The word “podcast” typically evokes one of two reactions: Sometimes you’ll find the person you’re talking to has heard the word tossed around but has never really delved into this genre of media. More often, however, people who are familiar with the platform are quick to excitedly launch into their own curated lists of recommendations for these audio programs that are downloadable from the internet.
Podcast topics run the gamut from films to business to celebrity gossip and everything in between. About 6 million more Americans are listening to podcasts weekly today than in 2017, according to Edison Research, which specializes in studying podcast trends. This increase in popularity can be attributed to a few factors, including accessibility when it comes to both consuming podcasts and creating them.
Many companies have embraced the trend by creating their own podcasts, with impressive results. Here are some of the unique advantages that come with this medium to consider for your own strategy:
Multichannel marketing means using many forms of media to engage your audience and increase traffic. A podcast is simply another one of those channels, where you can answer customer questions, tell your company story, and repurpose or distribute new content in your organization’s own voice. Because of the more casual and conversational tone of podcasts, as well as their serialization, audience members feel as if they are really getting to know you and your organization, which boosts brand loyalty and interaction. You can share your podcast on your organization’s website, on social media and through print advertising, which increases exposure.
The possible reach of a podcast may extend further than you think. In 2015, Brandon Turner of Entrepreneur magazine’s “BiggerPockets” revealed that the podcast’s weekly audience had grown from just a few hundred listeners to an average of 45,000. While you might not reach quite as many listeners, it’s very possible to grow your base from just a handful to hundreds relatively quickly through cross-channel promotion, engaging content and the relationship-building power of podcasts.
Creating Your Own
While some equipment is required, podcasts are relatively easy to create. All you need is a microphone, a computer and audio editing software, all of which can range in price from free to hundreds of dollars, depending on your needs.
When planning your podcast:
1. Have a format. Although podcasts are relatively easy to produce, a bit of planning is still required. Determine what kind of content you would like to share. This may be an interview with a client or employee, or maybe a breakdown of the latest news in your field.
2. Be consistent. Podcasts have more chance of gaining popularity if they are released consistently, so determine your schedule. Once you decide how often you are going to record and release your episodes, make sure you communicate that to listeners. The trust you’re building isn’t just about using your voice, it’s about being there when your audience expects you, whether that means every Monday or once a month.
3. Focus on quality. While it is possible to save costs by cutting a few corners, listeners can tell when an episode is low-quality. If you’re planning to use free editing software, consider investing a bit more in your recording equipment, including microphones.
About one-third of Americans between ages 25 and 54 listen to podcasts monthly, and 23 percent of them do so in the car, according to the Edison Research report. This is where the platform has the most significant leg up on the competition, filling a gap in consumption that not many other forms of media can address. For most media to engage, they require the majority of the audience’s attention. Articles, blogs, advertisements and videos all call for the consumer to be actively focused. Podcasts, however, allow your content to make an impact while being consumed passively, such as when your listener is driving or cooking.
Even if the content being shared is the same as that on other channels, those who are too busy to stop and read an article one morning most likely will find it much easier to listen to a podcast on the way to work, while doing laundry, or on a lunch break. Not only can you reach your listeners where no other medium can, you also can become part of their day-to-day life, which enables you to create a more personal relationship with each member of your audience.