Over the past few years we have seen a boom in the sheer number of podcast shows available on our devices . Commuters have switched up their favourite playlists for podcasts and we have to agree with them that it makes the journey to work far more enjoyable. From the humorous to the explorative, there’s a podcast for everyone.
Interestingly this trendy past-time has been nominated as the next marketing frontier (Agrawal 2018). The audience that podcasts attracts, soon to reach 100m listeners (Statista, 2018), is enticing brands to invest more and more into this relatively new marketing platform. Today we will be discussing whether the prominence of this tool in today’s society means that it is now a marketing necessity for companies. Can you avoid investing in this trend or is it smart-business?
When it all started
Podcasts came about in 2004, a combination of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. They are essentially audio files which can be downloaded straight from the internet onto your device for free (most of the time). Although the revolution began with amateurs recording their personal thoughts in makeshift studios, several corporations and large broadcast companies have now joined the ranks. Due to the fact that podcasters do not rely on ratings, they can choose from the wildest of topics, from environmental debate to feminism and some touching on scientific research. It is this diversity which has gathered such variety in audience members.
The beauty of a podcast is that the listener builds up a relationship with the speaker – consistency and familiarity is a common trait amongst the top podcast chart toppers. For example, Desert Island Discs, a popular Radio 4 broadcast, has its own podcast show of which the archive spans over a decade. Kirsty Young has a large fan base and it arguably one of the reasons for drawing listeners in.
Although the history of podcasting means long-time shows are incredibly popular, it does not mean new shows are unlikely to be popular. Recent movements such as #MeToo means that a host of new feminist shows have also grown in the popularity, for example, ‘The Guilty Feminist’.
The impact of podcasting on marketing
Although the concept of a podcast is over a decade old, it is only within the past couple of years that it has been seriously considered as an official marketing tool. Many influential people are taking advantage of this new style of ‘blogging’ from celeb Fearne Cotton in order to promote her book ‘Happy Place’ to youtube influencers such as Estee Lalonde. Not only are brands seeking sponsorship opportunities with these influencers but they are attempting to turn podcasting into a profitable businesses themselves. For example, PodcastAlley.com and Podcast.net now feature advertisements (Watson, 2018).
With podcasts, there is no need to create written content. Podcasts make it easy to provide high quality, relevant content without the time and effort required by physically writing. It’s an easier and smarter approach to marketing. If you want to align your brand to a specific message, podcasting can be perfect tool to create a sense of community with your desired audience. As mentioned previously, they also provide access to a large audience. Whether is it your choice to sponsor, create your own or appear on a podcast yourself, it is certainly a tool to not underestimate.
How to take advantage of podcasting
- Invest time in researching creative and conversational topics
- Think about your speaker. ‘Podcasts inspire conversation, while blogs tend to provoke thought.’ (Agrawal, 2018). Use a speaker that’s going to connect with your audience.
- Create eye catching cover art for your podcast.
- Find a suitable host e.g Itunes or Google Play.
- Feature interesting guests.
- Make sure your episodes have a common theme e.g similar introduction and closing statement.
- Make sure every episode is edited and transcribed correctly.
Our favourite podcasts
- The Business of Fashion Podcast
- Digital Marketing Podcast
- The Science of Social Media
- The High Low
- Table Manners
- Stuff You Should Know
- Ted Talks Daily
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- Desert Island Discs
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