A good podcast literally gets me up in the morning: I have a rotation of shows that play as the backdrop to my before-work (and sometimes throughout-work) routine. Podcasts are one of the ways I learn about anything from the daily news to murderers like Albert Fish.
I’ve noticed that some of the best ones out there come from unexpected sources, like GE’s The Message or Spotify’s Showstopper. Podcasts have evolved from a niche media into a powerful way for brands to sell themselves through creative storytelling.
But even as Americans are increasingly tuning in to this on-demand audio medium, marketers are missing out: Just 17 percent of B2B and 13 percent of B2C companies use podcasts for marketing. If you haven’t considered reaching out to your target audience via marketing podcasts, here’s why you might want to reconsider.
Podcasts by the Numbers
- Podcasts are popular. Edison Research reports that 44 percent of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast, up 4 percent from 2017.
- Listeners are loyal. Of those tuning in, 87 percent listen to all or most of each podcast episode, and they listen to an average of seven shows per week (up from five in 2017).
- Podcasts are perfect for today’s on-the-go audiences. They are easy to access, download, and listen to anywhere — and it helps that 77 percent of U.S. adults have smartphones, where more than 23 million of them listened to a podcast in the past month.
Why Podcasts and Marketers Are a Match Made in Heaven
Podcast listeners are social media and brand savvy.
Digital strategists, rejoice! Podcast listeners are more active on every social media channel — 94 percent on at least one channel, compared to 81 percent for the entire population. They’re also more likely to follow companies and brands on social media. Not a bad demographic to win over.
Podcasts build trust with audiences.
Podcasting is an intimate way to interact with your audience. “There is something different about connecting with someone audibly ‘in their head.’ The benefit is a very interesting closeness that can develop between fans of a podcast and its creators,” says Robert Rose, the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) chief strategy advisor and co-host of This Old Marketing podcast. “That’s a very powerful tool for any marketer looking to develop better relationships with consumers.”
Podcasts can be monetized.
While building an audience of engaged, loyal subscribers should always be a top priority for marketers, podcasts may also generate a new revenue stream; particularly for brands that are open to third-party sponsorships of their shows. And thanks to constant tech advances, making a podcast today is more affordable and easy to manage than ever.
Making the Most of Your Marketing Podcast
So you’ve decided to give a marketing podcast a go — bravo, you innovative marketer, you! Consider the following guidelines to ensure that you take the right approach for your brand.
Align podcast content with your brand’s content marketing strategy.
Like everything else you make, your marketing podcast content needs to be in sync with your organization’s overall content marketing strategy. Engage and entertain your listeners with compelling information while accomplishing strategic marketing goals. Interview formats, for example, are an ideal way to leverage your subject-matter experts and brand influencers.
Create, commit, and convert.
Offer something unique and creative through your marketing podcast. “Focus on the three c’s: create, commit, and convert,” says Rose. “You have to create something interesting; otherwise, you will just be part of the noise. Then, you have to commit. Consistency is key here: If you are not prepared to commit for a long time, you shouldn’t do it. Finally, you have to build addressable audiences. Over time, success in any podcast will be in how the audience you build can be converted into doing things you want them to do. That might be [to] visit a sponsor’s website, or sign up for an event, or convert into subscribers.”
Launch your marketing podcast with a solid audience.
It’s easier to launch a podcast if you already have a fan base. Take Rose and Joe Pulizzi, CMI founder: The two co-piloted the long-running This Old Marketing podcast, and they maintain that it was successful from the start because it was built on an audience of more than 75,000 email subscribers who received CMI content.
Integrate your marketing podcast into all your content marketing efforts.
Promote your marketing podcast on your website, emails, and blog. Feature a CTA in each podcast and ensure that your website landing page, email subscriber list, and other online tools can process new subscribers and offers.
Take Note: Marketing Podcasts That Get It Right
Podcasts that bring your brands to life in authentic, creative ways are most likely to resonate with your target audiences. Like these:
- GE’s 10-part LifeAfter podcast series promotes the company’s digital twin technology through a compelling story about a grieving widower and FBI employee who spends his days conversing online with his deceased wife.
- The Hop Grenade Taproom and Bottle Shop used its craft brewery and taproom to launch The Brewing Network, a media powerhouse that produces various podcasts, radio shows, and videos dedicated to craft beer and brewing.
- Mastercard’s Fortune Favors the Bold podcast examines the changing role of money and what happens when people take risks, take control, and redefine their relationship with their finances.
See? Anyone can do it. And if you’re not sure where to start, good news: There are experts who do. Let’s talk.