they want, when they want.

And they're also powerful tools to help you advance your career and grow your business as a financial advisor.

Why Podcasting for Financial Advisors?

Regardless of the rising popularity of podcasts as new media, "why should financial advisors care?" is a fair question. A large majority of traditional financial planners can barely bother to keep a blog, much less what amounts to an online radio show.

But that's a limiting mindset that could prevent you from growing your practice in new and novel ways. Podcasting allows you to reach literally millions of people, all of who could benefit from your knowledge and expertise.

"At the time [the podcast started], our minimum for new client relationships was $250,000 in investable assets," says Bo Hanson, CFP® and co-host of The Money-Guy Show. Brian Preston, CFP® started the show back in 2006 in order to help the people that weren't ready to be brought on at his firm, Preston and Cleveland Wealth Management.

"We hated the thought of individuals under that asset threshold calling us and not being able to help them. All they needed was some sound, fundamental advice, and they would be much better off than running into one of the 'sharks' of our industry," Hanson explains. "We started creating unbiased, personal finance content and giving it away for free."

"We recognized that we could not have a 1 hour phone call with 1,000 people, but we could do a 1 hour show, blast it out to 1,000 people, and it would still provide tremendous value to those individuals."

The podcast grew in popularity and is now huge with consumers and listeners. As their show grew, more and more clients with investable assets started coming forward, wanting to work with The Money Guys.

"It is the greatest business idea we have ever had," they say. "While the original intention was never to get business from it, it has allowed us to reach clients all over the country and hit some career goals we might not have thought were possible, and certainly not possible in such a short time frame."

Starting Your Own Financial Podcast

If you're interested in exploring podcasting -- and starting your own podcast -- there's good news for you. Much like every other form of online media, barriers to entry are low and anyone can jump right in.

Anyone wanting a podcast will need much less now than “way back when,” say Preston and Hanson. "With all of the free software and advances in mobile technology, the startup for a podcast can be practically free. We do advise, however, spending money on good microphones as that can make a huge difference in the quality of your output."

Joe Saul-Sehy of Stacking Benjamins echoed that sentiment that you simply don't need all that much. "If we had it to do again, we’d have gone smaller with equipment," he says.

Saul-Sehy worked as a financial advisor for 16 years, helping families create and implement financial plans. "Additionally, I was one of a small group of advisors nationwide who were trained to speak on behalf of the advisors of Amerprise Financial with the media," he explains. "As a result, I ended up hosting a local radio show, I was the local television 'Money Man,' and was quoted in newspapers and magazines nation-wide."

From previous radio experience and a college stint as a wedding disc jockey, Saul-Sehy knew he "wasn’t afraid of the equipment [involved with podcasting] -- only the process." He and his co-host and partner on the show, OG, decided to finally give it a try after 2 years of working on the brand.

"We weren't getting the traction we wanted with our blog, and realized we weren’t using our competitive advantage: our mutual backgrounds with audio and our commitment to creating a more relaxed, less 'guru'-ish podcast designed with the Car Talk tone in mind."

From there, the podcast took off and is now one of the most popular in the personal finance space.

Getting the Technology You Need

Many people, financial advisors or otherwise, want to start a podcast but feel overwhelmed by the equipment and technology needs. But, as expert podcasters have already mentioned, this doesn't need to be difficult. It's simply a matter of knowing what to put on your must-need list.

"At the least, you need an iPhone and a way to get your files listed on important channels like iTunes and Stitcher," explains Saul-Sehy. "If you’re going to be serious, though, I’d invest in a small mixer, a digital recorder, and decent microphones. On the low end, you could buy all this equipment for less than $500."

"You'll want good quality audio, so a good microphone is mandatory," says Jason Reiman. Reiman is an XYPN member advisor and owns Get Financially Fit!, a fee-only firm and home of the GFF podcast. He owns a Yetti Blue USB mic and a Roland R-05 digital recorder.

Reiman uses Adobe Audition, part of the Adobe Creative Suite, as his recording software. "There is an opensource, free software called Audacity that is equally good," he adds.

Structuring Your Shows

There is no one right way to structure and run your podcast, and that can be exciting if you feel you're a more creative type. You can create long, in-depth shows that take a deep dive into a specific topic and publish a meaty piece of content once per month. Or you can keep things light and do a show as short as 15 minutes -- and do those every single day.

Much will depend on what you're interested in covering, how much time you can dedicate to your podcast from planning to post-production, and whether or not you want to run a solo show or bring on a co-hosts and frequent guests.

"Since we have two hosts, we prefer a very conversational format," say Preston and Hanson. "Our listeners have told us that this makes them feel like they are right there, sitting in the room with us and is easier for them to stay engaged."

They do a quick outline of the points they want to cover in each show before recording, but beyond that, they allow the show to take shape as they record. It creates a free-flowing, natural dialogue.

Saul-Sehy brings up an important point that anyone looking to have that real, sincere conversation within their podcast must understand: "I’m pretty passionate about trying to be a good listener," he says. "I have some key points I want to make sure the guest hits, but for the most part, I have to actively listen as if I’m a listener to the podcast and ask questions that explain the guest’s responses."

He says that preparing set questions ahead of time can work -- "some podcasts I listen to have a portion of the show that’s the same question asked of every guest," he notes -- he's seen other shows struggle with that type of format.

"The host had a square guest peg they were trying to get into a round interview hole. It doesn’t work."

Finding Guests (or Not)

while you can always host your podcast on your own or keep guests to a minimum, bringing on new voices -- and therefore, ideas -- can add interesting perspectives and dimension.

When it comes to finding interesting people, Saul-Sehy says they come from "all over the place!" He explains how he started looking for guests in a few different areas:

Bloggers with cool stories that do well under the podcast format make great potential guests. "Often bloggers miss out on a larger audience because their post fits audio really well," Saul-Sehy explains. "I can help that story get told in a different way."

Netgalley is another resource for aspiring podcasters. "Netgalley is a site where publishers preview books for journalists," he says. "I signed up and can see which new publications are coming in the next several months and try to get the authors scheduled." Saul-Sehy notes that most of the time they're looking for big publications, but you never know -- he's received a few surprising yeses before.

Finally, the Stacking Benjamins host asks himself who he would want to hear from if he was listening. "Some of my best interviews -- like Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist and Don Hahn, producer of Disney’s Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Maleficent -- came just from me writing to their publicists or publishers. I’m going after a pro football player now. We’ll see what happens."

But keep in mind that whether or not you bring on guests for your show is completely optional. A more relaxed and go-with-the-flow attitude works great for some shows.

"Everything we do in terms of content for our podcast is derived from “life happening,'" explains Hanson. "If we do something neat for clients (tax planning, estate planning, etc.), we might do a show on it. If we meet a really cool individual whom we feel can add value to our listeners, we might invite them on as a guest."

Preston and Hanson don't set out to find guests for every show. They allow things to develop naturally and don't force topics or subject matter.

"I think the organic content creation of our show is one reason listeners find themselves so engaged," Hanson says. "We talk about things going on in our lives and the lives of our clients, and I think listeners (in the same situation) can really relate to that."

How you interview your guests is, like most other things here, up to you. You can follow a set formula or just wing it. There aren't many rules, only options. You can choose what style feels most natural to you.

"I provide a list of questions to kind of get the mindset right," Reiman says, "but I do like to engage in more of an open dialog. Having the soft Q&A format keeps things focused while also allowing for flexibility."

And when it comes to bringing on guests, remember that you can't rely on others to create value on your podcast. "While I like having awesome guests as much as the next podcaster, I know that our listeners come back because of us, not because of our guests," Saul-Sehy explained. "Therefore, I need to create a show that emphasizes my strengths and shows off my best traits, not just my guests'."

He noted that many new podcasts focus on interviews only, and listeners never get a chance to learn much about the host. And then? "The show dies a fast (or worse: slow) death," said Saul-Sehy.

Know Before You Launch: Best and Worst Aspects of Podcasting

Knowing why a podcast can help your practice is one thing. The next step is understanding how to get started. After that, it's worth making absolutely sure you understand what you're getting into.

Podcasting isn't new but it may be novel to you. Don't let that distract you from the realities of what it takes to put on a meaningful, successful show.

"It has really helped build my confidence in just a short time," Reiman says. "In addition to that, it has helped fuel my creativity and get traditional blog posts out there that I likely wouldn't have completed otherwise."

For Reiman, the downsides include the time it takes to get a show just right. "My least favorite thing, while I really do enjoy doing it, is the time it takes to post-edit."

Preston and Hanson say their favorite thing about podcasting is connecting with listeners all over the country -- and even all over the world. "It is awesome to hear how other people are creatively making sound financial decisions and to learn all the various ways people have been able to achieve their definition of financial success," they say.

But even with that kind of satisfaction and fulfillment as successful podcast hosts, they struggle with staying consistently on top of their game, all the time. "Some weeks you just do not feel like being 'on," they explain, "but if you want to have a dedicated listener base who is truly engaged, you have to be consistent and produce content when they are expecting you to produce content."

Advice from Podcasting Financial Pros

Feel ready and excited about that idea for a podcast you have in the back of your mind? Before you take a running leap into the podcasting space, grab a few more thoughts and tips from those who are already doing it and let their experience help you get a great start.

We asked the financial (and podcasting) pros who provided their insights for this post what advice they'd give to those just starting out with a podcast, and invited them to share their favorite resources as well. Build your podcast on the solid foundation of their advice and recommendations:


Joe Saul-Sehy of Stacking Benjamins

What I Wish I Had Known Before Starting:

  • I would have started earlier.
  • I would have had less fear about getting “big” guests.
  • I would have been dorkier with the format earlier. We have a light format that I had never seen before (now I’m seeing it spring up around me, which is cool…I think it shows we were on the right track). I’ve found that as we get lighter and the show gets tighter, it’s attracting a bigger and more passionate audience. Lesson? Explore how you’re different than everyone else!

Advice for Financial Planners in Podcasting:

I think the biggest piece of advice is to quit being afraid of “giving it away.” First, if you’re a real pro, you know WAY more than you can share in a podcast...so you can never give away the store. Second, the real “buyer” wants to know and trust you. As you give more away, you’re simply showing them that you’re the fountain of knowledge that they’ve been seeking. I’ve seen too many advisors who don’t want to give much information until they’re paid. You’ll never be paid what you’re worth if people think you’re hiding or they think you don’t know anything (because you aren’t tipping your hand at all).

Favorite Podcasting Resources:

Lots of people like Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcast Answer Man. That’s good, but I really love Dave Jackson’s School of Podcasting podcast. He’s got good information and a great sense of humor. That’s helpful. Also, the Podcast Movement Conference is well worth the small price they ask. Lots of great people who’ve been there in one spot. I went to the first one last year and found it to be a great use of time.

Brian and Bo

Brian Preston and Bo Hanson, Hosts of The Money-Guy Show

What We Wish We Had Known Before Starting:

We would have been much more consistent from the beginning. Another thing is we would have been more forthcoming about what our true “day job” is [as financial advisors at fee-only firm Preston and Cleveland Wealth Management]. We were always worried about coming off as sales-y or non-genuine, and we may have missed opportunities to bring on more clients earlier. You cannot rush this though, and you cannot begin promoting yourself too fast. You have to establish yourself as an expert first, and give value before you expect to receive value.

Advice for Financial Planners in Podcasting:

  • Do it because you love it, not because you want business. (We breathe personal finance and “tightwad-ish-ness” even when we aren’t at “work.”)
  • Do not expect success right out of the gate. It takes time for these things to grow.

Favorite Podcasting Resources:

We are sort of self-taught. There are great consultants out there, though, if you are looking for help (such as Cliff Ravenscraft, Daniel J. Lewis, and Steve Stewart).


Jason Reiman, XYPN Member Advisor and Host of ___

What I Wish I Had Known Before Starting:

I had a few sessions ready to go [before I launched my show]. If I had to go back, I'd multiply that number by at least 10. I just wanted to get something out there and get started before I landed in analysis paralysis muck. But, I have been mildly sick the past couple weeks that has really affected my ability to speak and be motivated to produce sessions. Thus, I've fallen behind quite a bit and daily downloads have suffered.

Advice for Financial Planners in Podcasting:

  • Know that it takes time.
  • Don't be afraid of the technology.
  • Don't be afraid of leaving your comfort zone a bit.

Favorite Podcasting Resources:

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