Ask around. At work, at home, at uni. I’d wager you’ll find a whole lot of people who tell you they listen regularly to podcasts. Podcasts of all types: sport, current affairs, comedy, politics, the net is wide. OFCOM estimates that almost 6 million UK adults tune in every week, nearly doubling the figures of 5 years ago. 6 million. A week. That’s a lot. Experts are also predicting these numbers will continue to spike in the years to come. And considering how broad the overall podcast demographic is (most listeners are in the18 – 56 years bracket), it’s clear just how powerful this medium has become.
So what is it about podcasts then? How have they become the golden child of media and what can brands and marketeers gain from the rise?
The average media consumer is switching from musical playlists to podcast subscriptions in their droves and there are a few reasons why.
We all live on our phones. Less and less of us are digesting media and marketing through laptops, never mind desktops, so any content that is optimised and digestible via digital is going to reach more of us. Search engines are shifting their algorithms to give mobile priority so taking their lead, every content creator should be doing the same.
Content consumption has evolved. No longer are audiences willing to wait a week for a new episode of their favourite show, they want a full season available at once. We are the on-demand generations and that is not set to change. Podcasts appeal in exactly the same way that Netflix and Amazon Prime suit our consumption habits. We can pick and choose when – and where – we listen to them, one at a time, a few in a row, in the home, on the go, whatever suits our needs.
Life is busy. And true ‘down time’ is becoming increasingly rare. Instead of sitting down to a book or taking time out to listen to a new album, consumers want to engage with the content of their choice while they’re busy doing other things. Maybe it’s an episode on your commute, or a sports podcast when you work out, multi-tasking content is where it’s at and podcasts are king.
Increased feelings of disassociation within society, the overwhelming nature of marketing messages, and lives lived out on social media rather than in-person means that people are looking for ‘their’ niche. Their tribe. Podcasts provide them with a comfortable, authentic home. They represent bespoke interests and a community supporting those. Users can drill down to the very specific subjects they are interested in, the people they like to listen to, the specific episodes that appeal and better yet, they can be part of the conversation.
Podcasts encourage discussion. Opinion. Conversation. Instead of book clubs to meet, digest and share ideas on great reads, podcast clubs are where it’s at. Those and discussions over the water cooler plus shares online of recent episodes that struck a chord. Conversation is easy, topical, and shareable in a far more instant and impactful way.
Podcast marketing has become a serious content strategy in recent years. You’ll hear sponsorship bookending your favourite episodes as well as breaks throughout for audio advertisements. We all just accept this as the norm. But what is it that attracts brands to podcasting over other mediums?
For brands who are committed to podcasting (not just dipping in and out), decent equipment is accessible and establishing a strategy for content each week provides an opportunity to broadcast digestible content to a defined target audience with few barriers. Turnaround is quick and reach can be suitably niche or broad.
Content marketing is all about value. Added value. And podcast content is the perfect place to deep dive into this. Find your niche, your voice, agree your clear message, and research your content. You can create something truly unique for your audience.
Content via podcasts creates an automatic back catalogue. An evergreen resource for digital users to tap into, share, refer to, in perpetuity. More than radio or print, brands can build a home for their content, a voice, an expert point of view that consumers can continue to refer to and engage with regardless of the date.
Podcasts encourage two-way content. They are a forum for discussion. Consumers listen, tweet, email, engage with content and the conversation builds. It can develop into an online community, a truly engaged cohort of individuals who buy into your message and each other and this nurturing of brand family is invaluable. Ensuring that authenticity is central and that all marketing messages sit well within your content will cultivate loyalty within your audience.
Reach and share
Digital, by definition, is shareable content. Like, share, comment, recommend, tweet about, the opportunities to engage with content and spread its visibility are endless. Podcasts themselves are shared, but layer on conversations about the discussions within, recommendations discussed, following the host or brands involved and the multi-layered effect of this digital content is epic. Team that with the reach opportunities and it’s clear why podcasts win the race. Audiences can be targeted via direct dissemination and via social media but reach in reality has no limits, whether geographic, age-based, or income reliant.
So, is it any surprise that podcasts are the media royalty of the moment? Valuable, engaging content designed to speak to exactly what you’re looking for, whenever and wherever you want to access it. Inspiring and connecting. Honest, authentic and rewarding content for consumers as well as accessible marketing strategies for brands which know how to play. What else should we really be looking for?