You should be listening to podcasts.
Blogs are nice, of course, but you can learn even more by following podcasts as well. If you’re doing something that doesn’t involve reading or writing, why not play one in the background?
However, there are a lot of podcasts out there of varying quality. And so many choices can be overwhelming. So I’ve decided to help you out a bit. Here are ten podcasts every e-business owner should be following.
Host Pat Flynn is an amiable guy whose passion for e-business shines through his podcast. He interviews guests from all walks of life, from cake decorators to professional copywriters, to talk about subjects like branding, fundraising and putting together pitch presentations.
The podcasts are interesting, well-paced and fairly easy listening at about 40 minutes each, and Flynn’s guests are knowledgeable, qualified and diverse enough to be interesting.
As a side note, Pat’s an admirably productive guy. In addition to the podcast, he works on four other websites, blogs and has written an ebook. And he writes a newsletter too. Whew!
This is more of a general entrepreneurship podcast than specifically an e-commerce one, but host Billy Murphy has a lot to impart. The podcast focuses mainly on the motivational side of business, but that shouldn’t be discredited. His straight-to-the-point, no-excuses mentality, can be a shot of adrenaline to anyone whose drive is faltering after a long day. And he knows what he’s talking about: he founded BlueFirePoker and was running 20 online stores by age 26.
We also have to mention ForeverJobless’s brilliant format. Where most podcasts try your patience with hour-long rambling tangents, Billy condenses his advice into scripted sound bites, often no more than five minutes in length. This is in stark contrast to his stunning blog, in which he expounds on the harder, more math and strategy-based aspects of running a business. I suggest you check out both.
This podcast is dedicated to “portable” e-businesses that you can run from almost anywhere. If you’re interested in traveling more or in taking your business outside your hometown, give this a listen. Topics cover a fairly wide spectrum of both motivational and practical topics – from overcoming psychological blocks to the specifics of working in southeast Asia.
This is one of the few that has multiple hosts, and there’s a fun repertoire between them. This is also one of the few podcasts I’ve seen take calls from listeners, which – although shop-worn on radio – is a neat trick when it comes to podcasting.
Episodes are around 30 minutes.
Unlike many more general business/entrepreneurialism podcasts, Leighton Taylor’s “Ecommerce Pulse” is dedicated strictly to the business of running an online store. One of his greatest strengths, as laid out in his “about me” page, is that he doesn’t assume the reader knows all of the terminology and acronyms usually used in this business, and is willing to walk you through it without condescension.
This mostly focuses on the technical side of e-commerce, with plenty of information on SEO, pay-per-click advertising and things of that nature. If you’ve had your share of motivation and want to get straight to the nuts and bolts of e-commerce, this is the podcast for you.
Terry Lin’s “Build My Online Store” is quite possibly the first dedicated e-commerce podcast, and definitely the oldest still around. He’s the most popular by far, too, with over 40,000 monthly downloads a month. His podcast is entirely e-commerce focused.
Each week, he brings in a different guest who’s currently successful in a niche business. Many of his podcasts are dedicated to answering those “you’ve always wanted to know this” questions, like what mistakes the guest would avoid if they had to do it all over again. He also delves into their mindset, often taking advice on it from unusual sources, like a stand-up comedian, a beard oil company owner or a milkshake marketer.
Lin’s on-air personality is definitely an attribute, too. He’s calm, knowledgeable and much more easygoing than most podcasters. His podcast is often irreverent, and doesn’t take itself too seriously – making it a much easier listen than some.
This podcast is hosted by Andrew Youderian, who built his own million-dollar ecommerce business, starting with only $1,500 and the very strange niche of CB radio sales.
Ecommerce Fuel offers a thorough explanation of everything e-commerce. His guests are primarily store owners – at various stages in their e-business journeys, much like you – sharing what they’ve learned. He also spends plenty of time talking about the major new developments in technology, operations, marketing and user experience.
Each podcast covers a single, specific subject, and offers practical and actionable advice.
John Wall and Christopher Penn record the show in an actual coffee shop every week and publish it on Thursday mornings. Each one is a very reasonable length – only about 20 minutes – and provides plenty of actionable advice. Both are veteran marketers, and it shows in the depth and breadth of their knowledge. SEO, email campaigns, copy and even offline marketing all get touched on here. This podcast also answers listeners’ questions.
This one is notable if only for its specificity. As you might have guessed, it’s all about social media marketing. The podcast is hosted by an undisputed expert in the field, Michael Stelzner, who’s published multiple books on marketing and content writing, and who organizes conventions for them. In this series, he interviews other industry players.
If you’re at all interested in social media marketing, listening to at least a few of these should be a requirement. As a side note, this is one of the most professionally-produced podcasts I’ve ever heard.
Copyblogger is quite possibly the most prominent name in the field of online copywriting, and this podcast proves why they deserve it. These podcasts are pure copywriting excellence served in 10-minute morsels. If you don’t have time to listen to any other podcasts, there’s no excuse for missing this one.
The Lede also comes with the best and most helpful text explanations I’ve ever seen – providing a full transcript of each show, a thorough explanation of the topics and links to the things mentioned and their references.
Duct Tape Marketing is a hidden gem. A bit too hidden, in my opinion – they don’t even have a link to it on the main page or navbar. You have to access it through the blog or a direct link.
But I digress. Host John Jantsch provides plenty of experience. It’s a podcast for those who are really serious about learning the ropes when it comes to marketing. However, if you put the time in, you’ll be duly rewarded. His interviews are some of the most “technical” out of all of these podcasts, but what it lacks in fun, it makes up for in straight talk from some of the most dedicated marketing professionals in the business.
There are enough business podcasts here to keep you listening for a lifetime. And like with any form of media, when you’re new to it, finding a good one can seem like trying to pick a needle out of a mountain of slightly different needles. But hopefully, this list will have helped.
This is one article where we encourage reader feedback even more than usual. Please leave us a comment about your favorite e-commerce podcasts, and what makes them great.
Image: Colleen Venable