By Beki McVicker, Account Director at Storm Communications
The PRCA declared 2019 as the ‘Year of the Podcast’ and what a year it’s been so far. At the June 2018 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple revealed that there were more than 500,000 active podcasts, including content in more than 100 languages. Just a year later, this had grown to 750,000 with an estimated 30 million episodes available online.
With such fast-paced success, the medium of podcasting is proving itself as a formidable tool for any brand to engage and entertain growing on-the-go audiences. In the UK, 6 million people are reported to listen to at least one podcast every week – an audience that has doubled over the past five years. With the continued shift from traditional media to digital platforms, podcasts offer brands an opportunity to build awareness, create intimate, one-to-one engagement and establish themselves as passionate, trusted experts in their specialist fields.
However, with more than 750,000 podcasts to choose from, listeners are spoilt for choice – so getting the approach right to capture a target audience is critical. So, how can brands create a successful podcast strategy, and ensure it achieves cut through with the right audience?
The first step is to consider – is a podcast the right platform for your brand? Just because podcasts are clearly growing in popularity, doesn’t mean that every brand should automatically jump on the bandwagon. In an already saturated market, will your podcast stand out and add value, or will it get lost in a sea of mediocrity?
If the medium is right for your brand, a content strategy must follow. What is your audience interested in hearing about? How can you add value and offer an original source of information? Is your content sustainable? It’s important to determine the topics and speakers that hold the potential to generate the most interest and engagement in order to attract a highly specific type of listener.
Of course, once your podcast is up and running, it’s important to consider how you can encourage further discussion. Listening to a podcast is a great way to build a bond between the brand/creator and the audience, but what’s the next step? How can audiences engage with you on the topics you’re broadcasting about? Social media is not only a great way to promote and drive awareness, but to extend the conversation beyond the audio.
Podcasts can also be a great way to easily generate content for a range of channels. Think about your podcast guests, could they contribute a blog for your brand’s website offering a teaser to find out more, could they take over your social channels or following the launch of a podcast, could they feature in a live Q&A? By creating a world around your podcast, you can help create a lively and engaging forum for industry discussion, and cement your role in facilitating dialogue on the topics most important to your industry.
Beyond the cast
Of course, if committing to producing and managing a branded podcast feels like a step too far into the unknown, there are a multitude of opportunities for brands to edge into the void through advertising or sponsored posts.
According to The Drum, due to the ‘proliferation of high-quality content in the space’. It is no surprise that this has become such an attractive medium for advertisers, with 76% of listeners following up on an ad or sponsored message they’ve heard during a broadcast, 37% said an ad had led them to seek out further information on a product, while 24% were prompted to visit a brand’s website.
Whichever approach you choose, the key to building an engaged audience is to remember who your listeners are and make sure you broadcast something worth listening to.