If you haven’t waxed lyrical to your friends and colleagues about your favourite podcast discovery over the past 18 months, were you even in the pandemic?! Podcast chat has become the virtual water cooler topic of choice amongst workers over video calls during lockdown. And with more than 1m shows and 30m episodes to listen to, there is a veritable audio smorgasbord to dive into.
Where TV shows and film production were stymied thanks to Covid, podcasts were immune to the virus, becoming a pandemic posterchild thanks to its informal, less polished style that can be achieved by just about anyone with a microphone and recording gear. A fluid supply of fresh content has kept the nation informed, entertained and hungry for more.
It is estimated that 15m people in the UK listened to podcasts last year – a punchy number for a medium that has endured a slow burn. Podcasts have essentially been around for decades, albeit historically given the less cool moniker of ‘audio blogs’, but it wasn’t until the advent of smartphones that everyone had a readily accessible device to listen to them on. It was the pandemic that really ramped up their popularity though, with podcasts sliding into our social lives to liven up our daily hour of exercise and zhuzh up the mundanity of lockdown.
Podcasts aren’t the only audio content having a moment. The drop-in audio chat app Clubhouse is unique in the world of social media networks for its lack of pictures, videos or text – it relies solely on audio to get the party started. While marketeers are still holding our collective breath to see whether the ‘unicorn’ will live up to expectations, it is clear the concept is taking off, with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all testing drop-in audio rooms.
From a marketing perspective, the popularity of audio presents numerous opportunities to get brand cut-through. Creating your own podcast is a cost effective and versatile way to connect to target communities, whether in B2B or B2C spheres. With no gatekeeper, they allow you to tell your brand story without being edited by journalists for being too commercial. Third-party podcasts can be the ideal platform to put forward brand spokespeople and work hard as a vehicle for thought leadership. Sponsorship and advertising are more expensive yet excellent ways to guarantee exposure on a podcast, to highly targeted and engaged audiences. Clubhouse is still in its infancy so largely untested from a marketing point of view, but the social media powerhouses wouldn’t be copying the drop-in audio format if they didn’t see dollar signs, so watch this space.
If you’d like to discuss how we can support you with audio PR, then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 020 7240 2444.