Podcasts entered the public lexicon more than a decade ago. Conceived as a way for individuals to spread their message to an online audience, podcasts were originally known as audio blogging. This media platform morphed into an art form of sorts, when it became popular with broadcasters and entertainers.
More recently, podcasting has become a viable method for business enterprises to share information with the public and to reach more customers. The medium was threatened with extinction just a few years ago, based on the arguments that they were dated and difficult for the average consumer to access. That trend has reversed, however, and podcasts may be the next hot marketing platform for a variety of industries.
Who’s Listening to Podcasts?
The Washington Post* recently reported that more than a billion iTunes users are subscribed to podcasts, and 75 million people listen to at least one podcast each month. The Pew Research Center** reports that 17 percent of Americans listened to one or more podcasts in the past month, and awareness of the medium is growing rapidly. In 2014, 2.6 billion podcasts were downloaded.
Americans spend an average of three hours each day commuting, working out and doing housework, and more and more, they are looking for digital audio content to fill that time. The chances are excellent that a large percentage of your customers are already consumers of this medium. Many podcast listeners are educated professionals who are tech-savvy and have a reasonable amount of disposable income. It’s truly an exceptional demographic.
Are Podcasts the Next Big Thing for Marketing?
Trends in content consumption are gradually expanding beyond the printed word, as busy people sometimes favor audio and video streaming. Offering audio content to your customers means that they can download and listen on their own schedule, during their commute, in the gym or on their lunch break.
Businesses around the world are capitalizing on this trend, creating audio content in an arena that’s not yet as crowded as some other marketing platforms. You have the ability to speak directly to your customer, infusing your message with your company’s No. 1 brand representative, you. This allows the consumer to connect with you on a level that the written word isn’t always able to accomplish. And, once your podcast is out there, it will keep working for you forever.
Leveraging Podcasts for Your Business
As with any marketing strategy today, content is king in podcasting. Provide your audience with educational material infused with a little entertainment to obtain the best traction. Listeners enjoy conversations more than oratory, so consider interviewing someone related to your industry, or having someone else in the organization interview you. Leverage your existing written content for topics and infuse them with stories, anecdotes and industry-specific news items. Don’t worry too much about production values. Podcast consumers understand that they’re more about timely information than professional quality recordings. Relax and have fun with this dynamic medium.
To maximize the value and ROI on your audio marketing, ask your marketing strategist to help you with content and promotion. This year, consider beefing up your marketing strategy with podcasts.