Should Podcasts Be Part of Your Comms Strategy?
Let’s talk about podcasts. Most of us are familiar with the medium and many have become avid listeners over the past several years. The expression was originally coined way back in 2004 by a reporter from The Guardian in a story about scores of people tuning in to amateur radio broadcasts via iPods and other MP3 players. I’ll bet you didn’t know we could just as easily be uttering the words “AudioBlog” or “GuerillaMedia” today if the term podcast didn’t stick well over a decade ago.
But enough about the history of podcasts. Chances are, you’re more interested in the status of the medium today and how it might fit in to your broader communications and marketing strategy.
Podcasts have grown in popularity and today draw in massive and loyal audiences, generating endless social media conversations and sparking dialogues that shift the zeitgeist. They’ve become a dominant communication channel. Just look at the numbers:
- As of May 2020, there are more than one million podcasts available (MyPodcastReviews) – up from 550,000 in 2018 (Apple).
- Three-quarters of the U.S. population is familiar with the term “podcasting” – up from 70% in 2019 (Edison Research).
- More than half of Americans over the age 12 of have listened to a podcast (Edison Research).
- Nearly 40% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month – a 16% increase over 2019 (Edison Research).
In the midst of this medium’s dramatic rise in popularity, you might be wondering, “is now the time to get my brand into the podcast game?” In most cases, the answer is probably yes.
For many organizations, from consumer brands to B2B companies, podcasts can be a valuable addition to your marketing and communications plan. You can start your own program, place company executives on established podcasts, or both. Let’s take a look at the benefits of these approaches:
Securing Podcast Guest Spots
One of the major advantages of booking appearances for your subject matter experts (SMEs) on reputable shows within your space is that you can dip your toe in the podcast pond without diving head first into starting your own program. It’s a faster and less resource-intensive avenue into the world of podcasting.
Beyond that, it can be an excellent way to amplify your experts’ perspectives around emerging industry trends, new research, breaking news and more, all while introducing your brand to an audience that’s eager for in-depth education and long-form discussions about your brand or market. After all, podcast fans spend more than six hours listening in each week and almost 75% of them tune in to learn something new, according to Edison Research.
Strategically selecting your podcast targets will give you direct access to a built-in, qualified audience of potential partners and prospects that you might not have otherwise encountered. The podcast host has already done the hard work of building credibility with a loyal group of listeners in your market over time. And that credibility extends to your SME and brand in most cases simply by virtue of the fact that they’ve chosen to make you a guest. This is a great way to add engaged, loyal fans to your audience, as 48% of podcast subscribers follow brands and companies on social media (compared to just 31% of the general population), according to Edison Research.
Coordinating podcast interviews around major company milestones or announcements can augment traditional press outreach and generate broader visibility. Most podcast hosts expect and often encourage guests to “plug” their news, reports, initiatives or upcoming events during or at the close of the conversation – and even include direct links for more information in the show notes. In most cases, your spokesperson will have the opportunity to briefly let the audience know what’s going on, as well as the best ways to stay in touch with your brand.
Launching Your Own Podcast
Creating your own podcast is often the road less traveled, simply because there are significantly more barriers to entry in terms of the equipment and time required to do so successfully. Moreover, many businesses – especially those in the B2B market – wonder if there’s a viable enough audience out there for them to warrant the effort. Fortunately for them, Nielsen reports that there are fans of business podcasts in more than 52 million households in the U.S.
Despite the fair amount of real and perceived challenges, building your own podcast program can produce tremendous business value over the long term.
With complete control over the focus and structure, you can tailor your podcast to the interests of your audience AND to your core marketing goals. These two elements should complement one another each step of the way. Decisions about everything from what topics to cover and which guests to bring on, to if or when to urge listeners to download that new eBook, should all be geared toward engaging with and providing value to your audience. It can take time, but as word of mouth travels, positive reviews stack up and well-respected guests introduce their own followers to your brand, your listenership will grow.
A successful company podcast can bring in qualified leads and serve as a powerful channel to amplify your company messages.
Running your own podcast can also supercharge your content creation processes. Each episode can serve as a foundation for a TON of secondary “sawdust” content. What does this look like in practice? You can transcribe these conversations and use the material as the basis for blog posts, contributed articles, newsletters and more. You can whittle each episode down into multiple bite-sized videos or animated shorts to blast out across your social media channels. With a podcast as a core pillar in your content mill, the possibilities are nearly endless.
Podcasts can be an exceptional way to breathe new life into your marketing and communications programs. If you’re interested best practices for building a podcast outreach program or need help launching one of your own, contact Voxus today or visit our website.