How to Become a Thought Leader by Podcasting (With Examples)

Use this guide to learn how to become a thought leader by podcasting and get your voice heard in your area of expertise.
February 6, 2024

Thought leadership brings many benefits to brands. And if done well it can build trust, boost your brand’s visibility, and help with growth. 

In the past, brands set up research centres, commissioned studies, and produced their own publications in an attempt to establish themselves as thought leaders. Attaining thought-leadership status wasn’t a quick win. It took time, dedication, and cross-departmental effort to be considered a true thought leader. And long-established media outlets, like book publishers or TV, decided who was an expert and who wasn’t.

Fast forward to the current day, these mediums don’t have as much influence as they used to. The internet and new media have a greater reach. And podcasting in particular, is now one of the best ways to reach an audience. The podcast industry is worth over $23 billion dollars and is growing each year. So, savvy brands are capitalising on its wide-reaching prevalence in order to attain and maintain thought leadership.

We’ll explain how you can use podcasting to become a thought leader in this article. But first, let’s take a look at what thought leadership is and how podcasting can help.

What Is Thought Leadership?

Although it can seem vague, the term “thought leader” can be understood in simple terms. Jay Baer (marketing expert and author) summed it up like this:

“A thought leader is someone with proven expertise and experience who isn’t afraid to share it with the world without direct compensation.”

Thought leadership doesn’t just refer to individuals, though. It can be applied to any organisation which is moving the needle and sharing their insights for others’ benefit. 

The Benefits of Thought Leadership for Brands

Thought leadership provides significant benefits to all types of brands - be them corporate, product, or personal.  

Sharing expertise in the name of progression adds a level of credibility to any brand. Thought leadership does away with the suspicion that your brand is simply trying to sell something. It lets the public know you’re invested in your field for more than just turning a profit. 

For many brands, this is a crucial distinction. The likes of Joe Wicks, Jonathan Van Ness, or Caroline Hirons all have their own products or services to sell. And what makes them trusted thought leaders in their respective fields (fitness, hair care, and skin care) is a combination of their expertise and commitment to empowering their audience. They also offer plenty of free content and advice for the good of their audience, as well as recommending competitor products.

An upperbody shot of Joe Wicks, smiling and looking straight at the camera against a leafy background. Text reads 'BBC' and 'The Joe Wicks Podcast Series 3.

On The Joe Wicks Podcast, Wicks invites famous guests to discuss how they stay physically and mentally strong. Now, not all of Joe’s guests follow his recipes or workouts. But Joe’s commitment to getting people fit and healthy covers other methods than his protocol. Thus making Joe a thought leader in fitness.

Similarly, the ZOE: Science & Nutrition podcast is part of ZOE’s ambition to improve the health of millions. ZOE’s product is an app-subscription with tests to measure your body’s response to food. But the purpose of the ZOE podcast is to provide the public with the latest on science and nutrition so people can make informed decisions to improve their health. And for free.

Thought leadership fosters trust towards a brand. Audiences believe the information the brand shares is both factually correct and not designed simply to turn a sale. In other words, they trust their claims about their products or services. And this inevitably results in more sales and higher conversions.  

For personal brands, being regarded as a thought leader can unlock lucrative career opportunities. 

3 Reasons Why Thought Leaders Should Utilise Podcasts

Here’s 3 reasons why you should consider podcasting as a way of building your thought-leadership status.

1. Podcasts Have Greater Reach Than Traditional Media

We’re not saying you should disregard traditional media. It still has value. And appearing on TV as a commentator or publishing a book still serve as gold standards for having achieved expert status.

But their reach pales in comparison to podcasting. The podcast industry continues to grow, with more people listening each year. According to recent statistics:

  • Podcasting awareness has risen dramatically. In 2006, only 22% of consumers knew what a podcast was, but by 2022 79% of consumers were aware of podcasting.
  • By 2024 it’s estimated podcast listenership figures will grow to 164 million in the US alone.
  • Podcast consumers now listen to an average of nine podcast episodes a week. That’s up 80% since 2017.

Aspiring thought leaders can’t afford to ignore this wide and rapidly growing pool of listeners.

In fact many experts, across all fields, aren't ignoring podcasting. They've earned their stripes and want to share what they know. Alongside their day-to-day work, they use podcasting to get the information out there. 

Example: Dr. Felix Bertram’s Aesthetics & Biz

The podcast artwork for Aesthetics & Biz: Features a still image Felix Bertram taken from when he was speaking at a conference. Around him is a pink square and below is white text that reads "Aesthetics & Biz".

We recently partnered with Dr. Felix Bertram to create Aesthetics & Biz - a podcast sharing what it’s like to work in the cosmetics industry. Bertram is a dermatologist by trade and also the founder of Skinmed, the fastest-growing and largest clinic chain for aesthetics in Switzerland. As the podcast suggests, Bertram’s expertise is not just aesthetics, but how aesthetics and business intersect. Episodes share invaluable advice for aestheticians growing their own business. Clearly, Bertram couldn’t be regarded as a thought leader without his long career in aesthetics and impressive achievements - he brings this experience to the table to share his advice with others.

2. Podcasting Is Dynamic

With podcasting, your ideas have space to change from episode to episode (or even within an episode). This makes the medium far more dynamic than traditional media methods, like book publishing.

To put this into practice, Matthew Walker is a Professor of Neuroscience & Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Walker is best publicly known for writing the international bestseller Why We Sleep. The point of the book was essentially to get everyone sleeping more. But whilst appearing on podcasts like Making Sense, he stated his approach had been counterproductive for some. Why? Because he’d overlooked how the heavy-handed tone of the book would impact the “sleep-anxious”. Walker reassures his audience that losing a night of sleep isn’t the end of the world.

Matthew Walker giving a talk. Walker is pointing to the side and speaking into a headset microphone. Behind him is a screen showing a human heart.
Matthew Walker speaking at the 2019 Google Zeitgeist conference.
(Image courtesy of Matthew Walker)

Podcasts allowed Walker to directly communicate this correction to his audience. Worrying about sleep can be detrimental to getting it, so he understood he had to relieve these concerns for the good of his audience. This is an example of Walker maintaining his position as a sleep thought-leader, as his position is not totally fixed.

Many thought leaders need to be reactive to their quickly-changing environments. Podcasting offers the opportunity to clearly communicate your ideas, week in week out - all the while giving them the scope to change, keeping you atop of the thought leadership board. 

3. Podcasts Are Engaging 

One of the main factors fuelling the podcasting boom is the portability of the medium itself. Thanks to smartphones, people can listen to podcasts anywhere and everywhere - during their commute, in the gym, while doing housework, or even in bed at night.

The back of a man wearing headphones, walking along a bridge in a city.

Podcasts are available when text and video aren't. Listeners can easily tune in while doing other things. By creating your own thought-leadership podcast, you’ll make it much easier for your audience to fit you into their schedule. And chances are, they’ll be more receptive to your message.

Listening to a podcast is a very different experience than passively scrolling through a social feed. There’s a lot more depth to it. Few other mediums allow connection with an audience in such an uninterrupted, unfiltered way. In short, podcasts offer a listener on-demand expertise they can engage with anywhere.

How to Become a Thought Leader by Podcasting

Becoming a thought leader by podcasting may seem daunting, but it’s achievable by following these 3 steps:

Step 1. Get Booked as a Guest

Finding your feet in podcasting is easy. You don’t even need to be a host yourself. One of the best ways to get your name out there is to appear as a guest on other podcasts. If you’ve got proven knowledge and experience, you shouldn’t have a problem booking shows.

Most podcast hosts are actively searching for individuals with helpful knowledge to share. They rely on input from guests to keep their shows fresh and provide value to their audience. The key lies in identifying shows that are highly relevant to your area of expertise.

Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google are your best starting points. Run a few keyword searches to find podcasts likely to be of interest to your target audience. Before making a note of them, browse through the episode lists to make sure they feature guests (some podcasts operate as a one man show and don’t do interviews).

Once you’ve got your list, it's time to reach out to the hosts. Let them know how you found their podcast, what you like about it, and why you think you’d be a good fit for their audience. If you have some specific topics you’d like to talk about, mention those as well. Always send the email yourself. You’ll be much less likely to get a response if you have someone else do it for you. Another way to pitch yourself to hosts is to create a podcast one sheet, which you can read about in the blog post below:

How to Create a Podcast Guest One Sheet (w/ Examples)

You can also use our to get booked on shows. All you need to do is create your profile telling potential collaborators about your area of expertise. You’ll then be able to search our ever-growing database of podcasts, and reach out to any shows that are a good fit for you.

The homepage.

Step 2. Repurpose Your Interviews

If you’ve made the effort of appearing as a guest, you should make the most of your interviews afterwards. There are plenty of ways you can use and re-use this valuable content to help you become a thought leader.

You can embed audio clips on your website or blog, share extracted quotes on social media, or transcribe parts of your interview to create new articles and blog posts. When you start with long-form podcast content, it’s easy to create a whole range of other marketing assets. 

Find out how to repurpose your podcast interviews below:

9 Ways to Repurpose Your Branded Podcast Content (Examples)

Step 3. Start Your Own Podcast

Once you’ve been a guest a few times, the next logical step is to build your own thought leadership platform by starting your own podcast. In many ways, it’s similar to launching any other kind of marketing campaign. An in-depth explanation of how to start a podcast is beyond the scope of this article. But if you’d like a comprehensive guide, check out the article below:

How to Start a Branded Podcast: The Complete Guide for 2023

If you’re a bigger brand with a production budget to work with, you might decide to partner up with a production agency. An agency will handle everything from the initial concepting stage, right down to promotion and distribution. That’s exactly what we offer at Cue Podcasts. You can check out our showreel below:

If you’d like to speak to a member of the team about launching a podcast for your brand, just fill out this form and someone will get back to you.

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