The Benefits of Podcasting as a Marketing Lever

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Podcasts: you listen to them when you’re getting ready in the morning, while you pack your lunch and eat breakfast, on your drive to work, while you’re completing independent tasks, on your drive home, during your workout, while making dinner, to put the kids to sleep, before bed–podcasts saturate our lives from morning to night. These are all examples of prime times when people today like to listen to audio as a soundtrack behind their lives.

The reach of podcasts in 2021 is widespread with users able to find podcasts on multiple streaming channels for any audience about virtually any topic under the sun. People are using podcasts not only as entertainment but also to gain a steady stream of knowledge while completing other tasks, in a similar vein to listening to an audiobook on a self-help topic.

The rising popularity of podcasts has been up and coming for some time now, and certain foresightful CEOs saw it coming in advance which allowed them to make wise investments in preparation. For example, back in 2019 when podcasts really began picking up steam as a form of valuable content the CEO of Spotify led his company in purchasing two independent podcast companies and incorporating them into Spotify. In fact, Spotify reported that it set aside a $500 million budget for 2019 strictly put towards their podcast efforts.

Spotify CEO and Co-Founder Daniel Ek has spoken about the benefits of adding podcasting to Spotify and how successful podcasts are right now.

“[Adding podcasts to Spotify] is really about expanding our mission from just being about music to being about all of audio and being the world’s leading audio platform…Our users who are listening to podcasts are listening to the platform almost twice as much…In just shy of two years we have become the second biggest podcasting platform. The types of experiences that we’re seeing podcasters doing is vastly different than just the normal talk show radio. There are literally shows like Serial, which is drama that is acted out, and there are kids’ shows that are now coming, including news…We’re very much focused on being audio. Video is a huge space. It has the attention of everyone right now. But we think audio being almost two hours of consumption per day is a massive opportunity that no one is really paying attention to,” said Daniel Ek, CEO and Co-Founder of Spotify.

Podcasting can be a highly beneficial marketing lever for your business, as it is a chance to meet the consumers on the platforms they already use by providing the type of content they love. We have asked top industry professionals to comment on the benefits of using podcasting for your business and their answers are compiled in this article. Before we look more specifically at the value of podcasting on the business side, we need to first explore the basic elements of podcasting: who the audience is, what type of content they want, and which locations they listen.. After this overview of podcasting we will delve into some of the benefits of using it to promote your business.

The Audience

Podcasts attract a niche target audience and can be made as specific as possible and still find people they appeal to. Statistics show that there is a certain type of individual who is active on podcast channels; this knowledge can help you make informed decisions about how to appeal to podcast listeners.

“According to Edison Media Research, the average podcast listener is young, wealthy, educated, employed full-time, both using social media and following brands on it, subscribing to on-demand video services and nearly always completing the episode to which they start to listen — creating an appetizing opportunity for advertisers and an intimate bond between hosts… and their listeners,” said Mac King, Reporter at Fox 5.

While this is a fairly narrow margin for the main consumers of podcasting, podcasts have really picked up as a means of entertainment and information across all age groups and demographics.

“Podcasting is used widely across different groups of people now. I can think of multiple scenarios for how the people I know use podcasts as a background to their day. I know young adults who listen to podcasts that guide them in mindfulness and personal growth tactics to help them start or end their day productively, I know of people in all age ranges who listen while completing tasks at work or around the house, I have friends who play podcasts for their kids either as part of their play time or to wind them down at night, and I know a lot of us listen to podcasts during out commutes. Because listening to podcasts can so easily be added into our daily lives, I think this is why they are so effective at reaching people,” says Courtney Buhler, CEO & Founder of LashPRO Academy.

Podcast listeners are also known to be loyal listeners who will actively seek out the speakers they hear on podcasts to take in more content by them–that is, if they like what they heard. If you are an engaging and informative host, you can expect listeners to search for any other writing or speaking you’ve done, to find your social pages, and to follow your future projects.

“The really cool thing about the audience of podcasts is how loyal they are,” says Jason Sherman, Founder of TapRm. “They seem to really feel a connection to their podcast hosts as though they’re just sitting across the table and having a conversation, especially if they regularly listen to the same channels and this routine becomes an important part of their day. Podcast listeners have been regular at searching their hosts out on other social platforms and sharing their favorite podcasts with their friends.”

Because podcast listeners are so loyal and will search you out on multiple platforms, podcasting is a good return on investment, or ROI.

“Podcasting has been proven to be a great ROI if done correctly. Why? Because starting a podcast, or even just guest speaking on others’ podcasts, gets your name out there and draws attention to your business. Podcast listeners are understood to be people who are searching for more information, so if they like what they heard they will also find you on your other platforms which brings traffic to your business,” says Scott Sonneborn, Co-Founder of Tydo.

The Content

The content of podcasts can vary incredibly and still receive listeners because people are looking for specific information without even knowing it. There are immense opportunities in podcasting to reach a still untouched niche audience with your content.

Content usually varies between entertaining and informative, with every category under the sun explored within these variations. Nicole D’Angelo, an Associate Editor for Skyword says that the key to finding the direction of your content lies in thinking about telling stories.

“Every company can find authentic stories related to their brands, whether those stories are revealed through interviews, investigations, or real-life demonstrations. With some serious thought about what kind of stories your brand can tell and a commitment to honesty, you have what you need to begin making an engaging podcast, no matter what industry you’re in,” said Nicole D’Angelo, Associate Editor at Skyword.

It is important when podcasting as a marketing effort to still fit the genre and that means framing your content as informative and unique rather than trying to sell a product. People will learn to associate your name and business with your product the more they listen to you but first you must get on their radar by appealing to their interests.

The Location

Podcasts’ location is both nowhere and everywhere. They are found on digital platforms, the main ones being Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music, but the apps aren’t meant to stay open and consume listener’s attention–podcasts are often more of a background operation. This separates podcasting from other social channels that steal your attention, like Instagram or Facebook. Instead, people generally have podcasts playing while they do other tasks like drive, clean, workout, or cook.

“Podcasts are great for people who want to limit their screen time because they get all the entertainment and knowledge of a social media app but still are present in the real world while they consume content. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to gain information or be entertained but doesn’t want to have to be glued to a screen to do so,” says Jeremy Gardner, CEO of MadeMan.

The ease of listening to podcasts also means more people partake in this new audio sensation. Similar to the way radio used to operate before television and video took over, people get to go back to basics by listening while still multitasking and accomplishing their to-do lists.

“People used to gather around the radio and could be entertained for hours simply by listening to radio shows. Now though people have short attention spans and feel the need to be viewing content all the time, even taking in more than one type of content at the same time, like watching television while on their phones or computers. Podcasts are taking people back to the basics and reminding them they can consume content aurally while still thriving in the real world. Podcasts are super effective for busy people who want to listen while doing other tasks,” says Matt Woods, Co-Founder & CEO of SOLD.com.

The Benefits of Podcasting as a Marketing Lever

One great benefit of creating a podcast for your company is the way it establishes you as an expert in your field. If people listen to your insight they will recognize that your business has been created for success with the right hiring, and they will come to associate your name with your field. It’s a win-win situation.

“Podcasting can clearly establish your company as an expert in the topic material, which can directly add to your branding image and relevance. It can also provide you with a captive audience, so that you can help educate potential or current customers. After all, we all know that a well-informed customer is the best customer,” says Marc Atiyeh, CEO of Pawp.

Starting your own regular episodic podcast is not the only way for your company to use podcasting on the business front. Not everyone has the time or budget or staff to commit to such an effort. Small businesses especially may not have the means of starting a podcast at their current point in time. But podcasting from the role of a guest speaker still gets your name out there and allows your team members to be represented as industry experts.

“Joining a podcast as a guest speaker can be a powerful marketing lever for your business,” says Heidi Streeter, Founder of Holiday St. “Podcasts often aim to inform their audience and you can use the opportunity to give listeners insights about your business. If the podcast has a large following, you have a greater chance of gaining customers.”

Podcasting as a guest speaker is also a great way to reach your target audience. If you select podcasts to guest star on that have a similar goal audience, you are able to spread news of your brand to them without doing the groundwork of bringing their attention to your podcast yourself.

“When you speak on an established podcast channel you are able to spread information about your business to all the podcast’s regular listeners. For this reason, you should choose to speak on podcasts that have the same target audience as your company in order to produce more knowledge of your brand. It really is an effective and low effort way to reach your demographic in a place where they already exist,” says Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder of The Quality Edit.

Podcasting is desirable for listeners because they learn new information that they have chosen based on what area they want to expand their knowledge in.

“People actively choose to listen to podcasts because it helps them grow their expertise. Podcasting is particularly highly used by young professionals and those starting their careers and/or independent lives. A popular avenue of podcasts for this demographic is those discussing personal growth and effective habits for success; young people are using podcasting to feel accomplished and informed as they go about their lives and are truly taking the information to heart, incorporating new habits into their routines. You can make your podcast desirable to your audience by making it practical and offering advice to those searching for new practices” says Judy Nural, President and Founder of MicrodermaMitt.

You can find success quite easily through podcasting at this point in time since podcasts are continually and exponentially growing in popularity and audience, but the market is still new enough that your voice won’t get lost in the crowd.

“Right now, although podcasts are extremely in demand, there is still a shortage of podcasts compared to content found on other social channels,” says Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor of PT Pioneer. “There is less competition for listeners’ attention since the market for podcasts is still expanding.”

And because podcasts are still fairly new to the scene, and still largely untapped by businesses in their marketing strategies, there is still time to curate a custom audience based off of the people currently listening.

“Right now there is still room to offer a content niche that no else has yet created. Podcasts generally appeal to specific groups of people but not every specific audience is finding a lot of, or any, content suited to them. You can gain loyal followers by speaking directly to this unreached audience. And based on the trends, these listeners will be loyal to your content for a long time to come,” says Lindsay McCormick, Founder and CEO of Bite.

Clearly, podcasting is a still up-and-coming market that can and should be used to both appeal to those on the platforms and reach new audiences. Keep in mind the type of people largely present in podcasting and the type of content they are after and craft your podcast around these guidelines. You want to offer something new that is not available yet. Remember to focus your content on information and advice rather than selling a product. Now go get out there and delve into this contemporary method of marketing.

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