Any marketer can tell you that a compelling story is the focal point of any effective content strategy. For the past few years, visual content like blogs, infographics, whitepapers, and video content have ruled the roost in content marketing. However, a new format has been staking its claim on the advertising landscape: podcasts. According to Edison Research, in 2019, 51% of Americans had heard a podcast, while 32% listened to at least one podcast per month. This represents an enormous marketing opportunity for businesses across many industries, but many executive leaders and marketers still don’t know what podcasts are and why they should be paying attention.
To be fair, the podcast is a relatively new invention (think 2004), but it merely expands on a more traditional form of media: the radio. Inside Radio says that podcast advertising will exceed $500 million in 2020. According to CivicScience, in 2019, 22 percent of listeners made a purchase because of a podcast ad. Before we dive deeper into all the reasons you should add a podcast to your marketing strategy, let’s talk about what a podcast is.
According to the Podcast Host, a podcast is simply “talk radio, but on demand.” Podcasts are usually episodic, that is they are part of a series like a television show. Podcasts are hosted on popular music streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Pandora, Google Play Music, Google Podcasts, and more. The word “podcast” is a portmanteau of “iPod,” a portable media player produced and sold by Apple, and “broadcast.” In the early days, some even referred to it as “audio blogging.” Sounds simple enough but, in this age of YouTube and Instagram, why is audio-only formatting making a resurgence? Well, there are several reasons.
Podcasts offer incredible convenience that other forms of media can’t provide. First, because podcasts are purely audio, audiences can consume podcasts while they drive, cook, or any other activity that requires their visual attention. This is perfect for consumers with long commutes to work every day. Podcasts are also ideal for almost any discussion topic. From tech to sports, to home improvement, there’s a podcast out there for everyone. Additionally, because podcasts aren’t live, listeners can tune into their podcasts whenever it is most convenient for them.
According to the Infinite Dial, a survey of digital media consumption in America, podcast popularity is booming right now. Their research showed that in 2019, more than half of Americans over the age of 12 had listened to a podcast. Additionally, they said that “One-third of the population reported having listened to a podcast in the last month, representing 90 million monthly listeners.”
Check out this infographic from Podcast Insights that shows the results of their research podcast consumption in 2019.
Even more interestingly, research by CivicScience indicates that podcasts are very popular among professionals and managers who have long commutes. CivicService says that even service workers tend to tune in monthly. Their research suggests that podcasts are most popular among GenZ and Millenials, of whom 13% and 15% tune in, respectively.
Additionally, this CivicScience chart indicates that podcast listeners tend that people with salaries of over $100k are more avid podcast consumers than those at or below $100k.
To be fair, there are lots of podcasts in the market. According to Podcast Insights’ December 2019 research, there are over 800,000 active podcasts with over 30 million episodes total. However, there is still space in the market for well-executed specialty podcasts. While the most popular podcasts come from the entertainment industry, like food, mystery, sports, and drama, high-specialized industry-related podcasts have still managed to carve out niches for themselves. Podcasts focusing on business topics like investing, start-ups, navigating the modern workplace, and big business have all found loyal audiences.
Companies large and small are quickly recognizing the value of a well-crafted podcast to their marketing strategy. Tech giants like Google, IBM, Samsung all have incredibly successful podcasts. Let’s take a look at what they have done right.
Google launched “This Week in Google” on August 1, 2009, and has since recorded 541 episodes. It’s hosted by Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis, and Stacy Higginbottom and airs every Wednesday. The series covers the latest developments in Google and cloud computing news.
Salesforce’s IT Visionary podcast is biweekly and features “Conversations with CIOs, CTOs, and Fortune 1000 technology leaders.” Their guests include industry leaders from inside and outside of Salesforce and the podcast episodes explore the intricacies of leadership and engineering. Past guests include Rachana Kumar, Senior Director Of Engineering at Etsy, Jason Warner, SVP of Technology at Github, and Timothy Campos, Former Chief Information Officer at Facebook.
Samsung’s What’s NEXT podcast is another great example of the mainstream adoption of podcasts in marketing strategies. Their weekly show has featured senior leadership from the industry’s most promising start-ups and dives into topics like autonomous aviation (UAS), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and Blockchain. They also tackle social topics like diversity in the technology industry, how technology affects the quality of life for different groups of people, and cybersecurity concerns.
Regardless of your industry, a podcast is a great way to discuss your industry’s most pressing issues and give your customers information that’s important to them. Building a podcast that customers can rely on for timely and accurate information can help establish your business as an authority in the industry, build brand awareness, and cultivate customer loyalty. Podcasts have the potential to do what whitepapers and long-form articles have traditionally done and do so in a more engaging format. A customer may not be able to read a whitepaper while they are driving, but they can tune into a podcast.
The numbers don’t lie: tens of millions of Americans listen to podcasts monthly. With a podcast, your business can potentially reach untapped audiences. This article by CivicScience suggests that 22% of podcasts listeners have made a purchase based on a podcast advertisement. As discussed previously in this article, podcast listeners tend to be wealthy and educated. So, a well-crafted podcast can help you connect authentically with your customers and expand your client base.
Podcasts are relatively cheap and easy to make and can serve as fountains of microcontent. Each podcast episode can serve as your “pillar piece” of content for that week from which you can generate microcontent for LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. This strategy ensures cohesion across your weekly content on all social media platforms and gives your audience a “story” to follow.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC, the second-largest professional services company globally, 2019 saw a 42.2% YOY increase in podcast advertising revenue. In October 2018, PwC’s Strategy and Business publication declared that “podcasting revenue boom has started.” They also asserted that podcasting was laying the framework for a billion-dollar media industry. PwC expects podcast ad revenue to grow to over $1.6 billion by 2022. It’s clear that podcasting is ushering in a new era of media and advertising that holds enormous potential for businesses across numerous industries.
At The Houston Pod, we’re passionate about helping medium-large sized businesses discover their revenue potential through podcasting. We know that you might want to create a podcast, but you might not know where to start. Our full-service studio can handle all the heavy lifting. We can help you record, edit, and publish a high-quality podcast that will help set you apart from your competitors and establish your company as an authority in your industry. Let us help you take your content marketing strategy to the next level. Contact us today for a free consultation and to schedule your free trial episode.