There are millions of podcasts out there – 5 million titles are on Spotify alone. Podcasts open up opportunities for content creators to reach new audiences in a more intimate, long-format way. And it no longer requires access to expensive studio equipment.
Does a podcast belong in your brand’s marketing strategy? We take stock of the environment, considering reasons why you should and shouldn’t jump on the podcast bandwagon.
One-third of Americans describe themselves as regular podcast listeners. Whether they’re on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Overcast, these listeners are loyal. Sixty-eight percent of regular listeners say they always finish the episode. A saturated podcast market might be intimidating, but with shows for every niche, listeners are uniquely engaged.
People listen to podcasts for the stories - and that's a powerful way to connect your audience to your brand.
Seventy-three percent of listeners say they’re seeking out information from podcasts, while 71% say they’re looking for entertainment. Whatever your brand specializes in, podcasts offer the chance to explain why you’re a leader in the marketplace by showcasing your talent in a memorable way.
The most important thing to remember – a podcast is not an advertisement. Whatever you’re sharing must be emotionally engaging and useful to keep your audience coming back for another episode.
The most popular podcast genres include comedy, society and culture, news and true crime. The original true crime podcast, Serial, told the story of Adnan Sayed, the high school senior from Baltimore convicted of killing his girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999. The deep dive into that case transformed the podcast medium into a long-form experience, creating a community that listened and talked to each other as they devoured every episode.
Podcast hosts gather their loyal followers in spaces like private Facebook groups, where listeners can engage with each other about the content and ultimately, your brand.
Buzzsprout says the average podcast is 38 minutes long. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, the time that goes into prepping the content, preparing interviews, editing the finished product and marketing is easily quadruple that.
Before committing to starting a podcast, consider how frequently you will publish new episodes, then consider how much work time you have available to devote to the content creation. Forty percent of the top 25 podcasts with a regular posting schedule publish once per week. With your frequency in mind, be realistic about the time it takes to produce content. The Podcast Host advises allowing up to three hours for each 30 minutes of content you create.
Achieving big download numbers takes time and consistency. In its first month, the average podcast will get fewer than 200 downloads, but most podcasts get even fewer than that. For example, to rank in the top 50% of podcasts, you only need 30 downloads. That means millions of content creators are spending valuable time each week on podcasts with very few listeners.
Be realistic about the size of audience you can attract and engage and weigh that with the time you’re prepared to devote. Your commitment to a podcast reflects on your brand. If you start one, stick with it.
What do you have to talk about? Consider not just what you could pack in episodes one, two and three but what about in episode 87? How will you generate new content regularly? Will you have one host or two? Will you bring in guests? Don’t underestimate the need for good chemistry between every voice you feature on your podcast. Creating good conversation into a microphone is an art form. While you don’t need to be a professional broadcaster, a podcast host should be comfortable with the sound of their own voice, leading an interview and keeping the conversation flowing.
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