A podcast is a digital audio file available on the Internet for streaming and/or downloading to a computer or mobile device. They are characteristically recorded as a series; all subscribers can usually receive each episode automatically.
Podcasts have been around for 16 years, and they are more popular than ever, drawing millions of listeners, sponsorships that can generate quality leads and conversions. The numbers may look good on paper, but is it the right communication vehicle to add to your marketing strategy?
According to an article published on Medium, “Podcasts were popularised by MTV personality Adam Curry, known as the “Podfather” through his show Daily Source Code. iTunes began carrying podcasts in June 2005. The rest is history.”
Why are podcasts so popular?
We live in an on-demand era – with the ability to access multimedia content at our own pace, on our terms. However, in saying this, brands need to be aware that it has created consumer expectations; possible scenarios that could inhibit marketing success should be addressed in your marketing strategy.
The best podcasts incorporate the following key audience-grabbing elements. They are
- Expert guests can be included
I’d like to touch on the last two points. Authenticity is one of the main drivers for audience engagement. Consumers are no longer interested in cookie-cutter content that can be found anywhere; they want to learn and be entertained at the same time. A podcast allows you to satisfy and cater to this societal need.
Anchor makes an excellent point, stating that “Unlike traditional marketing channels which tend to be carefully curated, podcasts are often casual and unfiltered. Even if your podcast follows a general script or outline, your voice adds a human element to your business. It gives listeners an authentic feel for the personality of your brand.”
Why a podcast can help your business
Podcasts are downloadable
Podcasts can be downloaded and listened to at your convenience – on your commute to work, at the gym, it’s your choice.
You’ll discover your target audience
Take a minute and Google an obscure topic and add ‘podcast’ to the search; quite a variety, right? There are podcasts for the most popular topics to incredibly niche subjects such as knitting and discussions about the Higgs boson.
One of the most potent parts is that you can convey your ‘literal’ voice and discuss whatever you want; it doesn’t need to be sales focused at all. The human element already gives your brand credibility, and listeners are more likely to develop a relationship with the hosts when connecting with them and their voices.
Podcasts have longevity and shareability
Content created for specific campaigns or other time-sensitive content becomes irrelevant over time. However, podcasts don’t have a particular expiration date; if you download them onto your computer or mobile device, they exist until you decide to delete the audio file. It’s also easy to share with, frankly, anyone you wish.
Audiences want to learn from professionals
According to a Statista survey, almost 75% of podcast listeners want to learn new things. Therefore, podcasting is a great way to reach an engaged audience looking for information to keep all of them entertained. Your community pays back as brand affinity.
As mentioned earlier, podcasts are unique, unfiltered and raw; hosts can give their opinion on aspects of the marketing industry by sharing personal stories of hardships and accomplishments. This is what people want. The opportunity to hear about a brand’s evolution from the owner and/or staff members. In so doing, you are ‘selling’ the services of the brand through your narrative. Why not interview industry titans to offer their insights? You can construct the format as you see fit.
Yes, sometimes above-the-line (ATL) marketing methods have their place, but it serves an entirely different purpose. You are not going to build a community, foster loyalty and trust from a sales-centric billboard ad.
Interaction with your listeners
Podcasts give you the opportunity to converse with the consumer; listen to what they have to say. It’s the best way to receive customer feedback that you can use to improve your business. It also enhances credibility and overall brand reputation.
Make a point of inviting and encouraging listeners to participate in the podcast. Whether through a live phone call or allowing them to send voice notes via WhatsApp, use social media technology to your advantage. Perhaps, reward community loyalty with special offers too.
Consumers want to engage and feel appreciated by knowing they aren’t just one of the numbers on their till slip. The personalisation, interactivity and overall connection that podcasts can provide will ensure your brand is always a talking point online and offline.
Highlights: Key reasons why podcasts should be included in your marketing strategy
- Podcasts are a cost-effective marketing method.
- Podcasts are unfiltered. The host and guests can voice their opinion.
- Podcasts promote engagement.
- Podcasts are personalised and authentic.
- Podcasts are ideal for building a community.
- They are downloadable and mobile device friendly.
- Consumers can listen to them when and where they wish.
- They establish credibility and enhance a positive brand reputation.
- The content is not time-sensitive.
- You’ll find a quality lead generating target audience.