If you’re not entirely sure what the deal is with podcasts then buckle in, this article is for you. I’m excited to introduce you to a whole world out there of content that is (for the most part) free, entertaining and very informative.

By the end of this article, you will know exactly how to wrangle the technology and how to squeeze all the valuable podcast juice out of this awesome medium.

A podcast is a radio show that is only available in digital format and usually listened to on a smartphone, iPod or computer. There are podcasts on almost every conceivable topic from business, to personal development, hobbies and entertainment.

There are an estimated 250,000 unique podcast shows to choose from.

In 2014 there were well over 2.6 billion episodes downloaded.

I have no doubt there is a podcast for everyone.

Anyone can create a podcast with some learning, time and a small financial outlay.

However, anyone can learn how to play violin. It doesn’t mean they’re worth listening to. As a listener, you need to know how to find good the good stuff.

Today I will show you:

Why people create podcasts and why they are so valuable

Creating a podcast and doing it well takes time. All up, a 30 minute episode of RTW Nation takes about 10-15 hours of my personal time outside work (mostly on a Sunday). But I confess – I’m pretty obsessive about sound quality.

Why bother?

There are a variety of reasons people – and businesses – create podcasts.

Here are the top 3 reasons I’ve identified that motivate podcasters and how this equates to value for you, the listener.

1. Podcasters are really passionate about their topic

Anyone who creates a podcast on a topic they are not truly passionate about is destined to fail. It’s a lot of work and there is no immediate payoff.

It’s a very intimate format, having the host’s voice inside your ears. You can’t fake passion in this format and any podcast worth listening to will be driven by a host who is deeply passionate about their craft.

The value: Find a podcast with a host that resonates with you. You’ll find they ask all the questions you want answers to.

2. Podcasters want to find and connect with the perfect audience

I’ve been told that a podcast takes between 9 and 18 months to pick up its true momentum.

During this incubation phase some people will naturally be attracted to the show and will subscribe to hear every episode. Others will try a few episodes, decide it’s not for them and never tune in again. Which is fine. In fact it’s great.

Podcasts are not about creating a show that everyone will love. They’re about creating very specific content that is extremely valuable to a very specific group of people.

In addition to this, podcast hosts love creating meaningful connections with their audience. Why wouldn’t we? We have so much in common!

This is the very reason I created a dedicated Facebook group for RTW Nation’s true fans.

The value: Find a podcast in your niche and you’ll feel like the content was created just for YOU. Plus you’ll often find there’s a tribe of equally passionate people you can connect with.

3. Podcasters strive to fulfill a purpose

Initially I had labeled point 3 “to make money”, which is partly accurate but not entirely true. I would say that the majority of podcasts have some sort of commercial aspect – and so they should.

A personal coach might hope to sell online training programs.

A movie reviewer might want tickets to movie premieres and backstage exclusives.

A tech reviewer might want free gadgets and sponsorships.

Some podcasts have a few ads or affiliate programs which generate cash.

Other podcasters might not have a commercial interest but they still have a purpose. It could be sharing their religious beliefs, raising the profile of their local sporting club or creating a support network for new mothers who are feeling isolated.

I see RTW Nation as an opportunity for me to network with thought leaders and other professionals in the workers comp arena. It’s an opportunity for me to learn more about specific areas I want to develop in myself. Plus I can share who I am, what I do and what I know. If people like me, they may choose to work with me or refer business to me.

While I’m clear about what I hope to gain from podcasting, I am acutely aware that I will only ever achieve these things if my audience comes first. Delivering valuable content for the listener must be priority #1.

Don’t be suspicious or critical of a podcast because it has a commercial aspect. The reality is, the more commercially successful a podcast is, the more value the host can deliver to you through this medium.

63% of podcast listeners have bought something advertised by a podcast host. These are not people who had been duped. These are people who found products or services that are highly valuable and relevant to them.

The value: Find a podcast you love and you’ll find special offers and opportunities that are simply not available elsewhere. You’ll feel like they were made purely to help you achieve your personal goals.

How to find and listen to podcasts

Notice a trend in the 3 value points above?

  1. Find a podcast with a host that resonates with you
  2. Find a podcast in your niche
  3. Find a podcast you love

Finding podcasts is important.

But don’t worry. It’s really easy. Easier than Google.

Since launching RTW Nation, I’ve noticed the biggest barrier for people is the technological hurdle.

I’ll cover what I believe are the three best ways to listen to podcasts, plus a bonus #4 if the first three are simply too hard. After that I’ll give you some general tips on finding content you’ll love that can be applied to any of these devices.

To demonstrate, I’ll show you how to subscribe to my podcast. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll be on your way to exploring the vast world of podcasts.

Below are seperate guides for the most common devices. You can expand your device of choice for step by step instructions.

I personally use an iPod hooked up to my car’s USB input.

iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch etc)

N.B. I’m making these notes based on my experience with an iPad.To subscribe:

  1. Your device should have a purple “Podcasts” app preinstalled. Tap it
  2. Tap the magnifying glass at the bottom right of screen
  3. In the search bar at the top right of screen, type “RTW Nation” and tap “search”
  4. Tap on the RTW Nation logo under “Podcasts”
  5. Tap “Subscribe”

To listen, after you are subscribed:

  1. Episodes will appear under the “My Podcasts” and the “Unplayed” tabs at the bottom of screen
  2. Tap the episode and listen!

Android device (smartphone, tablet etc)

To subscribe:

  1. Download and install the Stitcher app.
  2. Follow the initial steps to create an account (user name, password etc)
  3. Once you enter the app, click the magnifying glass in the top right of the screen
  4. Type into the search field “RTW Nation” and tap return
  5. A recent episode will appear in the first few search results, tap on it
  6. Toward the top right corner of the app is a “+” symbol. Tap on it. You’ll get a message saying “added to favorites”.
  7. Tap the X in the top left corner and then tap the back arrow in the top left of screen to return to the Front Page of the app
  8. Tap the menu button in the top left of screen
  9. Tap “My Stations”
  10. You’ll see an item called “Favorites Playlist”. Tap it.
  11. Towards the top left you’ll see a slider called “Available Offline”. Tap it so it turns green. You are now subscribed and the latest episode will automatically download when you are connected to wifi.

You might find a list of about 30 other podcasts in your Favorites list that Stitcher automatically subscribed you to. I recommend unsubscribing to all of these by tapping on the show and tapping the “+” so it turns from blue to grey.

To listen, after you are subscribed:

  1. Open Stitcher
  2. Tap the menu button in the top left of screen
  3. Tap “My Stations”
  4. Tap “Favorites Playlist”
  5. Tap the episode and listen!

iPod (the type you need to sync via your computer)

To subscribe:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Click on “iTunes Store” in the top centre of screen
  3. Type “RTW Nation” into the search bar, top right of screen
  4. Click on the show’s logo under the “Podcasts” heading
  5. Click the subscribe button

To listen, after you are subscribed:

  1. Connect your iPod to your computer via USB cable
  2. Click the podcasts icon in the top left of screen (it looks like a small figure of a person with 2 circles). You might need to click the 3 dots to expand and show more icons.
  3. You’ll see RTW Nation listed under subscriptions. You can set iTunes to automatically download new episodes and sync new episodes which will automatically transfer them to your device. Alternatively you can manully click on each episode and click the download icon (to the right). Once downloaded you can drag individual episodes onto the icon for your connected iPod and will sync with your device.
  4. Click the eject button in iTunes to safely eject your iPod

Now that your iPod is loaded up. Plug in your headphones and enjoy. Your iPod has a dedicated area where podcast episodes are kept, separate from your music collection,

Method number four… if you really can’t grasp the above subscription methods…

Every decent podcast should have a website with a page for each episode and an embedded media player on each of those pages.Find the episode you want and listen through your computer or other device’s speakers. It’s not my recommended method because you need to remember to visit the site regularly and you need to be connected to the internet at the time. But it’ll get the job done.

Now you’re set up, let’s find some podcasts

Using iTunes or your podcast app of choice, just go to the search field and type in some keywords, names or topics related to something that interests you.

These podcast apps are essentially search engines, albeit fairly primitive ones.

Let’s start with something general.

You might be thinking of buying an investment property. Let’s type “property” into iTunes.

We get some interesting sounding shows.

Let’s get a bit more specific and type in “property investment”.

Similar shows come up again. These must be the popular podcasts in this area. You could give them a crack and browse their episode list, or perhaps just start at episode 1 and work forward from there.

But you might have something quite specific you want to learn about.

Let’s type in “negative gearing”.

You’ll notice that the search results now list some individual episodes above the podcast shows. It’s unlikely that someone would dedicate their entire series to negative gearing, but they would definitely do a whole episode on it. Now you’ll be able to hone in on the individual episodes that cover this specific topic.

Maybe you’ll get your negatively geared answers and move on.

Or maybe you’ll really enjoy what you learned in that episode and listen to the show’s entire back-catalogue. That’s how I’ve discovered most of the podcasts I listen to.

Remember that these search engines are a bit primitive. Be specific but don’t type in complex questions like you might with Google. Try some specific keywords that are only used in your area of interest.

11 podcasts workers comp professionals should be listening to

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I believe workers comp professionals need to grasp the skills of leadership, communication, influence, empathy, sales skills, health promotion, business outcomes, time management and stress management… to name but a few.

Regrettably, there are not many industry-specific podcasts for us. But there is plenty of good stuff that will round out your personal and professional development.

Here are my top picks.

  1. RTW Nation with Mark Stipic – website | iTunes | Stitcher

Shameless self-promotion? Maybe. But this is the only podcast in the world designed to inspire, motivate and support workers comp professionals so I think it deserves the top spot. We have interviews with industry experts, practical tips and the occasional motivational quote.

  1. Platform Giant with Shane Purnell – website | iTunes | Stitcher

As a workers comp professional you must have influence. To build your platform means to figuratively elevate yourself above the crowd. As you build confidence and credibility you will be the one person who stands out in a crowded room. Shane Purnell delivers a great show that will help you build your own platform within your workplace, your industry and your network.

  1. Office Hours with Dan Pink – website | iTunes | Stitcher

There are only 18 episodes in total but they are great. Dan Pink is one of my favorite business authors. He interviews a stellar lineup of authors and thought leaders in the areas of health, education and business.

  1. Seth Godin’s Startup School – iTunes | Stitcher

Seth Godin is the first name that comes to my mind in business thought leadership, having published 18 books. Seth Godin’s Startup School is a 15 part series where we get to eavesdrop on a workshop he ran with a bunch of inspired entrepreneurs and I guarantee you’ll finish this series ready to START SOMETHING.

  1. Steal The Show with Michael Port – website | iTunes | Stitcher

Michael Port was actually my gateway to podcast-listening after I listened to his audiobook Book Yourself Solid through my iPod. This led me to explore the podcasts tab in iTunes which proceeded to blow my mind. Steal The Show will make you a better presenter, whether it be in speeches, job interviews or deal-closing pitches.

  1. Business Addicts with Loren Bartley and Fiona Redding – website | iTunes | Stitcher

Two very honest entrepreneurs from Melbourne interview a wide range of guests on topics including personal branding, digital marketing, stress management and lifestyle design. Very positive vibes and highly recommended.

  1. Small Business Big Marketing with Tim Reid – website | iTunes | Stitcher

I love Timbo Reid. His relaxed Aussie vibe is awesome. This show is all about marketing but there is plenty of GOLD in the motivational and personal branding stakes to be found here. I still insist that if you work in rehab then you work in sales. So you WILL learn something from listening to this show.

  1. Content Warfare with Ryan Hanley – website | iTunes | Stitcher

Ryan started off as an independent insurance agent in New York state – arguably a “boring” industry, like workers comp. He boosted a humble agency’s sales through online marketing and in the process established himself as an authority on the topic. He is now a full time marketer. Anyone in the workers comp space contemplating blogging and social media (pro tip: that should be all of you) should get around Ryan Hanley.

  1. This is Your life with Michael Hyatt – website | iTunes | Stitcher

If you want to be inspired and you want tips for success in business and life then Michael Hyatt’s podcast is for you. Michael relentlessly creates content that will brighten you up and put a spring in your step on even your gloomiest day.

  1. The Advanced Selling Podcast with Bill Caskey and Bryan Neale – website | iTunes | Stitcher

This is a pure sales podcast. Why would I recommend it here? Because I’m of the belief that the art of Return To Work (RTW) is no different to the art of selling. Sales is about moving someone from inactivity to purchasing. RTW is about moving someone from being off work to being back at work. Both sales and RTW revolve around your credibility, trust and competency. There is something for the RTW professional to learn in nearly every episode of the Advanced Selling Podcast.

  1. The Healthy Shift Worker with Audra Starkey – website | iTunes

Now this is the definition of a niche podcast. If you or your employees do shift work then this show is for you. If you’ve never even contemplated shift work then move along! Host Audra Starkey is a Nutritional Medicine student and worked shifts for an airline so she knows what she’s talking about.