Podcasts and How to Get the Best Out of Them

19.03.2021 Content Strategy
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Podcasts are a relatively recent phenomenon that has seen their popularity skyrocket over the last few years. The spiritual successor to radio, podcasts combine easy listening with extreme convenience. With the ability to pick and choose when you can listen to an episode, they give the listener complete control along with a mesmerising array of content to choose from. In January 2021 there were a staggering one million active podcasts available to listeners in 100 different languages. The quantity of these options alone portrays the number of benefits that podcasts currently have and the influence that comes with these numbers.

Podcasts come in a mind-boggling variety of forms, from quirky chat shows to business advice to chilling true crime documentaries. With such a selection on offer it can be tricky making your show stand out from the bustling crowd of competition. But there are a number of ways that you can help your podcast hit all the right notes and land with all the right people. Here are our tips on using podcasts as a channel for brand marketing. But lets start with the basics – what actually is a podcast?

What is a podcast?

Podcasts are a form of on-demand media that can be in either video or audio formats. Typically consisting of a host and guests, it follows a similar pattern to talk shows in an episodic format.

The format’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. This is reflected by a tripling of the number of shows on offer on Spotify between 2019 and 2020. In fact, the massively popular digital audio service credited podcasts as the reason behind its 24% increase in subscribers during this period. This is about as high as a compliment can get from one of the kings of modern audio media.

Recording a podcast

Despite the fact that they are typically in an audio format, podcasts are also often accompanied by video footage. This allows viewers to put faces to names and bolsters the audio media’s credibility. The benefit of shooting podcasts as a video means that you can later choose to convert them into an audio format. The reverse is, obviously, impossible. Thanks to this, instead of wondering whether video or audio would be better, you can reap the benefits of having access to both. Plus, it goes without saying that releasing your podcast in a video format is a no brainer if you are a company with video-centric brand marketing.

Thanks to the recent rise in popularity, businesses now consider podcasts an appealing platform on which to market their brands. There are a number of reasons behind this, and by learning about them you can use this information to benefit your campaign.

Why are podcasts an effective platform for businesses?

Podcasts are popular

Let’s start with one of the more obvious benefits of podcasts – they are extremely popular. They are advertised left, right and centre, and cover just about every subject under the sun. During 2019 65.1 million hours of podcast listening took place every week in the UK alone. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that this was a 50% increase on the previous year. So, not only are podcasts immensely popular but their popularity is increasing as time goes on.

The fact that podcast advertising revenue skyrocketed from $314m to $1.13bn between 2017 and 2021 signifies the influence that it now holds in the world of business. This gives it the potential to prove an invaluable tool to add to your marketing armoury. On top of their popularity, podcasts are shown to be effective at retaining consumers’ attention spans. Thanks to this, companies aren’t restricted to a brief time slot in which to rapidly grasp attention and instil a message. The longer you hold a consumer’s attention, the easier it is to make an impression.

Building your brand voice

Your brand tone of voice is key to sculpting the right identity for your company. When releasing a podcast, you need to translate this voice from text to audio. This requires considerable thought and planning, as hiring someone with the wrong voice and character has the potential to completely unravel all the work that you have put into building your brand’s personality. As with every marketing campaign, this stems from an effective content strategy.

Professional microphone

The primary focus of the content strategy should be to refine your mission and vision. By following this strategy as a rough roadmap, you are more likely to find yourself developing a podcast that conforms with your branding and appeals to your target audience. Your podcast has to be personal and distinctive. Use brand-specific language and ensure that your content is on brand so that it carries its own unique character. With over one million active podcasts to compete with, it is important to act as a shepherd, not a sheep.

Building a brand voice goes beyond the audio content alone. Podcasts are an excellent means of opening a company-customer line of conversation. Whilst emails and comment sections do allow a dialogue to open between you and your audience, podcasts can take it a step further. This can be achieved by answering questions or opening conversations during a podcast episode. To have this direct public interaction between a brand and its audience gives companies a human element. Another means of executing this is hosting live podcasting sessions. Again, the direct contact between consumers and their favourite companies improves the overall user experience.

Helps nurture relationships with the audience

Somewhat of an expansion on the previous matter, podcasts help you to build on your relationships with your audience. Podcasts are a highly engaging form of media and, like video, an excellent means of bulking out your brand’s storytelling. Rather than a format for delivering soulless, salesy drawl, podcasts should be used to build excitement about what it is that your company stands for and what it can offer. In addition, those that listen to podcasts are more likely to directly engage with your company. 94% of podcast listeners are on social media in some capacity, which increases the likelihood of interaction. In turn, this opens potentially interested parties up to the early stages of your marketing funnel.

Audiences build up a rapport with podcasts. This is in part to do with the fact that it is typically a one-to-one experience. Podcasts aren’t usually a group activity, which gives them a personal touch. Add to this the fact that they are often listened to whilst on the go and it is easier to see why they possess a familiarity unmatched by most other media formats. They become entwined with listeners’ lifestyles. This is an effective tool for building a strong relationship.

The more your audience listen in, the more familiar your voice – and therefore your brand – becomes. As a result of this, your company becomes more genuine in the eyes (or ears) of the listener. You can exaggerate this with the addition of a video element to your podcast. This way presenters’ faces build up a familiarity in conjunction with their voices. Research has also proven the benefits of using human faces in video content, with viewers perceiving brands as more trustworthy when associated with a face.

Podcasts also have the ability to create relationships between customers. As a popular discussion point, they create a sense of community amongst listeners. Suddenly your brand can become a topic of discussion without even directly involving your marketing material. In fact, 57% of podcasts are discovered through word of mouth. This just goes to show the importance of nurturing relationships with your customers.

Easy and affordable to create

One of the primary perks of using podcasting as an element of your marketing strategy is that they are relatively inexpensive to produce. Other than a charismatic host and a selection of interesting guests, only basic equipment is required. Obviously, this will vary according to the quality that you want your content to be. At the end of the day, podcasts can be created with no more than a smartphone and the right media software. But if you are looking to use your podcast in a professional manner, this is inadvisable to say the very least. In a professional context, you need your podcast to sound premium. We advise that you use professional recording equipment and the opinion of experts who know how to effectively edit audio content.

Zoomed in image of an audio deck

Beyond the audio equipment all that is required is a comfortable, on-brand setting and – if you are opting to video the episodes – a couple of stationary cameras. Once you tick all of these boxes you will be well on your way. Have a play with relevant software and cover art options then you are all set to start recording and filming. It’s as simple and cost-effective as that!

Podcasts can be listened to anywhere

Everything is becoming increasingly portable in this day and age. Everywhere you go in the world, whether on transport, at a café or even sat in the park, you are guaranteed to witness at least one person plugged into some form of smart device. OK, maybe not everywhere, but you get our point. Media is becoming more frequently consumed on the go. This ease of portability is one of the most appealing features of podcasts. Hence why smartphones are the most popular medium for listening to them.

Whilst 49% of podcast listeners choose to consume their favourite series whilst relaxing at home, the other 51% of listeners account for those that are on the go. Building on the point raised earlier, this helps podcasts become entwined with listeners’ daily routines. In turn, they become more familiar and trustworthy. The fact that your brand’s marketing material can be consumed regardless of where your audience finds themselves is a valuable asset.

Podcasts can be used in a number of different ways

Typically, podcasts will have a page of their own. This could be a podcast-focussed library or each episode having a landing page of its own. But this doesn’t mean that you should limit the usage of your podcast material to this alone.

Thanks to the versatility of audio and video files, podcasts can become a useful tool for upgrading site content across the board. For example, many businesses insert snippets of their podcasts into relevant blog posts. Or even go as far as creating a blog dedicated to promoting your podcast – a good tip for those looking to boost SEO. In a similar vein, you can also use segments of your podcast content to spruce up an email newsletter.

Headphone sets on a pink background

Social media is also a brilliant platform for promoting your podcast. Uploading it to sites like YouTube or Facebook is sure to render positive results. Meanwhile, platforms like Instagram will require you to cut your content down into shorter snippets. Personalising podcast edits for each platform will help improve functionality and draw in new listeners.

Affiliating with other podcasters is also a popular means of promotion. By mentioning a similar podcaster within your sector and having them respond in kind, you can create mutually beneficial partnerships. Having your content mentioned by a respected figure within the field is sure to see your listener base grow. And given the wide array of podcasting channels available online, it is an absolute guarantee that there will be a relevant party out there willing to partake in such an agreement. Simply find them, reach an agreement and watch your audience expand.

If you want to learn more about creating podcasts and getting the best out of them, feel free to drop us a line.

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