Podcasts are a booming medium right now. According to Edison Research and Triton Digital’s Infinite Dial 2021 study, 80 million Americans ages 12 and older listen to at least one podcast a week, with the average listener enjoying five shows in that time.
The number of podcasts grew to 2 million in 2021 (Winn, 2021) and advertisers are expected to spend over $1 billion on podcast campaigns this year alone (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2020). Here are five reasons your business should ride this wave and consider starting its own podcast:
1. To engage your audience where they are.
Podcasting is a functional medium. They can be listened to while doing other activities, like driving or house chores. This means your busy audience can take in your message as an active part of their day.
If you are concerned the coronavirus pandemic has affected this, don’t fear! Nielsen (2021) reports that podcast listeners have “learned to change their media habits despite the life changes that COVID-19 brought on”, keeping “heavy listeners” engaged and even growing the number of “light podcast listeners.”.
People mainly listen to podcasts to learn new things, be entertained, and stay informed about current events (Statista, 2019). These dedicated listeners actively choose content that aligns with their interests and goals and spend a lot of time with it. This is why…
2. Podcast advertising is growing
Follow the money. Advertisers invest in podcasts because they work. Nielsen (2021) found ”host-read ads drive a brand recall rate of 71%, which subsequently creates high levels of consumer interest, purchase intent and recommendation intent.”. After hearing about a product or service via a podcast, 62% of heavy listeners report visiting a website for more information (Nielsen, 2021). In other words, the relationship a host establishes with their audience makes the listener more likely to act.
Now imagine the entire podcast as branded content for your company. The show becomes a curated way to spend time with a desired audience and provide them with useful information. And, because of the wide array of podcasts available, you can be hyperfocused on your own niche – a strength of the medium, not a weakness.
That makes podcasts the perfect platform to…
3. Keep your customers (or employees!) informed.
Toyota launched a podcast in 2018 titled Toyota Untold. The podcast is set up as a way for car fans to learn the history of one of the industry’s most influential companies, but Toyota also uses it to rebrand themselves in the consumer’s mind as a “mobility company” (Hollis, 2018). Similarly, your business can use a podcast to help shape its brand and tell a deeper story about what you do.
Private podcasts also exist for internal employee use. These can still be accessed anywhere for free, albeit with a private access code only available to those who should have it. Consider using a podcast to keep your employees up-to-date with the company and even give them a chance to learn about other people and departments. And, because they can listen while doing other things, it is less of an ask to have them stay informed on what is happening with their employer!
Regardless of your desired audience, a podcast is a good way to reach someone with your message. And, because of how podcasts work, you are doing them a service by…
4. Providing your listener with entertainment – for free?
It might sound crazy, but the “freemium” model works. Under freemium economics, a product is given to the consumer for free with the intent of making a conversion later or selling that customer to advertisers. Most media do this one way or another (like free trials or advertising) but it is a founding principle of podcasting. Keeping your podcast available at no cost means it is available to the widest audience possible – all they need is a smart phone or internet browser.
This makes it easier to reach your desired audience. Couple that with podcasts’ functionality and increasing awareness of podcasting (Edison Research & Triton Digital, 2021), and you have a messaging platform that people not only actively listen to but desire more of.
Other people in your situation will want to take advantage of this devoted listener base. That is why you should think of your podcast as…
5. A chance to interact with other companies and thought leaders
A documentary- or interview-based podcast gives you the chance to interact with others who you may not otherwise have a reason to connect with. This can build business relationships and help establish new avenues for your company’s image.
“Most of our new business comes from referrals,” Mike Coffey, President of Imperative Information Group and host of the podcast Good Morning, HR, said.
“When we were talking about ways to build trust with our advisors – people who would be able to refer business to us – I thought getting to know more of those people would be positive,” Coffey said. “I figured this was good way to give them something of value that they can use in their own marketing to demonstrate their own expertise, but also build some credibility with them for me personally and with the company.”
Coffey uses his podcast to open new doors with business owners and thought leaders. He hopes that they not only will see it as content for their marketing, but also a way to serve others in the business and HR industries.
“I think every one of these topics so far – and hopefully well in the future – are going to be things that both HR professionals and other business leaders or business owners are going to find timely and relevant,” Coffey said.
Podcasts have received a lot of attention over the past few years and that is only set to grow. 78 percent of Americans 12 and older are now at the least aware of podcasting, and the listenership demographics reflect those of the overall United States population (Edison Research & Triton Digital, 2021).
Podcasts are here to stay, and your business should consider leveraging this popular medium to connect with the customer. Stay tuned to the Sparkyard blog for my next post – 5 Branded Podcasts You Should Look to For Inspiration.
- Coffey, M. (2021, August 25). Mike Coffey on Podcasting [Interview to Rob Upchurch].
- Edison Research, & Triton Digital. (2021). The Infinite Dial 2021 (pp. 53–73).
- Hollis, J. (2018, December 3). Toyota Untold (No. 1) [Podcast]. Toyota Motor North America. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/not-a-car-company-mobility-for-all/id1444305760?i=1000426030425
- PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2020). U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study. Interactive Advertising Bureau.
- The Nielsen Company. (2021). Podcasting Today: Insights for Podcast Advertisers.
- Winn, R. (2021, April 10). 2021 Podcast Stats & Facts (New Research From Apr 2021). Podcast Insights. https://www.podcastinsights.com/podcast-statistics/